RFP: Reading Tablet

Request For Proposal: Reading Tablet.

…as opposed to a headache tablet. Or a ‘pad’.

What am thinking about getting is a ‘tablet’… 7" or better, that I can use for one purpose: reading PDFs. I don’t want to do ‘apps’. Or phone. Or surf. Or piccies. Or type pithy FB posts. Or buy books from a ‘cloud’ or… basically nothing.

What I do a LOT of is… generating or downloading PDFs from my computer and printing out paper. So I can read books or music. I’ve killed more trees than you can shake an axe at. I simply cannot read at a computer… even a laptop. It might even be useful for gigs.

But I see a lot of the kids at the colleges using them as reading devices in bars, buses and whatnot. So what I want is:

  1. Something that has -really- good reading quality (for both text and sheet music) and
  2. I can -easily- download stuff from my PC.

I’ve found the iPhone to be -incredibly- annoying to use in -any- regard with PCs, plus it costs a fortune. I tried a Nexus 7" which was easy to use with PC, but the one I tried had lots of glary stuff like a PC monitor. I tried a Kindle B&W and it was AMAZINGLY easy to read… but the guy in the store couldn’t tell me if you could hook it to yer PC. Also, I simply refuse to buy ‘eBooks’. If I buy a book, I want to -own- that motherfucker.

I also don’t know how ‘navigatable’ PDFs are on these things. Like on a Kindle, you ‘swipe’ to move pages and it works really fluidly. I’ve seen music readers you can get for this, which even have little footswitches to navigate but I can’t afford that.

So… any suggestions? Readable PDFs that I can download from PC. Not a lot to ask, right? Right?



I was in the same headspace a while back, so I looked around for a cheap pad and ended up getting some noname from a popular chain store here (the stores special if you will). It is most likely from google, and runs on Android 4x. Anyway adobe reader was no problem to install and works as you expect (finger swiping etc.) Search function, goto all good.
I, as yourself wanted this primarily for reading PDFs, but you’ll find that there are a few apps you will find useful anyways. The built in camera is excellent so I use it once in a while; Googlemaps, shazam, plus an SPL metering app.
When I use it at home, and one or more of my computers are on, I can even pull up documents from those over the network.
Thinking ahead, I may consider having CAI7.5 on a laptop at some point, and then might consider getting that Steinberg remote app for android.
Anyway, when you go to buy one, (and I wouldn’t bother with a second hand cr@p on EBay or similar) just make sure you ask the dealer about using Adobe reader on it and make it clear that the deal hangs on that functionality - he might even install it for you.
As I was saying, you’ll get it for that primary function, but you’ll see it is in fact great for a few other things as well :wink:

A lot of E-book readers support PDF, these will do exactly what you want.

If you liked the Nexus, you could shop around for a screenprotector for it that eliminates the glare. That should be cheap.


Thanks for the replies. As I wrote, I had an initial ‘Nexus’ and it was (for me) quite difficult to read by. (It also locked up a lot, but I was told that was an ‘Android’ issue.)

I was at the local OfficeSpace and noticed that the newer gizmos seem quite different. Many more 'pixel’s I guess. I’m sure the Androids can do the job.

However, I was -very- impressed with the readability of the Kindle B&W. It seemed like there was no way to make it -unreadable-. And they are -cheap-. Unfortunately, the guy couldn’t tell me whether or not the thing could easily work with PDFs.

I have it on the authority of a friend who has a Kindle, that yes it can read PDFs fine and that it comes with a PDF reader preinstalled.

Thanks again. I have to find a place with a ‘return policy’. I keep hearing horror stories about PDFs that don’t convert properly without a lot of contortions. I would definitely want a trial period.

GoodReader is a good app for reading and annotating PDF files (and other files). It’s also handy for organising files into folders. I use it all the time for manuals and reading for a degree course I’m doing. I’ve got an iPad, which I find great for reading, but you might be able to get it for other tablets. I use one of the old Kindle Keyboard models for reading fiction, but PDFs aren’t very good on it - newer Kindles are probably better.

I use Windows with my iPhone and the problem I’ve had is that transferring -any- files to/from my PC is AMAZINGLY fraught. Basically they seem to not want you to use -any- ‘content’ (besides JPGs) not from their ‘iTunes Store’ and I find that revolting on principle.

That’s also my kvetch wrt to the Kindle. As cool as it looks, apparently, you have to convert PDFs into -their- format in order to read.

So as of today… at 2PM… I’m leaning towards Android… only because it’s the only ‘open’ platform. But this changes hourly. :smiley:

My problem with the Androids are that text just isn’t as readable as with the Kindle.


I have a Kindle Fire HD. You can download Adobe Reader for it. I’ve never had a problem reading PDF format. All my Nuendo manuals are on it (along with plugin manuals, etc.). And as a bonus it also runs the IC Pro remote app for Cubase and Nuendo with no problems.

Thanks. Good info. Can you upload your own PDFs -directly- to the Kindle? I keep reading that one needs to somehow load everything ‘into the cloud’… and -then- you ‘read’ the ‘content’ from the ‘cloud’. IOW: your stuff isn’t read -locally-. Sorry if that sounds moron… I haven’t found a place with a ‘trial’ period so I don’t wanna buy without being 100% sure.

Also: it runs iCPro? The -Android- version, right? I didn’t know the Kindle ran 3rd party apps at all!

Yes, you can upload PDF files directly to the Kindle (at least on the Fire HD). It comes with a USB cable which you plug into a desktop/laptop unit (running Windows 7 here). The desktop unit sees it as an external USB device. Then you just drag and drop your files. And yes, the Kindle Fire HD runs iC PRO for Android (Steinberg actually lists it as an approved unit). If you go to the Amazon site you can compare all the Kindle versions and see what types of files they read.

Some PDF manuals have color pictures. Wonder what a B & W reader would make of that?

Typed from my iPad which is a wonderful device for reading and making music. Several apps, Adobe, Kindle, GoodReader, iBooks are available but it’s off your list.

Something of an update. I just checked out the Nook HD and it may be a perfect low $ solution. It’s like $120 for the 7" and the PDFs I looked at… even music notation… look -great-. It seems to run the standard ‘Google’ stuff. I’m gonna try the Kindle, but this looks like good value. I wonder if it runs icPro?

Could be principally the same device - Kindle = Amazon, Nook = Barnes & Noble.

Edit: No they’re not!
P.S. The Kindle Fire doesn’t have the same high-contrast display as the normal Kindle, so you might want to check that out.

I mentioned before, you want it now for PDFs but you’ll end up using it for a lot more, so don’t get into a dead-end niche. Both companies (and others) offer download reader apps for standard android devices, but if you buy one of these proprietary E.Readers, your subject to that particular company’s dictates. I’d put my money on a standard Tablet (LG, Samsung, etc.) even if it’s a bit more cash.

I have a Kindle Fire AND a Kindle Paperwhite and I read pdf’s on both of them ALL THE TIME (as well as Word .doc documents). Yes, you can copy documents from your PC to either of them, using either WiFi or a cable. Acrobat does need to be installed, but again that app can be installed via WiFi. If you don’t have WiFi at home, go to a Starbucks, download it there, and enjoy a latte

Interesting. I’ll try again with the Kindle. My issue before was that I couldn’t get the demo machines to work in any of the shops I tried.

Actually, what’s interesting is how little people in the stores usually know about these things. Angry Birds, yes. Doing real work, not so much.

My usage involves music notation and manuals and what I’ve seen with some PDFs is that the simply look -crap- on tablets… even though they look fine on my home PC.

I visited a B&N the other day and was surprised that the women who work there are as librarily as one might think. They actually -use- the Nook and I was able to get a live demo, where I could download some test PDFs and they looked -great-. There may be even better solutions but speaking as an old white guy… a decent demo should probably be rewarded. And apparently, they occasionally go on sale for $79. :smiley:



JC, if I were you, I’d get an iPad (or whatever Windows or Android equivalent). The Kindles are a bit of a pain for editing and web navigation in general. I am constantly tossing my Kindle Fire aside and actually picking up my phone for around-the-house mobile surfing, etc.

Still haven’t bought but…

  1. iPad… $500. Pshaw… It’s also a complete pain for side-loading content.
  2. For -reading-, the thing I found that matters is pixel count. And the Nook and Kindle HDs have 'em. VERY legible.
  3. Also, although the Nook has no camera, it -does- run apps. I was able to run Cubase iCPro and the VSL remote control app on it. Wunderbra!
  4. The Nook reader paginates PDF by swiping… which a lot of tablets don’t. This matters for reading. It’s also CRAZY light. Which matters more than I realised for reading at long stretches.
  5. I think they’re about to go outta biz. I’m pretty sure the Nook will be $79 before long.
  6. The only low cost Tablet I’d get is the Google Nexus HD… $250. The Samsung is better but that’s $350.

But literally for $79 I’ll be able to -read- properly and the ability to do some basic remote control apps is a nice plus.