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What is a good tablet for viewing Paizo .pdfs?


Technology


With all of the content out there now, it's getting increasingly impractical to carry all my books with me to games. As such, I was considering purchasing a tablet and switching over to .PDFs. While I really like the good old-fasioned books, this carries several advantages for me:

1) Portability(Having all my books in a small, lightweight locaion)
2) Affordability(.PDFs are significantly cheaper than hardbacks)
3) Searchability(Especially for the new Ultimate Equipment.)

However, I'm not certain what to get. I'm in college, so I don't have a lot of disposable income(see affordability), but I would really like something that has a big enough display I don't need to zoom in to read the .PDFs. It would also be awesome to have internet access on it. Does anyone have some suggestions along these lines?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've been having a good experience with my iPad 2 and the Good Reader app. I've been running both Pathfinder and a D&D Next play test game off it. The lite-format PDFs for the core books have been performing quite well.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Asus Transformer series. If you, like me, buy it with a keyboard, you would get unparalleled battery time.
Note that for some PDFs page rendering may take a little time.

Regards,
Ruemere


ruemere wrote:

Asus Transformer series. If you, like me, buy it with a keyboard, you would get unparalleled battery time.

Note that for some PDFs page rendering may take a little time.

Regards,
Ruemere

That looks really cool, but like the iPad it's out of my price range. What about a kindle, are those any good? Looks like they're only ~$100.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Sean H wrote:
ruemere wrote:

Asus Transformer series. If you, like me, buy it with a keyboard, you would get unparalleled battery time.

Note that for some PDFs page rendering may take a little time.

Regards,
Ruemere

That looks really cool, but like the iPad it's out of my price range. What about a kindle, are those any good? Looks like they're only ~$100.

That's the black and white ebook text reader. You can't load PDF's or anything else into it. The Kindles that can actually handle Pathfinder PDFs, are considerably more expensive... and make you live with constant Amazon advertising.

If you want anything that's halfway decent for viewing even the PDF lite, than the Ipad 2 is your baseline unit for consideration.


Okay, good to know before I dropped any money on it. Thanks for the help.

Would the iPad 1 work, or only iPad 2?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I know student discounts aren't what they used to be, but does your college have a department where they sell equipment to the students at a slight to moderate discount? The major university where I went to grad school had a department devoted to it while the college I went as an undergrad sold them through the bookstore. So it may vary.

Also there may be a used market you can tap into.

There may be android varieties of tablets that are cheaper than the iPad, but how well they handle the PDFs, I have no idea. I know the iPad I bought for about $500 has been an excellent performer for gaming, reading, entertainment, and even running my work computer remotely. So the device has really been an asset to me.


Wait for the Ipad4 (or new ipad2). Then the 3 will be discounted. newer means more power. And with PDF you need a lot of power an ram. Goodreader is an amazing App. With Dropbox an the Atomic browser you even don't need this crapfest of Itunes.

Or get an just get a Nexus Tablet for 200$

Cheliax

I decided to go with an iPad 2 last year. I found out the hard way that my home of New York City does not have anywhere near the amount of free Wifi as I thought it did. So I am still attached to using my phone for Internet often. The machine does do a good job of handling paizo lite PDFs. I often prefer using an app to go through Paizo stuff though. It is good to have since you can use it instead of the Internet. I can still use it when I am in the subway, or anywhere without free wifi like at a con where the facility wants to charge people for wifi. My preferred app, PF PRG RD is only $5 and gets updated for free every few months for no extra charge with each of the hardbacks, thought the Inner Sea World Guide is not there. Not sure why as I thought it was included in the group of PFRD hardbacks.

I once met a gamer who said he was very happy using the Kyos Tablet from Coby. I was skeptical as Coby was known for cheap products that easily broke down but he said he had his for over a year and he was happy with it for PF. Bear in mind that it had about a six hour battery life. Not enough for a full day at the convention without recharging unless you use it lightly but at about &120. You could buy one for use during a full slot or regular home game I expect or at that price, you could buy two and have 12 hours for the con with longer combined life than the iPad. You could buy one and then decide if you want to pick up another if you do full day, 3 slots a day gaming. If you do 8-10 hour slots at someone's home, you should be able to plug in for a charge but make sure to ask permission. It ticks me off when people do not ask me to plug in.

I have no problem playing a full day at a con with the ten hour life of my iPad. Consider you do not need to keep the screeen on all the time so you could conserve battery every now and again by turning off the screen it not the whole machine. Not so sure that it would last for judging all day when you would need to keep the tablet on for more referencing more often.

Judges for the Society are not required to buy beyond the 1st bestiary(hmmn, maybe not even #1) so I saved money since buying it last year on bestiary 3(currently I think those stats are in the mods but I expect that to chage), another $35 bucks on UE and even though I am not yet useing the ARG, let's pretend I did buy the pdf as I did want it just to read and am doing so off my app. That saved about $100 this year.
$40 no purchase of bestiary 3 at all
$35 after paying 10 for the UE PDF since I need to own it for use in society play
$40 no purchase(yet) of ARG since I am not planning on use in society play
Oh! And at least another few dollars by not having to print out whole mods when I run the society games. I prefer to use PDF-notes, it is free and allows me to use several colors to highlight the PDF, great for DCs and color coordinating offensive/defensive stat blocks!
-$7.50 rebuying CRB during the 10 year sale
-$5 for PF RPG RD app.
Consider how much damage you will do to yourself rebuying the books you already own. I currently skipped out on rebuying the APG/UM/UC PDFs. A person who bought those as PDFs to begin with or had not yet bought them at all would save another $90! The Inner Sea World Guide was too much for my blood at $50, especially since I had the 3.5 older version but it sure as hell is a steal a a $10 PDF. That could save you another $40! This is a case where a new fan can pay for nearly half the cost of the iPad through savings on Just a few hardbacks. Then consider the $6 saving on any soft cover you buy.

Not sure how much I will really save going forward as I think the player focused hardbacks may be winding down and most future hard covers(free through app/PFRD) may not need to be purchased for society play. Thought let us be honest, I will at least peek through them so I could save some more even if I do not use that material. Also consider that I judge so there is a fair chance I might use the more judge focused material in home campaigns.


I use a nook color was around $170 i think, probably came down. Not the best but i would easily call it servicable. The battery lasts a good amount of time not sure how long with just pdfs, i use it to browse these forums alot.

The screen is decent sized, i do need to zoom slightly sometimes but not much.

If you can swing the extra cash a.kindle will probably serve you better, but im moderatley satisfied with my nook, it does what i need it to do.

With the release of the lite pdfs its performance has increased too. Btw thank you paizo for that, i love you guys.


It'll help to know your price range, but I will say the 7" tablets seem to me a bit too small for reading the PDFs. I definitely prefer the 10" tablets in that regard.

I'm also an Android guy over Apple, simply because I can get more for my money that route (generally faster processing and GPU which are needed for reading PDFs, plus the ability to add microSD cards for more memory). However, there's another thread down in the forum already for Apple vs. Android topics so I won't belabor that point.

For mine (I've got an ADAM--great machine as I can modify the heck out of it but I wouldn't recommend it for new folks), I use ezPDF as it's a fabulous app allowing annotations, drawing, etc. in the PDF.

Let us know what you can spend and that'll help guide the conversation

Andoran

I own a kindle Fire. I love it. I don't pull it out frequently, but I use several apps on it for the game along with the PDFs. Since it also has wi-fi I use the internet to pull up the d20pfsrd for players of mine who use material I don't have in book form. Given the fact all my hardcovers are falling apart thanks to heavy use at my table I can afford to wait for more cash to replace my books when they fall apart.

The lite pdfs are easy enough to use. They load fairly quick for me if I have to reference a rule quickly. I use the apps more frequently than the pdfs.


Oh, yeah price range would help. Something in the range of $100-200, maybe 250 if it's really worth it.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

There's been considerable rumors of an "iPad mini" in the works for a while too.


The Google Nexus tablet for $200 is very appealing. One of the biggest considerations is that it's a google product which means it will definitely get the latest operating system upgrades early on.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I would suggest the Nexus. I have no experience with it for PDFs but I've played a few games on it and it's a pretty nice tablet.

I'd stay away from low price ebook readers, most of them don't have the processor power to draw a PDF quickly on the screen making it a chore to go from page to page.. on top of that, many are for reading and thus have no "search" feature.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Even a fairly high-powered tablet can be pretty sluggish when searching a large PDF (such as one of the Pathfinder rulebooks). I haven't done an exhaustive comparison of the various PDF readers, but the Adobe PDF reader running on an ASUS Transformer Prime can take ten seconds (or more) to search for the next occurrence of a word.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Google is coming out with a tablet for ~100$ soon. But I prefer a 10" tablet for reading PDF's.

I've used a Xoom since launch and PDFReader is the best app for PDF's bar none. Adobe and the others are much slower.

That said, I still use books at the table, it's faster (unless we can't find what we're looking for and we need to do a text search). BUT it's awesome for on the road, conventions, @work, etc, to always have all your books with you.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I just got my first IOS device, the iPhone 5. and I loaded my pathfinder PDFS (lite versions where applicable) onto it. It's pretty damm snappy even with the huge Core Rulebook.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Sean H wrote:

Okay, good to know before I dropped any money on it. Thanks for the help.

Would the iPad 1 work, or only iPad 2?

The Ipad 1 will do the job, but considering that you can get Ipad 2's pretty cheaply, especially used, And especially given that iOS6 won't run on the 1, I'd have to think twice before recommending the purchase of the older unit.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Peter J wrote:
There's been considerable rumors of an "iPad mini" in the works for a while too.

If it's true, we'll find out in about 2 weeks.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I just wish my Herolab would also work on a tablet. Until then I will just have to look upon these nice tablets with envy.


Get an Ipad. Just save a bit, for the money.

I got my Ipad 1 on release day. I instantly uploaded about 500 RPG books to it and have used it for them ever since (( and everything ELSE the Ipad can do.))

I can testify that the Ipad 1 works perfectly well for RPG PDFs.

I've also got an Ipad 3. I can say they work perfectly well on both.

The app you'll want is "Good Reader" it's cheep and allows you to drag and drop wirelessly at home. Once the PDF's are on your Ipad you're good to go.

Currently I have roughly 650 RPG Books on each of my Ipads. They work awesome. Of the 650 PDF's I have, maybe two or three haven't worked on the Ipad.

All my Pathfinder ones have.

RPG's on PDF work great. the Ipad allows you to stretch and zoom as well. Spin. ect.

AND the Ipad can do the other 100s and 1000s of things that an Ipad can do.

I have a kindle fire. I use it for novels. I use the Ipads for EVERYTHING else. Ipads are nice in that you can play your music on them as you read or even at game sections, and with the 100s of free apps you can even do maps and stuff on them (( though I'll admit to using pen and paper for that stuff alot of the time))

Ipads also have web access if you're somewhere with wifi and you can google things and show them off.

AND You can use them to display images. When the "Goblins attack" You can with a few taps bring up the image of the goblin and show the group what's coming to bite the face.

As someone that both collects and has played RPG's for 20 years, I cannot, possibly, say in stronger words

"Get an Ipad"

If you can afford 100, you can save a month or two and pay for an Ipad.

(( And as of the 25th..... Apple is going to be releasing an Ipad Mini... I do NOT know about that one. I have the Ipad 1 and the Ipad 3. The mini Ipad may not be 'as good'. Hard to say as it technically hasn't been unveiled and wont be for 5 days.

I'd stick with a normal Ipad. If you don't have alot of money, buy a first generation. They work PERFECTLY Well.

Silver Crusade

I'm thinking of buying a tablet, too, and Paizo PDFs are a major consideration.

I also want to be able to read/edit MS Word files, which is apparently a problem with many tablets. But for what I'm doing, just reading Word files is probably enough, as long as there's also a text editor I can use to write my own stuff down, then copy it to my PC and integrate it into the Word document on the PC later.

Connecting to the internet via wifi is a plus, but I don't need to connect to the internet everywhere, so it's not worth paying extra for the tablets that can do that without wifi.

Unlike, Sean H, price isn't as big an issue for me. I don't want to spend a fortune, but I don't need to stick to only what's on a good sale, either. Any recommendations?


I'd recommend the ASUS Transformer line, as the keyboard option would be very good for your MS Word needs. You can readily read, create, and edit Word (and other Office files) using apps like Documents to Go or Quickoffice (I've got both, and the both work equally well). The ASUS has plenty of power for viewing PDFs (I recommend ezPDF as the best viewer/annotation tool for PDFs on Android from my tests). And adding the keyboard doc also shoots the battery time (14+ hours on the Infinity), adds more ports, and even has a mouse pad.

Another option is waiting to see how the Microsoft Surface line turns out with Windows 8, as their keyboard cover is a touted feature. However, it's not out and proven yet.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I started with a 7" Nookcolor (rooted with CM7) it worked well for me for over a year. Then I upgraded to a 10" Toshiba Thrive (16Gb internal, with a 32 Gb external card). and I am able to hold all my PDFs locally on the machine. The 10" screen is a pleasure to deal with and I love the easy access to the various books.

I purchased the Thrive for $200 last christmas, and I often see it and many other dual speed cpu in that price range on Woot.com, 1saleaday.com and dailysteals.com

These are refurb units.

I have been looking at upgrading to one of the new quad speed tablets from ASUS, ACER, Samsung, or Motorola. I would totally stay with Android all the way. The price range of these tend to be around $400 at this time.

I have purchased a number of Android Apps from the market (play store) and they have the full PFrd and are quicker for looking up monsters and spells.

As for my characters, I simply installed dropbox and print out my character sheets in PDF format from Hero lab and download them to my tablet.

Full service functionality and I don't have to carry 20 books to every event that I attend.

Robyn

Silver Crusade

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erian_7 wrote:

I'd recommend the ASUS Transformer line, as the keyboard option would be very good for your MS Word needs. You can readily read, create, and edit Word (and other Office files) using apps like Documents to Go or Quickoffice (I've got both, and the both work equally well). The ASUS has plenty of power for viewing PDFs (I recommend ezPDF as the best viewer/annotation tool for PDFs on Android from my tests). And adding the keyboard doc also shoots the battery time (14+ hours on the Infinity), adds more ports, and even has a mouse pad.

Another option is waiting to see how the Microsoft Surface line turns out with Windows 8, as their keyboard cover is a touted feature. However, it's not out and proven yet.

So I went to Best Buy today, and the guy working there agreed with you. He ended up talking me into buying an ASUS Transformer TF300T with 32Gb. They actually had a newer version, but I don't need the latest and greatest tech, so I saved $100 on the slightly older version. And I got the dock.

I looked at a bunch of stuff before settling on that, though. I almost bought a laptop instead of a tablet, since the new ones are so small. And the Windows 8 laptops that just hit stores even have touch screens. But again, I'm really not the type to pay extra for the latest and greatest tech, so I'm happy with this.

I plugged it in to charge it fully before playing with it, so I haven't had a chance to start using it yet. And tomorrow, I have to go to work and play Pathfinder Society in the evening, so I won't get a chance to really play with it until Tuesday after work. Now I want to dive in and start playing with the new toy, but I don't have time.

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