GrabIt: A Solid Starter Newsreader
Grabit is a simple newsreader that has gained a lot of attention over the years for its straightforward approach and ease of use.
Its unique selling point is the ability to browse Usenet articles without the need to download headers. All you need to do is select a newsgroup and you can check its contents without any further hassle. This is actually pretty fantastic, more intuitive than a number of other options, and rare among Usenet clients.
Its core platform is free and available for Windows, but they’ve gated off a lot of the best features into their premium service, and it’s a bit of a question whether either version is worth the effort in that state.
GrabIt: The Things We Like
The best thing about GrabIt must be its very friendly, intuitive user interface. Even somebody entirely unfamiliar with Usenet will have very little trouble understanding how to work the program and set it up to their specifications. In that respect, we have to tip our hats to the designers.
This newsreader was built to optimize searching and browsing on Usenet. It is evident that GrabIt’s developers’ main effort went into creating a tight newsreader that uses very few resources. With the premium plan, you can even search newsgroups without downloading headers.
With GrabIt, you are also guaranteed industry-standard SSL secure connections. This is one feature that we would ask you to not compromise on.
Like many of our favorite newsreaders, GrabIt makes downloading a breeze. NZB file support is such that you can add an NZB and it sets up an automated workflow which will download, repair, and extract your file for you.
What We Like Less About GrabIt
While GrabIt checks off many of the features we look for in a newsreader, it isn’t quite where we want it to be.
First, many of the features mentioned above are gated behind a paywall. We don’t automatically dismiss premium features here, but considering what’s on offer compared to the many, many free options available, nothing in GrabIt stands out.
We also don’t like that you have to download your NZB files from an indexer, then import it into the program in order to make it work. Of course, you can also subscribe to its built-in search feature for $2.50/month, but that sort of says it all, doesn’t it? What makes the creators of GrabIt think that we want to pay even once, let alone recurring payments, to do something that is fairly easy to set up for free with other newsreaders?
Further, GrabIt is not optimized for fast connections, which seems like a very strange choice when speed is a key feature of a Usenet account. Any connections surpassing 90 Mbps just are not well handled, and it puts an artificial cap on what is normally unlimited speed accounts for no discernable reason.
Also, many platforms extend their services by allowing API keys to integrate third-party apps, but again, not GrabIt.
Finally, GrabIt is only available on Windows, so Mac, Linux, and less popular operating system users are out of luck.
GrabIt is a solid choice if you’re looking to browse and search without header downloads. It is fast and intuitive as well as secure, with SSL enabled encryption standard. For a new user, these are great features to look out for in a newsreader.
That being said, none of this overcomes some pretty glaring and baffling flaws. Its speed limitations make absolutely no sense, nor does the decision to limit compatibility to Windows. Not having an API that would allow passionate fans to expand their features does make sense, at least, since then how would they charge for them? And tying those features to a subscription model seriously overestimates how useful they are.
Grabit simply doesn’t measure up to the many robust free options out there.