Miscellaneous Tablet Test Notes

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0:

I stopped in Barnes & Noble for another fondle of the Nook Edition of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0.

That screen is very, very glossy. It’s also harsh for reading. Despite the different screen modes and brightness settings I tried.

B&N has really locked down the two demo units I previously tried after I published this post. That’s not coincidental. Someone panicked. Now I can’t use the button for splitscreen or multitasking and I can’t upload screensnaps to this blog or even email! They also locked down the Notifications swipe-down gesture!

However, they didn’t cut off Install Unknown Sources. So I got evil and downloaded Google Play Books and the Kindle app. Both were a pain to get. The Kindle app came from Samsung’s app store. The Google app from the Play Store — somehow (I had to do some contortions I don’t recall now).

Neither of them would run as-is. Both wanted me to sign into my Amazon and Google accounts before I could try anything. No. I deleted both apps before I left B&N.

In Comments, MacArthur did a test of the Processed World torture PDF with the Google Play Books app and it shockingly went well:

There was an embedded YouTube video here in my Draft post but he’s since made the video Private!

He wrote:

I’m not sure if I understand this pdf test. I downloaded that Processed World pdf and tried it in Google Play Books on both MediaTek and Intel hardware. Having seen your struggles with this pdf I thought it could be a good test for all the new devices I have with me at the moment. But, cheapest possible Chinese Intel Z3735F tab, the Teclast X80HD has no problem with it at all. Not after the first loading in Google Books. It’s actually very snappy with only short page loading delay. This is a 35k AnTuTu score tab. Also Adobe Acrobat Reader has no problems with it, but a little bit more delay than Google Books. …

Also the MediaTek device I tried had no problems with it after initial loading.

What am I missing?

On the other hand I see that some very popular reader apps like the Aldiko Book Reader can’t open this pdf at all on any of my devices.

And that’s why I downloaded the Kindle and Google Play Books app to the S2 Nook. I wanted to try the Processed World PDF with them.

No dice.

But, using the My Files app, I was able to move the Processed World PDF from the Downloads folder to the Nook My Files folder.

And then open it in the Nook app.

Where a near-repeat of a prior Nook PDF disaster happened!

In Google Books PDF Death Match 1: Nook HD+, the full version of The American Magazine PDF eventually defeated that device. And the current Nook app on the S2 Nook uses this same layout:


Now imagine Processed World sort of like that. But with the main larger view missing the illustration and most of the text! Yet — I still don’t understand this — the thumbnails rendering every damn page completely and cleanly!

Swiping from page to page wasn’t zippy but it wasn’t wait-wait-wait-wait, either. The trouble is, there was basically nothing on the page, even though the thumbnail showed everything!

How does that even happen? Are there two different rendering algorithms at work?

As mentioned earlier, I couldn’t send screensnaps of this to publish.

From being the top contender in my tablet choices before its release, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 is now third choice. My eyes can’t deal with that screen.

Apple iPad Mini 4:

Coincidentally published while I was working on this post: iPad mini 4 has iPhone 6-class display tech with record-low reflectance for improved readability

And it shows!

The screen doesn’t burn my eyes like the Samsung S2 8.0 screen.

And iBooks all look frikkin gorgeous on it:


Even when in Split view:


Using that colored background in the iBooks apps also seems to help.

With its smooth Slide Over and Split view, the iPad Mini has moved up in my thinking — despite the lack of microSD card slot.

But then …

Asus ZenPad S 8.0 (“Basic”):

The only version of this tablet available in stores — “stores” basically being Best Buy — is the “Basic” version.

With an AnTuTu score in the 33,000-range, it should have some oomph. But it’s been a poor performer with Foxit Mobile PDF, and a bit better with SmartQ Reader (see: Google Books PDF Test: Asus ZenPad S 8.0 and Asus ZenPad S 8.0 (Basic): PDF Test, Video Test) — but not impressively.

Anyway, I decided to torment it with the Processed World PDF in SmartQ Reader. Surprisingly, the SmartQ Reader and Foxit Mobile PDF apps were still on the Best Buy tablet — along with two of my prior test PDFs (Thundebirds and Stuntman).

As expected, it failed the test.

It took about two minutes for the cover to render. Actually, it was the cover and the blank inside cover. Swiping to the third page — another two-minute wait for two pages.


But I discovered something playing around with the tablet that really makes me want to get my hands on the “Pro” version to test.

For me, there’s no setting on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 that can make the screen comfortable for reading.

As is, the iPad Mini 4 screen is fine — but it could be better.

And the best screen for my eyes turns out to be the one in the Asus ZenPad S 8.0!

In the swipe-down Settings, there was something I decided to try: Bluelight Filter.


Asus says of it:

ASUS Bluelight Filter

ASUS Bluelight Filter helps reduce eye fatigue and provide a comfortable viewing experience by minimizing blue light emission from the screen without affecting other colors.

And they illustrate it with:


And it really makes a difference.

Screens have had two problems for reading:

1) Resolution being too low, making text look fuzzy or blurry

2) Looking like a light source — a screen — instead of like paper

The first problem has been solved.

The second, not until this Asus screen with Bluelight Filter.

That filter combined with adjusting the backlight can make the screen feel like reading on paper.

The thing about books is that they’re not printed on paper that’s been bleached pure white — like a tablet screen displays pure white. Pages have a tan-like color.

Plus, light is reflecting off paper — not being emitted by it like a screen.

So trying to make a tablet reading experience like a paper reading experience is no small accomplishment.

Yet that’s what I think Asus has managed to do with the Bluelight Filter when combined with turning down the backlight to a certain brightness.

That’s something iBooks tries to do by offering a color background:


And why SmartQ Reader offers different display modes:


But Asus went one step beyond that by making it a system-wide setting, so it’s possible to read even websites as if they’re on simulated paper.

I previously dismissed the Asus “Pro” model — Where’s The Asus ZenPad S 8.0 “Pro” Model And Does Anyone Still Care? — but I’m very eager to test it now.

Will it ever get on store shelves? Or have sales of the “Basic” ZenPad S 8.0 been so disappointing that Best Buy won’t have it?

Previously here:

Google Books PDFs



Filed under Google Books PDFs, iOS, iPad Mini Clones, Video

3 responses to “Miscellaneous Tablet Test Notes

  1. Moccij

    You might be interested in Flux then, an app that changes screen temperature according to the time of the day. I have it installed on the iPad (jail broken) and it makes a difference. It’s exactly the same as blue light filtering, also system wide.

  2. Keishon

    Eager to see what you think of the Asus Pro. I’m always looking for a device that renders the best reading on paper experience minus the page curls.

  3. FM

    Based on testing Surface Japan with Google Books, the uploading processing converts the file to a Books suitable format. It took around 4-5 mintues to upload. It makes the text readable for a tablet sized device. It actually looks good, but the text is anti-aliased so if you zoom in it is smoothed and slightly blurred. The original file text does not look like that, it is the raw jagged edges, but not blurry. So I would say the resolution is being sampled down and smoothed.

    I found this useful floating stopwatch which can be used to see the time elasped while using another app.

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