Quick Look: Comic Zeal 8 for iPad

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ComicZeal 8

Comic Zeal, which is still my favourite way to read CBR or PDF comics on my iPad, was recently updated to iOS 8. This version flattened out the interface, introduced a few new themes, and vastly improved the ability to get comics into the app.

My previous go-to method for transferring files into Comic Zeal was to connect to iTunes and then drag comic files into Comic Zeal (located in the File Sharing section of the Apps tab). It was relatively fast, but it meant digging up my Lightning cable in order to sync with iTunes, and that little bit of extra effort would keep me from uploading comics very often.

Thankfully, Comic Zeal 8 has some great new wireless ways to throw comics into your library. There’s now a standard document picker for taking files from iCloud Drive, but the option I find even more convenient is AirDrop support. It’s ridiculously easy to just highlight comics in Finder on my Mac and AirDrop them en masse onto the iPad. I tried this with a few comics I had downloaded from the Humble Bundle, and it worked quite well for issues that were 20 or even 50 MB in size. A prompt comes up on the iPad after the transfer completes, and I can save the files to Comic Zeal with a single tap.

As before, comics that are similarly titled will be automatically grouped into little comic boxes. This makes establishing a digital comic collection a real breeze, and swiping right to throw issues into the powerful Slider (a way to cut and paste issues into different collections) is still handled very smoothly in version 8.

The only thing I’m not really a fan of is the new icon. It definitely has a classic comic look to it, but it also feels a little too generic. I think Comic Zeal has a much more refined feel to it than its plain icon would have you expect. However, this new change won’t stop me from using this app over the winter for my comic reading.

Before this update Comic Zeal was already the best way to enjoy DRM-free comics on the iPad, but the whole experience has gotten even better with these UI and file transfer changes. If you haven’t picked Comic Zeal up already, it’s a great purchase that works on both the iPhone and iPad.

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