It's 2018 and podcasts are in. They're the new radio, or so we've heard, and there are so many quality podcasts out there to listen to that it can be overwhelming. If you happen to own a smartwatch, you may also have been wondering if there's a good way to listen to podcasts from the wrist, be it an Apple Watch or Android Wear smartwatch.
There is. Several, in fact. We've been scouring the App and Play stores and trying out the best podcast apps on offer. Sadly the options for Android Wear users are more sparse, but we've included a couple that we think are worth checking out.
Tried and tested: Best Apple Watch apps
So read on for our best picks. Not all of them function fully standalone, but not all of them have all the same features either. We've explained what sets them apart to help you find the best one for you.
Outcast (Apple Watch)
Outcast is a fully-featured podcast app. It's so fully featured that the iPhone version of the app doesn't do anything but tell you what the Apple Watch version does. You can search and browse podcasts directly on your wrist and download episodes over Wi-Fi or cellular. As long as you've got Bluetooth headphones, you're good to get your podcasting on. It ticks two of the key boxes: simple and easy to use.
$0.99, App Store
If you don't mind carrying your iPhone around to bring the best podcast-listening features around, Overcast is a good option. You need to download episodes to your phone first, and it feels like the Watch is more like a controller than an actual podcast player, but the upside is that you get beloved Overcast features like Smart Speed and Voice Boost.
Free, App Store
Wear Casts (Android Wear)
When it comes to Android Wear, the pickings are much, much slimmer. Wear Casts stands alone - literally - as the only Wear app that currently works sans phone. It'll work with both Android and iPhone, letting you browse and download podcasts straight to the watch. There is a smartphone companion app for Android users only, which lets you send podcast URLs to the watch, but it's not essential - just handy if you'd like to minimize time spent fiddling on the small screen.
Free, Google Play
CastBox (Apple Watch)
CastBox is a little like Overcast, in that it's largely a controller for podcasts playing on your phone - but it's also absurdly simple. You can create playlists and download podcast episodes on your phone, and then you can jump in and start playing with your Watch. The app largely gets out of your way, split into four segments: Now Playing, History, Playlists and Downloads. To play something, you just pop into one of the segments and podcast your heart out.
Free, App Store
Pocket Casts (Apple Watch and Android Wear)
Pocket Casts, save for Outcasts, is your best bet for handling podcasts directly from your wrist, and it works on both Apple Watch and Android Wear. You won't have to download episodes before you play them here, though you will still have to subscribe to podcasts in the iPhone or Android Wear app first. Once you do that, things are pretty simple. You just press play on your chosen episode on the wrist and away you go. There's even an Up Next queue that you can set.
The cool thing about TuneIn Radio is that when you open up the Apple Watch app you'll get a series of shows you can listen to right away, like The Lead with Jake Tapper or BBC Radio 4's Intelligent Speech. So if you're big on actual radio, TuneIn is unsurprisingly your best bet here. Once again, you've only got an Apple Watch app that controls what's going on in your iPhone. You do get a neat complication that displays what episode you're listening to, though.
Free, App Store