Approximate time to read: 2 minutes

It was just asking for it. The front page for SlimPDF states

Get The World’s Smallest Desktop PDF Reader


10% of the size of Adobe Reader but views 100% of PDFs

Can this be true? Just as good as Adobe Reader but one tenth the size? They even show a comparison on their site, reporting SlimPDF as 1.43MB and Adobe Reader as 26.12MB ((should I point out at this point that the current size of the Adobe Reader download is 52.55MB))?

The thing is, they’re measuring download size. Don’t most people download, install and then delete the installation program? Shouldn’t they be measuring the installed size? Ironically, if they did, it would be even better for them – 211MB for Adobe vs 4.69MB for them (2.22% the size of Adobe Reader!).

The thing is, though, SlimPDF lacks a lot of basic features. If you just want to read a short, simple PDF then it’s probably fine. However, SlimPDF doesn’t show page thumbnails, or shortcuts – so those long, indexed documents are going to be difficult to navigate.

The toolbar is also quite cluttered – sadly, if you reduce the window down in size then the toolbar simple starts disappearing from the right hand side. And as various button to launch their commercial offerings come to the left of the search, the latter disappears first. Adobe, in comparison, wraps the toolbar to a new line in this situation, so that all options are still accessible.

Small text is very hard to read in SlimPDF and scrolling is slow. Links, whether to other parts of the document or external URLs, don’t work.

So, let’s just go through the listed “Features and Benefits”

  • “Eliminate Bloatware and help your computer run faster”. My favourite. No details of why they regard Adobe as “bloatware” as it seems to contain an awful lots of features that SlimPDF doesn’t have. A bigger download size doesn’t mean it’s bloated.
  • “View any PDF File just like Adobe Reader”. No. Not like Adobe Reader. Adobe – got your lawyers ready?
  • “100% Free”. It had better be.
  • “The smallest desktop PDF Reader in the World”. With matching features. Although I suspect Cool PDF Reader, at 650KB download, may have something to say (and small fonts look better in it as well). Again, is that the rustle of lawyers and paperwork I hear?

[review]All I can hope is that people see past the hype, which really doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny, and realise that this is a feature-lacking PDF viewer which WON’T let you view a PDF like Adobe Reader does.[/review]

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