Windows Marketplace for Mobile offers a wide assortment of news readers. Handmark's Express News gets high ratings at the Marketplace and we decided to take it out for a test drive to see if it stood out amongst the other reader offerings.
The free application offers over 250 news categories that include sports, entertainment, business news, technology as well as the news headlines. Express News is also multi-lingual offering the feeds in English, German, French, Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese.
The category pages are touch navigable (swipe to the left/right) and in tapping the individual headline you will pull up the full story. You can add categories by tapping the "+" sign on the menu bar. You have preset categories separated by topic, source and language. In addition these categories are added to your "favorites". You can manage the order of categories by going to Menu>News Settings and choose manage favorites. The settings on Express News aren't the most straight forward and it takes a little practice and patience to master them.
Express News also has the ability to share stories with friends by pressing the arrow button on the menu bar. You can share stories via email or SMS messages. Express News does have an ad banner (likely what makes it a free app) that is just above the news headlines/story. The banner is just the right size not to be annoying.
One nice feature of Express News is the ability to download your favorite feeds just in case you loose your wireless signal. In pressing the airplane symbol you prepare for offline use by downloading the full stories from your favorite categories.
If you have a lot of categories active, it takes a bit of time to go from the last page back to the first. An express button to the first page or scroll loop would save time.
So how does it stack up against the other readers? Very nicely. I liked AP Mobile that has the ability to pull feeds by zip codes but Express News's offline abilities is equally attractive. The great thing about it all is both are free and you can easily have both on your Windows Phone.