Simple Comic Viewer (for Android) review

The free Simple Comic Viewer has the potential to be a very respectable Android digital comics reader, but performance issues mar the reading experience.
Photo of Simple Comic Viewer (for Android)

If you own digital comics from Image (the first major comic book publisher to release titles in a DRM-free format) or numerous indie creators, you aren’t locked into reading the titles on your personal computer. Simple Comic Viewer, like Perfect Viewer and other non-Comixology Android digital comic book readers in the Google Play marketplace, lets you fire up comics in variety of file formats including CBR, CBZ, JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP, RAR, and ZIP. Simple Comic Viewer also sports sharing, bookmarking, and page navigation features that would, on paper, make it a very solid app, but performance issues keep it from being considered one of the best Android comic book readers.

Your digital comics are stored on a virtual shelf. Tapping a book opens it—but with significant delay. It took nearly 20 seconds for Simple Comic Viewer to open Matt Fraction’s Satellite Sam #1 on my Samsung Galaxy Note II. The same comic opened in Komik Reader near-instantaneously. The long load times make it a bit frustrating to brush up on favorite titles while standing in line at the post office or supermarket.

Unfortunately, Simple Comic Viewer also suffers from clunky navigation. Although Simple Comic Reader renders the pages in satisfactory fashion, moving between pages can be a pain. Simple Comic Viewer, you see, sometimes recognizes an input seconds after it occurred—a huge no-no that’s incredibly frustrating. It also lacks a panel-to-panel Comic View-like flow that’s more conducive to small-screen reading, but that’s a much smaller offense as you can pinch and zoom to compensate.

You have a handful of useful options available once a digital comic is ready for consumption. You can change how the comic’s presented (Fit Height, Fit Width, Fit Screen), alter the read order (Left-to-Right, Right-to-Left), or jump to a particular page by inputting a page number (Goto). Simple Comic Viewer’s Goto feature doesn’t let you truly scrub pages as you can with Perfect Viewer (you don’t get page previews), but if you can remember which events took place on a specific page, it can prove useful. A Share button lets you share a page screen capture to a variety of destinations such as Google Drive or Twitter.

Simple Comic Viewer could’ve been a fine, but basic, Android digital comic book reader, but the app’s flaky performance keeps it from being one that comes highly recommended. If you want a slick, featured-packed Android comic book reader that’s compatible with DRM-free files, Perfect Viewer is an excellent app. Pass on Simple Comic Viewer until the company works out performance issues. 

Specifications
Type Personal

Verdict
The free Simple Comic Viewer has the potential to be a very respectable Android digital comics reader, but performance issues mar the reading experience.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc