Evan Pederson ran a side-by-side test, comparing a podcast running in Overcast’s Smart Speed to the same one running in real time, and he found the time savings to average between 1.2x and 1.4x for shows that often have frequent pauses. Other shows, such as Roman Mars’s 99% Invisible, which are tightly edited, didn’t benefit as much from the Smart Speed because there were less gaps and breaks to cut out.
For those who want to save some time listening to certain podcasts yet who don’t want the distortion that comes with 1.5x or even 2x speeds, Smart Speed is a happy medium. All of your shows will be shorter, but you likely won’t be able to tell any difference in listening quality. This feature is especially helpful for FM radio based shows where there is often silence from callers and other random pauses.
More than Smart Speed, I appreciate Marco’s leveraging his coding skill such that Overcast does not rely on
Core Audio for processing the podcast audio content. I routinely listen at speeds up to 1.83x, and on ‘regular’ podcast apps, audio sped up to that extent sounds horrible, due to
Core Audio limitations.
Still, as the Chambers notes, there are some things that Overcast doesn’t do as well as its competitors. I’m of the opinion that Castro by Supertop, is a much better looking app. The UI transitions and animations are definitely likable, a word somebody important threw around from time to time.
Castro was so visibly impressive that I quickly forewent the extra options like playlists and per-podcast preferences that Pocket Casts offered, and tried out Supertop’s app.
But at the end of the day, the audio experience is what matters. It’s a podcast app, not a reading app. And the best audio on any podcast app is Overcast. It is indispensable for my podcast experience, because no other app comes close to delivering the audio experience that Overcast does.