PDF is an ereader file format I’m still being bombarded with constantly, despite my issues with it. I find its lumpy file size and rigidity to be hugely challenging, for relatively little commensurate benefit in terms of readability and fidelity to the original format. Yet publishers continue to distribute review copies of books that aren’t available in other ebook formats. And there are specific applications, like art books – for instance, the marvellous archive of free digitized catalogues from exhibitions at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on Archive.org – where the shortcomings of PDF are acceptable for the sake of the superb works you can enjoy in that format.
Only, how to do it in Android? If you have a well-loaded tablet like my Nexus 7, you’re confronted with various options on clicking a PDF file, including Adobe Acrobat, Amazon Kindle, Docs To Go, Drive PDF Viewer, and FBReader. Chances are that if you have a different ereader app, it’ll also show up. So far all of these have their own problems, in my experience. And the sticking point with most of them is the load times. The excruciating delay of waiting for Amazon Kindle to load a PDF page, or for Adobe Acrobat to render a less and less pixelated version of a picture that finally approximates to the original, or for Drive PDF Viewer to produce anything more than a blank screen, is a massive bar to reading enjoyment.
Then there’s the question of fidelity of reproduction. Docs To Go’s PDF viewer appears faster than the other options, but also renders colours more dully, at least to my eye. Interestingly, FBReader with its PDF plugin installed looks to be one of the best compromises, but I have lag issues with that too, which may or may not be down to the proverbial memory problems of the Nexus 7 running Lollipop.
If anyone has any better solutions to this dilemma, I’d be interested to hear. It could be that the problem is in my aging hardware, but if so I bet I’m not the only one with that issue either. Suggestions welcomed.