Caffeinated was a polished Google Reader RSS client with a great layout; but the demise of Google Reader forced developer Curtis Hard to rewrite the core components of the app and liberate it from its Google roots. Now in version 2.0.1, Caffeinated is a very capable standalone RSS reader for OS X.
Caffeinated looks likes most RSS readers with a three-column layout that includes your RSS feeds on the left, a feed preview in the middle and a full article view on the right. Now that Caffeinated is no longer tied into Google Reader, you'll have to manually add your RSS feeds or import them if you have an OPML file that you exported from another service. I was able to import my Google Reader backup without an issue and was up and running with Caffeinated in just a few minutes. Manually entering feeds is equally as easy -- just enter the URL of the website or the feed that you want to add.
Caffeinated supports groups / folders so you can organize your RSS feeds. It's easy to move your feeds once you add them into Caffeinated. Just click on a feed and then drag and drop it where you want it. You can put an individual feed at the top of the list, at the bottom of the list or drop it in a folder / group. You can also drag groups to rearrange them manually or sort them alphabetically
Unlike other readers that display feeds in a magazine-style layout, Caffeinated only supports a list view. It's a polished view that shows you the publication name, the title of the article, the first sentence and a preview of the article's main image. There's also a time stamp so you can see when the article was posted. Buttons at the top of the middle column allow you to easily filter your list to include unread items, all items and starred items. A search field allows you find articles in the feed or group.
Though Caffeinated's views are limited, its options for reading are not. A simple click and hold will reveal a contextual menu that's filled with options to let you share, bookmark and mark an item as read / unread. Third-party services include Buffer, Evernote, Safari reading list, Delicious, Pinboard, Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Instapaper and Pocket. The app also supports Readability so full articles are easy to read and not filled with ads or other fluff. This built-in Readablity support can be toggled on / off in one click. When new articles come in, notifications stream into the OS X notification center.
One missing feature in Caffeinated is the ability to add authenticated feeds. Many OS X users connect to internal company RSS feeds that require the user to type in a username and password in order to view the feed. Though it does not officially support authenticated feeds yet, developer Hard has said support for password-protected feeds is on his to-do list. He recently released a video showing this feature in action, so authenticated feeds will likely be added to the app soon.
Caffeinated is an excellent RSS reader for OS X users who don't want or need mobile syncing. If the bulk of your reading is done on your Mac, then Caffeniated definitely is worth checking out. You can grab a free 14-day trial from Caffeinated's website, which is under construction at the time of the writing of this post. You can also buy a copy of the software from the Mac App Store for US$5.99.