06-22-13 12:50 PM
65 123
tools
  1. mkanaman's Avatar
    Hi I am new to these forums.

    I am a student at university and I've been looking for a tablet to hold pdf files of textbooks and handouts related to my course. I bought a blackberry playbook brand new only two days ago.. I considered the ipad but it is too expensive and I considered the kindle fire but it isn't available in the UK. So for any students that find themselves in the same position as me, read on as I am going to 'review' the performance of the playbook in handling large and illustration-laden pdf files.

    ADOBE READER X (Native reader on Playbook): I have three textbooks that I'm testing. In size order they are - 114mb (1515 pages), 4mb (449 pages) and 25mb (543 pages). For starters the 4mb one and the 25 mb one didn't even open in adobe reader. [UPDATE - THERE IS A FIX FOR THIS, CLICK HERE FOR INFO] The 114mb pdf did open however, and it performed quite well. Scrolling works really well in a page, and it is quick (almost instantaneous) in rendering pages heavy with illustrations. However the lack of bookmarks means you have to know exactly what page numbers you want to read before you start scrolling through.

    [UPDATE - THE LARGER FILES WORK ABSOLUTELY FINE ON ADOBE READER. I have now added a 227mb file and that opens with no problems or lag, and the scrolling is as lightning fast as it is on the smaller files. If adobe can just add a few more basic features - bookmarks, highlighting, smooth kinetic scrolling - this would be a 5* perfect pdf viewing app.]

    QPDF VIEWER (App world): The 114mb document was too slow to even bother using on this app, loading took minutes and each page took about 5+ seconds to render. The 25mb document loads much faster and is slightly smoother to scroll through, but it is still laggy compared to the smooth performance of adobe reader X. Finally the 4mb loads fastest and scrolls the fastest but again, it is still laggy, and if you want to scroll through multiple pages very fast you're still left with the grey loading screen for a few moments. The search function on QPDF does not work with any of the textbooks, and this is surprising as the textbooks are searchable on the computer.

    CONCLUSION: Viewing large PDFs on the playbook is certainly achievable, and all images and diagrams are correctly aligned with text. I have seen no distortions to date of any of my textbooks while viewing them on the tablet. However, that being said if you have the money to spend on an iPad then definitely get one. If you decide you want to get the playbook anyway, then don't set your expectations too high and you won't be disappointed. Its a great tablet, I've got a video demonstration uploading to youtube now to back up this little review.

    MY VIDEO



    Cheers,
    MK
    Last edited by mkanaman; 04-03-12 at 04:31 PM.
    OttawaGabe and Pearl9100 like this.
    04-03-12 12:18 PM
  2. goku_vegeta's Avatar
    I'm trying out some apps like medscape I too am a university student going into the medical field. For PDF files etc it works nicely. The size makes it absolutely perfect to put in a convertible case or journal case and take around campus. I'll let you know if I find any nice medical apps. So far the anatomy apps all pretty much work but to be honest they aren't super great. Finding quality apps takes a while but I'm sure they are out there just waiting to be found . Best of luck to you and anyone else headed towards medicine.
    04-03-12 12:32 PM
  3. OttawaGabe's Avatar
    Thanks for the review, I too am finding PDF support lacking for the Playbook. I'm getting by on smaller pdfs, but my larger Pdfs are definitely iPad only for now.

    Interesting that you have pdfs that won't even open. By any chance do they have some sort of embedded watermark?
    04-03-12 12:42 PM
  4. BigAl_BB9900's Avatar
    Hi I am new to these forums.

    I am a student at university and I've been looking for a tablet to hold pdf files of textbooks and handouts related to my course. I bought a blackberry playbook brand new only two days ago.. I considered the ipad but it is too expensive and I considered the kindle fire but it isn't available in the UK. So for any students that find themselves in the same position as me, read on as I am going to 'review' the performance of the playbook in handling large and illustration-laden pdf files.

    ADOBE READER X (Native reader on Playbook): I have three textbooks that I'm testing. In size order they are - 114mb (1515 pages), 4mb (449 pages) and 25mb (543 pages). For starters the 4mb one and the 25 mb one didn't even open in adobe reader. The 114mb pdf did open however, and it performed quite well. Scrolling works really well in a page, and it is quick (almost instantaneous) in rendering pages heavy with illustrations. However the lack of bookmarks means you have to know exactly what page numbers you want to read before you start scrolling through.

    QPDF VIEWER (App world): The 114mb document was too slow to even bother using on this app, loading took minutes and each page took about 5+ seconds to render. The 25mb document loads much faster and is slightly smoother to scroll through, but it is still laggy compared to the smooth performance of adobe reader X. Finally the 4mb loads fastest and scrolls the fastest but again, it is still laggy, and if you want to scroll through multiple pages very fast you're still left with the grey loading screen for a few moments. The search function on QPDF does not work with any of the textbooks, and this is surprising as the textbooks are searchable on the computer.

    CONCLUSION: Viewing large PDFs on the playbook is certainly achievable, and all images and diagrams are correctly aligned with text. I have seen no distortions to date of any of my textbooks while viewing them on the tablet. However, that being said if you have the money to spend on an iPad then definitely get one. If you decide you want to get the playbook anyway, then don't set your expectations too high and you won't be disappointed. Its a great tablet, I've got a video demonstration uploading to youtube now to back up this little review.

    Cheers,
    MK
    Hi MK,

    Do you have access to Acrobat? (eg Adobe Acrobat Pro X)

    With Acrobat, you can save a PDF as an Optimised PDF, or in different compatibility versions, or with degraded graphics, or OCR it.....

    I would be very interested to know what the PDF compatibility versions (eg 4-10) of these files are, especially the ones that you cannot open with the Native Playbook PDF Reader

    I can open 300 page PDF documents ok on my PB using the native PDF Reader - however I have saved these files as version 7, minimum size, and have NOT OCR'd them

    I wonder if one of the issues you are having is about file size? (eg a 20 page PDF with OCR and lots of hi-res graphics can be 17Mb, but a 300 page optimised PDF with a fair amount of diagrams can be only 15Mb)

    I agree re: the lack of bookmarking with the Native PDF Reader - this lack of fairly basic PDF Reader functionality is a pain in the backside and IMHO it was very short-sighted of RIM to not include this feature at release
    Last edited by BigAl_BB9900; 04-03-12 at 01:03 PM. Reason: typo
    04-03-12 01:01 PM
  5. mkanaman's Avatar
    Hi MK,

    Do you have access to Acrobat? (eg Adobe Acrobat Pro X)

    I would be very interested to know what the PDF compatibility versions (eg 4-10) of these files are, especially the ones that you cannot open with the Native Playbook PDF Reader

    I wonder if one of the issues you are having is about file size? (eg a 20 page PDF with OCR and lots of hi-res graphics can be 17Mb, but a 300 page optimised PDF with a fair amount of diagrams can be only 15Mb)

    I agree re: the lack of bookmarking with the Native PDF Reader - this lack of fairly basic PDF Reader functionality is a pain in the backside and IMHO it was very short-sighted of RIM to not include this feature at release
    No i don't have access to that program, but the 4mb says its PDF version 1.5 (Acrobat 6.x), and the 25mb is the same. The 114mb one that did open is PDF version 1.6 (Acrobat 7.x). As for the size issue I can't do much about that one, I don't scan the textbooks myself

    Thanks for your input, I'll test out some more PDF files with version 1.5 and see if they open. I have a feeling the problem lies here!


    Thanks for the review, I too am finding PDF support lacking for the Playbook. I'm getting by on smaller pdfs, but my larger Pdfs are definitely iPad only for now.

    Interesting that you have pdfs that won't even open. By any chance do they have some sort of embedded watermark?
    No problem, and yeah if i had an ipad i'd do exactly the same!

    These pdf's that won't open don't have any watermarks.
    04-03-12 01:21 PM
  6. borceg's Avatar
    Just small hint: check the pdf's file names, they must not contain characters like (. , ; ' \ " etc etc). I experienced the same problem (it loads 200mb pdf, version 1.7, high ocr compression; it won't load simple 1mb file, converted from ms word).

    Same applies for any file on playbook, mp3/mp4 audio video or whatever.
    mkanaman and OttawaGabe like this.
    04-03-12 01:39 PM
  7. mkanaman's Avatar
    Just small hint: check the pdf's file names, they must not contain characters like (. , ; ' \ " etc etc). I experienced the same problem (it loads 200mb pdf, version 1.7, high ocr compression; it won't load simple 1mb file, converted from ms word).

    Same applies for any file on playbook, mp3/mp4 audio video or whatever.
    That actually worked! All my files open fine in adobe reader now, thank you so much! I'll edit the original post.
    Last edited by mkanaman; 04-03-12 at 01:59 PM.
    04-03-12 01:55 PM
  8. Jonny-R's Avatar
    Another medic here! Don't buy Grays Anatomy Premium. It is, quite seriously, one of the most dog sh!t apps I've ever paid for.

    I find qPDF viewer to work pretty well for me to be honest, and at the same time use the voice recorder (which picks up voice great even from far back) to capture the lecture.

    basically stopped taking paper in, although sometimes it's easier to be able to draw something out but I'm lazy.. ha.
    Last edited by Jonny-R; 04-03-12 at 02:24 PM.
    04-03-12 02:06 PM
  9. mkanaman's Avatar
    Another medic here! Don't buy Grays Anatomy Premium. It is, quite seriously, one of the most dog sh!t apps I've ever paid for.

    I find qPDF viewer to work pretty well for me to be honest, and at the same time use the voice recorder (which picks up voice great even from far back) to capture the lecture.

    basically stopped taking paper in, although sometimes it's easier to be able to draw something out but I'm lazy.. ha.
    Lol thanks for the heads up! I use android for most of my medical apps (just a few spot exam applications is all). I'll give the voice recorder thing a go actually, until you mentioned it I didn't know it existed!
    04-03-12 02:40 PM
  10. Jonny-R's Avatar
    I wonder if the spotter style apps (which I'd really like to get a hold of) could be sideloaded and run with the android player on the playbook. What apps do you recommend? I'll look into it!
    04-03-12 03:11 PM
  11. OttawaGabe's Avatar
    I've run into the filename issue before, but they don't even show in the Adobe file selector page.
    04-03-12 03:18 PM
  12. BigAl_BB9900's Avatar
    Just small hint: check the pdf's file names, they must not contain characters like (. , ; ' \ " etc etc). I experienced the same problem (it loads 200mb pdf, version 1.7, high ocr compression; it won't load simple 1mb file, converted from ms word).

    Same applies for any file on playbook, mp3/mp4 audio video or whatever.
    Yep - I've had a similar problem with receiving emailed pdf attachments with a "(" and/or ")" in the filename (I have posted in another thread about this). If you have "files & folders" or a similar app you can easily go into the downloads folder and rename the file - then it opens up fine!
    04-03-12 03:30 PM
  13. andino's Avatar
    Also a medical student here. I haven't been using my PB for classwork but I guess I'll give it a try and see if I can make it work.
    04-03-12 04:20 PM
  14. mkanaman's Avatar
    Also a medical student here. I haven't been using my PB for classwork but I guess I'll give it a try and see if I can make it work.
    The good thing about the playbook is it doesnt have many apps for you to get distracted by. Most of the apps on app world can benefit your studies and the calendar is perfect for making the most of your day. You'll be surprised at how much the Playbook boosts your productivity
    04-03-12 05:47 PM
  15. Pearl9100's Avatar
    Major rep points to you for going to medical school. I know some med students who get tablet pcs so that they can draw on their notes.
    Berryuman likes this.
    04-05-12 11:37 PM
  16. mkanaman's Avatar
    I'm not sure if this has been posted yet but this is from the adobe forums:

    As the tablet market continues to evolve, we continue to evaluate how to best support the market and where to focus on our resources. Because of this, Adobe has decided to end its support of the RIM QNX Playbook devices in March 2012. This means the ability to create new applications for submission to the RIM store will no longer be possible in Adobe Viewer Builder as well as the ability to rebuild existing targets for new releases of Digital Publishing Suite. Any existing QNX targets will be removed from the manage view inside Viewer Builder.

    Existing applications in the RIM store will continue to function and content fulfillment to those applications will continue. Additional content authored for those applications will continue working.

    It is important that you download existing QNX applications from Viewer Builder prior to March 16. After March 16, you will no longer be able to access these applications.
    LINK

    I don't know about all this cascades and qnx stuff but I have the feeling if cascades is replacing QNX then adobe may have another shot at adobe reader for PB. If not then consider adobe reader on the PB deceased!
    04-29-12 02:22 PM
  17. victorshikhman's Avatar
    I'm starting to become familiar with some of you medically-minded playbook'ers. I've been trying out most of the anatomy apps past few days and while Speed Anatomy is pretty good, it lacks sufficient complexity. I've emailed the developer to see if he's planning to update with greater complexity. We can't expect programmers to build complex anatomy programs good enough for medical school or health professional applications. So... What if we did it? My coding skills are very basic, frankly, but if we distribute the workload we can find something for everyone to do, from building data sets to graphics, etc. It's really not that much work, and those of us in med school have to learn it anyway. Thoughts?
    04-29-12 04:38 PM
  18. goku_vegeta's Avatar
    The best anatomy app I've see to date is nettler's guide to human anatomy. Hands down the best anatomy app you could come across. The bad news, right now it seems like an iOS exclusive application. But dang is it ever useful. Medscape is still a solid app which runs on the playbook very well so no complaints there . If we get some good quality anatomy apps I seriously think the playbook is a great tablet if not the perfect tablet out in the field. The size, plus the apps when that selection improves, the multitasking, the security and so forth. As a side note, I've heard that two pharmaceutical firms have picked up the playbook for testing. Hopefully if all goes well perhaps we might see some further adoption in the medical field.
    04-29-12 05:38 PM
  19. mkanaman's Avatar
    I'm starting to become familiar with some of you medically-minded playbook'ers. I've been trying out most of the anatomy apps past few days and while Speed Anatomy is pretty good, it lacks sufficient complexity. I've emailed the developer to see if he's planning to update with greater complexity. We can't expect programmers to build complex anatomy programs good enough for medical school or health professional applications. So... What if we did it? My coding skills are very basic, frankly, but if we distribute the workload we can find something for everyone to do, from building data sets to graphics, etc. It's really not that much work, and those of us in med school have to learn it anyway. Thoughts?
    I have no idea on how to code for apps. But I like the sound of this.

    Maybe after cascades is released, a few beginners guides detailing how to write up apps can lead us in the right way. Who better to write these applications than medical students who have just learnt the academic material?
    04-29-12 06:10 PM
  20. victorshikhman's Avatar
    The best anatomy app I've see to date is nettler's guide to human anatomy. Hands down the best anatomy app you could come across. The bad news, right now it seems like an iOS exclusive application. But dang is it ever useful. Medscape is still a solid app which runs on the playbook very well so no complaints there . If we get some good quality anatomy apps I seriously think the playbook is a great tablet if not the perfect tablet out in the field. The size, plus the apps when that selection improves, the multitasking, the security and so forth. As a side note, I've heard that two pharmaceutical firms have picked up the playbook for testing. Hopefully if all goes well perhaps we might see some further adoption in the medical field.
    Netter's runs $200+ for all modules on iOS, right? I have to admit I still feel uneasy about dropping so much dough for digital content. On the other hand, I realize i've easily paid twice that much for A&P books + lab manuals, so...

    I have yet to sideload. Been using my ipod touch for medscape. If you're not into gaming, the list of really useful working apps from android seems really small. I really would only grab kindle, medscape... That's it...?

    Btw, does anyone know if book reader accepts Pdf's yet? Qpdf was too laggy for 100mb+ files and adobe is fast but featureless, as OP said.

    I agree with poster below... Let's wait until cascades and maybe work on an open source anatomy app together. I've started studying some C in the meantime. The tea-leaves say those who can program, even at a basic level, will get a heck of a lot more customization and utility out of tech in coming years.
    04-29-12 07:08 PM
  21. anon(757282)'s Avatar
    For PDF, there are better solutions to Adobe, including qPDF. I am using this now with excellent results on large commercial documents with heavy graphics in my professional field. As PB evolves, these options will grow.
    04-29-12 07:19 PM
  22. victorshikhman's Avatar
    The options are already there, but they're all small-time developers with products that won't really be mature for another 6-12 months. This is why all the people moaning about paying for apps are so wrong - if big companies like Adobe who control universal, work-critical applications pull out of playbook, we NEED to sustain the small developers by paying for their apps, because without them we simply won't have that vital functionality.

    I WANT book reader and qpdf to work in ways that Adobe's native, abandoned reader never will. So far, qpdf is too laggy for me to use. Whether they can fix that, or Book Reader can bring on PDF support first (or did Igor do it already?)... that's who will earn my allegiance.
    04-29-12 07:42 PM
  23. goku_vegeta's Avatar
    Netter's runs $200+ for all modules on iOS, right? I have to admit I still feel uneasy about dropping so much dough for digital content. On the other hand, I realize i've easily paid twice that much for A&P books + lab manuals, so...

    I have yet to sideload. Been using my ipod touch for medscape. If you're not into gaming, the list of really useful working apps from android seems really small. I really would only grab kindle, medscape... That's it...?

    Btw, does anyone know if book reader accepts Pdf's yet? Qpdf was too laggy for 100mb+ files and adobe is fast but featureless, as OP said.

    I agree with poster below... Let's wait until cascades and maybe work on an open source anatomy app together. I've started studying some C in the meantime. The tea-leaves say those who can program, even at a basic level, will get a heck of a lot more customization and utility out of tech in coming years.

    I think the main module is 40 dollars and it seemed to include everything. Rather every part of the body. I'll post a link for you guys tomorrow morning from the Apple app store to show you which one I mean.
    04-29-12 10:26 PM
  24. indyaachen's Avatar
    I use RepliGo as PDF viewer for my course materials. It is a wonderful app, but available only through sideloading. It still might have some hitches, but I would suggest trying.
    And yes, opening big files seems to be a problem.
    04-30-12 04:35 AM
  25. SteveCoops's Avatar
    I use RepliGo as PDF viewer for my course materials. It is a wonderful app, but available only through sideloading. It still might have some hitches, but I would suggest trying.
    And yes, opening big files seems to be a problem.
    Just came here to post this - RepliGo handles large magazine PDFs full of images etc. It renders clearer too I find so you can just read the whole A4 page zoomed out.
    04-30-12 04:45 AM
65 123
LINK TO POST COPIED TO CLIPBOARD