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Old 11-12-2011, 10:49 AM   #1
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"ipad is the best option on the market for heavy duty pdf work" - do you agree?

...or does anyone have other suggestions? The enTourage Edge looks good, too, but since it has been discontinued I'm thinking it's not a good investment. I'm looking for something that will support my academic work.
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Old 11-12-2011, 10:59 AM   #2
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The iPad with the "Goodreader" app is pretty outstanding. I have no personal experience of Android tablet, but someone else may be able to offer advice in that area.
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Old 11-12-2011, 12:50 PM   #3
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There are plenty of options on Android; 2 I have experience with and that I am happy to recommend are ezPDF and Mantano:

ezPDF
Mantano

Both provide a free Lite version.
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Old 11-12-2011, 03:10 PM   #4
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Not really sure what is meant by "heavy duty pdf work". Reading, or editing?

YOu don't need an ipad just to read pdfs. For the android tablets, Adobe has a free pdf reading app. EzPDF works well, I paid 99 cents for it. Other apps available.

If you want to edit pdfs, then personally I recommend a laptop or regular computer

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Old 11-13-2011, 07:23 AM   #5
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Thanks everyone, those app recommendations are very helpful.

VicLavigne, I mean edit as well as read. I'm looking for
- something that displays pdf-s with either large enough font or no kind of reflow issues (I want to be able to just load the docs and read, not have to convert or redo or anything like that)
- something I can insert 'post it' style notes, underline, highlight and do 'hand writing' on
- something that let's me copy and paste from pdf-s to some kind of note pad application
- something that let's me look up references in pdf docs on the net (which I guess any tablet would do)

It's for academic purposes, basically. Yesterday I started looking at used ipad1s, some of them are selling quite cheaply now because people are upgrading them (I don't think I'd need an ipad2 for my purposes?).

Yes, I have also been wondering whether a laptop is just the best alternative, but I'd like something that is a bit more portable and which would also allow for hand written notes on a notepad when e.g. I do field work.
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Old 11-13-2011, 07:31 AM   #6
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I'm sure that "Goodreader" on the iPad would meet all your needs. It has excellent annotation capabilities, and is ideal for academic use.
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Old 11-13-2011, 07:38 AM   #7
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I'm sure that "Goodreader" on the iPad would meet all your needs. It has excellent annotation capabilities, and is ideal for academic use.
Great. So I think I'm just going to try to find a used ipad1, where I live they're about half the price of the new ipad2 so I can more or less afford to buy one when I get my next pay check.

Thanks everyone
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Old 11-14-2011, 05:09 PM   #8
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I am just wrapping up my PhD - so I read and annotate a lot of PDFs.

A good stylus is important. There are subtle but important differences - the rubber tips have different levels of consistency which makes a whole lot of difference when you take annotations. I recommend Targus.

Goodreader is a good app. But I prefer iAnnotate. Both work, but iAnnotate feels 'smoother' when writing. With both, as far as I can recall (haven't used GoodReader for a while) you can embed annotations and highlights directly into a PDF to view on your PC.

There are countless threads on this, but eink just isn't fast and responsive enough to smoothly flip pages, look at tables, zoom in-and-out. Eye strain is a factor, but it's worth getting an iPad. I tried using SONY readers for academic PDFs, but it was just too clunky.

When it comes to rendering large PDFs, there are some differences between the two generations of iPads. The new ones have faster processors, which can save you 'seconds here and there' when handling large and complex PDFs. Whether that is worth the price difference is up to you. I would recommend buying a first gen.

Last edited by vxf; 11-14-2011 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 11-14-2011, 05:24 PM   #9
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I am just wrapping up my PhD - so I read and annotate a lot of PDFs.

A good stylus is important. There are subtle but important differences - the rubber tips have different levels of consistency which makes a whole lot of difference when you take annotations. I recommend Targus.

Goodreader is a good app. But I prefer iAnnotate. Both work, but iAnnotate feels 'smoother' when writing. With both, as far as I can recall (haven't used GoodReader for a while) you can embed annotations and highlights directly into a PDF to view on your PC.

There are countless threads on this, but eink just isn't fast and responsive enough to smoothly flip pages, look at tables, zoom in-and-out. Eye strain is a factor, but it's worth getting an iPad. I tried using SONY readers for academic PDFs, but it was just too clunky.

When it comes to rendering large PDFs, there are some differences between the two generations of iPads. The new ones have faster processors, which can save you 'seconds here and there' when handling large and complex PDFs. Whether that is worth the price difference is up to you. I would recommend buying a first gen.
Thanks so much, this is so useful - and the bit about the stylus wouldn't even have occurred to me.

Yes, I've given up on the e-ink for this purpose. I'm loving my e-reader for reading non work books, but I'm not going to have a go at serious work with it.

Just a question about your last para: you're saying that the ipad2 will save me time, but you still recommend the first gen? Does that mean you're saying the extra money isn't worth the difference?

I've been looking at used ones today and it really varies how much (or little) can be saved, so I'm still a bit on the fence about getting a used ipad1 or a new ipad2.
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Old 11-15-2011, 05:37 PM   #10
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I'm new to the forum and also looking for something for annotating pdf's - preferably in handwriting with a stylus. Of the mainstream e-readers only the Sony Reader WiFi seems to be able to do this, and I know the Kindle Touch won't do handwritten notes.

I work almost exclusively with text-only pdf's. Should I still get an iPad? I would love to have that E-ink screen...

As to the availability of books, Amazon has a far greater selection of the books I'm interested in, which is certainly a factor although I'm not expecting to find a truly great selection of new philosophy e-books anywhere. Still, Amazon shows greatest promise.

Let's say I prioritize handwritten note-taking capabilities, and, secondly, screen quality (eyestrain). Which is the better choice for working with text-only pdf's?

Any help is greatly appreciated!
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Old 11-15-2011, 05:48 PM   #11
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I'm new to the forum and also looking for something for annotating pdf's - preferably in handwriting with a stylus. Of the mainstream e-readers only the Sony Reader WiFi seems to be able to do this
I find the handwriting too laggy for academic-style notetaking on the Sony950.
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Old 11-15-2011, 06:16 PM   #12
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Ok, good to know!

Format seems to be a problem with the 6-inchers. How are the 9-inch Pocketbook and Onyx readers? Do they have E-ink Pearl btw?

E-ink is a big factor I have to say. I would hesitate to do all my reading on an iPad...
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:11 AM   #13
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Thanks so much, this is so useful - and the bit about the stylus wouldn't even have occurred to me.

Yes, I've given up on the e-ink for this purpose. I'm loving my e-reader for reading non work books, but I'm not going to have a go at serious work with it.

Just a question about your last para: you're saying that the ipad2 will save me time, but you still recommend the first gen? Does that mean you're saying the extra money isn't worth the difference?

I've been looking at used ones today and it really varies how much (or little) can be saved, so I'm still a bit on the fence about getting a used ipad1 or a new ipad2.
My apologies, the last paragraph was indeed confusing.

I meant to say it is a subjective call. To me, it isn't worth the higher price, but you might feel otherwise.


Let me try to illustrate at the best of my abilities - but you really have to see it first hand to appreciate the distinction.

In iAnnotate, a typical 50-page PDF from SSRN or JSTOR will take 4-5 seconds to open on the first gen. 2-3 secs on the second gen. Of course, this is AFTER downloading, just page rendering. Once the file is open, you will not notice a difference as you continue reading linearly.

But if you flip through pages very quickly or quickly zoom in or out, the first gen will occasionally stutter or take a second to process, while I have not seen this ever happen on the second gen. It does not happen if you 'jump to' a page, only if you quickly flip through, which really isn't necessary - you can open a quick sidebar displaying thumbnails of each page on the left side and just scroll through that and quickly jump to the page you need, without flipping through pages full screen. But if you want to flip 'full screen' - say looking for a particular table or figure - then it can make a difference.

Also, the process of embedding notes into a PDF and emailing those (both done in one click with iAnnotate) can sometimes take 15-20 seconds on first gen and is noticeably faster (10 sec?) on the second gen.


Other considerations obviously apply. Second gen is lighter and thinner, but you won't notice if you put it - like most people - in a cover.

But second gen has a camera - which can be great for Skype.


Also, a last note. A capacitive (spelling?) stylus can feel awkward - Targus is the best as far as I can tell, but still... tips are fairly broad. I got used to it and don't mind at all - and most of my colleagues don't seem to mind either. But some people do find it awkward - my girlfriend won't buy an iPad because she claims writing with those is clumsy. So, again, you might want to give it a try before plunging. I read somewhere that was why the iPad was released without a stylus - Jobs claimed that capacitive was 'not good enough' and nothing else works on an iPad so...
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:46 AM   #14
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Thanks so much, vxf. I have taken the plunge now and bought an ipad2. I'm loving it and I'm absolutely loving iAnnotate. It's a wonderful application and exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for. I couldn't find a Targent stylus in the shop so I bought a different one as a temporary solution and will look for a Targent online. I was hoping to just use it as a note pad (for handwriting) as well, but maybe that's pushing my luck, then, I'll have to test it out a bit and see.

I have one question: Have you found a simple way of synching a multi folder pdf library on your pc with your iPad? At the moment, I've been transferring pdfs via iTunes but it requires quite a bit of sorting once they're on the iPad. I downloaded Aji which supposedly is capable of importing a folder structure to iAnnotate, but for some reason my iPad isn't connecting up to it - I haven't figured out yet what I'm donig wrong there
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:49 AM   #15
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I'm new to the forum and also looking for something for annotating pdf's - preferably in handwriting with a stylus. Of the mainstream e-readers only the Sony Reader WiFi seems to be able to do this, and I know the Kindle Touch won't do handwritten notes.

I work almost exclusively with text-only pdf's. Should I still get an iPad? I would love to have that E-ink screen...

As to the availability of books, Amazon has a far greater selection of the books I'm interested in, which is certainly a factor although I'm not expecting to find a truly great selection of new philosophy e-books anywhere. Still, Amazon shows greatest promise.

Let's say I prioritize handwritten note-taking capabilities, and, secondly, screen quality (eyestrain). Which is the better choice for working with text-only pdf's?

Any help is greatly appreciated!
Hi there - I started out like you, looking for something to work with text-only pdfs. For my purpose, I've had to go for an iPad. I do have a SONY reader but it wasn't providing the functionality I needed for academic work (e.g. reflow messing up the pages, difficult to keep track of page numbers, slow page turn, etc.). I really really wanted e-ink as the point of departure, but I just couldn't find an e-ink device that gave me the functionality I wanted. So now I'm doing my pdf work on an iPad with iAnnotate, and my e-readers are for reading non work related books.
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