The LG G Pad F2 8.0, (which is a mouthful, so I’ll just refer to it as a Gpad 8), has a large screen with an 18:9 format ratio. This allows it to have a large screen, but still be able to comfortable hold it with one hand because it is so narrow. It’s surprisingly portable. I’ve been using it to read eBooks and the following is a review of a few e-reader apps available for Android devices, and how each one renders text on the Gpad 8. I downloaded a copy of “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain because it’s in the public domain, and freely available in all eBook stores.
First up is the Kindle e-reader app from Amazon. You can install this from either Amazon’s app store, or from Google Play. Both stores appear to have up to date versions of this almost ubiquitous app. The original Kindle used a slab serif font called Caecila which is very easy on the eyes, allowing fast reading with minimal eyestrain. They updated this a few years ago with a new font created just for them called Bookerly. It looks quite similar to Caecila, but is better suited to the formatting requirements of e-books, i.e., it paginates better. Bookerly is the default font on physical Kindle e-readers, and on their Kindle app. E-books in Kindle on the Gpad 8 are a pleasure to read. More typefaces are available in the app than on the physical e-reader. Page turns looks are fine. While you can read in landscape mode, but only in one column.
Barnes and Noble’s Nook originally shipped with a humanist slab serif font called Amasis. It looked great and was super-readable. It’s not available on the current version of the Nook app or on any of the new Nook e-readers. In my opinion, none of the typefaces available in the Nook app look right on the screen. I find them distracting. The Nook app does allow two columns in landscape mode. Nook’s page turning animation is incredible as it actually displays the text on the reverse page you are about to turn to. This is by far the nicest page turn effect of any of these e-reading apps.
Google’s free e-reading app is connected to their Play book store, but you can also easily upload your own epubs from within the app or their web version at http://play.google.com/books. They have a few typefaces available, and like Amazon commissioned one just for their e-reader called Literata. In my opinion, it formats even better than Amazon’s Bookerly, but looks a little like an old typewriter font. I prefer Bookerly on the Kindle app, but not by much. Books can be displayed in two columns, but only on tablets, not on phones, even if you have a huge screen. Books in two columns on the Play Books app look great. Play Books has pretty cool page turn animation. I like it better than Kindle’s, but not as much as Nook’s. Play Books has the best blue light filter. It automatically and gradually comes on as the sun goes down, and gets quite aggressive at night. For this reason alone, I use Play Books more than any other.
Next up is Kobo’s e-reading app. Kobo makes the nicest physical e-readers on the market. They are priced right, and have tons of options to tweak the text including changing typefaces, line spacing, and even typeface contrast. Many typefaces are included with their excellent e-readers, and you can even install your own. Not so with the Kobo app. You get two generic choices, “Droid San Serif”, or “Droid Serif”. Neither are particularly great, but better than what’s available on the Nook e-reader. The Kobo app does allow multiple columns, but strangely, not full-width justification. You are stuck with left-justification. By the way, Kobo was purchased by Rakuten a few years ago, which is Amazon’s biggest competitor in Japan. Rakuten has had a website to sell their wares here in the states for a while now, but I don’t think they are making much of a dent in Amazon’s sales. I hope they keep making Kobo e-readers. They really are nice.
Finally, I tried Twain’s classic fantasy novel on a not-so-free app, called Moon+ Reader Pro. This app is not connected with any commerce eBook store, but you can use it to directly obtain free books from a variety of sources including Project Gutenberg, Feedbooks, ManyBooks, and Smashwords. Of course, you can add your own, and it will take epub or mobi files. It comes with approximately 5 million fonts, (not really, but it feels like that), and easily allows you to search the web for more and directly install into the app. The formatting options are exhausting, and almost overwhelming. It allows multiple columns in landscape, and a variety of backgrounds. It also has a blue light filter and you can choose what color you want it to display as. Using this filter has the negative side effect of lowering text and background contrast. You can choose a variety of page turn animations, including Apple’s or Google's.
All of these apps allow for turning pages via the volume up and down buttons, but Moon+ also allows for other ways of turning pages, such as slightly shaking the tablet. They all allow for syncing book progress to the cloud. Moon+ allows you to sync to Dropbox or Google Drive, but you have to do this manually. Most of the time, the syncs failed and crashed the app. This is a feature that used to work in Moon+, so it can likely be fixed via an update. Play Books from Google has the most reliable book progress syncing. You can read a book on the GPad 8, then open Play Books on your phone and quickly and easily continue where you left off.
Each app had advantages and disadvantages, and none of them are perfect yet. Kindle has the nicest font, Nook has the nicest page turn, Play Books has the best progress syncing, and Moon+ has the most options. For me, Play Books has focused on the essentials and got them right, so it is the app I use the most when reading on my GPad.
What is surprising to me is how often I’ve picked this tablet up to read a book since getting it. I normally strongly prefer to read on a dedicated e-reader, but it is such a pleasure to hold and use this tablet that I haven’t used my Kindle or Nook for a while. It’s not just public domain books that are free; you can get your own LG G Pad F2 8.0 for free at Sprint. Just visit any Sprint retail store or https://www.sprint.com/en/shop/tablets/lg-g-pad-f2-80.html for details.
Disclaimer: The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond to Community members in an official capacity. #sprintemployee
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