Circa Updated: Faster Performance, Subtle Redesign

circa 1.1Circa, an app I wrote about way back in October of 2012, has received an update to 1.1. With this update comes a plethora of new features and enhancements, all of which combine to create an even more robust and beautiful news app.

The app was no slacker in the design department to begin with, but it has been subtly redesigned in many ways. The interface is still mostly the same, but all of the rough edges have been completely polished away. There is also a new featured news section, which highlights what the editors believe to be the most pressing news.

The redesign brings about some welcome changes, but it seems as if the app has undergone some serious fine-tuning in the performance department. Syncing is now much quicker, and there are even more pieces of multimedia scattered throughout the impressive feed of stories.

My only gripe is that there is still some strange performance issue. After being refreshed, the app is inexplicably laggy for about ten seconds. After that time period has passed, it’s as smooth and fluid as ever, though that brief time can be jarring.

My initial impressions of the app follow:

I’ve long searched for the type of app that makes reading the news – news as in, general headlines for the day – a pleasant experience on a phone. Most apps simply reformat articles for a smaller, thinner screen. So while the news is easier to read, the articles are simply reformatted for mobile, and completely unglanceable.

Circa News eschews this concept – instead of taking long-form articles and simply reformatting them, Circa is based on smaller excerpts which serve to convey the overall meaning of a story without the lengthy details and explanation. Circa offers multiple excerpts, which does actually allow for the full story to be conveyed, albeit in a much shorter way. There are also options to read the full story on the source’s website, and to share the story with various social networks. Circa also allows users to “pin” their favorite stories, creating a hub of sorts which is constantly updated with news.

News readers are a dime-a-dozen in the App Store anymore, but Circa is still unique in its presentation of the news. I also find that Circa does a fantastic job of presenting news that may not have made its way to major networks yet. For these reasons, Circa still has a place on my homescreen.

[App Store, Cir.ca]

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