With the introduction of the NOOK Tablet and Kindle Fire, there are now some very affordable alternatives to the iPad. Both these devices – and the older NOOK Color – run on Android and both have nice app stores with some very useful apps. Although both stores have limited selections, those choices have been reviewed to insure they will function properly on the device. I’m sure that those selections will continue to grow.
One very handy app is ezPDF Reader [NOOK $2.99 and Amazon – $0.99]. Yes, both the NOOK and the Kindle offers PDF reading functionality, but in the case of the NOOK, it leaves a lot to be desired. I created a relatively simple PDF to see what it would look like on these devices. It held up remarkably well on the e-Ink Kindles, but is unreadable on the NOOK Color. Once ezPDF Reader was installed on the NOOK, the same file is a delight to read. Even when PDF reading is acceptable, ezReader has a lot more functionality that’s especially useful to the family researcher. You can bookmark pages, highlight text and annotate PDFs using text boxes, sticky notes and freehand. It will play audio and video files embedded in the PDF and there’s even a text-to-speech function although the digital voice leaves a lot to be desired.
Your actual performance will depend on your device and the size/content of the PDF document. The NOOK Tablet has the most processing power of the these three devices and should handle loading and displaying large files better than the other two. Annotating a large file will be clunkier than a smaller one. That being said, this app still offers a lot of useful functionality at a very reasonable price.