It’s clearer than ever that tablets are the perfect digital comic book reading option. There’s also no doubt that subscription comics services like Comixology, Shonen Jump (Manga), DC Universe Infinite and Marvel Unlimited have made it easier than ever to read comic books digitally.
What’s less clear is what type of tablet or e-reader you should consider for your comics consumption. Do you invest in a sleek 10 inch tablet? What about a mini tablet to save a few dollars? Could you stick to a laptop, desktop or phone? And what about non-Apple or Android options like Kindle or Windows Surface?
What’s the best device for comic book reading?
It’s a tough question, and one I researched extensively for the original incarnation of this guide in 2013. Since that time, Comic Book Herald’s readers using tablets for comics have given a ton of feedback after going through the same purchase decision.
You’ll find all of those learnings and suggestions below. The answer to the right tablet for you will depend to some degree on your needs and liquidity (meaning both your access to cash and your ability to go full Hydro-Man at a moment’s notice). Nonetheless, I believe there’s a clear answer here to help you make an informed purchase.
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The Best Option: Full-Size, Fully Supported Tablets
The simplest answer is that popular Apple and Android 10 inch (or thereabouts) tablets will provide you with the best way to read comics digitally.
I’ve tested comics and manga on iPads since the iPad 2 and the full-size tablet has solved every digital comic book need I ever had. The resolution is amazing, the comics look great, and I could leave every issue in single page mode and read no problem.
The downside of Apple, of course, is that the typically excellent iPad features some prohibitive pricing. A newest gen iPad Air will give you consistent comics bliss, though. In tablets, as in life, you get what you pay for.
If you’re willing to step outside Apple’s playpen, Android offers a number of comparable reading options at more manageable starting prices. I wrote a lot in the 2013 guide about Marvel Unlimited problems with the Android operating system. As a functional MU addict this was a meaningful demerit. I’m happy to say that now the gap between iOS and Android Marvel Unlimited is significantly less concerning today.
This is true outside of MU as well. Android and iOS are well supported by the major digital comics players, meaning you can have a similar experience with Marvel Unlimited, Comixology, Hoopla, DC Universe Infinite and comic book reader apps across either operating system.
The Top Full Size Tablet Picks:
1) iPad Air – 10.9″ screen – 64GB
Again, it’s comparatively pricey, but you will undoubtedly enjoy reading your comics on the iPad. If you’re really focused on comic book reading and not all that worried about additional features, consider an older iPad model or even a certified refurbished model as a cost saving measure. Speaking from experience when I say John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad
reads just as well on a new iPad Air or a certified pre-owned iPad 2.
2) Samsung Galaxy Tab A – 10.4″ Screen – 32GB
Android’s iPad Air rival is another great comic book and manga reading option for those who lean Android OS. I’ve been using a Galaxy tablet for over a year now, and it’s just as reliable for all my comics subscription services as it is for PDF review copies from publishers.
The Tab had a lot of support from readers in our previous guides, including the below:
The Samsung Tab S is awesome for reading digital comics and Marvel Unlimited. It even comes with a free Marvel Unlimited subscription for 3 months.
Display is gorgeous, incredible for reading. Nicer than a LED screen.
10.5 inch screen and weight is 1 pound (465 grams). Super light and does not make it uncomfortable holding for long periods of time.
You can add a Micro SD card for extra storage. 128 gb card = reading forever.
32 GB Tab S is 50 bucks cheaper than 32 GB Ipad Air. So just from a comic book stand point, I feel it is the ultimate reader. ~ Jim-Jim
3) Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro – 12.2″ Screen – 64GB
If you want to go BIG, the Tab Pro is going to offer a screen that’s actually larger than your standard floppy comic. And while that price can definitely be intimidating, there are also frequently used or refurbished options that bring the Tab Pro down in more affordable price ranges.
Feedback from CBH readers on the Pro is similarly positive:
The Galaxy Tab Pro (with 12.1″ screen) is pretty awesome for comics. I use a combination of Unlimited (which,yes is a little buggy, but bearable for filling in caps), and the Comixology Marvel App (though I only buy the 99c comics). As well as the huge screen, it has a stylus which means I can eat my lunch and swipe the pages with my stylus (preventing a horrible dirty screen). ~ Michael D.
With the Galaxy Tab there’s also an 8.4″ screen option that will shave your price down. I’ll talk a bit about the pros and cons of a smaller screen in the next section, but in the meantime reader feedback says:
I was on the same dilemma than you guys. After using and not being 100% satisfied with a Galaxy Tab Plus 7 inch, then a Kindle Paperwhite and a Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, finally I found my perfect, but bit expensive device.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 is the perfect size and display to read comics and manga. I can easily read and collect mangas on the Manga Rock App. And on the same time read great american and european comics like The Worlds of Aldebaran.
Trust me I’m very perfectionist, and I finally can say that I love my comic/manga devices. ~ Butman
10 Inch Tablet vs. the 7 Inch Mini Tablet: Does Size Matter?
The biggest debate of all is whether to lay down your money on the full-size or mini tablet.
On average, a full size 10 inch tablet is going to cost at least $100 more than a 7 inch mini, and typically over $150 more. Given that potential savings, the temptation is to look very closely at the 7 inch tablet and consider if the screen size alone is worth nearly an extra $200.
Looking at the above screenshot, you can tell pretty clearly that the full size tablets are going to approach the standard comic book reading experience much more accurately. This should hardly be a surprise. There’s a reason I’m calling it a “mini” tablet after all. Of course it’s smaller, but for a reduced price, is it functional?
Pros of the Mini Tablet:
1) Convenient transportation – The 7 inch tablet offers a degree of portability that’s hard to beat. You can easily hold the device with just one hand while reading comics, the tablet is incredibly light, and you could even conceivably fit the device into a cargo pocket if needed.
While this might not be much of a plus if you’re just reading at home, if you’d like to bring your comics on your commute, the 7 inch is an easier carry-on.
2) Resolution – Comics look great on the Galaxy Tab E Lite, or similar quality mini tablet. Again, I can’t sit here and pretend they look better than the new iPad, but I really don’t notice a discernible difference. I have, in the past, sat and watched FX’s Wilfred on my Nexus 7 while sitting in front of the TV. And I’d do it again.
3) Savings – I covered this, but for many mini tablets are – at a minimum – $100 less than even cheaper full size options. For that price you could take advantage of a Comixology .99 cent sale and buy 100 comics. Just saying.
Cons of the Mini Tablet:
You’re not going to believe this, but it’s size related.
The major downside is that single-page reading on the 7 inch tablet is generally not very practical. You will need to zoom some, or if reading in Comixology, use panel-by-panel reading. This is a slightly different experience than just having the page in front of you and may take some getting used to. From the words of the people:
After having a Nexus 7 since the day it launched in 2012 i’ve read about 150 comics on it (mostly the entire series of Walking Dead). That fact alone shows that it possible and indeed quite enjoyable. There was a lot of zooming and switching from portrait to landscape however and whilst this never stopped me it was a detractor.
Following recent price drops I purchased a Nexus 10 and omg what a difference. Hands down the 10″ is better. Just finished reading 47 Ronin and just read a page at a time the way it’s meant to be. No zooming necessary. ~ Corum
Tablet & The Outsiders: Can You Read Comics on a Kindle & Windows Tablets?
What about some of the other players in the tablet space? I’ll do a quick run down of each and assess the advantages and disadvantages.
First, I’ll just say for a long time my favorite cheap, affordable option was the RCA Viking Pro. I like feeling frugal, what can I say. After years of inferior visuals and sluggish performance, though, I wouldn’t recommend it.
At this point, you can get a far superior Samsung or competitive known brand tablet for comparable price points, so for me, it’s recommended to avoid the super “cheap” options.
1) Amazon Kindle Fire – 10.1″ Screen – 32GB
I used a Kindle Fire 10 for the better part of 2019 and 2020, and until performance issues rendered it slower than Kyle Orton on a bootleg QB option, it was my preferred tablet for reading comics. My original caveats about Marvel Unlimited (and DC Universe) are less true now that I’ve finally cracked side-loading (I’m basically a hacker), and if you’re reading the likes of Comixology (Or Comixology Unlimited), Hoopla, CBR files, or anything within Amazon’s Kindle experience, the Kindle Fire is a quality value tablet.
To date the Kindle has never appropriately supported Marvel Unlimited. From the mouths of babes:
I have a Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ and a Marvel Unlimited subscription. To date, there isn’t a Kindle Fire version of the Marvel Unlimited App. So to use it you have to side-load the app. And your observations about it’s performance are pretty accurate. It needs a lot of work.
However, for as long as I’ve had my Fire, I’ve read my Marvel Unlimited comics directly from the Marvel.com website. I list of links in EverNote to facilitate locating the books I want to read. The link opens the Silk Browser right to the correct page. When you open a comic to read, it opens to fill the full screen unlike the app, navigation works great, and the comic looks beautiful. You can still pinch and stretch as you see fit. But since my tablet is an 8.9″, I seldom do so.
Thus, I’ve found the Kindle Fire to be great a tablet option, especially if you have a library of other Amazon content (like me). ~ Nic
3) Windows Surface –
Windows tablets worry me for the same reason the Kindle did originally – Marvel Unlimited compatibility. Just look at how long it’s taken Marvel Unlimited to get up to speed with Android devices (and even then, with plenty of bugs and support requests from both Android and iOS users).
You will be able to access Comixology in the Windows store, though. Personally this is a stay-away for me unless you have an absolute need for Microsoft.
Bonus Round – Phones For Reading Comics and Manga
While I will acknowledge there are frequently non comic book related reasons people purchase phones, my current smartphone is like 80% based on comic book accessibility.
The discussion around your phone of choice is very similar to the full-size vs. mini tablet discussion, although in this case we’re dealing with screens that are genuinely too small more often than not.
Or at least… that was traditionally the case. The latest gen iPhone and behemoths like the Samsung Galaxy Note are extremely reasonable comic book reading devices. If you don’t much mind the “is that an infinity gauntlet in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?” jokes because of your phones enormity, these are solid on-the-go selections.
Plus, too, it’s increasingly worth considering that vertical scrolling comics made famous on Webtoon, and now imitated with Marvel Unlimited’s “Infinity” comics, actually read better on a nice phone than a wider tablet. If the budget’s tight, there’s still a lot of great digital comics reading you can designed exclusively for your phone on Webtoon, Tapas, and the like.
If you’re using a platform with smart panel reading like Comixology or Marvel Unlimited, then smaller phones are very possible. I’ve read many a comic on my Samsung Galaxy IV, and before that on an even smaller iPhone 4.
Did I also decimate my vision by about half? Of course. It’s far from perfect.
Simply put, if you think you’ll be doing most of your digital comic book reading on a phone, I’d strongly consider the phablets. The size is close enough that you’re in mini tablet range with the full benefit of a phone.
Bonus Round 2.0 – UH… digital comics?
I’ll save a comprehensive analysis for another day, but a quick and dirty guide to getting you started with digital comics (for a total newbie).
Comixology – This is the biggest digital comics store on the market, and the cleanest reading software I’ve used. To save some money, keep an eye out for their frequent $0.99 sales on full series. I just got all forty plus issues of DC’s Hitman this way, and it’s been great.
Marvel Unlimited – I’ve got all sorts of things to say on Comic Book Herald about Marvel Unlimited. The gist is this: there’s no more affordable way to read through the Marvel Universe. You can give a one-month subscription a shot for just $10, or keep your eyes peeled for the occasional free month promotion (usually alongside a movie).
Digital Scans – If you’ve scanned or, ahem, otherwise somehow obtained cbr, cbz, or pdf files of comics (you could easily do this through the Image Comics store, or a pay-what-you-want digital first initiative like Private Eye), there are a wide array of 3rd party reader apps. This is a bigger discussion, but the readers I’m using currently are ComicRack and Komik (for my Dropbox quick additions).
Hoopla – Simply put, Hoopla is my new favorite digital comics app. Your subscription is dependent on whether or not your local library is included, but after that it’s totally free with a library card. Great selection of DC, Vertigo, Boom and Image books, among many many others.
With entrants like DC Universe now in the game, I’d also recommend checking out updates on CBH for digital readers!
You May Now Enjoy Your Comics on a Tablet
Hopefully you have a better idea of the type of tablet you’d like to purchase for copious amounts of comic book inhalation.
If this post helped you, I’d be grateful for your support by using the following link to head to Amazon to make your decision (affiliate link: Comic Book Herald may earn a commission on any purchases).
Or, share your findings in the comments below!
In what universe can you get a Samsung tablet for a comparable price to a Fire?
Richard Brandshaft says
I am familiar with computers and tablets, and am thinking about reading comics digitally. Since I’m just getting started, I don’t know elementary things everybody is assumed to know.
My eyes were bad when I was young, and old age has made it worse. I prefer to read books on e-readers (I use Nook and Kindle) so I can crank up the type size. The very basic question: do the reading apps allow zooming in?
If I go to digital comics, I am leaning to the 14″ Samsung Galaxy Tab, because of the type size issue. You didn’t cover that in your review. Just too expensive and clumsy for those with better eyes, or is there some other reason to avoid it?
Read Manga says
Wonderful and beautiful article about Manga
Larry Edwards says
After reading Comicmad.com for the past few months, I haven’t read comics for months. According to what I can tell, you can read nearly any comic you could think of on that site. It’s free and it works great on a Surface Pro.
Omar Rahoman says
I bought a Kindle Fire HD 10, and it’s been nearly perfect for comics.
When pages are in landscape and you rotate the tablet to accommodate, you still need to zoom in.
But other than that, full size reading works great.
And it’s a good price, $200 CAD.
Jim Belesky says
I recently got a deal on an Acer Aspire r14 convertible, not that I need a 14” screen to read comics, but it becomes a useful windows laptop (but 8.1, insert gagging emoji here). I once many years ago had used a Polaroid android from an XSCargo store, mostly Perfect Viewer, but was slow and progressively ran worse for downloaded cbr files. I really liked PV’s zoned screen taps, the current windows viewers I’ve tried use keyboard combos that remind of Bill Gates’ OS about 30 years back. I’m still searching, there’s gotta be one, for a comic reader that uses the screen. Maybe with Win10?
David Castano says
Surprised to see RCA Viking Pro mentioned here… wouldn’t have taken it for a reading tab, given that the display is not all that great. It is a good budget device overall – not sure how fitting it is for comics.
I have a question: What about eye fatigue?
I’m not a comics reader really, but my husband is and I’d love to be able to get him something to read them on. I’m firmly attached to my Kindle Paperwhite for my reading needs, but I know that it’s a bit rubbish for comics. However, personally I find lengthy reading off a regular tablet pretty exhausting, aching eyes, headaches etc.
Isn’t this a problem for comic reading apps?
I don’t have this issue with reading comics. I do get eye strain from reading ebooks on my tablet, but not comics. I think it has something to do with the fact that with ebooks most of the screen is white, which hurts the eyes after a while. But with comics, you have a lot of darker colors that are easier to look at for long periods of time.
That’s just my experience of course and everyone’s mileage will vary.
Hi! I would like to outsource some advice. I really really want the Ipas Pro 12.9 because of the sweet large screen for comics but with the price tag I am finding it very hard to justify it for myself. I know ipads in general have good screens. I like to read in whole page mode as opposed to panel by panel. Would I do just as well with one of the more moderately priced ipads even with a smaller screen or is the pro as worth it as it looks?
I’ve been using the Ipad pro 11 for comics since late 2018 and I couldn’t be happier. It’s the best comic book reading experience I’ve ever used. I use comixology, dc universe, and comic zeal (for image books). They’re all fantastic apps. The size is also perfect for me, no issues being able to read any text, and those horizontal splash pages look beautiful – the ipad pro seamlessly transitions to landscape mode in all apps. In aug 2019 the pros are at an all time low, I’d say buy one.
I think this article needs to be cleaned up a bit. They say the Samsung Galaxy Tab A for #2 spot but when describing the tablet they say Tab S which I agree currently that the Tab S5e’s Super Amoled display is MUCH BETTER than the Tab A 10.1 (2019) TFT screen.
• Tab A has a 10.1″ screen
• Tab S has a 10.5″ screen
Currently as of today (7/25/19)…..
• Tab A 10.1 (2019) is $229
• Tab S5e 10.5 (2019) is $399
……if you are in the military or a student, you can get up to 30% for these tablets on Samsungs website.
I will be getting the S5e, when it drops in price….some day.
I meant 30% ‘OFF’ BTW….
I just picked up the S5E as they were running a promotion for free bluetooth headphones here in the UK and overall its fantastic for comics. 10.5″ AMOLED screen with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 means comics (and pretty much any other media you throw at it) look incredible. Highly recommend it.
john doe says
Why not join the military right now?
Are you still using a Fire HD 10 to read comics? I have used all kinds of iPads and they just seem like overkill as I don’t really do much else with them. Was looking at the HD 10 as a possible option. Would you recommend it in 2019?
Yeah, I got my Fire HD 3-4 years ago, and it’s still my go-to reading device. Actually even more so this year now that I finally figured out how to easily get Marvel Unlimited and DC Universe on there 🙂 There are definitely some non-comics related Amazon quirks that are worth investigating (the fact that the tablet opens w/ Amz ads is a *huge* turnoff for some people I’ve spoken to), but for the price it’s been a positive experience on my end! Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s back to Immortal Hulk on my Fire!
Am I wrong, or is the Samsung Galaxy Tabpro a Windows Tablet? Is there a Unlimited and Comixology App for windows?
I’m still loving the deluxe sized iPad Pro.
And shout out to Chunky Comic Reader for iOS.
Gregory Edmand says
The Samsung Galaxy Tab E 9.7″ @ $200 (CDN) is a great comic platform!
Red Feral says
I own both a RCA Viking Pro and an Alco Pro12 (sister tablet to the RCA Pro12, same thing but twice the onboard storage, ie 64GB version) and I cannot recommend them more as comic readers, especially for those on a budget looking for a comic reader and not much else. I bought them specifically for this purpose because of their 16:10 resolution, the Viking Pro first and then the Pro12. At 12.2 inches and 1920×1200 resolution, the Pro12 offers a dramatic increase in pixel density over the Viking Pro and is almost exactly the same size as a standard modern comic book. On the Viking Pro I found myself zooming in to get the most out of the art fairly often but on the Pro12 I almost never do. The Pro12 is beautiful even before you consider the fact you can get one for between $100-200!!! Yeah, compared to the cutting edge RCA is sluggish (at best), but if you’re just trying to binge comics and your needs begin and end with sequential art: PRO12. PRO12. PRO12.
That being said the Viking Pro is easily rooted as opposed to the Pro12 and it’s not like my Viking Pro just sits now that I have a Pro12-due to the Viking Pro’s screen dims it makes a FANTASTIC manga reader and is way more portable than the Pro12. Another point of praise: both models support at least 128GB MicroSD’s and who knows how much the full size USB ports can read…pretty impressive given the minimalism of its design.
If there is a better budget comic reader out there I would love to know but otherwise, at less than $200 for both, these are the best I can find.
Danny Wilson says
Has anyone tried the new Ipad Pro 10.5 inch out for comic viewing/reading yet? I am chomping at the bit if it will allow good comic viewing
I’m sure it’ll be excellent. I use both a 12.9″ iPad Pro and a 9.7″ iPad Air 2, and they’re both great for comics. The new 10.5″ model of course is a little bit bigger, so even closer to full sized comic page.
The screens are crazy high quality too (they somehow keep improving them) and the form factor’s great. I don’t think you can possibly go wrong with an iPad for comics.
I’m reading The Exiles on my 9.7″ iPad with Marvel Unlimited at the moment! 😀 (Love that series…at least with Judd Winick writing…not sure how it holds up once he left.)
I can’t really comment on the screen size, but I just upgraded to the new 12.9 ” Pro from the previous generation version of the same model and the ProMotion 120 refresh rate makes the HD comics from ComiXology look even better than before, especially when you’re panning around the page. I’m guessing they will look great on the 10.5″ model as well.
I’m amazed how they keep making those screens better and better.
The first gen 12.9″ model’s screen is amazing, and that it’s even better now…
The Air 2’s screen is amazing, and the 9.7″ Pro successor is supposed to be better, and then the new 10.5″ better still.
I guess I have to make due with a fantastic screen instead of a fantastic, but even better screen, until I upgrade lol
I have the 12.9# iPad Pro and it’s glorious. My prime reasons for having it are comics and videos. The speed, resolution and color can’t be beat.
Personally I think a 15 inch screen would be too big for casually reading comics and my guess is the weight of the device will quickly become a factor. That being said, I’m sure the art will look amazing on a screen that size. I’ve never been a big fan of the 2-in-1 laptop/tablets myself because of the weight and size issue. I want my laptop to be a bad-ass laptop for work and I want my tablet to be a bad-ass light-weight tablet for consumption. I use both for very different things.
@All, In an update from my previous thread I wound up getting the Sony Xperia Z4 tablet and I feel like it was a great purchase. The screen is amazing and it’s incredibly light weight and I’ve read comics for hours without feeling any fatigue from holding the device. There seem to be a few minor bugs in the device including bluetooth and wifi not coming on unless you reboot it however this only happened within the first 2 weeks of ownership and I haven’t experienced those issues lately so perhaps they patched it.
I also purchased the Sony keyboard that attaches to the Xperia and I don’t think the keyboard adds much to the device and it is not convenient to use. However, it makes for a great stand and screen cover when you fold it up. If you can find a used one on eBay it might be worth the purchase but definitely don’t pay for a new one.
@Dave Thanks for the response! I can see what you’re saying about the heaviness of the pc. I think for me the reason why the 2-in-1 is an appeal is more financial than anything. I defintely can’t afford to get a good (iPad or Galaxy Tab) tablet in addition to a laptop, but I thought this might be a way for me to best utilize my tax refund. Perhaps I’d be better off trying to find a slightly less expensive laptop than I was looking for and getting a cheap ($100) tablet to go with it? I thinking on that still. But if you think the comics would look good on a 15 inch screen, I may be willing to compromise with the weight. I think not having to squint to read the text at all would be a welcome change to my comic book reading experience.
Hey so I am considering buying a 2-in-1 tablet to replace my run down Chromebook and the only reason I’m thinking about going for the hybrid over a traditional is to read comics in tablet. I know there are great windows programs for running Android apps seamlessly so I’m not worried about that, but do any of you have experience reading comics on a 15 inch screen? I’m worried that the images will be stretched and distorted, but I have no clue if the developers forsaw that issue and have solved it.
I wanted to update this thread with my experience using the Google Pixel C as a digital comic reader. Overall I would NOT recommend this tablet for reading comics. The back of the device is very slick and feels like it could easily slip from your fingers. Additionally there aren’t any TPU or other ideal cases/sleeves to address this.
The screen itself is beautiful and the aspect ratio is great for reading on the other hand. However I noticed that most digital comics aren’t optimized for 4:3 since i believe this is the only tablet that uses it.
I returned the Pixel C and am considering testing out the Sony Xperia Z4 tablet. If anyone has experience with that device I’d love to hear general impressions for using it as a digital comic reader.
Has anyone used the RCA Galileo Pro for comics?
It looks good but not sure.
Has anyone used the Google Pixel C as a tablet for reading graphic novels/comics? The aspect ratio alone leads me to believe it would be a superior reading experience. The only downsides I see are the weight (it’s a little over 1lb) and the lack of expandable memory.
Cary G says
So, I dug up this article because I’m looking to replace my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, which is slow as a dog and has just an OK display for reading comics. I was hoping to get away from Samsung, as I find their weird quirky implementation of Android to get on my nerves (TouchWiz bloat, reversing of the back and recent apps buttons, insisting on a physical home button, for example).
I would like a display that has a higher ppi and the ability to actually use the Play store, as I have at least a few apps purchased thru there. Still, when I look all I see is Samsung and Apple practically.When I look at cheap tablets they seem to have decent specs, except for the display, so I have to rule them out.
I will be reading from a library of PDF and CBR files, as well as some Kindle and Zinio content. I have a license to Comic Chameleon, too, from backing them on Kickstarter, but it doesn’t run too well on the old Galaxy.
Received this Dragon Touch X10 (https://amzn.com/B018AAL1PY) as a gift, but the 1366×768 display resolution makes me think it won’t look any better than my Samsung. I can still return it and I am looking for suggestions on something I can exchange it towards. Any thoughts?
Stephen J says
I’m in the exact same place as you were…looking for a 10″ tablet solely to read comics. I was going to go with the Lenovo Tab2 A10, until I read what Josh commented, above. Did you keep the Dragon Touch, or go with something else? Any revelations?
Gus Landt says
I’ve been thinking about picking up the new Ipad Pro 12.9″. Anyone here have that? The cost isn’t really a concern, I just want the best experience, and it seems like this GIANT iPad would be ideal.
Yeah! I bought a 12.9″ iPad Pro almost entirely because of Marvel Unlimited.
I *think* that the Marvel Unlimited “app” doesn’t support the actual resolution natively (although it might now, as it’s been updated several times recently) but even upscaled from the “lower” resolution of the 9.7″ iPads it really looks fantastic.
IMO smaller than 9.7 is just WAY too small, and even 9.7 isn’t as big as a typical normal comic or graphic novel, and sometimes requires squinting. I love that the iPad Pro handles pages full size and is no compromise, no having to scroll around, zoom in, etc. (Well, I guess too page spreads you might still end up having to tip it sideways or whatnot, but other than that…)
It’s very comfortable and well done for the size too. It doesn’t really feel that much different to hold than my iPad 2 does, and it’s only slightly heavier than my iPad 2, which was already light for the time.
I’d have gotten a Surface Pro 4 if it had a Marvel Unlimited ‘app’, but the iPad Pro 12.9 is probably pretty easily the best ever eReader for comics (and close to it for regular books, although I like non-backlit eInk for that).
Gus Landt says
Thank you so much for the reply! What is your preferred app for reading comics on the iPad Pro 12.9 outside of Marvel Unlimited? (assuming you download issues from elsewhere and read them with a cbr reader?)
Try using Chunky Reader for drm-free comics on the iPad. It’s optimized for the 12.9 iPad Pro, allows you to download from cloud services (I have 36 GBs of comics saved to OneDrive and it works great with that), and offers great reading options related to zooming and the handling of two-page spreads.
I bought a Samsung Tab S2 last year on release and have no complaints. I use Perfect Viewer.
Hey Dave, was looking at this guide and poked at the RCA Viking. Amazon actually has it for $90 instead of $120 as long as you’re okay with black instead of blue. Darn good deal… my Nook HD+ is still chugging along passably for comics though 🙂
I was about to pick up the cheapest model Fire tablet for comics, but after reading this decided to get the RCA Viking, and it’s great. Thanks for the recommendation, I’m really enjoying it.
Any suggestions for someone that wants to get a tablet to mostly/exclusively read comics, has over 8GB of comics (in CBR/CBZ format) already on their PC and would like to just transfer them and a reader program (currently use ComicRack) to the tablet? Also need to do it for fairly cheap since its really just for comics. Thanks 🙂
The best bang for your buck I’ve seen is the RCA 10″ Viking Pro, and the Nook HD+ 10″. Both will run you about $100. I use the Nook for ComicRack files and have had zero problems. The tablet itself is far from glorious, but it gets me my comics, and for that I love it.
Cool thanks. I dont need anything fancy, just something for comics so I’ll check both of those out.
As of tonight, my tried and true Nook HD+ that I’ve used since early 2013 is no longer compatible with the latest version of Marvel Unlimited, according to the Google Play Store.
My install became corrupt and non-functional, deleted and went to re-install….and now I’ve got 10 months of subscription left I may not be able to use.
Going to try rooting it, but I’d no longer recommend it as a go-to. Rooting the tablet seems easier than trying to side-load.
It was the perfect tablet for the job – no camera, slow processor, but great screen. Everything else that looked as good was twice the price.
Kind of annoying.
That sucks to hear. For what it’s worth, I have a Nook HD + running Cyanogenmod and Marvel Unlimited still runs great, and it improved my Nook’s overall performance as well (though just to be safe I disabled the app’s auto-updates for the time being). Alternately, you could look for an older apk online and sideload it, your subscription should still work with it.
I decided to grab the cheapest legitimate Google Play Store 10″ or larger tablet I could find, and I’m actually pretty happy with my RCA Viking Pro, which Walmart sells for only $79.99 online. It doesn’t have a great processor, and the camera is terrible, but it runs Lollipop, has 32gb built-in storage and an SD slot, comes with a keyboard (!) and works great as a delivery service for the Marvel Unlimited app. I bought black, but you can get one in purple (Killgrave edition)!
I have found a few tablets that I wanna get for comics, and books, but I have to narrow it down. My options are
●Fire hd 8″
●Galaxy tab 4 7″
●Kindle fire hd 8.9″ (2nd gen)
●Lenovo tab 2 10″
●Lenovo yoga tab 3 10″
Those are my main options and are all under $200 if anybody has any ideas or comments that be great.
Well avoid anything by Lenovo, as they’re tied to the Chinese government, and so far have been caught three times preinstalling malware on their systems, and I seriously doubt that’s the extent of it.
The only one of those that might still be getting updates, so actually safe to use like for web browsing is the Nexus 7, though they’re really small for reading.
Sorry, I just saw this. I don’t read in the dark very often, so not sure.
However I did go back to using an iPad. Not because of a particular problem with the Surface, but the website. I found that website goes down several times a week, but during this time the App still functions.
How did you use the website? I finally subscribed to Marvel Unlimited a while back during a sale, and while I’m very happy with the price, selection, and how it works to actually read a book, everything else around that seems HORRIBLE.
Like I started in 1988 and decided to just read everything going forward from there. I can’t find any way to do that from the website at all. From the iOS program it’s clunky, but at least you can sort that way.
I’m also amazed that it doesn’t indicate what you’ve already read…I’d expected it to do something like Amazon Prime or Hulu or whatever, but I just have to remember where I was. Even the process of downloading books to read offline seems super clunky. Like I have to add them to my library or whatever, then click download, which is a bit slow (possibly partially because my iPad 2 is slow by todays standards), and then when I’m done, to delete them I have to be online, and have to delete them both from the downloaded section, AND the library section.
I feel like I must be missing something, that the website must work way better than it does. I want this to work better so badly, given it lets me actually afford to read as much as I’d like!
New to comics here, only been reading them for a couple of months when Facebook popped up a 1 cent deal for Marvel Unlimited. I use a Surface 3 (not pro) and read Marvel Unlimited all the time on it (My wife is so thrilled).
For me it runs great. Only frustration I have is that on occasion a comic will stop recognizing that I am tapping in the center to turn off the tool bars. A simple refresh of the page resolves that.
I’ve read a few DC comics in the Windows Comixology app, and while the reading is fine the organization of the library is horrible. Saw that Comixology is getting rid of their windows up and has upgraded the web page, and that is much better.
So personally I find that the Surface provides a pretty decent reading experience.
Thanks for sharing that Leonis! You’re using the web sites to read, right?
I really want a Surface, and I’ve had horrible luck with that Lightning connector (my old 30-pin connector on the old iPad I use works fine!) buuuut I just love the idea of an explicit “app” for this stuff :-/ Wish they’d get their act together and do a Windows app!
I saw a 32GB iPad Air 2 on sale today for $524 I think it was (actually about the same price I can get the 128GB/4GB Surface 3 for!), and that has me wondering, is the extra $400+ for an extra 3″ REALLY worth it? I’m just not even 100% sure what screen size I’d like best. When I play with it in the store, the 12″ Surface Pro seems fantastic. It doesn’t SEEM big even though it’s over 2″ bigger than my iPad, but adding on another inch on top of that, I’m just not sure.
Oh well, I’m finishing off some Transformers graphic novels on my iPad 2 that I bought last year, and then may finally play with Marvel Unlimited!
Sorry, I completely forgot to ask you… if you read in the dark or in dim light, does the Surface 3 get dim enough for you? Most tablets I’ve used don’t, but the iPad line does a pretty good job. That is one thing I really like about it, and I’m not sure how the Surface 3 compares.
Regarding the iPad 2, it is worse than the newer models in that it has 1/4 the resolution. I wouldn’t actually call it LOW resolution as some people try to, and in fact for EVERYTHING except reading books/comics I think the resolution is just fine, but since I hold it close to my face while reading, I could do with 8x the resolution, if not higher, as I can still see pixels even on the newer iPads.
Regarding the Air 2 vs. Air, I don’t know, maybe the Air will run today’s comics programs just as well as the Air 2, but the Air 2 is well worth the extra money. Considerably more powerful, and beyond that it’s got 2GB of RAM rather than only 1GB, which is a huge deal, and lets it do multitasking in iOS 9.
I’m super curious how well stuff reads/will read on 12″ and larger tablets. 9.7″ is still too small IMO. I’d love to see how the 12″ Surface Pro 3 handles stuff, as well as the upcoming Surface Pro 4 and 12.9″ iPad Pro. I almost wonder if the iPad Pro will be TOO big, like finally actually bigger than a comic…I’m not sure, but the 9.7″ screens are very noticeably smaller/compressed. (No way is it pleasant to me to read on a smaller screen still!)
The Surface line is awesome, BUT like the article mentioned, no native Marvel Unlimited yet. Obviously it’ll work through a web browser though, although I don’t know how great that experience is (I played with it on a Surface 1 (which is 10.x”) and it didn’t seem bad, but still I’d rather have a native ‘app’ and I hope that’s coming.
One big advantage iOS seems to have over everything else-you can dial the brightness in reading programs down below the minimum. I think it does that through contrast tricks (not sure) but either way the iPad can get much darker than any Android tablet, and I think than the Surface line too. That doesn’t matter during the day, but at night the minimum brightness on a lot of devices (especially the Nexus I have) is WAY too bright IMO.
Managing physical files on a Surface is easy…on an iPad (or anything else) it’s a giant pain. Other than that though, right now the iPad Pro is I’d guess the best ereader available, though I’m super curious to try a Surface Pro 4, and even a Surface 3.
Anyway this site is awesome, all kinds of actually useful info about all this stuff!
Excellent feedback, and glad you dig the site!
I’ve been interested more in the Surface lately, but that MU compatibility is just so big. It’s the way I read most comics, by far.
Interesting thoughts on the 9.7″ screen actually feeling too small. I’ve been thinking more and more that the 12″+ is worth it.
The Nook’s limitations are starting to get to me. The thrill of value only goes so far 🙂
I’m super duper new to comics -we’re talking months here- and I’ve been reading on Comicmad.com. As far as I can tell you can pretty much read any comic you could think of on that site. It’s free and it works great on a Surface pro.
Welcome to the wonderful world of comics 🙂
I hadn’t heard of that site, and upon first glance it appears to work pretty smoothly.
That said, I’d be pretty shocked if it doesn’t get shut down in the near future. Odds are they don’t have the licenses to just give away all those comics like that (especially DC and Vertigo titles that aren’t available really anywhere but Comixology).
Long story short, enjoy it while it lasts! I’d encourage you to check out Marvel Unlimited, or Comixology for more sustainable/legal options.
I was thinking about purchasing the Galaxy Tab 4. Does anyone know how comics fare on this? Please and thank-you.
So no Kobo Arc (7, 7HD or 10) in this list? Did you try it or is not good? I am about to buy one online, but the page is crashing all the time, so out of patience I decided to check other options and came up here. Good list by the way.
So what do you think of the Kobo Arc? I might just wait a bit… 🙂
Just a quick note about the Nook HD+. I bought one maybe a year back basically just for reading Marvel Unlimited, and I liked it a lot, but it had issues. It was buggy and sluggish, and while the screen was fantastic, it forced borders on Marvel Unlimited, so it was never truly fullscreen.
Because of this – I cannot stress this enough – the best thing you can do is install Cyanogenmod. The hardware is a little dated, but installing a stripped-down version of Android basically solved every problem. The sluggishness is gone, it’s far more customizable, and the best part is that Marvel runs MUCH smoother – and in fullscreen.
This is a great tip! May have to try this weekend, thanks for the share.
I have a Nook HD+ and use it to ready Marvel Unlimited on a daily basis. The biggest problem for me is that sometimes the app would get very sluggish and a simple shutdown wouldn’t solve. So, I’d simply uninstall/reinstall MU and keep reading.
That was until last week when I tried that trick and the newest version in Google Play is not compatible to Nook!
After doing some research, I also opted for the Cyanogenmod option, but instead of overwriting the Nook OS, I ordered a pre-installed SD card from Amazon for about 20 bucks. You pop in the card and the tablet boots up like an Android tablet.
It’s still a little slow compared to the ipad (we have a “family” ipad, which is much better to read on, but my wife will kill me if I hog the ipad reading comics), but it’s a simple option for folks who aren’t that techy but want to update the Marvel Unlimited app to its most current version.
I used the Android for Nook SD card and have had no problems. Using it for well over a week.
I have the tab s 10.5. The amoled screen is amazing. I used to use my ipad air. But more than the amoled screen, which truthfully can’t be called superior to the ipads amazing lcd (they are different and it seems to be a matter of taste). What seals the deal is the 16:10 screen ratio which is much closer to an actual comic than the ipads 4:3 screen.
Ryan, Ontario says
Since I know a lot of people are looking for tabs on the cheap. I Ordered a Yuntab 10.1 inch off Amazon it’s android and has Google play services which should allow all comic reading apps(I use challenger it’s great:p). The best thing is that it only cost me 89$$$ defiantly keeps up with the big dog tablets. Also has a card reader to make it 32gb bigger.
That’s a darn steal!
I’ve been thinking of getting one myself. Any major issues to report?
I bought a 32GB Kindle Fire HDX 8.9” last year because Amazon had a flash sale. For reading comics, I think it fantastic. It is much lighter than some older iPad my wife has and the screen is on par with everything else IMHO. The screen is a little smaller but itis the trade off for lighter weight.
Marvel Unlimited has not been a problem when side loaded. It’s been updated several times and the only problem I’ve really had with it is downloading to read offline. Sometimes it requires me to sign in to allow me to access the downloaded issues. My work-around has been to tether my phone very quickly to allow me access. This does not happen ever time.
For the money I spent, I’ve been very happy with the Kindle Fire and hope to keep it for several more years. It doesn’t have all the apps that an iPad does, but I can read comics, browse the web, and watch movies.
Nice, thanks for the feedback. Offline reading is an MU issue on Android and iOS as well.