Review: Pathfinder Lite Products

Paizo recently emailed me to advise that most of the things I bought from their Pathfinder line are now available in a Lite PDF format, optimised for viewing on tablets, laptops and so forth. Paizo makes these available free of charge if you have already bought the full version of the PDF. Clearly, tablets of one form or another are a significant thing among gamers now. Of 15 people I game with at least once a year, two of them have iPads; I have no idea how representative that is.

(This is the kind of innovation that makes me like Paizo. It’s as if they understand what I want from a game company.)

I wondered: Just how useful is this change? So I fired up the Kindle and the netbook and tried it out. The Inner Sea World Guide is the biggest Pathfinder PDF I have, and I reasoned that the changes would be most apparent in that.

Here’s what I found… Numbers are times are in seconds.

Activity Normal PDF on Kindle Lite PDF on Kindle Normal PDF on Netbook Lite PDF on Netbook
Open file 9 17 4 4
Turn to p. 10 251 14 25 9
Go to beginning from p. 10 <1 <1 <1 <1
Go to end from beginning >300
(Got bored, gave up)
> 300
(Got bored, gave up)
3 2

The normal PDF is 147 MB, and the lite one is 243 MB. Why making the lite one bigger makes it faster is beyond me, but there it is. The lite version takes the same time, or longer, to load initially, but once you have it open, it’s definitely faster. I don’t have an iPad, so I can’t check that.

It could just be my aging eyes, but I fancy the lite version illustrations are crisper on the Kindle. The fact that the Kindle can handle a graphics-intensive, 243MB file at all is impressive, never mind how fast it is.

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