I wrote a few manga reviews, so I decided to let you know how I read manga. I’ve been using Mango for Android (and apparently Blackberry!) for years, and it has reached a level of development where I do not understand how it can be free. It is beautiful, clean and simple with amazing functions. You can have as many titles with as many chapters you like, and you can choose from a number of sources. You can browse sources by genre, artist and title, Mango notifies you when new chapters come online. Let’s not forget that every page of manga you’ve downloaded is on your device, ready to be copied onto your computer, if and when you want. Although I love reading manga on my Nexus 7, it’s a “shared” device (meaning my boyfriend is racing cars with it) so I wanted the option to read manga on my iPhone. I’ve tested Manga Storm, iManga, Manga Meow, Manga Rock, Manga BDR, Manga Finder, Manga Lib and Manga Pop, and I’ve decided to review the ones which have decent downloading capabilities and sources.
I’m a bit spoiled when it comes to apps and I like perfection. Unfortunately, when you want perfection for free it’s not likely to happen – especially if we happen to be talking about Apple.
Manga Storm allows you to keep 10 chapters on your iPhone. However, it offers a wider range of sources and there is no in-manga ads. Now, 10-chapter limitation does sound awful, but it’s not if you keep in mind that you have mangafox, mangareader, mangaeden, batoto and mangahere as available sources. It hurts me that mangapanda is not on the list because it has all those “hard-to-find” titles. What I love about it is that you can search through all sources at once. Now about those 10 chapters – you can read oneshots, and if you want to have a manga archive – buy an Android based device or buy an app.
Manga Rock for iPhone is probably awesome in its paid version. The free version, however, isn’t very cool because you have in-manga ads, which is really bothersome. Only three sources are available, which really limits your options. Paired with one-title limitation, it pretty much offers limits with ads. Not very practical in 3G situations. I considered keeping the app because it allows browsing sources by genre and by status, and it takes only to screen-touches to download a whole manga, but the in-manga ads were a deal-breaker so I deleted it as soon as the testing period was over.
Now this is a tricky one. No limitation on downloads, however in-manga ads are there to sully the experience. I’ve decided to test all apps with Ai Hime Ai to Himegoto and Boku ni Natta Watashi (which I plan to review), and Manga Pop has neither. However, it has Bleach and Berserk which are not readily available on most sources. The app doesn’t remember the chapter you were reading last, but if you keep track of that it will automatically save your reading progress. I feel like this is the least limiting app, which is why I decided it is the best. Shitty ads are shitty, no bookmarking option is ridiculous, however you can download as much titles as you want – unique among iPhone Apps. I’ve successfully downloaded 49 chapters of 7 different titles. I suppose in-manga ads are less bothersome on a bigger screen, but on iPhone 4 it’s simply debilitating.
It’s better looking than Manga Rock and more user friendly. Unlike Manga Pop, you’ll have no problem keeping track of your reading progress. What’s more important there are no in-manga ads, and it offers multichapter download. However, it does have only three available sources. I love the sharing option, even though I am not very likely to use it. All in all, if I had to choose an app to buy, Manga Meow would be my choice. After going through the arduous task of trying out all those “best manga readers for iPhone, iPad and whatnot” this is simply the best one out there. The downloading process is a bit irritating, because the app has a tendency to crash when browsing, but I am hoping for an update which will solve this issue.