There’s nothing like a good podcast. Whether you want to keep up to date with the latest news, learn something new, or relax and listen to fun content, there’s a podcast for you. Of course, to enjoy a good podcast, you need a great podcast app.
Castbox is, for me, the essential podcast listening tool. It’s free, well designed and works on Android and iPhone. For me, this last point is essential, because I often switch between these operating systems. While not everyone has the privilege of using a variety of phones, many people have phones and tablets on different operating systems, which makes Castbox a great option for truly listening anywhere. .
Castbox also offers a web player, but I found that I rarely use it as I mostly consume podcasts on the go.
Another benefit of Castbox is that it syncs your subscriptions across all devices. It’s very easy to connect and start listening where I left off on another device. However, the synchronization is not perfect. I’ve found that it can take a while for new subscriptions to appear on each device, and Castbox doesn’t sync what’s playing, so switching between devices during an episode isn’t not the easiest.
When it comes to consuming podcasts, Castbox offers almost everything you need. There is an impressive library of content to listen to. Also, the playback controls are excellent. It’s easy to favorite or download an episode, add it to a list or share it. There are also buttons to go forward 30 seconds or go back 15 seconds. Castbox also offers controls to listen at a faster or slower speed, as well as options to decrease silence or increase volume. You can also stream episodes to devices via Chromecast or AirPlay.
Castbox also offers a social aspect. Users can share episodes and timestamped comments related to specific times. While this is a unique aspect of Castbox, it was one aspect that I didn’t find particularly appealing. That said, it seems to be used quite a bit by the community.
And really, that’s part of the nature of Castbox. It’s a great podcast consuming app, but the developers have added several other features that some might find unnecessary or downright intrusive. For example, Castbox offers plenty of subscription management options, such as custom episode listings, so you can sort your podcast library. It also has fantastic tools for downloading podcasts for offline listening. But in the same section of the app, it highlights the new “Zen Mode”, which is currently in beta.
Castbox is pushing Zen Mode as an aid for tracking sleep or meditation. It features over 100 nature sounds that users can mix and match to help them fall asleep. While some no doubt welcome the feature, I’ve seen many complaints from people who don’t use it because it takes up valuable space in the Library tab and pushes podcast subscriptions further down the screen.
Apart from Zen Mode, Castbox is also getting into cryptocurrency. It offers four currencies, including Coin and Star for Castbox, Box coin, and Ethereum. Castbox added cryptography so users can tip content creators who use Castbox’s Livecast feature the same way people can tip streamers on Twitch.
Ultimately, Castbox does the basics well: it has everything you need in a podcasting app. It also features several quirky additions that some will appreciate and most will ignore. It’s available for free, but there’s also a monthly subscription option, which removes visual ads, grants unlimited subscriptions (the free limit is 100), and lets you customize your homepage. The subscription costs $19.99 per year or $5.49 for three months on iOS and Android.