September 22, 2010

465 words 3 mins read

Best manga reader on the iPad: CloudReaders

Last night, I randomly decided that I should see what kind of manga readers I could find for the iPad. It’s got the screen quality that the Kindle lacks, and it is plenty spacious. My one requirement for the app is native support for CBR and CBZ formats (which is what i keep all my manga in). After just a few minutes on the iTunes Store Application Marketplace (aka the iApp store) I found two promising candidates: Stanza and CloudReaders. I installed both, and then transferred the same 3 volumes of manga to each.

I tried out Stanza first, but didn’t get very far. The cbz’s I had loaded up were showing as downloading. I’m not sure why, as they were already on the device. I assumed It was some sort of conversion process, but I had no indication of the status. Eventually, I got bored of waiting and Home’d out. I reentered Stanza to find my manga gone (after checking on it later, I found that it had completely deleted the files). Oh well.

The second app I tried out was CloudReaders. This is really a no frills app. The start screen shows you your “bookshelf” and then you can click into your files. One cool thing I noticed on the bookshelf screen was a WiFi icon. I clicked on it to find a screen instructing me on how to transfer other files to my iPad, wirelessly. You bring up a webpage in your computer’s browser, making the transfer, so much easier. The screen warns you of slow transfer speeds which is more or less correct (20 seconds to transfer a 30mb CBZ), but still a super nifty value add.

The important part of the app is the ability to read the CBZ files, which it has done flawlessly so far. You can drag a slider to your desired reading location, you can tap or swipe to turn pages to turn pages. It also handles landscape just fine, scaling down the pages. The one thing I realized very quickly that would be nice was the ability to read “backwards”, for manga. A minute later I found a button that I wasn’t sure what it did at first, but quickly realized it was exactly what I wanted. There is a button to sort the pages right-to-left, Kickass!!!

I found a few other little amusing bits in CloudReaders, like a built in dimmer which is nifty, but none of that really matters to me. I can get my CBZs on device, I can read them, and I can read them in the correct order. All for the low low price of free. What more could a guy possibly want out of an application? I’ve read through a couple of volumes so far and am quite pleased.