Google Books PDF Test: iPad Air & Mini

Yesterday I had the chance to do another Google Books PDF test on the iPad Mini as well as the iPad Air.

All other tablets have a lot of work to do to match the performance I experienced.

Videos after the break.

A special abbreviated version of The American Magazine was used (PDF made by Moriah Jovan), just fifty pages long and 38MBs in size. The full PDF is about 290MBs and Mobile Safari crashes when trying to download it. This special version PDF is available via my Google Docs.

I screwed up the first recording, so this shows the PDF already opened in iBooks on the iPad Mini:

In the next video, pay attention to this area of the screen:


That’s iBooks rendering each page and creating a thumbnail. The speed of that is astonishing.

Now here’s the iPad Air, showing the PDF beginning in Mobile Safari and then opening iBooks:

And here’s a really astounding video, with me going from The King in Yellow (a PDF of the full book) and then switching to the special version of The American Magazine:

Absolutely no pauses at all!

And you’re probably wondering about that blank page in The King in Yellow. That book is a collection of short stories. And that page, 267, is actually blank in the book. Here it is shown in PDF Xchange Viewer:


And dual-page mode shows the layout context:


It’s a left-hand side blank page. It’s one of those weird coincidences that I happened to tap on its thumbnail.

The speed of Google Books PDF rendering is incredible to me. Nothing else I’ve seen matches this.

And this was all done in iBooks — which isn’t a dedicated PDF app. Apps specially made to handle PDFs should be even faster.

What also surprised me is that I could get away with an iPad Mini (or clone) to read The American Magazine. I thought the text would be too small. It’s small — but a Retina-class display is so sharp, I had no problems with reading. I didn’t need to pinch-zoom at all.

As contrast, here’s the full PDF of The American Magazine being displayed on an iPhone 5s:

It’s lucky for every other tablet that even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t run out and buy an iPad Mini today. Not with the next-gen one coming in a few months with its more powerful A8 CPU.

So every other tablet out there still has time to show me they can match — or even exceed — what I’ve seen for myself with the current iPad.

To play at home, Google Docs links:

The American Magazine (iOS version; 38MBs)
The King in Yellow (full novel PDF; 5.5MBs)
The American Magazine (full magazine version; 290MBs)

Previously here:

Google Books PDFs category



Filed under Google Books PDFs, Video

8 responses to “Google Books PDF Test: iPad Air & Mini

  1. Someone make a device with this performance, this ratio, this smoothness and give it a friendly and open OS (whatever it may be called) and I think a lot more people will truly become hooked. Oh and a reasonable friendly price tag too!

  2. yeahman45

    Lol believe me you will always say next gen is near why buy one, it will always be like this. I was like you for 5-6 years always searching for the perfect tablet. Truth is there is no perfect tab.

    @romeo There won’t be reasonable friendly price as long as people keep buying the overpriced apple and Samsung products. (And people are still buying these high priced devices blindly)

    • Not true. Do you think iPad 1 worked with GBooks PDFs? Hell no! NOT AT ALL. So yeah, next-gen DOES have validity when you know WTF you’re talking about.

      • yeahman45

        Are google ebooks pdf different from pdf? I have been viewing heavy magazine with lots of images and text on my first gen htc desire for years now using ezpdf.
        then why are you waiting for next gen, it’s not going to be a lot better, it is just going to be more expensive. You will have to wait 2-3 months before seeing price then next gen will already be announced (vicious cycle)

      • Yes, they are different. Each page is an image scan, not a combination of text and images as typical PDFs. B&W magazines are over 200MBs and up to 1GB in size.

      • yeahman45

        but in a way, I am also glad that you are still searching for a tablet as you keep us updated with interesting tablet news… hehe… normal pdf (scientific papers which have images and text) also run fine on my htc desire with ezpdf; just the screen is too small obvisouly

  3. simons700

    Did you ever try a windows 8.1 Tablet?

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