Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ipad2 app Review: IAnnotate PDF vs PDF Expert


PDF Expert for iPhone



The ipad is a perfect tool to review some documents offline or on travel.

I am personally dumping some pdf docs (if not in pdf already, I have to change their format, this is still a pain) in a dropbox directory and on best effort, I review and annotate them on my Ipad.

Browsing the Internet, I found 2 apps that seems to be leader in this category: IAnnotate and PDF Expert. I had some difficulty to choose between them as looking on forums, I couldn’t find enough info.

First of all they are both extremely expensive without any trial period. I spent 10$ for each app and was not happy about that.

I wanted an application that support multiple format, not only pdf. PDF expert here as a slight advantage as it can read other format (doc, txt file at least). But what is the point if you cannot modify it? There are better document viewer on ipad anyway. Iannotate claims some multi-format document but it is clearly not working today.

Both app are not very intuitive (took me half an hour to understand how to Undo or delete my annotation on both app).

In fact, there is no good “undo” function on any of those apps. But I didn’t find it that important as the delete function is working well (The way to do it is to select the change (by tapping it) and then select delete).

IAnnotate advantage:
- More flexible and more features
- Not possible to move notes in PDF expert. This is annoying as the notes are never on the correct place.
- On iAnnotate it is possible to create a text file with all the review/change. This is very useful as the owner of the document doesn't have to search the full doc to see where the modification are. 

PDF Expert advantage:
- Dropbox syncup is easier than on IAnnotate. For example we can sync up a full folder with one button. We need to do it file by file on IAnnotate.
- UI is nicer and cleaner than on IAnnotate

Conclusion: IAnnotate is a clear winner so far. Better UI does not match better Features at this point.


  1. You got it all wrong Olivier, the killer app to read any kind of doc from Dropbox on IPAD is GoodReader !

  2. MArc, this is not a post about reading but about updating PDF. GoodReader is nice though. I am also using a lot Upad lately.

  3. I recommend PDF Expert for its clean, intuitive interface. It provides a simple learning curve to annotate, whiteout text and easily fill in text on PDF's. It does so much more, but this is exactly what I was trying to find in a "PDF" App. It provides one more compelling reason to get more work done on my iPad, without lugging my company laptop around. Actually, there is a very simple Undo AND Redo available in PDF Expert. If you work with Dropbox, you can sync files, open files and keep them updated very easily. I never post comments, but this App is awesome! It's nice to cut the cord to my laptop...(at least more often).