iPad mini iPad mini for reading scientific papers (pdfs)

Discussion in 'iPad' started by ZaKir, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. ZaKir macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2012
    I am a practicing scientist, and have read many a helpful discussion on this forum re: iPads for scientific work. I have pretty much made up my mind to buy one... but now iPad mini shows up and tempts me! at 300g it will be certainly easier to carry around in my pocket, and (at least in theory) will enable me to have the 1000s of .pdf papers in my pocket.

    For those of you who have used the "regular-sized" iPad - what do you guys think about reading papers on the smaller screen of Mini? Am I kidding myself?
    Will very much appreciate your input.
  2. Yr Blues macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    i would think a retina 9.7" would be more advantageous for detailed reference media
  3. Jess77 macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2012
    I'm in grad school for my doctorate and I've been using my iPad solely for reading my articles, annotating them in GoodReader, and whatnot. I've had the iPad 2 since launch but I've pre-ordered the Mini because I like the smaller form factor.
  4. mrkjsn macrumors 6502

    Jan 10, 2010
    I read pdf's with my iPad and even occasionally with my iPhone. With that being said, I don't think you'll have problems reading pdf's with the mini. It might even be better just because the mini will be more comfortable to hold.
  5. bogatyr macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2012
    I use an iPad 2 for all my technical documents and books (PDFs, Network Admin/Programmer) and it is awesome. GoodReader as mentioned is perfect for it. However, I also would like something smaller so I ordered a mini which will arrive on Friday.

    I'm a bit nervous about it as the 7" devices I've tried in the past were too small for documents using a standard full page size in PDF. I'm hoping the slight size increase makes it usable.
  6. Hammie macrumors 65816


    Mar 17, 2009
    Wash, DC Metro
    I am a VoIP Design Engineer and would NOT want to try to read any of my Cisco Press or other technical documentation on anything smaller than the 9.7" screen.

    I have seen some PDFs on a Kindle and the graphics don'e scale well when you try to increase the font size to read. With the iPad's 9.7" screen I have no need to increase or decrease the fonts and the graphics look very good, IMO.
  7. canesalato macrumors 65816


    Jan 31, 2010
    Had iPad 2 and 3. The retina display in my opinion is essential for long reading. Also with pdfs, i have wished to have a bigger screen. And keep in mind that some big pdfs can be very slow to render, even on iPad 3. For this reasons, I would never go with the mini
  8. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    How good is your eyesight?

    In my experience, even on the regular size iPad, a PDF formatted as letter-size/A4-size paper gets shrunken down when displayed on the 9.7 inch screen. Zooming in to read that is quite a bother. On an iPad mini, it will get shrunk down considerably more. So if most of your reading material is PDF, I'd recommend the regular size iPad. But if you can get to an Apple store, you should try out the mini and see if it works for you, before making a decision. If the store model doesn't have any sample PDF loaded, you can download a PDF file in Safari and open it in iBooks.
  9. ZaKir thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2012
  10. xtalicious macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2010
    I've been considering getting an iPad mini for the same purpose, and am waiting to play with one in-store before making a final decision. Thanks to those who suggested GoodReader, I'll look into it.

    I was planning on using Papers which I've heard is excellent on iOS. I have the MacOS version and it's fantastic.

  11. TJ61 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 16, 2011
    How about reading PDFs in Landscape mode to get a little larger font. Would that be a reasonable approach? Would there be more up/down scrolling involved, due to cutting off the page, or do you not see a full page already on a regular sized iPad?

  12. tekchic macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2010
    Phoenix, AZ
    I have both an iPad 3 and a Nexus 7. After trying some software development pdf's on both to compare, it's definitely easier reading on the 9.7" screen vs the 7". But it's do-able.

    What I'm doing now is moving the one current code book over to the Nexus 7, but I'm keeping my iPad for magazine and trade journal / programming books reference.

    On a weekend when I'm couch surfing and reading novels, the Nexus 7 is a lot more comfortable, but during the week when I'm using reference materials, the iPad 3 works better.

    I'm sure you could use the Mini for PDF's, but the retina display on the larger iPad is a thing of beauty, especially with text. Kind of a shame there's not a retina iPad Mini with this first iteration, but I'm sure it'll come along in the next few versions.
  13. Dick Whitman macrumors 6502

    Dick Whitman

    Oct 16, 2012
    I swear if the Mini had a retina display I would be all in. As of now I will have to wait to see one in person.
  14. Spungoflex macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2012
    A refurbished iPad 3 with retina would be your best bet, in my opinion. I found the 9.7" display was just barely big enough for comfortable reading of full page PDFs.

    You will probably have to zoom and scroll too much on a 7.9" display. That can get very annoying, very quickly.
  15. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    Agree with this. Also, I find that the retina screen makes a significant difference if you're reading PDFs for hours every day. Personally, I'd never go for the current mini for my research work, being used to a 3gen iPad. However, at the end of the day this comes down to personal preference. If form factor is very important to you, you might find the mini a good compromise.
  16. sjn419 macrumors 6502

    Jun 4, 2010
    while on the subject of pdfs, how do you guys keep and organize them on your iPads? I'm new to the ipad market and would like to keep all my lecture pdfs organized and available on the mini
  17. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    I use Sente for iPad, which syncs with Sente for mac. I've written about it here


    You might also find this thread useful, it has links to a good Sente vs Papers review (Papers being one of your alternatives to Sente).


    You could also just use an app like iAnnotate, PDF Expert or GoodReader and have it synced to a folder structure on your computer via Dropbox.
  18. samanthas macrumors regular

    Sep 21, 2005
    Portland, OR
  19. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    Most apps that handle PDF lets you make folders inside the app to organize your PDFs. In iBooks, the folders are called "Collections" and I believe you can only have one level -- there's no Collections inside Collections. Other apps like GoodReader lets you make as many levels of folders as you want.
  20. arcite macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2009
    Cairo, trapped in a pyramid with my iphone
    Just to chime in, I use my iPad 3 primarily for reading and PDFs, the retina is beautiful, text is crisp and sharp.
  21. ZaKir thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2012
    I ended up buying the "regular size" iPad

    ... and it is awesome! Retina display, which mini lacks, is unbelievable! I have already been using Goodreader, and reading/editing pdfs with this app is incredibly easy. Weight and format are not a problem for me (geez, I am used to toting around piles of books and A4-format papers, so having just ONE 600-gram sleek object is nothing).

    I am very happy with my choice. For my work, "regular" size is the way to go.

    Thanks, everyone!!! :)
  22. canesalato macrumors 65816


    Jan 31, 2010
    Nice to hear :)
    I prefer the "PDF expert" ui to the "Goodreader" one, but it was a little too slow for my taste on the iPad 2/3. With the iPad 4 it has the same speed as goodreader so it has become my default tool for pdf readering and editing. If you work a lot with PDFs i suggest you to try it.
  23. Awakener macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2011
    From personal experience pdfs on Mini are a nightmare. Prepare for constant zooming and eye strain.
  24. blackhand1001 macrumors 68030


    Jan 6, 2009
    Your better off with a higher resolution tablet like the nexus 7, nexus 10, ipad 4, or a transformer infinity pad. The tf300 and prime are decent as well although lower ppi than first list they have more pixels and ppi than the mini and ipad 2.
  25. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    I've used my Ipad 2 for reading papers since it was released. It works just fine. I don't miss "retina" either; the papers I read are usually multi-column and I zoom into one column, which looks just fine even with the "low" resolution of the Ipad 2. I tried using the Mini in the same way, but the text is too small for my taste. Also, accurate highlighting and annotating using a finger is more difficult due to the smaller text.

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69 October 30, 2012