Search for Android PDF Readers

I have just downloaded the new Adobe reader for Android and I have to say I’m rather disappointed.

I now have 3 pdf readers on my Nexus One smart phone: QuickOffice, PDF To Go and now Adobe Reader. I had expected the Adobe offering to be the definitive app for the job but I was wrong.

I’m a broadcast technology consultant, which means reading a lot of PDFs during the course of my work. Whilst a many are just one or two pages long, most are considerably longer, typically running into hundreds of pages. Easy navigation is therefore essential.

Curiously, and most frustratingly, none of these readers allows one to jump to a specific page, which makes navigating through a 200 page document all but impossible. While 10 flicks is sort of OK to nip through the early chapters of a document, checking an appendix some 190 flicks away is frustrating and boring. Is page navigation really such a problem for the designers?

One tool that makes PDFs useable on tiddly screens is text reflow. I depend on text reflow to read documents when I’m away from the glorious big screen in my office.

Quickoffice is just useless; it has no text reflow at all, offering only fit to screen or fit to width options but nothing more useful.

PDF TO GO’s text reflow works pretty well. It allows me to flick through the document as I read providing a nice smooth scroll of the text.

The Adobe reader’s reflow is pretty dreadful by comparison. Yes, you can resize the text whilst in reflow mode (by annoying big onscreen buttons, not by pinch/stretch), but the reflow then does not scroll smoothly when you are paging, instead it snaps to the next chunk of text in a grudging sort of way.

Selecting bits of text to cut and paste elsewhere is something I’d expected to see as a basic. But as I have realised,such core cut & paste activity is a wierly futuristic idea for designers of modern day mobile computers. Only PDF To Go has the feature, Quickoffice and Adobe Reader adhere to the ‘…bit of an old fashioned feature; we’ll leave it out.’ philosophy.

Anyway, the search for a good pdf reader continues.