Poki (Windows Phone) review: Read things later with Poki for Windows Phone

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The Good Poki is an attractive, free app that brings many of the best features of the Pocket bookmarking-service to Windows Phone.

The Bad Poki lacks some of the features of the official Pocket apps, including a streamlined way to share content you've saved, and robust notifications.

The Bottom Line Poki is an excellent Windows Phone client for the Pocket bookmarking service, and a few missing features don't spoil the slick, simple experience.


8.0 Overall

If you read or watch things on the Internet, then Pocket will likely be of interest: it's a free bookmarking service you can use to save articles and videos to a personal account, where you can read them on other devices later; it even supports offline access. Poki is a third-party client for Pocket, that brings much of what makes the service great to Windows Phone.

If you have yet to try Pocket, you're really missing out. The service has official apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, and it's well worth checking out -- read our full review of the Android version for more details.

Design and features

Poki for Windows Phone Nate Ralph/CNET

Windows Phone has a very distinct design, and Poki fits in rather well. The app's menus are divided into four individual panes that you'll slide between, making for a simple, easily navigable interface. And that's great: the app's sole purpose is to deliver links to things you've saved around the Web, and there's nothing here to get in the way of that.

The very first pane -- and the one you'll spend most of your time seeing -- shows the items you saved to Pocket. By default, the most recent things you've saved are listed here. Poki offers a few really handy filtering options here: you can choose to only show unread items, items you've marked as a favorite, items you've already archived, or all three. You can also sort the entire list by how long ago you added them to Pocket -- useful for cleaning up ancient articles -- and an article's approximate word count, so you can create a sort of quick-reads list, or a long-form list if you've got some time to kill.

That last one can be a bit tricky: the Pocket service attempts to "clean up" bookmarks, stripping articles of images and ads and the like to just serve up clean text. If something in that process goes wrong (and it often does), it simply won't load anything. You can just click through to get to the live article, but Poki will interpret these errors as having few words and clutter your quick-reads list. That website-parsing problem is an issue on Pocket's end, but it ends up hurting Poki a tad here.

Feeding your Poki

Use Windows Phone's built in sharing functionality to pull in content from the Web. Screenshot by Nate Ralph/CNET

Getting articles into Pocket is as easy as using Windows Phone's sharing function: just send links to Poki, and they'll be sent to app and the Pocket service and available everywhere. Once you're done with whatever you've bookmarked, just check it off by way of the menu that slides up from the bottom of the app -- all changes are reflected on the official Pocket service, so you needn't worry about duplicating your efforts. As Poki relies on Pocket's text-stripping functionality, the experience is going to be pretty similar no matter what platform you're on.

I did notice some inconsistencies in text-formatting between the Poki and the official Android and iOS apps: sometimes captions are italicized on the official version but not in Poki, sometimes the reverse is true. It's a minor quibble and roles often reversed by articles, so I can't really fault Poki or Pocket here.

Poki offers a read-aloud function similar to Pocket's that will read the text of articles to you in English, though Pocket offers many languages to choose from. It's a function I've never actually used, but some might find it useful. The official apps will also remember your relative place in an article whether you're reading it on the Web or another device, a function Poki doesn't replicate.

A few new tricks

Poki piggybacks off of Pocket to strip the text out of Web content. The progress tracker helps you find your place. Screenshot by Nate Ralph/CNET

One of my favorites feature that's exclusive to Poki is the progress tracker: a little circle sits in the bottom left corner of the app, filling up as you scroll towards the end of the document. It's never in the way -- it only pops up when you scroll -- and offers a quick glance at the progress you're making. Sure, it's a tiny quality-of-life improvement. But it really helps an app that should be simple by design to stand out.

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