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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
One of the best uses of Android Tablets is reading. They can handle many different formats and it is a pleasure to read on a small tablet that you can hold in your hand, especially after trying to read on a laptop, which never really works for any significant amount of time. Android has tons of apps to read with, but there are a few which stand out in each format.
The best app for reading eBooks right now is the Barnes and Noble Nook app. It has a few features which make it really stand out above the crowd. One is a very intuitive and easy to use way to select text. You simply move your finger over the text, and it will become selected, and from here, you can write a note, highlight the text, or search for the text in Google, Wikipedia, the book itself, or an online dictionary. You can easily bookmark pages by tapping the upper corner, and find them, as well as an index of notes and highlights, under the “Contents” tab.
Other apps have similar features, but Nook’s interface is just so easy to use and intuitive. I found myself tapping and tapping away on other apps to figure out where the features were, but with the Nook app there is almost no learning curve and you can just worry about reading. The Nook App also has a beautiful page turning animation that feels perfect and makes reading a joy. It gives you the comforting feel of reading a real book which is sorely lacking in other apps.
If you want to read PDF files, there is really no question that ezPDF Reader is the way to go. It will cost you $1.99, but it is well worth it. If you hold the tablet in portrait mode, the default view will fit one page onto the screen, and you can flip pages by swiping side to side, and ezPDF has a nice page turning animation as well. In landscape mode, it will fit the width of the article and allow you to scroll down easily. You can also pinch and zoom and move around the image with surprising ease. You can also quickly flip through thumbnails, big or small, of all the pages and select them, and you can also easily bookmark pages, title them, and find them.
ezPDF also offers a long list of cool features like Automatic Page Flipping – you pick an interval and it flips the page automatically – and Voice Reading, where ezPDF will read your document to you. You can also select text in the document and manipulate it in quite a few ways: you can add sticky notes, type directly onto the page, highlight, underline, and strike out, among other useful functions. All in all, there is really no competition from any other PDF reader out there.
News and Blogs
For reading news and blogs, there really aren’t that many apps that collect all your own sources together for easy perusal; Google Reader and Pulse are the only two that are decent at all. Of those, Google reader is something of a pain because you have to manually tap through each source to see the content therein. Pulse, on the other hand, is quite useful. You see a list of all the sources you choose, with a picture, if there is one, a title, and a snippet of the article for each article that is posted. You can scroll up though the sources or across the articles in each source. It sometimes takes a few too many taps to get to the whole article, but overall this is a very useful app.
Read It Later
There is one more app that bears mentioning when it comes to reading: Read It Later. This is a fantastic app that allows you to save articles and read them offline. The app takes away all the other clultter on the page and presents you with the article only. It is incredibly easy to save articles, and a Read It Later add-on for the Dolphin Browser makes it even easier. You can save sources across multiple devices, including PCs, and there are a number of nice features that are icing on the cake, such as tags, which you can use to organize your articles.