Podcasts are a fast emerging way to consume content while you are doing other things. However, finding a podcast app with top quality features wasn’t exactly easy. I spent days researching the best podcast apps available for Android phones, and two names kept popping up: Castbox and Podbean.
Initially, I settled for Castbox. After that I got curious and also installed (and used) Podbean months later. They’ve both been fantastic so far, each offering unique features.
Of course, we’ve covered several apps and podcast comparisons to help you pick one for the right platform.
Along with that, this article would focus on comparing Castbox and Podbean to find the best app.
Design and interface
Castbox and Podbean both have well-designed application interfaces. They’re also designed quite similarly, with a few differences here and there.
First off, I love how both apps recommend the best podcast channels (read: popular) the moment you launch them. While Castbox has its Quick Access tab at the bottom of the app, Podbean has it at the top.
I prefer the location of the Castbox quick access tab though. Indeed, unlike Podbean, the bottom tab is easily accessible with the thumb. I often find myself using my other hand to navigate the quick access tab since it is far away.
By default, both Castbox and Podbean have white dashboards. Interestingly though, they both support Dark Mode, which is built into their Settings menu.
Compared to Podbean, Castbox has more theme customization options – Light, Dark, and Black. You can only activate / deactivate Podbean night mode.
While playing a podcast, Castbox informs you of the number of minutes you have left to complete the podcast in the notification bar. Podbean doesn’t display a timecode, nor does it tell you how much time you have left to reach the end of podcasts you’re playing.
While the interfaces for both apps offer ease of use, I find Castbox to be deeper. The easily accessible quick navigation bar and customizable themes make Castbox a win in this round.
Research and recommendations
Like Castbox, Podbean also has a large library of podcast channels. I also find the recommendation engine for both apps to be quite powerful as well.
From the home page, Podbean lets you discover a plethora of podcasts by browsing through categories or through the Top 100 section – here the most popular podcasts that people in your area listen to are recommended.
Castbox also makes it easy for you to discover podcasts by searching through predefined categories. You can browse the Top Show section of the app to find popular podcasts that users are listening to. The Recommendation section contains podcasts randomly selected by Castbox’s recommendation engine based on your listening history or what the app thinks you might find interesting.
The Recommendation section may be updated occasionally to discover new podcasts.
Finding podcasts on both apps is also seamless and easy. However, I like Podbean’s search feature a lot more than Castbox’s. And I think you would too.
While Castbox will only allow you to search by podcast name / title, you can filter your Podbean search by podcast or episode. This means that even if you can’t remember the name of a podcast, you can find it by searching for the name of an episode in the podcast.
Simply type in the name of the podcast or episode and switch between the Podcast and Episode filter.
Both apps have awesome players that are no different from some of the best podcast apps. Podbean has a simple player with all the basic features (pause, play, rewind), but it’s not a full-fledged player like Castbox.
By default, the rewind and fast forward buttons on the Podbean player skip the playback by 30 seconds. Castbox, on the other hand, rewinds the playback 10 seconds and fast forwards 30 seconds.
Interestingly, Podbean allows you to customize the search times for both buttons from the Settings menu. You can choose to reduce the “search by” periods of the forward and back buttons to 8 or 15 seconds or increase them to 45 or 60 seconds.
Both apps support downloading podcast episodes to your device for offline playback. However, only Podbean allows you to select a specific folder in your device’s internal storage or SD card to save your downloaded podcast.
For Castbox, you can’t select specific folders to save the downloaded podcast, but I like that it shows the sizes of each episode in their description. I find this useful because it gives an idea of how much storage space is needed to accommodate my podcast. In addition, I get to know how many episodes of my data plan that I listen to / download would consume.
While Podbean does not display episode size, it does have unique “cellular control” features that allow you to control network connectivity. With Cellular Controls, you can choose to allow or disable podcasting and data downloading. When this option is disabled, you will not be able to stream or download podcast episodes over cellular networks.
It is a brilliant management feature that allows users with limited internet control of their data plans.
Finally, the Castbox player displays the cover images for each podcast episode you read. If you want to save mobile data, there is an option to turn it off in the Mobile data usage section of the app.
Podbean does not display cover images when playing episodes. What it displays instead is a generic profile picture for the podcast you’re listening to; I find that rather banal.
Want to sync the podcast you’re listening to on your other devices? Say Android, iOS, desktop or web? Castbox and Podbean are both great cross-platform podcast apps.
You can leave your phone at home and continue with the podcast you were listening to on your work PC. Both the Podbean and Castbox apps are compatible with iOS and Android devices. Plus, they both have web support and are compatible with smart home and streaming devices like Google Home, Amazon Echo, Chromecast, and more.
I tried the web version of both apps and was able to stream podcasts seamlessly. The podcasts that I follow and subscribe to, as well as a history of episodes that I have previously streamed, have been synced to my account.
Castbox and Podbean both achieve good cross-platform compatibility.
When I installed the Castbox app, it accurately detected my exact location and made podcast recommendations based on my region. For some odd reason, Podbean’s default region is UK, and the podcast recommendation appears to be erratic.
I tried changing the country and found that Castbox supports more (29) countries than Podbean (17).
Quick advice: If you can’t find your region in the Podbean app, I recommend choosing Others.
A difficult call
Design and user interface aside, Podbean is as good as Castbox, if not better. Podbean offers more customization options in terms of forward / backward search periods, storage location, and cell control. Podbean’s search filter is also more advanced than Castbox’s. If you like aesthetics and usability, you will find Castbox really enjoyable to use. For complex features and freedom of customization, Podbean takes the crown.
Next : There are great podcasts out there everywhere, but we’ve got a selection that will make you smarter. Find out in the article below.
Last updated on November 29, 2019
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