YACReader (for iPad) review

YACReader may not have an integrated store, but it's a slick, multi-format digital comic reader that's worth the purchase.
Photo of YACReader (for iPad)

Does the iPad need yet another comic reader? The answer is a resounding “yes.” The $1.99 YACReader (which literally stands for Yet Another Comic Reader) is a feature-packed iPad app that’s one of the best dedicated mobile comic readers on the market. YACReader lacks an integrated store like the Comics or Dark Horse Comics apps, but the app supports numerous comic-friendly file formats, import methods, and reading styles. If you fancy yourself a digital comic book enthusiast, YACReader is well worth the purchase.

The Splash Page
YACReader is an open comic-book reader that supports DRM-free CBR, CBZ, PDF, RAR, and ZIP files, which makes it a solid app for reading indie efforts and Image Comics’ new DRM-less catalog. You’ll need to download the Comics or Marvel Comics app if you want to read the latest Hawkeye issue, however.

Like ComicRack, YACReader has a desktop client (available for Linux, Mac, and Windows) that lets you read, manage, and transfer comics to the iPad app. That said, you can also transfer comics using iTunes (both wired and wirelessly) or Dropbox which is important, as YACReader lacks an integrated store like Comics. YACReader also lacks ComicRack’s awesome Smart Lists, but you can create folders and sub-folders. I prefer ComicRack’s Smart Lists as they automatically sorted new library additions into categories that I pre-defined, but ComicRack requires a computer to do so; I created YACReader folders on the fly without the need for a Mac or PC.

Moving digital comics into folders is simple. Swiping a comic entry from right to left selects a file so that you may copy it; when you create or open a folder, the paste option becomes available. I created a series of folders and sub-folders within a few minutes time. The entire management system works remarkably well.

Turning the Pages
Your collection lives in the My Comics section, which you can customize with three eye-catching layouts. Comic fans with deep libraries will like the option to view comics in an alphabetical index or find them using the built-in search engine.

Rucka and Lark’s Lazarus #1 looked fabulous on the iPad’s 9.7-inch display. Word bubbles and captions were legible so I didn’t have to utilize the zoom feature. Should you want to tinker with a comic’s presentation, pinching, zooming, and dragging the image around the screen are available options. Left or right swipes, naturally, turned pages.

YACReader’s automatic scrolling isn’t nearly as impressive as Comics’ Guided View, so if you’re a fan of that particular feature, you may want to stick with Comixology’s apps. You cannot, however, flip the iPad into landscape so that YACReader displays two pages at a time (a function found in Comics and ComicRack). YACReader remembers where you finished reading, so that when you return to a comic after exiting the app, you’ll pick up where you left off—a nice touch. YACReader’s page scrubbing is adequate, but isn’t as impressive as ComicRack’s, which lets you rifle through thumbnail versions of comic pages. YACReader’s page scrolling, however, is smoother than ComicRack’s (which had the occasional lag).

Tapping and holding a comic thumbnail lets you assign a star rating and fill in metadata information (title, issue number, genre, and more). Numbers at the top of the screen represent the page you’re reading and the number of pages in total. There are numerous preferences to digest, so I suggest reading the brief Help section for additional information.

The Final Caption
Now that a major publisher like Image Comics has given DRM the boot, open, dedicated iPad digital comics readers will become even hotter commodities. If you’re in the market for one, consider YACReader as it’s a refined reading tool despite lacking Comics’ huge marketplace.

Specifications
Type Personal

Verdict
YACReader may not have an integrated store, but it's a slick, multi-format digital comic reader that's worth the purchase.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc