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The holidays are nearly upon us, and that can mean everything from lazy days by the pool, to long road trips with the family, to holding the fort at the office until the last possible working day in December because of that three-week jaunt to Phuket last year. Whatever you’re doing, podcasts can help.

Sure, your smartphone might have come with a podcast app preinstalled, but just as most of us replace the default email, calendar or messaging apps on our phones, not all podcast apps are created equal.

Pocket Casts FTW

Pocket Casts is one of the best podcast apps out there. Available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone (as well as for web) Pocket Casts has a host of clever features that make regular podcast apps look completely and utterly rudimentary.

First up, while many podcasting apps only let you select the last few episodes of a particular show, Pocket Casts has the thorough (or obsessive) in mind and offers the option to go back as far as you like into any podcast’s archive. Want to start This American Life or You Must Remember This from the beginning? No problem.

Speed 'read'

Next, with Pocket Casts you can build a playlist of podcast episodes – no more reaching for your phone while driving to queue up another episode. Once an episode is playing you can also choose to cut out any silences on just that episode, or every one you play. Those thoughtful pauses might add to the dramatic effect, but cutting them out could save a ton of time cumulatively… and allow you to listen to more podcasts!

And speaking of saving time, Pocket Casts also lets you speed up or slow down playback to help you make sense of Speedy Gonzalez-like segments or zip through slower ones. It also lets you skip episode intros (so you needn’t hear them for every episode) and set custom one-tap skip intervals.

One of the features we’ve found particularly useful – especially in the early episodes of shows where the production values may be a little sketchy – is the option to boost the volume of voices while simultaneously decreasing background noise.

Listen offline

You can either download episodes for offline listening or stream them, and creating a Pocket Casts account means you can keep the shows to which you’re subscribed and which episodes you’ve listened to in sync across multiple devices and multiple platforms. Android phone and iPad? No problem.

Pocket Casts also offers a really attractive, easy to navigate interface and supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for listening on the go, and Airplay and Chromecast for sending audio to connected devices at home. And, if you’re the sort who likes to doze off to Colin Wright’s soothing voice on episodes of Let’s Know Things, there’s a sleep timer that’ll pause the episode you’re listening to after an allotted interval.

Charts and categories help you find new listening material if you’re getting tired of Planet Money (almost unthinkable, we know, but it doesn’t hurt to have options). We’ve tried all of the major podcast apps so you don’t have to, and time and again Pocket Casts has come out on top. If you love podcasts, you deserve to enjoy them using the best app out there, right?

Get Pocket Casts

Download it for AndroidiOS or Windows Phone.

Note: Remember that you will need data to download and use the app. You can buy data bundles from Vodacom Online by logging in to the My Vodacom App»

Download the My Vodacom app

Buy data bundles, keep an eye on your bill to date, and see the latest deals - it's all one tap away with the My Vodacom App.

Download the My Vodacom app

Buy data bundles, keep an eye on your bill to date, and see the latest deals - it's all one tap away with the My Vodacom App.

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