Best iPad for PDF studying not here yet

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Kostas3000, Apr 2, 2017.

  1. Kostas3000 macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2016
    New York
    I have an iPad Pro 12.9, an iPad mini 4, and an iPad 9.7 retina. Specs for the iPads are not necessary for this analysis, because this is a comparison of the screen resolution/size for studying pdfs. This analysis is pertinent to people in college or involved in scientific research/academic efforts. These individuals spend a lot of time in studying pdfs.

    Well, my experience says:

    - best if you study from a distance (e.g. sitting and hold the iPad in your lap or supported on a desk)
    - best for note taking or drawing
    - best if extensive use of split view
    - too heavy to hold it up and study on the bed or in a couch. It is not necessarily the weight as an absolute value, but the weight distribution (longer distance of center of weight of the iPad from your fingers, thus longer moment arms, thus much higher forces need to be developed by your fingers)
    - too heavy and too bulky to carry it around (my retina 12in MacBook feels much much more portable)
    - pixel density is suboptimal if you study too close, e.g. lying prone on bed or lying supine and have the iPad in a stand (best stand for this purpose is T-stand)

    - size of the iPad is the best compromise between portability and maintaining a useful screen size
    - pixel density is too low if you study from close distance
    - it still requires some zooming

    - best portability (fits in coat pockets)
    - feels weightless
    - it requires too much panning and zooming to make the text readable
    - even if pencil support comes as a feature in the future, it is probably too small for effective note taking

    The best iPad for studying pdfs is not here yet.
    The rumored new bezel-less iPad is probably going to be the best iPad for studying pdf if it comes with the iPad mini pixel density.

    The question that will be interesting is will a bezel-less iPad mini be better?

    I tried to emulate the experience of bezel-less 9.7 and 7.9, thus I tried to emulate the approximate text size that would appear in a 10.5 and 8.8 in screen (approximate screen sizes for bezel-less 9.7 and 7.9). I used a scientific article with the text in two columns (there are some journals that have single column text, but they are the minority in my field).
    Well, the bezel-less 7.9 would still require zooming, while the bezel-less 9.7 would not (if you study from a relatively close distance). If someone is ok with some zooming but wants to keep the iPad in the coat pocket, then a bezel-less 7.9 would be the way to go. I tend to prefer minimal zooming (it slows ne down when I am skimming quickly through large pdfs), so I will probably go for a bezel-less 9.7 instead of bezel-less 7.9.

    Based on the above analysis, I will buy the iPad mini 10.5 when Apple decides to launch it. I hope that it would have the 12.9 resolution and thus a high pixel density.

    Based on the above analysis that I did, Apple's rumored rationale for bezel-less ipad with a screen at around 10.5in, makes perfect sense.

    Any ideas folks?
  2. gobikerider Suspended


    Apr 15, 2016
    United States
    I think a iPad Pro 10.5 and 12.9 should be announced both becoming Edge to Edge, I don't expect a Galaxy S8 type deal with it more like a Dell XPS 13 edge to Edge type deal. The 12.9 inch I feel would benefit a lot as the current size from the bezels is rather excess and if they could trim the fat so to speak that would be great.
  3. Mcdevidr macrumors 6502a

    Nov 27, 2013
    One idea for Apple. They should come out with a 6.5, 10.5 and a 13.5 to supplement what they currently have and then you can have six iPads to use.
  4. Kostas3000 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2016
    New York
    Your comment does not meet my definition of funny or useful.
    You can change your name to Mctrol.
  5. giggles macrumors 6502

    Dec 15, 2012

    we've been stuck with 9.7" from back when the first ipads had a huge bezel "to hold it better" and they couldn't possibly have a bigger screen

    and we've been stuck with 2048x1536 for 5 years now

    schools have canceled huge ipad 9.7" contracts, somewhere I read 9.7" is perceived as slightly smaller than needed for education

    the 12.9" feels more like it's meant for video editing and split screen

    I hope and predict a 2732x2048 bezel-less 10.5" to be the ultimate pdf/chm/word machine

    the bezel-less 12.9" could go 4K

    the line up could look like this:

    iPad (9.7" 2048x1536 A9 2GB ram)

    iPad Pro (10.5" bezel-less 2732x2048 A10X 4GB ram)

    iPad 4K (12.9" bezel-less 4096x3072 A10X 4GB ram or 8GB ram maybe?)
  6. Loge macrumors 68030


    Jun 24, 2004
    Good analysis, a couple of things I would add:

    12.9 is great for sheet music PDFs; device is a good size for placing on the piano and reading from; the other iPads are too small for this.

    I don't mind the scrolling on the smaller iPads, if it can be done in landscape mode and the PDF is a single column. I haven't found a good way of scrolling through multi-column PDFs; maybe there's a good PDF reader app that recognizes the columns and let you scroll through them easily.

    My eyes are too old now for pixel density to be an issue on any of the iPads.
  7. Mcdevidr macrumors 6502a

    Nov 27, 2013
    The 12.9 is good for reading sheet music I agree with this. The problem with it is the massive bezels that make it so large. I'm a pianist and I just found carrying the thing around to be somewhat annoying. I've found I get more use out of the 9.7 even if I have to use it in landscape for sight reading, I haven't been able to make a switch as some of my colleagues to using an iPad for all their musical needs.

    I think a 10.5 higher ppi could be a good compromise between the two, I only cringe at what Apple is probably going to charge for the device.
  8. case2001 macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2010
    I feel the same way. I bought an Air 2 just to take notes and read on. It's great except with PDF's from my journals. They are 2 columns and often have charts and tables. Most of time I can read without zooming, but sometimes I have to. If it were slightly larger, I wouldn't have to zoom at all. I love may Air 2. It's the one thing I would change.

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7 April 2, 2017