Smartphone as a reading book

I mentioned elsewhere that modern smartphones are very powerful devices because they’re light and functional at the same time. You can hold them in one hand and swipe the screen with your thumb (if the app allows).

This is truly handy for book reading. I can name at least three apps I use for reading that can be synchronized across your devices. They are Amazon Kindle, gReader and Foxit PDF.

Kindle is great for reading the books you buy on Amazon or send to your Kindle account . The app is very functional and includes day and night modes, highlighting in several colours, adding notes and bookmarks, and can even search highlighted words in Wikipedia and a dictionary (which can be downloaded for free for offline use). It’s very responsive and downloads your book off Amazon. You can set it up to flip the pages using the left-side buttons. Another interesting feature is popular highlights – this shows what most other people marked who read the same book you’re reading.

If you have your favourite book in PDF, that shouldn’t mean you can’t read it. Meet Foxit PDF – a truly versatile PDF-reader. If you thought Acrobat Reader was pretty cool, you ain’t seen nothin yet. From my perspective, the coolest feature of the app is that the documents can be easily scaled in split second by pinching in and out. You can also highlight, comment, add text, notes, draw, sign, use freehand writing and jump to a page. (The best size page for vertical reading is A5, though. But you can always hold your screen horizontally.)

The best app for reading RSS feeds I’ve seen so far is… no, not Feedly. It’s the gReader for me. It is very lightweight, responsive and has such an array of features I’m still discovering new ones. One of the key functions for me is that it can be set up to download and cache posts while on Wi-Fi and turn off synchronizing when on G2. This way it always works fast and you can get updated on the latest news of your industry while waiting for your turn at the barber’s, for instance. By the way, gReader picks up easily all the stuff you have in your Feedly (which replaced the good old Google Reader with varying success) or other common feed readers. All you have to do is add the relevant account on gReader’s first screen. In addition to all the standard feed reader functions (e.g. share, favourite, repost, send to, open in browser, etc.) you can also set it to download podcasts. That’s quite important if you’re more of a listener than a reader.

It would take a long time to describe every app mentioned above in detail, but if you’re looking for simple and effective solutions for reading on your nifty handheld device (on the train, in the queue, in your bed, waiting for your coffee to boil and – shall I say it? – over the potty), these are good candidates that have stood the test of a heavy user like me.

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