iPhone App Review: PDF Reader – iPhone Edition

iPhone App Review: PDF Reader – iPhone Edition

August 10th, 2012 by

PDF readers are not what you would call an under-represented category in the iTunes App Store. To make one stand out it must be stable, fast, and have a variety of useful features that set it apart from the rest of the documents readers out there. Kdan Mobile Software tries to crack the  code with their latest release of PDF Reader – iPhone Edition.

The latest version includes several cloud storage and sharing options, collaborative markup features like highlighting and freehand drawing, the ability to create PDF files from images in the device’s library, as well as the ability to fill out PDF forms right on the device and print through AirPrint-supported hardware. It has a lot of functionality packed into its tiny little app icon, so I’ll run down the major items next.

How It Works

The app has a basic document-handling interface that lets you store items in folders, including a private folder that you can show or hide through the options menu. You can add accounts for multiple services: Dropbox, iCloud, Box.net, Google Docs (which is now called Google Drive, so this needs to be updated in the app), SugarSync, and even personal FTP or WebDAV clients; then log in and download any type of file from those sources. Any file you select to download, the app will ask you what type of file you would like it converted to. So you can write a document on Google Docs, then download it to your phone as a PDF while you’re on the go.

You can also create a new PDF by importing pictures from the photo library or using the camera to take snapshots within the app. After building a collection of photos, you can can package them all up as a PDF and save it on the device. The app also obviously lets you email out your documents, or upload them to file sharing services, from within the app. You can also use a WiFi connection and web interface to transfer files in and out of the app, as well as using the iTunes File Sharing service. The app even has a built-in browser so you can highlight a word in a document and search Google or Wikipedia for the term or phrase.

There are really too many features to go into in any great detail here, but suffice it to say that if you’ve used a PDF program on your desktop computer, this app probably has the feature you need. You can find more information and a detailed breakdown on features at the developer’s website here.

Pros And Cons

I was overall extremely pleased with the app. It’s fast, simple to use, and has a ton of features. Most importantly, those features are easy to access when you need them and stay out of the way when you don’t. Good interface design on a reading app is very important, especially when dealing with the smaller device screens.

The only feature that I felt was missing is one that is available in some competitor’s products: accessing an email account. I have so many documents that I never bothered to download somewhere, because it’s already up there in the cloud in GMail, and it would be ideal to be able to log into GMail (or any other cloud-based email provider) and find those documents from my device. As it stands now I would have to go into GMail, download or save the document somewhere else (even if that’s just in Google Drive), then open up PDF Reader again to work with the file.


PDF Reader – iPhone Edition is a great one-stop source for storing, accessing, downloading, marking up, sharing, creating, and even just reading files of all types from all types of cloud-based storage services. It’s professionally designed and stable to boot, so it’s well worth the current $1.99 asking price if you’re in the market for it.

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