I got an iPad mainly for reading books in pdf format. I also convert other document formats to pdf to be read on the iPad. For this it was crucial for me to find a pdf reader which satisfied my reading needs.
My requirements for a pdf reader:
- Continuous smooth vertical scrolling for moving between pages. Horizontal scrolling doesn't do it for me. I like having parts of a page positioned at my eye level. This is specially more convenient when I am laying down reading.
- Ability to expand and lock the width of the document. This setting should be remembered every time I reopen the pdf.
- Remember the last document and page read when launching the reader.
I consider these requirements very important for myself.
The big problem with the iPad and the AppStore is that most of the non free apps are available for purchase only. They are not available as trial software or expire after some period of time like software on a PC. I guess when most apps cost $.99, people don't mind buying them and dispose of them when not needed!
I purchased a few readers and downloaded all the free ones and tested all of these.
Here are my findings:
- GoodReader is a popular one. I purchased it when I first got the iPad. That's when I noticed I didn't like horizontal scrolling. So that reader was out. The included iBooks iPad app was out too for the same reason.
- After GoodReader I did some research to find a vertical scrolling one and purchased PDFReader Pro. Worked fine and I liked it until the next upgrade which I hated. Vertical scrolling in the upgrade automatically brings in the next page when I scroll the second half of a page to the top of the screen. I hate software updates which change a previous behavior which worked just fine. Width locking is not remembered anymore between reader launches which meant I had to adjust the width every time I opened a pdf! Plus other new bugs which they introduced. It was a botched upgrade and I complained to the vendor about all these issues. They promised to fix these issues. I do know there were at least a couple new updates but I never bothered to check after I switched to another reader.
- Among all the free ones I tested, iRead from AJI was the best. Actually it was so good I purchased their $9.99 commercial iAnnontate pdf reader which enables me to add annotations and bookmarks and other nice features. I can also open several pdf's at the same time and be displayed in tabs. They claim the pdf’s with the annotations can be read also on a PC but I haven’t tested that yet. It is a very nice feature though.
iAnnontate is an excellent pdf reader. The only annoying feature in it is if you touch the screen for more than a second the scrolling gets locked. So to scroll you have to swipe and lift your finger quickly. PDFReader Pro doesn't suffer from this