QuickReader – Speed Reading iPhone/iPad app review

QuickReader App

Developer: Inkstone Software, Inc

Available on iTunes

Cost: Lite Free.

Full version costs A$5.99 for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch app

Digireado rating: 4/10

Note: Digireado reviewed this app using the iPhone 4

Last week I reviewed the MegaReader app and you can read this blog post here. The QuickReader app by is also developed by Inkstone Software, Inc  and is designed to help you become a faster and more efficient reader.

QuickReader comes in a number of different editions apart from the Lite and paid versions. You can also purchase a Young Readers edition (with age appropriate content and without links to catalogues to allow parents or teachers to choose content). They have also produced Spanish, German and French editions.

The main difference between the Lite and paid editions is that where the free version comes with four titles, the paid edition comes with 50 full length titles.  You are also able to import your own ebooks and the paid version is integrated with Instapaper.  I mentioned Instapaper in my previous post and will be doing a review of this app at some stage in the future.

Although I’m a ‘cut to the chase’ kind of person and tend to dive right-into an instead of reading any instructions, in this case I would recommend that you either watch the demo video or read their pre-loaded user guide. I would alert you however that the home screen on the video is different to my (updated?) app, so  I got a little confused originally about the differences between ‘Speed Reading’ and ‘Guided Reading’ so needed the user guide to set me straight. Let me help you through this confusion by showing you where to start and how it works.

Customised Settings

Like MegaReader QuickReader has a plethora of settings to customise your reading experience. While I’ve admitted to being a big Kobo user due to their great user interface and easy purchasing – I must admit that in comparison their settings are very basic. QuickReader and MegaReader allow you to choose your page colour, margin width (which I find useful); line spacing (ditto) and your line justification. Like many other readers you can choose your page transition and when it comes to this I always like whatever is less noticeable.

MegaReader of course has the Heads Up Display mentioned in my previous post and that is not included with QuickReader. What IS customisable with QuickReader is how many words per minute (WPM) your ‘Guided Reading’ should be set to and how many Guide Stops per Line OR Lines per Stop. Now, if that last bit doesn’t make any sense to you don’t worry – it will all become clear!

Speed Test

Let’s start with the Speed Test and see how my speeds compare to those I found when using  MegaReader!  As I downloaded the paid app I had 50 titles to choose from and in my case choose  Warrior of the Light – Volume 1 by Paulo Coelho.  This comes in three volumes, naturally I chose  Volume 1!

This is where if you haven’t actually read any instructions things can get a little confusing! To start the  speed test you actually need to tap the middle of the screen to bring up the controls. Because I’d ‘entered’ through Speed Reading, well call me someone with high expectations but I really expected that it would be ‘pre-set’ to speed reading! Instead it comes up with the controls at the bottom of the page, and is set to Normal Reading. I find that an annoying oversight and one I struggled with when I first tried out the app.

The controls down the bottom include Speed Reading, Normal Reading and Speed Test. The controls also allow you to share what you are reading via Facebook (not Twitter? Really?)  Once you’ve worked out how to get to Speed Test you’re ready to begin.

This part is very simple and once you ‘Tap to begin’ you are given the instructions of reading from the top of any page to the end of any page and tap the screen for your results.  Are you ready to try this with me folks? Ok, here it goes!

First Speed Test:

I read 82 words in 00:00:13. That’s 378 words per minute and at that rate I’d finish the chapter in 00:01:59. This was reading one page of text on my iPhone.

Second Speed Test:

I’ve picked up considerably by reading two pages this time – is that the trick? This time I got through 148 words in 00:00:18 being 493 words per minute. Is it strange to be competitive with yourself?

Conclusion of using the Speed Test

I have to admit that perhaps due to an unacknowledged competitive streak that I drove myself to read faster and thereby probably lost comprehension.  I would strongly recommend NOT taking my approach and reading at a speed that matches your comfort and more importantly your comprehension levels for this test. My only confusion with the speed test is that I did it again several times and each time I got quite a different result.  I don’t seem to have a definite speed range as it varied each time between 366-511 words per minute. This left me with a slight lack of belief in the results although there is the potential that I’m blaming the app rather than the reader!

Speed Reading

Ok, so now you have an idea of your reading speed.  Or in my case a range of reading speeds! In the same book you can then click on the Speed Reading icon and tap to begin. This is where I should detour and explain the Stops per Line or Lines per Stop or else the rest of this won’t make much sense.

Detour into Speed Reading Settings

Guide Stops: As I mentioned under Customised Settings you have the ability to change these to assist you in reading faster.  What they refer to is the way that the app guides you to read faster by highlighting in groups of words versus word by word. I was already aware that I read that way, but perhaps many people would not. So instead of reading each word on a line you can choose for instance ‘3 stops per line’ which will highlight words in so that your eye tracks them in ‘3 stops’ versus say 6 stops if there are 6 words in the line. If you are a very fast reader you can even choose how many lines you want highlighted at a time (or ‘lines per stop’). You can choose a lot of detail here and although this may sound confusing when I’m trying to explain it, when using it really is quite simple.

QuickReader say it discourages backtracking and distraction, and you can turn this off by simply tapping the screen. The only issue is once you do that it is hard to get out the mode until you are familiar with the app.  What if you need to stop and go back and reread to enable comprehension or check a word in a dictionary? If QuickReader could find a way to include a build in dictionary with their app I think that would make it much easier for many users.

QuickReader recommend regularly setting your guide stops down (say from 3 stops per line to 2) to see how your reading speed is improving.

Guide style: This where you set your preference for how you want your words highlighted. The default was indeed a ‘highlight’ and for me this was too distracting and I chose to have an outline box. The difference for me when I changed this guide style was considerable and my comfort level was such that I could choose less ‘stops per line’ – thus no doubt reading faster! I found by using the outline box I was fine if I read a little ahead or a little behind, but the highlight was so strong that if I fell behind I felt a little panic!

Words per Minute: They recommend setting this slightly higher than your Speed Test to encourage you to read faster, then on a regular basis re-testing your speed and adjusting.

Normal Reading

You can of course also read any of the books without worrying about any of this – and in fact use QuickReader as a normal ebook app.

Downloading Books, Pasteboards and Partner Apps

This function is the same as on MegaReader app so I recommend that you read my previous post rather than duplicate the information.

Overall Rating: 4/10 (for Digireado – would be higher if I needed to increase my reading speed)

Would I recommend the paid version? Perhaps I would say try the Lite version first, but only because I am happy with my reading speed and comprehension. I played around with the Lite version initially and then purchased the paid version in order to adequately review it for this blog. I would say however that for people who have issues with reading it could be beneficial. As mentioned this does come in a Younger Readers version and I can see the benefit for students or young people who may need to push themselves to a higher reading speed.

I will be reviewing Partner Apps in the coming weeks and in particular I have a rave review of Intapaper to post so stay tuned!

Have you used QuickReader and what are your thoughts?

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