Google Books PDF Test: Insignia Flex Elite 7.85, Again (And A Word About The Asus ZenPad S 8.0).

I wanted to see if Best Buy’s stock had changed.

It hasn’t.

Only one out of the four has the Insignia Flex Elite 7.85. And only one has the Asus ZenPad S 8.0. And they are located miles apart.

It’s taken this long for all four to finally stock the Samsung Galaxy Tab A!

Anyway, on a lark, I decided to download SmartQ Reader to the Insignia. It’d been recommended to me previously by Vis1-0N in a Comment months ago.

I figured, why not?

I’m soooo glad I did!

First, there was this:


That damned persistent iconbar at the bottom. Look at it! It’s cutting off the text!

It’s even worse here:


As for SmartQ Reader itself, this is the maximum zoom:


That’s with double tap for zoom and then trying pinch-out afterwards. No pinch-out.

You would never know this image has a damn caption — because it’s being cut off by the iconbar:


But wait, there’s the caption:


How’d that happen?



And look! Those two images don’t have any text cut off.

The magic of Settings. Tap in the center of the screen, for this overlay:


And then tap the More three dots at the lower right corner to call up:


And then set the View Model so that the page is basically “shrunk to fit.” The text becomes slightly smaller than it ideally should, but that’s better than having text cut off.

SmartQ Reader has some funky display modes:







I don’t know how many of those I’d ever use, but I like the effect they create.

This app has a very unintuitive way of getting to the file system. The file folder at the lower right corner has to be tapped!


That leads through this set of screens:




As can be seen, everything I downloaded from my last fondle was still on the tablet. How convenient!

I liked how SmartQ Reader was working. It handled that “iOS Edition” of The American Magazine just fine! I mean, fast.

So it was time to see if that was an anomaly. I called out The Big Gun: Surface Japan!

After the standard Google Books opening page, there was a very scary five-second black screen! It turned out to be a delay while the color cover was rendered.


But then, I wish to hell I’d been able to video what happened.

Because it was fast as hell!

I couldn’t believe it.

After about twenty pages of BAM!BAM!BAM!BAM!-no-delays, then a second or so of delay crept in. I don’t know why. But it was still impressive as hell. I didn’t expect that kind of performance in a US$149 tablet!

To remind everyone, this is how the current iPad Mini with iBooks handles Surface Japan:

(Yes, the video says iPad Mini 2. It’s still the same as the latest, the Mini 3. The 3 adds only Touch ID, nothing more.)

The Insignia Flex Elite 7.85 at less than half the price kicked its ass when using SmartQ Reader on Surface Japan!

This was a damned instructive day. I learned that with tablets, sometimes it’s not the hardware — it’s the crap software.

If SmartQ Reader could render Surface Japan so impressively, why the hell can’t all the other PDF apps for Android?

SmartQ Reader also showed me there’s actual power in that Rockchip 3288. It just needs the right apps to bring it out.

One app that definitely does not is the free version of Mantano Reader:


Importing the PDFs and generating covers for them was fast enough …


… but then everything turned to shit from there. Including the reappearance of that weird bug when I changed a Display setting and got this:


Mantano was just slow. With the “iOS Edition” of The American Magazine — and just abysmal with Surface Japan.

But, unlike SmartQ Reader, I could pinch-out for really maximum zoom:


And here’s a very strange thing:


Look at how the bottom iconbar turned transparent! And then, after a few seconds, it would disappear altogether!

So why couldn’t SmartQ Reader do that?!!?

And now we return to the Asus ZenPad S 8.0, which I tested previously.

I was really eager to put SmartQ Reader on it and see if it worked as well as the Insignia.

It was a march through Hell to find out!

That Best Buy had the worst WiFi I’d ever seen. Today, the Asus couldn’t connect at all.

When I finally coaxed it to do so — after ten minutes of tapping all over the damn Settings — it was flaky.

I experienced worse WiFi performance than the first test.

The download of SmartQ Reader kept getting queued because WiFi would drop — likely from being overwhelmed by use (by potential customers and the Best Buy staff checking their phones!).

When I finally got it installed, it was a disaster all the way round.

I could have done a video of that except, as mentioned, the WiFi at this Best Buy was atrocious. I would have been waiting like three hours for a three-minute video to upload to YouTube!

What happened was a longer page render time than in the iPad Mini video above. It was excruciating to witness.

Why was it so damned slow?

I don’t know.

The Asus is using a 64-bit quad-core Intel Atom Z3530 at a top speed of 1.3Ghz. The Insignia is using a 32-bit quad-core Rockchip 3288 at a top speed of 1.6GHz. Both are using a 32-bit version of Android 5.x.

So go figure!

The only big difference is that the Intel is x86-based and the Rockchip is ARM-based.

Is that the real difference? That SmartQ Reader is optimized for an ARM-based CPU?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that the Asus was a huge disappointment with SmartQ Reader and Surface Japan.

But there’s a second punchline too: SmartQ Reader was last updated in 2013!

So go figure!

After this test, I’m giving some serious thought to the Insignia.

But there’s still that test I should run on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 — which has the same basic innards as the upcoming Galaxy Tab S2 tablets!

Previously here:

Live From Best Buy: Insignia Flex Elite 7.85 Sample Photos
Insignia Flex Elite 7.85: App Compatibility Problem
Insignia Flex Elite: New Owner Comments
OMA: The Only And Best Hope For The Insignia Flex Elite?
Insignia Flex Elite: PubMed Test
Google Books PDF Test: Insignia Flex Elite
Best Buy’s Insignia Flex Elite iPad Mini Clone Is Almost The iFive Mini 4
Best Buy Insignia Flex Elite iPad Mini Clone: AnTuTu
Best Buy’s Secret RK3288 iPad Mini Clone: Part Three
Best Buy’s Secret RK3288 iPad Mini Clone: Part Two
Best Buy’s Secret RK3288 iPad Mini Clone


Filed under Google Books PDFs, iPad Mini Clones

2 responses to “Google Books PDF Test: Insignia Flex Elite 7.85, Again (And A Word About The Asus ZenPad S 8.0).

  1. Eric

    Thank you for mentioning the SmartQ reader. I recently purchased a cheap 13″ android tablet to look at comics and other PDF files.

    The unit I purchased is Ematic 13.3 inch HD Cinema Tab with Android 4.1, Jelly Bean & Google Play from Amazon. It was hopeless for reading comics. Youtube was good though.

    The smartQ app solved that for me and my Outland collection is now readable I also tested with a standard colour comic and it too is good.

    The unit is cheaply built and I was getting phantom touch input on the display until I gripped it by the edges and gently twisted it back and forth twice. There was a mechanical click noise like something seating itself properly inside and the phantom activations have stopped.

    The only drawback to this unit now is the weight. 2.6 pounds is a bit heavy after a time.

    So thanks again and perhaps one of the cheaper tablets may do the job for you if the build quality is good.

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