Chunky & Other Comic Readers - 2015

Discussion in 'iPad Forum' started by Theydon Bois, Jul 6, 2015.

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  1. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Going to do what I can to catch up with renewing the readers while checking others I may have missed. This is a new thread, continuing and updating reviews from previous versions that were reviewed here:

    Comic Zeal & Other comic readers | AVForums

    Forgive the few placeholder posts as I manage this thread, my intentions on getting reviews done are good, even if my timekeeping is not :)


    CBR/CBZ Readers Reviewed

    I will make sure I review any reader again after any major updates and note it below. Reviews are in review date order, and if updated, the older review is removed so not to confuse things.

    Comic Zeal - July 2015
    Chunky




    Store Readers Reviewed

    Amazon Kindle - July 2015
    Comixology
    Marvel
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2015
  2. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Comics for Comic readers (not store fronts like Marvel or DC) can come from your own scans, or from ones that are abandoned and can be picked up from ebay.

    I would steer clear of any Marvel or DC ones, they are likely to be copyrighted.

    comics_ebay.jpg

    Buying comics from the Image store also give you cbz versions in a DRM free fashion, and also, watch Humble Bundles - they have comics added monthly - anything from Image Graphic Novels to Doctor Who or Transformer comics.

    comics_humble.jpg

    You can also buy Graphic Novels from Amazon as well - but please check my review before you spend any money there.

    comics_amazon.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2015
  3. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Comic Zeal
    V 8.x [July 2015]

    Price: £3.99 [The price has flucuated as it has been £4.99 and also down to £2.99 during the apps lifetime]

    Website: http://www.bitolithic.com/comic-zeal

    Formats: A Mixed lot of CBR's and CBZ's tested.

    Retina Support: Yes.

    Dropbox Support: Yes

    Manga Mode: Yes.

    Importing

    There are various methods including iCloud or connecting as usual via iTunes. You can also directly add comics via a web interface.

    To drag and drop the comics from your PC to the iPad, click the cloud icon in any view mode (list or thumbnail) and swipe the button to activate. Then browse to the IP address of the iPad (or xxxxxxx.local name) on your PC and drag and drop the item. A test 100mb CBR file added quite quickly, and once the app was opened imported quickly as well.

    [​IMG]

    The app has inbuilt Dropbox support, which again is accessed via the cloud icon, and can be linked to your Dropbox account. It downloads the comic and then there is a brief import before it shows up. It does seem to not work with larger files (90mb+) currently, but I am experimenting more with it.

    Interface and Organisation

    The app opens with the comics being automatically imported into comic boxes with the name of the series (based on the comic title). This process normally takes a few seconds per comic, and once complete shows a stack of comics with a comic box front to show the series. Once the import process is all finished, you are shown your comics in the form of comic boxes, each of them showing the title, and an image taken from the first comic in the stack.

    Dividers and folder options: If you tap the 'i' next to the comic box (in list or grid view) you can sort the contents (numerically) if you have got them out of order during the import process, as well as other options as shown.

    [​IMG]

    Dividers help keep the folder within folder ability clean, I have mocked up some dividers and folders shown below to give you an example of how they can be used, helpful if you want to collapse (click on the divider to minimise that dividers contents) a huge amount of mini series to make things neater.

    This looks to be much improved on previous versions and can keep tidy 1000's of comics by Publishing House or even simple A-F, G-M etc... a tap on the divider expands the collection of boxes.

    [​IMG]

    There is also a search option available - so you can search comics if you have references in other folders for instance. You can also search by tag - to create a tag, select the tag item at the bottom then tag your comics from the 'i' menu. This way you can add 'Civil War' or 'Daredevil Crossover'. Then just select the relevant tag from the list then touch anywhere on the screen and it will show all the tagged items relevant to your search.

    If for any reason your comics are not automatically imported into a series, you can create your own. Select List view, then on the little arrow slider to the right, tap that and select New Series. You can then name your 'box' and then import and move around comics as you wish.

    The tab also allows 'zero space' copies, effectively a short cut to the comic rather than having two copies of the same thing in two different folders. This means that story arcs covering multiple series (Civil War, Dark Reign etc) can be duplicated as you want without duplicating the space the comic takes up.

    Viewing Experience

    Clicking a comic box will open up to reveal your contained issues, and selecting a comic opens it up as you would expect.

    [​IMG]

    Before you do anything though, I recommend you tap the small arrow in the bottom right hand corner and then the little cog to bring up the settings menu. Here, select [Assisted Panning] and make sure it is on.

    [​IMG]

    Page turning is done by tapping the very edge of the page, and you can double tap to zoom. With the pan assist mode on, you can zoom out and the comic will simply move to the next part of the comic (logically following left to right and moving down) just by touching the edge, meaning no need to manually move the comic around with your finger.

    You can double tap to zoom in or out, and also pinch zoom as required. Most importantly, your custom zoom mode can be locked in place if held for a few seconds - a padlock appears to confirm this.

    The reading of a comic is as you would expect, the image does not float about, and scrolling down the page either manually or through pan assist does not accidentally flick you to the next page, and the page transitions from top to bottom of the first page back to top of the next page as it should.

    You can browse through the comic pages by simply bringing up the menu and sliding along the bar. There is no visual representation of the pages to select one however as in some readers.

    Turning the iPad to landscape automatically switches to fit to width but sadly there are no specific landscape mode settings and there are no two page spread options.

    The rest of the settings include a lock, a button to take you back to the main menu and forward and backward buttons.

    As you hit the end of a comic, the next page turn will automatically take you to the next comic in the series.

    Manga settings are available, as new comics can be imported as Manga, or you can set individual comics or entire folders to be read in reverse. I have no Manga scans that I can test however, so would welcome any input that can be added to elaborate further. I will add that Pan Assist mode works with Manga, reversing the flow of the comic.

    Menu Bar Options: [Tags] You can create custom tags to apply to individual comics. Tap the Tag button on the menu bar, and then add your various tags (Civil War for example, or guest appearances of Daredevil perhaps) then while in list mode, press and hold a comic and apply a tag from the menu. You can search by tag as one of the search options.

    Theydon's Thoughts

    I led with this comment in my first review of the App, and its still relevant now, even though some lucky people have 128Gb iPads so it still stands. The zero space copy option seems to be a brilliant idea on paper, I cant think of a reason that I personally would use it. Using the excellent Civil War as an example, with this I could scan a load of Wolverine or Spiderman comics, and then list them under Spiderman or Wolverine comic boxes as well as the Civil War comic box without taking extra room.

    Now this sounds very good indeed, so why would I not use it? Well, there is simply not enough room on an iPad for a start. If I did own and scan 500+ Spiderman comics and a couple of hundred Wolverine comics plus ALL the other series that Civil War is made up from AND had them listed in comic boxes within Zeal, I would need a bloody lot more room than an iPad currently can hold even if Civil Wars (100+ comics) took up no room at all. Also, doesnt the tag option work in the same way? Tag it all Civil war then search by tag to show all the comics while leaving them all correctly sorted.

    There are still some small annoyances or inconstancies as well. Why do I have to be in List mode to tag something, when you allow me to delete a comic in grid mode? It may have been better to keep Grid mode as the default view for your collection, and only use List mode to edit/manage collections rather than have some commands that are the same and others not.

    Progress bar. Why? The app used to have a bag with the word finished across it - far more comic like. The progress bar just feels.....clinical.

    The dividers and boxes are brilliant, but the way to do this still harks back to the notepad app from the same designer, idented swipes rather than the iOS drag and drop or just simple select and move.

    Advancing through a very large comic can be a chore with no page number or thumbnail. While its true that hardly anyone will likely try and find page 34 of a 400 page graphic novel scan multiple times, if you are the minority that does, you will find it annoying.

    2 page view. Zeal still does not have one. My views on this being important have waned a little to be fair - yes its brilliant for a cover page spread and those apps clever enough to stitch the pages together to do it deserve any extra credit, but how many people actually use it?

    Dropbox support needs some more investigation as it does not work with 90+mb files.

    Tap to showing reading panel - This used to be a setting and I cant find its equivalent, and now if you are just over the 1cm? left or right edge, it brings up the menu. This needs to be added back, or the very least make the screen into thirds so only the middle third activates the menu.

    I have been overly critical in my summary simply because its still one of my favourite readers. Pan assist mode, the auto collation of comics into folders, a good reading engine, folder within folder options, excellent presentation of my comics (in Grid mode) import via web rather than connecting to iTunes, dropbox support and the ability to custom zoom and retain this setting across pages makes it more or less exactly what I want to read my scans.

    [Still] Thoroughly recommended.



    This review is my own personal opinion, and reviewed on a non jailbroken Retina iPad running the latest OS, and I use a Macbook Pro running Yosamite for iTunes. In most cases where I already had used the app prior to a review, the app is deleted and re-installed. I also have an original iPad, so no retina tests can be done, I am merely pointing out if available. I will endeavour to review and amend any apps that receive updates and happy to receive any differing opinions, as well as features I may have missed.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015
  4. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Dropbox and Tag search corrections/amendments made.
     
  5. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Kindle App - I will save you all time and effort by saying now its utter rubbish, but its my next app to review so will be done in the next week.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
  6. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Kindle App

    Price: Free

    Website: Amazon

    Formats: Propriatry

    Importing

    Solely through your Amazon account.

    [​IMG]

    Interface and Organisation

    The inferface is basic, a list of books that you can sort into collections or simply show the items that are just on your device rather than your entire Kindle library. Settings that are related to your account only.

    Viewing Experience

    Dire is the word I would use. A pinch to zoom that is lost on page turn, and also makes the comic very floaty. No landscape mode. Double tap to zoom a panel, but only in confines with the insanely wide border. Pretty sure the comics are not HD either.

    [​IMG]

    The double tap to zoom does allow you to flick through the page, its very clunky though. Its not Comixology's guided view of one panel per page, but greys out the rest while zooming another section.

    [​IMG]

    Theydon's Thoughts

    Just rubbish. Pick some random japanese reader app that forces you to read your comics backwards and upside down and that will be far better. And dont give me that 'its an app for books' - dont sell graphic novels then. Or have a Kindle Comic iPad app instead. Also, the 'its for Kindles' doesnt wash either as at least on the Kindle the zoomed panel fits the page and nothing else is shown, the fact thats its a wash out with greyscale that makes the comics unreadable is immaterial. Perhaps the Fire may fare better, who knows. Lastly, despite owning Comixology, there is no account sync between them which may have been a redeeming feature.

    To add some constructive critism, an iPad comic reader has to have the following basic requirements. Retaining zoom over pages, Landscape mode, comics that dont look blurry or very hard to read at any zoom level.......then add bells and whistles.

    To sell GNs and have none of that is just very poor indeed. "Kindle Graphic Novel" as a search in Amazon shows 67,000+ results (even ignoring 'Worlds Skankiest Ho's') - If you have that many, then at least make some effort.....

    I normally read a good few comics over the course of a review on that app. For this I read 20? pages at most of the Suicide Squad Graphic Novel - it was that bad. Avoid.

    This review is my own personal opinion, and reviewed on a non jailbroken Retina iPad running the latest OS, and I use a Macbook Pro running Yosamite for iTunes. In most cases where I already had used the app prior to a review, the app is deleted and re-installed. I also have an original iPad, so no retina tests can be done, I am merely pointing out if available. I will endeavour to review and amend any apps that receive updates and happy to receive any differing opinions, as well as features I may have missed.
     
  7. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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  8. Flashy

    Flashy
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    Thanks. Looked at it a few days ago and thought about it, then stopped myself because a) I've got plenty of real, paper things unread and b) I've not made it through the Doctor Who Humble Bundle from ages and ages ago. Wish I'd got the Transformers one, though, looking back.
     
  9. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Apparently its Batman day, so loads (all?) Batman is reduced. Lots of cheap Graphic novels as well. I hate Comixology for what they have done to the app, but I wanted Batman Eternals (but heard it was not worth the HUGE price tag the GN has £29.99each!) - they are £2.50ea.

    I swallowed my vitriol, and snapped them up. I still wont use Comixology though, they are loaded up in the DC app to read.
     
  10. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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  11. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    The 12 days of Christmas all seems to be Star Wars related. There was lots of SW related GNs yesterday......and again I swalled my vitrol regarding Comixology and bought The classic Dark Empire Trilogy and the Timothy Zahn Trilogy for £2.49ea rather than £17ea.

    Reading them in the Marvel app though!
     
  12. Garioch

    Garioch
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    Hi Theydon. Thanks for your input on this. I was just searching for whether Comixology would recognise any Amazon purchased GNs (and vice versa) but from your review, you've identified that there is no sync between the two accounts (pity).

    I noticed that Amazon is selling The Killing Joke cheaper than Comixology directly (and it does mention "for comixology" on Amazon) but I am sceptical whether it will show on my Comixology account (and just remain on Kindle only).
     
  13. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    I will check this later mate, as I think I read something about a link between the two recently.

    A quick google revealed this:

    Why should I merge my Amazon and comiXol...
     
  14. Garioch

    Garioch
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    Nice one thanks - it looks like I should be safe to purchase the (cheaper) Killing Joke on Amazon Kindle / Comixology then. Ta.
     
  15. Flashy

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    Last edited: May 14, 2016

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