iPad Pro iPad Pro for reading papers (iPad vs paper)?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by hemon, Jun 22, 2017.

  1. hemon macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2014

    I'm looking to buy the new iPad Pro 10.5 but before I would like to know your experience about reading scientific papers on it (or on the 9.7) vs regular paper:

    Which you find better for the comprehension?
    Do you have any problems with the iPad compared to paper?
    Can you read on the iPad entire books without problems?

    Thank you very much.
  2. businezguy macrumors 6502

    Jun 23, 2003
    I use an iPad for reading all the time and I find comprehension to be the same. I read books on medical science pretty regularly. If you want.to improve comprehension, don't type your notes, handwrite them.
  3. Analog Kid macrumors 601

    Analog Kid

    Mar 4, 2003
    I read a fair number of technical books and papers, and I switch back and forth between printed and iPad and desktop computer.

    For books, I think the iPad is as good or better than any alternative if the book is formatted well for an e-reader. iBooks is great for epub formats.

    For technical papers, I like the ease of annotation on the iPad with the pencil, the portability, and the fact that any annotations are saved with the paper, not buried on my desk.

    The problem I run into though with technical papers, and this is true for books that are formatted as full page PDFs as well, is framing the text on the display. For a full page PDF, you can do ok by holding the iPad landscape and getting the full page width in. For books this is definitely more awkward than the text flow of a true eBook, but it works.

    The place where I have the most trouble is the standard 2-column technical paper format. You can zoom and frame, but it feels like a lot of monkeying around. Otherwise you either have to shrink the page size to fit portrait, or throw away half the real estate in landscape until you get to the bottom and scroll back to the top.

    Anyone know of a PDF viewer that will reflow a 2 column text into one column? I haven't actually thought to search for that feature anywhere...
  4. TheGenerous, Jun 22, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017

    TheGenerous macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2010
    I'm an Austronaut
    When I did my masters in Physics I had an iPad Air.

    I used the free app 'Documents' for reading pdfs off a Dropbox folder containing the articles. I tend to download those pdfs on my desktop first because it's easier to rename them there. I used about three colors for highlighting the articles; for example yellow for stuff I wanted to reference in a paper and had to write on my own words, blue for technical words or phrases regarding methodology that I wanted to add to my own vocabulary (for example describing a cell culture I prepared), and green for stuff I needed to read elsewhere.

    On the Mac I used BibDesk to manage the catalog of pdfs (better than Finder) with tags as well as to pull out the bibliography automatically off from LaTeX. It saved my precious time.

    *Other people suggest using Mendeley to catalog and sync their pdfs in both desktop and iOS. It's also very good for reading and annotating your pdfs within the app.

    I've read entire books on the iPad Air, pdfs and epubs. Is quite a joy to read on retina displays. It's been also a great travel companion with almost never ending battery life.

    In terms of convenience pdfs win over paper. In the lab is better to have 3 or 4 print outs of an article along your lab book than having to deal with an iPad. In terms of reading comprehension I see no difference as the scientific language is dry and soulless. If it was a magazine I'd say paper is best since the choice of paper stocks make a difference as well as the size of the format; think reading a small traveling magazine in uncoated paper or instead a large-sized magazine photo essay in glossy paper.

    On the other hand, I do better at writing with pen and paper my notes about an article in my own words than using a keyboard. Once I wrote it in paper in my own words I'm ready to type it in plain text (.txt files) on the computer with out worrying of plagiarism.

    An iPad "Pro" may be overkill for pdfs, but if you have the money I think is well spent. I keep using my iPad Air and my 2006 white MacBook everyday!
  5. Analog Kid macrumors 601

    Analog Kid

    Mar 4, 2003
    Everything about an iPad Pro is overkill except the pencil and the 10.5" screen. I handed down my 9.7" Pro and just got a 10.5" and I really like it. Taking notes with the pencil is really, really nice on the new display. I don't know if it's all perception due to the smaller bezels, but the screen feels closer to the glass and I don't notice parallax between the tip and the image.

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