App Review: Mantano Premium–An Excellent E-Reading App
September 10, 2013 | 5:00 pm
By Juli Monroe
When I published my post last week on Dedicated E-Readers vs. Tablets, several people recommended Mantano as a good e-reading app for Android. Since I collect e-reading apps the way some people collect baseball cards, I figured I’d give it a try.
At $6.99, the Premium version is quite a bit more expensive than rival apps, but it’s got a nice feature set, and after just a few days, it’s become my favorite reading app on my Nook HD. (Yes, it’s even replaced the stock reader for me.)
It’s got all the features you’d expect in an e-reading app. You can change font size, adjust margins, change background and text color, turn on and off page turn animations, etc. The Premium version supports text-to-speech. It has more features than most e-bookstore apps (Kindle, Nook, etc), and fewer than Moon+ Reader (where you have even finer control over margins and how text displays on the screen). It will read books with Adobe DRM, but not Barnes & Noble’s flavor of DRM (unlike Aldiko, which will open both).
You can annotate books, add notes, highlight, etc. If you purchase a Cloud subscription, you can save and export your notes and sync them between multiple devices, assuming you have Mantano installed on them.
Loading books is easy. You can select “Import” and Mantano will search your device’s memory for all compatible e-books. You can then decide to import them all or only selected books. You can set up various OPDS catalogs or just download from Dropbox. It doesn’t have as smooth a Dropbox integration as Moon+ or Marvin (for iOS), but it’s easy enough to get books into the app.
As you can see from the screen shot, the reading view is clean and uncluttered.
I like the page count at the bottom, but it’s easy enough to get rid of. Another feature I particularly like is the one button toggle for the pop-out Table of Contents. It’s not quite as handy as Moon+ Reader’s page count until end of chapter at the bottom of the page, but it works well for me.
So far I’ve discussed fairly standard features. So what sets Mantano off from the rest and justifies its price? Organization. It has the best organization of the e-reading apps I’ve tried for Android. Check out this Library screen and the various options to view your library.
You can set tags, create collections and even add covers from your photo gallery. Note the cover for Side Jobs? When I imported the book, it came without a cover. I found the cover online, downloaded it to my Gallery and then added it to the book.
Adding books to Collections is as easy as tapping the box to the right of each book and selecting which Collection you’d like them in.
If you tag your books in Calibre, Mantano will capture them.
There are several views, so you can see your Library any way you like. Once you’ve started reading a book, Mantano will display a small progress bar. I can’t think of another feature I’d add to the Library display.
Obviously library organization is important to me. If you just load one or two books at a time, you might not care.
A controversial feature is the Cloud subscription I mentioned above. It costs $1/month or $10/year. Since I only use the app on one device, I didn’t see a need for it. Personally, I think it’s overpriced. If you need to sync multiple devices, I’d suggest Moon+, and their Dropbox sync feature.
Mantano also sells an Essentials version for $2.99 and a free ad-supported version. The free version doesn’t have Themes, which allow changing of fonts, colors and the like. Essentials is optimized for Android Honeycomb, but not for Jelly Bean. Since I didn’t buy Essentials, I can’t speak to how much of a difference that makes. Perhaps someone who uses Essentials on a Jelly Bean device can comment?
So is it worth $6.99? I think so. I’ve used so many e-reading apps, and I just like the look and feel of Mantano. A review doesn’t quite do it justice. I had to use it for several hours and compare it to Aldiko, Moon+ and the stock Nook reader to see the difference. To me, it just looks better and is a more enjoyable reading experience. If you’re not sure, test it out with the free version.
I’m giving it 4 1/2 readers. If it had integration with Dropbox and a slightly lower price, it would be 5 readers.
Check it out here: Mantano Reader Premium