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

hemon

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 4, 2014
253
73
Hi,

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.
 

businezguy

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2003
389
445
Hi,

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.
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.
 

Analog Kid

macrumors 601
Mar 4, 2003
4,768
2,792
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...
 
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TheGenerous

macrumors 6502a
Nov 14, 2010
915
172
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!
 
Last edited:

Analog Kid

macrumors 601
Mar 4, 2003
4,768
2,792
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!
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.
 

hemon

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 4, 2014
253
73
Hi,

I would like to ask this again:

„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?“

You could answer of course about the ipad 11 or 12.9 inch.

This would help me very much, thanks!
 

Capt T

macrumors 6502a
Mar 20, 2010
968
246
I read all kinds of books as well as work papers. The iPad is great for this and being able to mark up the papers with the pencil and take notes.
 

danmart

macrumors 65816
Apr 24, 2015
1,150
626
Lancs, UK
The 12.9 is king for this. My 12.9 is my primary reading device, having completely replaced my Kindle. Small format books can be read in two-page landscape mode, whilst large format books can be read at approximately 90% of real physical size.

I do read a lot of ‘technical’ content as a my hobby to table-top role playing and most RPG game books come in that A4-ish size. Here is a picture of my new 12.9 against a large format book:
CDA5BD9E-1AEB-47BA-9AF8-F341354B8A1D.jpeg

Here is a similar shot for the older 12.9 if you would rather avoid investing in the latest kit:
C24E18F5-0308-49B6-A4DA-EA754F9B37F0.jpeg

I’m not aware of any app that will convert two-column text into single column, but GoodReader comes close by having a mode which strips a page down to just the text, however you would lose any diagrams and it isn’t perfect.

That is GoodReader in use on my devices above, by the way. It has a good (hah!) range of features including the ability to open multiple PDFs at the same time, open different pages in the same PDF so you can ‘flip’ between them and the ability to add lots of bookmarks of your own for quick reference. You can also annotate with either pencil / stylus or text.
 

Ambulater

macrumors member
Dec 14, 2012
78
71
I use my 12.9” iPad Pro primarily for reading and marking up various documents and papers including scientific journals/articles (I’m in healthcare). It’s what I take to meetings instead of a portfolio and paper documents.

I was previously using 9.7” iPad Pro and found it too small to comfortably read some documents. For instance, the abstract at the beginning of many published research papers is sometimes in a smaller font than the rest of the article and can be hard to read when scaled down to a 9.7” screen.

By way of contrast, the 12.9” iPad is very close to the size of a normal sheet of A4 paper and provides a reading experience comparable to paper....actually, even better than paper in low light and when used for markups that are easy to save electronically for future reference. This was the primary reason I moved from the 9.7” to the 12.9”.
 

hemon

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 4, 2014
253
73
Thank you for the replies. Don’t know... I fear that the comprehension is not as good as on paper. Don’t you think that? What is your experience about that?
 

Kostas3000

macrumors regular
Sep 28, 2016
131
134
New York
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...


adobe acrobat can do the reflow of two columns to a single column

it is a free app
 

Loge

macrumors 68030
Jun 24, 2004
2,678
1,147
England
That is GoodReader in use on my devices above, by the way. It has a good (hah!) range of features including the ability to open multiple PDFs at the same time, open different pages in the same PDF so you can ‘flip’ between them and the ability to add lots of bookmarks of your own for quick reference. You can also annotate with either pencil / stylus or text.
GoodReader also has the ability to crop each document separately and remember the crops so you can get the best possible use out of the available screen real estate, which make the 11 inch fine for most full page pdfs.

They just need to get their update out for the new 11 inch iPad.
 

baypharm

macrumors 68000
Nov 15, 2007
1,596
474
Thank you for the replies. Don’t know... I fear that the comprehension is not as good as on paper. Don’t you think that? What is your experience about that?
You have spent over year mulling over this question...I think you have overthought it....
 
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Perene

macrumors 6502a
Jun 29, 2015
835
301
Netherealm
I only use the iPAD for reading PDFs. The Kindle Paperwhite this is not recommended for this if the ebook has any image. Zooming is awful in the Kindle when the source is a PDF.

For app I only use this one
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/apps-with-dark-black-night-mode-collection-list.2079929/page-2#post-26695061

https://itunes.apple.com/br/app/adobe-acrobat-reader/id469337564?mt=8

Since it has dark mode even for ebooks with images, a feature no other app has.

I suggest reducing brightness to 30% when reading, more than that is not necessary, especially if your device has an anti reflective coating and lower reflectance, which is the case with the more expensive iPADs. I use the 10.5, too.

If the ebook is well-formatted for easy and enjoyable reading * then yes, it's better than reading in a paper.

* Not the case of those downloaded from archive.org, for example, these are often cumbersome/heavy.
 

nburwell

macrumors 601
May 6, 2008
4,582
1,615
DE
I have been reading The New York Times for years on various iPads. No issues at all. Plus, I like that I no longer have to worry about dirtying my fingers reading a physical newspaper.
 

DoubleFlyaway

macrumors 6502a
Nov 16, 2017
883
828
Thank you for the replies. Don’t know... I fear that the comprehension is not as good as on paper. Don’t you think that? What is your experience about that?
I think you just get used to it. I used to print everything out (legal papers, not scientific ones), because I was more comfortable with paper. Over the years, I’ve gotten comfortable enough with my iPad(s) that I don’t feel the need anymore. Saves trees, and my bags are WAY less heavy than they used to be.
 
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Booji

macrumors 6502a
Nov 17, 2011
650
361
Tokyo
I think you just get used to it. I used to print everything out (legal papers, not scientific ones), because I was more comfortable with paper. Over the years, I’ve gotten comfortable enough with my iPad(s) that I don’t feel the need anymore. Saves trees, and my bags are WAY less heavy than they used to be.
I am the same way. What accelerated the process was when I made the decision to adopt a minimalist lifestyle. Getting rid of paper documents was a huge part of it. Plus, my library is always with me.
 
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hemon

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 4, 2014
253
73
Don't know... I realized that I don't have a good motivation for reading on iPad. Then, the comprehension could be the same, but why should I do that? I don't have problems with print everything and the cost are not so much – compared to how the iPad costs. The display of the 12.9 is also smaller than a A4 paper…
 

iPadified

macrumors regular
Apr 25, 2017
195
133
Hi,

I would like to ask this again:

„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?“

You could answer of course about the ipad 11 or 12.9 inch.

This would help me very much, thanks!
I use a 12.9 and pencil for the work you describe.
1. Comprehension. I cannot say that comprehension is compromised with the iPad. It is equivalent.
2. Flipping between pages is not as quick on iPad compared with paper based articles. There are more advantages than drawbacks of using a iPad compared to papers. Paper based articles need physical cataloguing (and printing) which is time consuming and boring. As mention above, there are many good ways to use catalogues of paper on iPad. Other considerations. Many scientific articles has very small font sizes and are chosen to be readable when printed at A4 of letter. Depending on the your sight, on a small iPad, you will likely need to zoom in order to read it meaning you loose some of the overview. It is better on a 12.9. Annotation is better on iPad than on paper as iPad is easy to redo annotation and mix handwritten annotation with sticky notes.
3. Books are easily read on iPads. I usually read and evaluate doctor thesis (>200 pages) on iPad. No problem. At the defence, the app makes a list of annotations so I know what to ask for.


Hope that helped you.

PS. I do not have a single printed articles or thesis in my office any longer. DS.
 

secretk

macrumors 6502
Oct 19, 2018
479
287
I think you just get used to it. I used to print everything out (legal papers, not scientific ones), because I was more comfortable with paper. Over the years, I’ve gotten comfortable enough with my iPad(s) that I don’t feel the need anymore. Saves trees, and my bags are WAY less heavy than they used to be.
For me it was even worse. I would print papers to read because I wanted to add my own notes to it. I found this process cumbersome using a computer as I would highlight faster on a printed document with a pen than with mouse. I bought the iPad specifically to remove the needless printing and so far it works great for me. I print papers only when I have to give them to someone else at work to read.

Plus this way I have my documents with me. No need to sort them out regularly and thinking on where to store them.
 

Perene

macrumors 6502a
Jun 29, 2015
835
301
Netherealm
Don't know... I realized that I don't have a good motivation for reading on iPad. Then, the comprehension could be the same, but why should I do that? I don't have problems with print everything and the cost are not so much – compared to how the iPad costs. The display of the 12.9 is also smaller than a A4 paper…
It’s not just about printing, but having to store and carry with you physical books. The latter is unacceptable to me and I am always looking for the ebook or scanned version of a document.

Besides there are times the physical version is inferior or more than inconvenient, it could be ineffective for you to reach certain parts of the book quickly, read the reviews of this one and take your own conclusions... they say the font is too small, while you can zoom any part of an ebook with your iPad.

https://www.amazon.com/Plato-Complete-Works/dp/0872203492

P.S. for the me 10.5 or 11 both have the perfect size. 12.9 is heavy and big, I wouldn’t buy one.
 
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secretk

macrumors 6502
Oct 19, 2018
479
287
It’s not just about printing, but having to store and carry with you physical books. The latter is unacceptable to me and I am always looking for the ebook or scanned version of a document.
Yes. I don't know for you guys, but for me it's a pure nightmare to then try to find something in that big pile of printed documents. Is this the same for yoi?

Besides there are times the physical version is inferior or more than inconvenient, it could be ineffective for you to reach certain parts of the book quickly, read the reviews of this one and take your own conclusions... they say the font is too small, while you can zoom any part of an ebook with your iPad.

https://www.amazon.com/Plato-Complete-Works/dp/0872203492
Very good point. I have high myopia and astigmatism and have needed glasses for reading for the last 10 years. Now as I get older I also started developing presbyopia. As a result sometimes I can't find a proper distance to read comfortably. Being able to zoom definitely helps.