Review: GoodReader for iPad
GoodReader for the iPad, by Yuri Selukoff
• Great file viewer
• Views/Edit/Manage almost any kind of file
• Wide range of functionality
• Interface seems a little “clunky”
One of the biggest complaints with the iOS is the lack of a file viewer. Some apps, such as GoodReader, have attempted to address that problem. With the option of now transferring files directly from iTunes, and also designating apps within the iPad to open certain files (like PDF’s), a file reader app is going to rapidly become a “must have” on any iPad.
GoodReader is designed to allow you to read PDF, TXT, MS Office, iWork, HTML, images, and audio/video files. You can transfer files a number of ways – via iTunes (USB transfer), via wifi connection (treating the iPad as wifi hard drive), from email attachments, as well as various online sources (DropBox, iDisk, Google Docs, etc). Basically, there are numerous options for transferring files to the iPad, all of which work relatively easily.
Once a file is transferred to the GoodReader App, you are presented with a list of the files on the left window, and a series of “options” on the right side. I prefer the landscape mode to the portrait mode just because it is able to display more information on the screen. The options are pretty self explanatory – preview, “find files”, manage files, web downloads, and connect to server. On the bottom of the right side of the screen is a camera to import a picture from your photo albums. There is a wifi logo to enable connecting to a computer, and a setting tab (for view settings, playback settings, and general settings).
Double tapping on the file name itself opens up a full view (and depending on the file – like a text file, you can even modify the file). From the full view you can create bookmarks (for easy reference for long multi page files), search for a word or phrase, and even lock the file (so you can’t edit it). The preview option gives you a thumbnail view of the file.
The find files option is if you have a long list of files. You can put in a key word from the file name. Manage files lets you “do things” to the files – copy them, move them, create a zip file, email them, star them, rename them, etc. Basically any function you would have on a full-fledged computer, you can do here. Web downloads lets you download files directly from a URL or webpage – a nice feature since you can’t download files through the iPhone browser. Lastly, connect to servers allows you to add a variety of web based servers – mail servers, iDisk, Google Docs, DropBox, even other WebDAV servers and FTP servers!
Bascially, GoodReader lets you connect to any source, copy any files, and ultimately view any file. A hefty claim for any app! One thing I was very happy to see is the ability to create folders to organize your files. I am anticipating loading all my PDF’s onto my iPad, and I would have hated to simply see them listed in a single list view. Now I can organize the research articles by author, topic, or what not!
You don’t have a lot of remarking and editing features for PDF’s, such as highlights or notations. Nor can you cut and paste text or images from the iPad clipboard. But these are really the only two major limitations that I have found with this app. I do find the overall interface a little “clunky”. The tabs that appear on the right side of the screen strike me as a little awkward when trying to work with files. They are pretty self explanatory, however, and once I got used to them I was working with the files with no problem.
All in all, if you want to use your iPad to work with files (transfer, view, even edit) than GoodReader is an app that you need. With a plethora of methods to access or load files, plenty of file types that are compatible, and lots of features for managing files once they are loaded, GoodReader should meet just about everyone’s expectation for a file manager. While the interface isn’t as polished or smooth as we have seen in some apps, it serves its purpose and is pretty self explanatory. For $0.99, you owe it to yourself to even try the app if you think it would be something that you can use on a regular basis! Four out of five stars.
Note, this price is listed as an introductory price – who knows how long it will last.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.