Picture this: it’s monday morning at work, and you haven’t actually started working yet. Instead you’re lazily surfing Facebook or Twitter to catch up on what you’ve missed from the night before. You come across an interesting link your friend posted—a link to some pedantic “top 10” article, pointless video, or website that’s got you curious, but you’re not sure if it’s worth your time, or if you even care enough to open it. We’ve all been there.
There’s many occasions where I come across various links that interest me, but don’t want to navigate away from where I am. I only want to skim them, get a general idea of the information, and move on. That’s where an app like Flynx comes in handy.
What is Flynx?
Flynx is a simple multi-tasking Android app. It’s essentially a stripped down browser focused on providing a quick, uncluttered method of opening external links and absorbing their content without leaving the current app. Links open in small bubbles on a designated side of your screen, and load article content in the background as you continue to browse.
Is Flynx useful?
After winning Google Launchpad, and landing a feature spot as an essential app on the Playstore, I’d say yes, Flynx is a very useful app. Honestly, if it wasn’t, I don’t think I’d be using it. And it seems that others feel the same way too—200,000+ to be exact.
Flynx crosses 200k downloads… \m/ pic.twitter.com/lqaItHQmgT
— Flynx App (@flynxapp) April 17, 2015
But I won’t lie, I had some reservations when I first downloaded it.
At first, I figured Flynx was just another gimmicky browser—and I’m already a die-hard Chrome fan. After the first couple of uses, I thought, “why wouldn’t I just use Chrome, or the built-in browser that comes with Facebook or Twitter to view my links?” But then I started to notice a decrease in the amount of time it took to open a link, and read an article or blog post.
See, Flynx is a complementary app to assist in your journeys through the web; like a side kick for your regular browser. It just makes things easier.
What can I do with Flynx?
With all the information offered by the web and social media on a daily basis, it can be difficult to keep up. Flynx helps diminish that feeling of falling behind. It allows for productive mobile multitasking—open multiple links, up to a maximum of four (you can unlock more by inviting friends), and have the content load in the background as you continue to browse.
Rather than having a bunch of tabs or bookmarks to read later, keep a few bubbles open to read now.
When you open a link with Flynx, it strips away unwanted content to minimize load time and decrease data consumption. By displaying an uncluttered, distraction free reading environment, Flynx provides a faster reading experience than other browsers. And once you’re done reading, just flick the bubble away to close it. Get in, get out. That’s what I like about it.
Here’s a quick rundown of the key features Flynx offers:
- Web view/Quick read view—Flynx loads links in one of two views, depending on the website you’re trying to access: web view and quick read view. Web view displays the regular layout of the website, while quick read view loads only the relevant content. Using the dynamic view button, you can switch between the two. I like this because sometimes the quick read view takes away photos or other in-depth visual content that you’d want see, so it’s nice to be able to switch between them.
- Read later—you can save links to read later. Use the bookmark button, or double tap on links to save articles to an internal read-later archive that is accessible offline.
- Sharing—you can share your links with others through your favorite apps or social media. I think this one is pretty obligatory.
- Display settings—you have a few options to customize the display of your reading environment. Choose between two font styles, different font sizes, and light or dark background colors. This is where you would manually configure a night display mode if you’re reading in the dark. It would be nice to see an automatic night mode feature later on down the line.
- History—like any good browser, Flynx lets you view every link you’ve ever opened. Just open the app, and swipe left.
Unfortunately, there are a few features that Flynx does not include. For example, it doesn’t have the ability to sync between devices, which is a major downfall for me and others who use a tablet in addition to our phones. I also wish there was an option to directly integrate external bookmarking services like Pocket, Instapaper, or Readability with the read later feature, for those who like to keep their links in one place. You can save links to these services through the sharing menu, but that takes away from the efficiency of the app.
How do I use Flynx?
Flynx is simple to use. You don’t need much introduction to use it, but for those who like the comfort of a beginner’s tutorial, there is a short walk-through of the app, explaining all the key features. And to make it even easier, you can set Flynx as your default app for opening links. As you can see from the accompanying gif, I don’t have this set as my default, but that’s just personal preference.
All key features are readily accessible along to top of the browser window. Open the actual app to view your history and any links you’ve saved for later.
The app’s workflow moves smoothly—touch a link and it opens in a bubble, touch that bubble to open and read the link, touch and drag the bubble to the trash once you’re done with it. Simple.
How does Flynx look and feel?
Flynx is designed simply, and beautifully. It follows the Google’s material design manifesto that is now the Android standard, with a simple color palette of white and blue. It feels clean-cut and responsive.
The animations are smooth and mesmerizing. Though, they can be a bit laggy at times, like when you have multiple links open, or if those links are loading a large amount of content, but nothing too terrible. It also can take a bit before the bubble appears on the screen.
What’s the conclusion?
Flynx is a quality, multitasking app that merges functionality and aesthetic design. It boosts productivity and helps you consume the web faster. It does have a few quirks, but nothing’s perfect. And the best part is, Flynx is free (exactly $0.00). Who can object to that? If you’re into free, useful apps, give it a try.
Flynx is currently an Android exclusive app (sorry iOS). Get it on the Playstore.