The release of Apple’s iPad was met with mixed reactions, though many people saw great potential in it as a tool for reading e-books. With so many apps to choose from in Apple’s App Store though, picking the right one could turn out to be a bit tricky. We’ve arranged a list of what we consider to be the 10 best PDF readers currently available for the iPad.
1. iAnnotate PDF, a highly versatile tool with many features that can enhance your reading experience – you can leave marks on pages and draw directly on them, set bookmarks, view multiple documents in separate tabs, and even customize the app’s interface to your likings. It also offers a service together with Dropbox, allowing you to get your e-books from your Dropbox account – a feature certainly handy for those that use the tool.
As the only downside of this app, we can probably point out that it has more features than the average user would need, which can make it seem quite complex at first.
2. iPDF Reader claims to be the most lightweight PDF reader currently available, and it does certainly make an impression of speedy operation and an easy to navigate interface. It also offers an integrated PDF search engine, though it doesn’t seem to work perfectly yet as it’s prone to finding unreadable documents.
3. Stanza – another PDF reader packed with useful features, Stanza has a clean and streamlined interface that focuses on the content right from the get go, and it allows you to create your custom categories and organize your literature in different ways. And with the integrated dictionary, you’ll never have to switch over to another app for that purpose continuously!
Stanza does suffer from some interface drawbacks, but nothing too serious that should detract you from trying it. In fact, if you can overlook the small problems it has in this regard, you’ll actually find some options that no other PDF readers can offer you at the moment, such as a finer control over the scrolling speed and more.
4. Bookman Fast PDF Reader is an app that focuses on speed and smoothness, with a sleek interface that gives you immediate access to your books in an organized fashion. You can use large-sized thumbnail images for each of your books, and the reader handles larger documents remarkably well, opening and going through them noticeably faster than most other readers.
Organization is one of the major benefits that Bookman Fast PDF Reader offers you, as it makes it very easy to get your books separated into different categories for easy access later on.
5. ReaddleDocs was an interesting app to play around with. It features a traditionally-styled interface that should feel familiar to most Mac users. This is another app that can handle large documents easily, while it also gives you access to features like quick scrolling through the pages, intuitive highlighting (though it may take some getting used to, it’s implemented better than most other solutions), and a built-in document downloading tool.
Readdle is quite versatile for a PDF reader, as it also gives you access to other unrelated features like e-mail access, browsing the photos on your iPad, and even a web browser.
6. FastPDF was among the best PDF readers for the iPad we’ve tried, offering quite a lot of functionality and truly living up to its name. Not only does it go through large-sized PDF files in a breeze, its interface is also easy to use and very streamlined, giving you immediate access to the important reading features as well as bookmarking functionality. If you’ve been using the default PDF reader that comes with the iPad, you’ll find the interface of FastPDF very familiar.
7. GoodReader is something else we’ve been hearing about for a while, so we decided to give it a go. It’s among the more advanced PDF readers for the iPad out there, offering functions like organizing your documents in folders, advanced bookmarking functionality, as well as a really speedy and intuitive reading interface. There’s also a handy option to “lock” your scrolling to only work vertically, preventing you from accidentally moving to the next page by sliding sideways. The only thing we noticed missing from GoodReader was the ability to read documents in a two-page layout.
8. ReadPDF – small and lightweight, this is another good choice for those who value speed above everything else in their PDF reader apps. Apart from reading PDF files quickly and without problems (its compatibility with the format is excellent too), it also allows you to work with other kinds of documents, read e-mails and download attachments from them, and synchronize your library with an iTunes account.
9. SmileyDocs is not specifically a PDF reader, as it can handle various formats – MS Office documents being among them as well (including PowerPoint presentations). As you’d expect, you have the basic features to bookmark pages and highlight particular content, and the app uses its own internal database for storing those annotations. The benefits of this is that you have a lot of freedom over what kinds of marks you can leave on documents; on the other hand, you lose the portability that in-document editing gives you. If you can cope with the unpolished interface, this is a great choice.
10. CloudReader – last but not least we have CloudReader, a nifty little app that can view images (including comic book formats) apart from PDF documents, and it can also read files straight from within RAR archives. A really impressive app that has a lot to offer, CloudReader is additionally good due to its file transfer interface, designed in a fast and intuitive way.