Nitro PDF Reader 2 review
A worthy addition to your software toolkit, but for everyday PDF reading you’re best sticking with your Adobe or Foxit
Review Date: 13 Jul 2011
Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray
Price when reviewed: Free
Features & Design
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Adobe’s PDF reader software is about as ubiquitous as software gets. Everyone who has ever needed to read a PDF has probably installed it at one stage or another, with Adobe claiming it’s installed in 90% of all PCs.
That’s impressive, but it still leaves 10% of people who don’t use it – a large proportion of whom take issue with the Reader’s tendency to go slow on older systems and its OCD need to update itself every ten minutes.
That’s the audience at which Nitro is aiming its latest Reader 2 software, and it hopes to lure users away from Adobe with a host of bonus features.
It’s certainly more powerful than Reader X. With Nitro PDF Reader, the ability to convert files to PDF is built in, and converting office documents or images is a doddle. You can do this from inside the app itself, by dragging files directly onto the Nitro shortcut, or by printing to the Nitro printer driver. Adobe has creation features, but only via the CreatePDF service, and the number of files you can convert for free is limited.
Elsewhere, there’s the ability to extract both text and images from PDF files – Reader X can only pull text out – plus a selection of more powerful annotation tools. Not only can you add sticky notes and highlight text, but you can type text directly into PDF files and then flatten the file for output too. That’s useful for filling in flat forms without fancy interactive fields.
For those whose daily routine involves having to approve contracts and sign off invoices, Nitro also allows you to quickly drop signatures onto PDFs. Scan in your signature, or take a picture of it, and Nitro will remove the background and store it for later use – there’s even password protection for added security. We also like the fact that Nitro has added a “send to Evernote option” to its Ribbon-style File tab – a quick way to make non-searchable PDF files searchable.
But performance is even more important than features, especially in software that’s used as frequently as a PDF reader, and on this count Nitro PDF Reader 2 falls short. In our tests, on an ageing AMD Athlon 64 X2, a basic 1.57MB file took five seconds to open in Nitro, three seconds in Foxit, and only one second in Reader X. More concerning, though, is the memory footprint: with that same file and three other smaller PDFs open Nitro consumed 93MB of memory, Foxit took up 28MB, and Reader X 60MB. With several larger PDFs open, we can see that becoming a bit of an issue.
So do we recommend you uninstall Adobe Reader and replace it with Nitro? Or even your current favourite alternative? If all you want is core reader facilities, we’d have to say no – the performance and memory footprint mean that would be a backwards step. But there’s no doubt its extra features are worth having, and it’s certainly worth adding to your free software toolkit.
Author: Jonathan Bray
I have been using a mixture of Sumatra and Foxit, and am undecided as to which I prefer. Both avoid the need to update every few minutes, and neither has ever required a reboot unlike Adobe's product.
By tirons1 on 13 Jul 2011
Nitro, in all it's forms, still will not open some PDF's (which is a basic essential in my book). Nitro acknowledge the problem and still haven't managed to fix it.
By Ex_Sailor on 13 Jul 2011
Adobe quick start
How quickly does Adobe open the file without the Adobe quick start files that are running in the background from login?
By Drenlin on 14 Jul 2011
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Met Police unveils FALCON to fight cybercrime
- Free Windows attracts 50 new tablet and phone makers
- Send a text and these SSDs will self-destruct
- How to download Windows 10 Technical Preview
- Mozilla takes aim at Chromecast with $25 dongle
- Microsoft reveals Windows 10... no, really
- eBay and PayPal split up
- iOS 8.0.2: old problems remain, new bugs added
- Technopop: London sci-tech festival is just for kids
- Windows 10: a step back to go forward
- Michael Dell: Cloud infrastructure is the roads, bridges and highways of the 21st century
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- Apple Watch, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: Tim Cook's Apple back with a bang?
- BT Home Hub 5: how to get maximum speed
- 20 years of PC Pro: one-star reviews (including "the worst tablet we've ever seen")
- iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus screen comparison
- Mac OS X Yosemite release date, price and new features
- Smartphone benchmarks 2014: what's the fastest smartphone?
- What is Kindle Unlimited and how does it work?
- BlackBerry Passport release date, UK price and specs
- How to change keyboard in iOS 8: customise the iPhone 6 keyboard
- The 7 best Chromebooks of 2014
- Apple iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: is the new iPhone 6 better than the Galaxy S5?
- How to install iOS 8 without deleting apps and data
- The best smartwatches of 2014: what's the best smartwatch?
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office