Is the iPad a good PDF/eBook Reader?

chemistry_geek

Registered
Hi Everyone,

I'm inquiring if anyone is using the iPad as a PDF/eBook reader. What is the real-time experience with battery life? Can PDF files be 'dropped' into a folder like with the Amazon Kindle? Are there issues with screen reflective glare? If so, are mat non-reflective glare solutions available for purchase? How well is the iPad screen viewable in direct sunlight?

I'm a pharmaceutical scientist working in New York City supporting Cancer Research (http://www.alexandrianyc.com/) and spend 3 hours/day travel time going into and out of the city for work on trains and subways. I would like to make the best use of my time and get a really good device to view scientific journal articles downloaded from the internet and copied to the device. The two devices I see most on the NYC subways and New Jersey Transit trains are iPad and Amazon Kindle. The most important features I am considering are cost, viewability on screen, ease of use for loading/deleting PDF files (journal articles - I don't plan on purchasing eBooks - my company has an online electronic journal library), annotating journal article PDF files, power usage, and size/weight. I've always been an Apple fan-boy and am very skeptical about these tablet devices because of their unique feature sets. Everyone has very specific needs they are seeking in devices - mine are the ones listed previously. I don't need 3G/WiFi connectivity - just USB connection to a computer and copy files to the device to read A LOT of journal articles in the easiest way possible. I am aware that Adobe recently updated Adobe Reader to allow for annotating PDF files - perhaps getting a small Windows NetBook would be the better solution - I'd like a MacBook Air, but the price is in the stratosphere, and anyone who travels in New York City knows, don't carry expensive electronic devices around with you that can be lost/stolen. I don't care about losing a Windows NetBook - losing a MacBook Air would be devastating.

Any comments/suggestions are welcome.

Sincerely,
chemistry_geek
 

ElDiabloConCaca

U.S.D.A. Prime
Yes, you can drag-and-drop PDF files from your computer into the iPad -- via iTunes and the iBooks iPad app.

Battery life is amazing. Nothing that can even come close to the Kindle, though. The iPad will last you an entire day, minimum, if not more. I charge mine about once or twice a week -- and that's with a "medium" amount of use (a few hours a day, sporadically).

Yes, the screen is atrocious in direct sunlight. It washes out and reflects quite badly. In a subway car or any other indoor use, though, it's amazing.

If all you're going to be doing is reading on the iPad, then I would say that there are much better devices for doing so. The Kindle, for the sole purpose of reading, is top-notch and numero uno -- nothing beats the readability (when the lights are on), the portability, and the battery life.
 

fryke

Moderator
Staff member
Mod
I like reading on mine, although recently I've often switched to the iPhone for that purpose. (Talking about ebooks, not PDFs, of course.) Now that I have my iPad 2, that'll get more attention again. I have a Sony Reader which I never use. The reading on it is very well done (like the Kindle), but it's simply more hassle, and I very much enjoy synching where I am in a book between my iPad and iPhone.
 

chemistry_geek

Registered
Thank you everyone for all of your responses.

With the help of some people at work I was able to transfer to and view some files on their Amazon Kindle 2 and Kindle DX. The journal articles were difficult to read on Kindle 2 unless using magnification. Viewing the journal articles on Kindle DX was really very impressive, but the device seems a little heavy. Viewing Books purchased in PDF was great on the Kindle DX. Tomorrow I'll go to one of the Apple Stores in New York City to see how files look on the iPad2. I hope they can be dropped into and deleted in a folder like the Amazon Kindle/USB drive. The other option is a cheap Windows NetBook PC with Adobe Reader X with annotation abilities - I'm not spending more than $400 on a device.

Here is one of the books I have on PDF:
http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470117915.html
 

chemistry_geek

Registered
I downloaded the Kindle App for both my iPod Touch and my Mac. I've spent a week reading some free eBook classics - H.G. Wells "The Time Machine", and installed the New Oxford American Dictionary. I'm very impressed with eBook technology and the ability to instantly lookup word meanings. After reading on the iPod Touch for a week on the subways and trains, it became apparent to me that reflections from lights above me really became a distraction. So, I've decided to get the Amazon Kindle 3G. For the price, sharp contrast non-glare screen, free 3G and Wi-Fi, 1 month battery life, easy of use drop PDF files into a folder, cross-platform transportability, the Kindle won hands-down. The iPad is nice, but the Kindle is really meant for reading - just wish it to have a touch screen.

Thank you again everyone.
 

lbj

Registered
chemistry geek,
Please report back in a month with your experience, if you don't mind. I am also searching for a reader and similarly have to tear through a large number of scientific PDFs. I had an ereader (Sony) for a while, and just did not like the way it handled PDFs (although ebooks looked awesome). Scaling, reformatting, and "flow" was just never right on the Sony.

I imagine the Kindle DX would do a good job (less scaling), but wonder about the "regular size"? Please update if you would be so kind. Thanks.
 

chemistry_geek

Registered
A month and a half with Amazon Kindle 3G.

After having the Amazon Kindle 3G for a month and a half I have to say that I'm pleased with the purchase. It is a very good reading device for eBooks and scientific PDF files, though I found a way to read the PDFs without zooming in - view in landscape mode and using the 'next page" button to scroll down the page. It's perfect for reading indoors and outside in natural ambient light and it doesn't strain my eyes - a major selling point. The FREE 3G connectivity to the internet is nice for checking email and getting news updates. For $190 this device is a good value, and Amazon offers free eBook classics, which I have been reading too. Power consumption for me lasts about 3 weeks, which includes turning on and off the 3G wireless internet connectivity to check email and news. The internet browser is a little clunky but functional, adequate for email and simple sites - FaceBook will slow the device down or hang it - I had to force a reboot due to unresponsiveness/apparent lockup. If you're into reading this is a device to consider and I recommend it. This device is in a different category than the iPad, it is strictly a reading device, nothing more, no Apps, so your expectations should be realistic and focused.

chemistry_geek
 

lbj

Registered
Thanks for the follow up. Still searching and waiting to see what, if anything, Amazon has in the wings for this fall. Love e-ink but i really don't want yet another device.
 

lbj

Registered
As for following up, I have tried the latest Nook and Kindle (eInk); neither is good, in my opinion, for PDFs. Reflowing simply does not preserve any semblance of the original PDF layout and while magnification works, moving around a page once magnified is cumbersome at best. At best. Actually, I take that back...it is maddeningly frustrating.

While expensive for a reader, the iPad is the product for me so far. I can zoom easily, scroll down, then up and over with one-handed simplicity. My format remains intact. Yes, glare can be bothersome and battery life does not compare, but both those drawbacks are far outweighed when I effortlessly maneuver through a scientific, or other, PDF article.

I imagine the Kindle DX would be good, but until they drop its price to remain consistent with the "new" Kindle line, it makes no sense to me. The new Fire seems to have many of the best elements of the iPad, for reading, except the size causes excessive maneuvering for the way, and where, I read. And its zoom and maneuvering are nowhere near as smooth as on an iPad.
 

ericcantonaxyz

Registered
the screen is atrocious in direct sunlight. It washes out and reflects quite badly. In a subway car or any other indoor use, though, it's amazing.
 
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