Early on in the creation of this blog I discussed two Android PDF editors, RepliGo Reader ($2.99) and ezPDF Reader Multimedia PRO ($3.99). I even had a “battle,” where I didn’t, but later did, declare a true winner. That wasn’t much of a battle, so I think it’s time for another “battle” of sorts, except this time I’m going to point out a couple of glaring differences that separate the two programs. Hopefully, I’ll also show you why I still rely on both apps for different processes.
Cloud computing and collaboration
Generally, ezPDF Reader is my go-to PDF reading app. For instance, I need to read and mark up a document I’ve downloaded, I usually turn to ezPDF. Except recently I discovered a huge, almost “kill this app now” problem with ezPDF Reader when we talk cloud services, particularly when you try to save files to the cloud. I’ve tried, miserably I preface, to explain how to use ezPDF Reader’s cloud link. It’s pathetic. I mean really pathetic, at least when compared to its competitor, RepliGo Reader.
ezPDF Reader uses some weird “file association” method to connect to “Web Docs.”
In theory, ezPDF Reader is supposed to connect directly to a web document, to Dropbox, or to Google Docs. I discovered that only the Dropbox connection works worth anything, and only then it’s precarious. Unfortunately, ezPDF Reader does not allow simple syncing of edited documents. Here’s what happened in our office, which convinces me to switch sides, at least partially.
An issue arrives
Our office has 2 attorneys and a secretary. We use Google Apps to handle email, calendaring, and a lot of other things. We’re also transitioning from Dropbox to Drive (right now it’s about half and half use) as our primary means of cloud storage and sharing. While preparing for an upcoming trial, we created a “trial notebook” in Drive, which we can use to collaborate outside of the office. One of our trial preparation tasks is to review the depositions of several witnesses and the parties. I like to review and comment the PDF copies, and I normally use ezPDF Reader.
On this occasion, I tried connecting ezPDF Reader with my Google Apps account. No dice, no connection. ezPDF Reader cant, or won’t, recognize the connection via the Web Docs tab. Usually this isn’t much of a problem, since many times I’ll open the file directly with ezPDF Reader using Android’s “Open with” prompt.
Unfortunately, after commenting on an entire 200 page deposition I discovered that this method saves the document to my tablet for uploading back to Drive. Normally, this process isn’t too much of an issue, except with 10 depositions and 3 people reviewing and commenting, this could get out of hand and screw up collaboration.
Thankfully, RepliGo Reader handles cloud connections much differently, and actually uses convenient folders to visually depict the files.
More importantly, when you download a file to your tablet, it’ll continue to sync and save the information. You won’t need to upload documents after you’ve edited them.
RepliGo Reader’s ability to sync documents without having to save and upload is critically important for collaboration. This is one reason I prefer RepliGo Reader over ezPDF Reader for collaboration.
For collaboration and cloud syncronization, RepliGo Reader wins.
Speed and performance
RepliGo Reader also speeds up PDF reading and viewing. The app turns pages a lot faster than ezPDF Reader and seems to load documents more quickly.
Highlights, comments, and markups
ezPDF Reader has a light edge over RepliGo Reader when editing documents, particularly when highlighting or commenting on a document.
For instance, ezPDF has more commenting functions in the editing toolbar sitting at the top of the page.
While RepliGo Reader’s toolbar sits on the right (or left), and only has commenting options.
ezPDF Reader also has a continuous markup feature for highlighting, redlining, and underlining.
Originally, I chose ezPDF Reader over RepliGo Reader because ezPDF Reader offered the ability to flatten annotations. Flattening is important because of the way that annotations sit on a PDF document. Unlike paper, which allows ink to bleed into the page, permanently setting the note, PDF document annotations(highlights, comments, drawings, etc.) are picture images laid on top of another image, sort of like an onion — a similar function happens when OCR occurs.
Flattening, compresses these images together into one single layer. Flattening also removes any ability to edit or change the annotations, which is difficult on a tablet or phone, but significantly easier using a PDF editing program like Adobe Acrobat. Flattening is important if you’re going to use your tablet to sign documents or send something to an opposing party. But if you’re collaborating, you probably don’t need to flatten the images. Thus, RepliGo Reader will probably serve your needs most of the time.
A word of caution on flattening: if you flatten an image with comments (usually in a bubble box) you won’t be able to see the comment text inside the bubble.
Forms and signatures
If you tend to fill in a lot of pre-formatted PDF forms, or you want to create digital signatures, ezPDF Reader wins this argument.
Unfortunately, I can’t really show you the process.
ezPDF Reader has a built-in function that allows you to set and secure a digital signature for use on PDF forms. You can simply send your file after you’ve signed and saved the document.
You’ll be stuck flipping between two coins
Ultimately, if you use your tablet to markup document and send them to opposing sides, you’ll want to use ezPDF Reader. Also, if you want a little more control over the annotations, ezPDF Reader is your choice. However, if you’re like 95% of attorneys that I know, you occasionally use your tablet to review and annotate PDF documents. Moreover, most of your annotations are either highlights or small comments, and you probably won’t mind a little extra hassle having to constantly click the annotation. If that’s the case, then RepliGo Reader will handle all of your tasks, and will offer the best (and easiest) cloud and collaboration integration.
Once again there’s no clear winner in this battle, unless ezPDF Reader wants to fix its pathetic cloud integration system.
Cerience, the maker of RepliGo Reader discontinued support for this app on June 30, 2014. You can download and sideload the app from this link. Warning: you will not receive any updates to this application.