I tried some more PDFs yesterday, many non-Google Books. This was on the iPad Mini current-generation as well as the Insignia Flex Elite 7.85.
The tests were for readability and speed.
If you want to play at home, here are the files stored at my Google Drive:
Thunderbirds Are Go 1966 [48 MBs]
The Thinking Machine [3.5 MBs] [Google Books PDF]
Secret Service: The Bradys: The Queen of Chinatown [8.7 MBs] [Google Books PDF]
LIFE July 1969 Moon (Retina?) [31.5 MBs]
PDF – Stuntman [20 MBs]
CBZ – Stuntman [44MBs]
PDF – New Gods [14 MBs]
CBR – New Gods [10 MBs]
First up is New Gods. This is a fan-scanned-and-made CBR file that I converted to a PDF using a free online service.
All files on the iPad Mini were opened in iBooks, the default and included software.
New Gods is incorrectly proportioned. I don’t know if it’s an incorrect scan or software scaling or where something went wrong. I have a suspicion, though, that iBooks is making it fill the screen — see later in this post.
Then Stuntman, which was from the Digital Comics Museum as a CBZ file I again converted to PDF using the same free online service.
Stuntman is correctly proportioned.
Next up, is Life magazine. This was ripped from Google Books directly to a PDF file.
It will be evident only on an iPad Mini (or clone), but the text is too small and too low-res to be read comfortably:
Pinch-zoom of the smallest text, showing it’s low-res:
Then, an Annual for the movie Thunderbirds Are Go:
All of the above PDFs opened quickly and there were no problems paging or any delays in page rendering. And yes, I could comfortably read comic book word balloons on an iPad Mini!
The problems began with, of course, Google Books PDFs!
The Thinking Machine:
Look at the row of thumbnails at the bottom, above. They’re still rendering! The other PDFs rendered their thumbnails in about a second. Yes, they had fewer pages, but even so, something is weird about Google Books PDFs that really strains a device.
The Thinking Machine represents about ninety-percent of the Google Books PDFs I’d be reading. They’re mostly that size and the text is just fine to read as-is. (Even so, it’s not until now that an iPad can render such a Google Books PDF with reasonable speed — meaning, no page-turn rendering delays.)
The Secret Service:
Again, look at the thumbnails at the bottom of the above screensnap. They’re still being rendered — and this is just a thirty-seven paged PDF!
The Secret Service is magazine-sized. To read that comfortably, I’d really need something larger than even a 9.7-inch iPad to avoid going insane from pinch-zooming.
With both Google Books PDFs, it took iBooks about one second to render the text as high-resolution. It appeared first as blurry low-resolution.
A more modern reprint of New Gods is next.
This is in Safari, displayed by Google Drive:
This is in Safari, displayed as a PDF:
Notice how the size has changed and the second image has distortion! Also, some of the bottom is clipped.
Now in iBooks:
See how the proportion has changed from the Safari display from Google Drive? I didn’t check iBooks Settings to see what was happening.
I decided to get freaky, to see what would happen with a CBR file. Oops:
And then Evernote said:
Since I needed to get all these screensnaps to my blog, instead of emailing them (my usual practice), I decided to log into WordPress as I did with the Insignia Flex Elite and drop them into a draft post.
I discovered something very nice:
The iPad gave me the opportunity to select multiple images to upload at once.
On the Insignia Flex Elite 7.85, I had to go through a number of steps and choose each one. But that might have been my stupidity. I’ve discovered that there’s a menu at the upper right corner of Gallery that allows multiple images to be selected — at some point I’ll need to see if that applies to image upload or, as I’ve been using that option, to delete several images at a time.
It’s weird that every PDF displayed correctly on the iPad Mini except for the two New Gods.
Now, the Insignia Flex Elite 7.85.
Shit began to get weird.
Can you guess what that is?
That’s the damned Rockchip-created software bug! Do you think I would intentionally show the Volume level on a screensnap that’s not about audio? Hell no.
What happened is that the damn screensnap icon in the Commandbar stopped working!
I tried everything short of restarting the tablet to get it to work again. I didn’t want to restart (“Power Off” was the only option!) because I wasn’t sure if the tablet would wake up again or if I’d need someone from Best Buy to enter any sort of password.
So, I had to exist like a iOS and Android savage and use hardware buttons for screensnaps.
Hence, fewer screensnaps!
And this is a Rockchip bug. They supply the Android to Five Technology, Pipo, and other customers and include that screensnap icon option. I’ve seen posts in China about the screensnap icon failing — but couldn’t find any examples for this post, because Chinese language! I couldn’t search the forums unless I knew the Chinese for “screensnap,” “screenshot,” and variations.
It’s contemptible that here we are with Android 5.x and a Rockchip bug introduced in 4.x is still alive!
Let’s download all the things:
This took more time than with the iPad Mini. Best Buy really needs to improve their WiFi.
Without further comment, screensnaps from things opened using Foxit Mobile PDF:
There’s nothing to say about Foxit that I haven’t already said. It takes a second or three to render a damn page — and as a lower-resolution proxy at that! Foxit needs to improve.
Now, SmartQ Reader — and even fewer screensnaps than earlier:
Fewer screensnaps because I was getting sick of pressing hardware buttons unsuccessfully for screensnaps.
SmartQ Reader was actually faster than iBooks — because I had page turn animation turned off. Tap and BOOM! Next page. No tap and sliiiiiide the damn page for next.
Careful readers will have noticed the absence of New Gods in the Android test. Something went wrong. Even though the tablet reported a successfully-completed download, it didn’t appear in the Download folder.
So I tried again.
It appeared in the folder.
But it wouldn’t appear in the Directories of either Foxit Mobile PDF or SmartQ Reader!
Tapping it in the Download folder to open in SmartQ Reader caused that app to crash.
Tapping it in the Download folder to open in Foxit Mobile PDF caused an error message.
I’m going to blame the wonky Best Buy WiFi for that. Somehow the file got corrupted in transport because it worked fine in iBooks.
And now an actual CBZ file of a more recent New Gods, in the Comic Reader app. (I’ve deleted the link to that file because it wasn’t the older version. What happens when you blindly grab a test file from the Net and DC decides to reboot something with the same issue numbers…)
Comic Reader was crap. It was unintuitive and unenjoyable. I didn’t like that the page wasn’t centered. I could find no option to do that. If anyone has a recommendation for an Android app that does CBR/CBZ comic book files well, leave a Comment.
I’d already spent an hour on the Insignia and the Best Buy staff were beginning to hover, so I ended it there.
Between the two, I’d rather have the iPad Mini. I thought its screen was brighter, it felt like a quality product, and the software was smooth. With the Insignia, I was beginning to get screen redraw errors in Chrome while uploading images to a draft post. That didn’t happen earlier. And then there’s the damn screensnap icon not working! And sometimes the hardware buttons not working for a screensnap. Yeah, US$149 buys just that. Or when things that are supposed to work don’t, you’re buying less than US$149!
I have high hopes for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0. Will it be as good as the iPad Mini?
Insignia Flex Elite 7.85: No Root Built-In
Insignia Flex Elite 7.85: Flashing OMA ROM Hits A Wall
Insignia Flex Elite 7.85: OMA ROM Available
Insignia Flex Elite 7.85: One More Test
Insignia Flex Elite: OMA Has Worked
Insignia Flex Elite 7.85: Dan EE & OMA Progress?
Insignia Flex Elite 7.85: Another Best Buy Investigation
The Insignia Flex Elite 7.85: What’s Lurking In Its Android?
Insignia Flex Elite 7.85: Why Battery Life Is Bad
Insignia Flex Elite 7.85: Third Best Buy Owner Review
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
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