What is the best app for reading PDF books on Android?

Reading PDFs on phones and tablets has become increasingly popular in recent years. The portability and convenience of mobile devices makes them ideal for accessing documents on-the-go. However, the default PDF readers included on Android devices are often limited in features. That’s why having a dedicated PDF app installed can greatly improve the reading experience.

A good PDF reader for Android offers essential features like annotation tools, digital highlighting, cloud storage integration, document organization, and multi-tab viewing. These capabilities allow you to easily make notes, bookmark pages, search documents, and manage a library of PDFs directly on your phone or tablet. The right app transforms your mobile device into a feature-rich e-reader optimized for productivity and efficiency.

In this guide, we’ll compare the top PDF apps available for Android. We’ll examine the key features of each and how they can benefit users. Our goal is to recommend the best overall PDF readers that provide a smooth, intuitive reading and document management experience on Android phones and tablets.

Popular PDF Readers for Android

There are many great PDF readers available for Android devices, with some of the most popular options being Adobe Acrobat (https://slashdot.org/software/pdf/android/), Google PDF Viewer, Xodo, and Foxit (https://sourceforge.net/software/pdf/android/).

Adobe Acrobat is one of the most well-known PDF readers, providing robust tools for viewing, editing, and annotating PDFs. The Android version allows you to work with PDFs on the go. Google’s own PDF viewer comes pre-installed on most Android devices and offers smooth scrolling and fast load times for basic PDF viewing.

Xodo is a full-featured, customizable PDF reader that’s highly rated on the Google Play Store. It provides commenting and markup tools, as well as support for annotating PDFs with a stylus. Xodo is free and open source. Foxit is another excellent option, offering an efficient and lightweight PDF viewing experience. Foxit’s reader is fast, integrates with cloud storage services, and also allows adding annotations to PDFs.

There are also many other great choices like Readdle’s PDF Expert, Adobe Scan, and PDFelement for Android. Most major PDF apps offer the ability to view, organize, sign, and annotate PDFs on Android smartphones and tablets.

Factors to Consider

When choosing a PDF reader app for Android, there are several key factors to take into account:

  • Features – Look for core PDF viewing capabilities like zoom, search, bookmarks, and annotations. Advanced features like reflow mode, text-to-speech, and document signing may also be useful.
  • Usability – The app should have an intuitive, easy-to-navigate interface. Look for customizable views, gestures, and quick toolbar access to common tools.
  • Annotation capabilities – Annotating and highlighting PDFs makes them more useful. Make sure the app has robust tools for adding notes, highlights, shapes, comments, and more.
  • Night/dark mode – Reading PDFs in low light? A dark mode or night view can reduce eye strain.
  • Security – If your PDFs contain sensitive information, check for encryption, password protection, and backup capabilities.
  • Integration – See if the app integrates well across Android devices and with cloud storage for seamless access.
  • Cost – Some PDF apps offer free basic viewing but charge for advanced features. Consider whether paid upgrades are worth it for your needs.

Prioritizing these key factors will help identify the most suitable PDF reader app for your Android device and usage requirements.

Top 3 Recommendations

Based on reviews by Android users and expert analysis, the top 3 PDF reading apps available on Android are Xodo, Adobe Acrobat, and Foxit. Each of these apps has distinct features that make them stand out when it comes to reading, annotating and managing PDFs on mobile devices.

Xodo is praised for its smooth scrolling, ink annotations and connectivity with cloud storage services like Google Drive and Dropbox. The app is also fully compatible with Android tablets.

Adobe Acrobat is the premium offering from the creators of the PDF format itself. It provides robust tools for annotation, form-filling and document signing, along with seamless syncing across devices. However, it requires an Acrobat subscription for full functionality.

Foxit excels at working with large PDF files quickly and offers unique features like text reflow to optimize PDF viewing on mobile screens. It provides extensive annotation capabilities for free. The downside is that some users complain the app can be buggy at times.

With those high-level summaries in mind, let’s dive into detailed reviews of each app to compare their strengths and weaknesses. This will help determine the best choice based on your specific PDF needs on an Android device.

Xodo Review

Xodo is a popular free PDF reader app for Android that offers an impressive set of features. It enables you to view, annotate, and edit PDF files on your Android device.

Some of the key features of Xodo include:

  • Fast page rendering and smooth scrolling for quick PDF viewing.
  • Annotations tools like highlights, underlines, strikethroughs, and freehand drawing.
  • Editing capabilities like inserting, deleting, rotating, copying/pasting pages.
  • Tabbed interface for working with multiple PDFs.
  • Outline view and thumbnail previews for quick navigation.
  • Support for importing images and other files into PDFs.
  • Cloud storage integration with Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox etc.

On the downside, Xodo lacks some advanced features like PDF form filling, document signing, and reflow view for dynamic resizing. The free version shows ads and limits certain tools like the eraser. Xodo also does not allow you to print or password protect PDF files.

Overall, Xodo is an excellent free option for reliably viewing, annotating and making light edits to PDFs on Android. It offers a great set of useful tools in an easy-to-use interface.

Adobe Acrobat Review

Adobe Acrobat is one of the most well-known and widely used PDF readers for Android. It has been developed by Adobe, the creators of the PDF file format (PCMag).

Some key features of Adobe Acrobat include:

  • View, edit, sign, and annotate PDFs
  • Fill and sign PDF forms
  • Highlight and underline text
  • Add comments and feedback
  • Protect PDF files with passwords
  • Convert PDFs to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and image formats

Pros of Adobe Acrobat:

  • Full suite of robust PDF editing tools
  • Trusted brand with long history in PDF software
  • Seamless ecosystem with desktop version
  • Powerful OCR for converting scans to editable text

Cons of Adobe Acrobat:

  • Expensive subscription-based pricing model
  • Large file size and storage space required
  • Steep learning curve for some advanced features

Overall, Adobe Acrobat provides sophisticated, full-featured PDF management capabilities, but may be overkill for casual users just looking to read and annotate the occasional PDF on their phone. The subscription-pricing also adds up over time.

Foxit Review

Foxit is another popular PDF reader app for Android. It provides a full set of PDF viewing, editing, and annotation features for free. Some key features include:

– Tabbed reading for having multiple PDFs open
– Text reflow to dynamically adjust text for easier reading
– Text highlighting, annotations, and drawing tools

– Connect to cloud storage like Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive

– Fill out and save PDF forms
– Share documents and collaborate with others
– Password protection for secured PDFs

Pros of Foxit:
– Very fast PDF loading and smooth scrolling

– Intuitive interface and navigation
– Comprehensive set of annotation tools
– Syncs documents across devices
– Offers advanced paid premium features


– Occasionally lags with large complex PDFs
– Free version has ads

– Less customizable than some other apps

Overall, Foxit is an excellent free option for reliably viewing, marking up, and managing PDFs on your Android. Its smooth performance and diverse features make it a top choice. See the Foxit website for more details: https://www.foxit.com

Comparison Chart

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the key features across the top PDF reader apps for Android:

App Annotation Tools Tabbed Interface Night Mode Form Filling
Xodo Highlight, underline, strikeout Yes Yes Yes
Adobe Acrobat Highlight, underline, strikeout, comment Yes Yes Yes
Foxit Highlight, underline, comment No Yes Yes

As seen in the table, the top apps offer common core features like annotation tools, night mode, and form filling. Key differences are in the specific annotation options and tabbed interface support.


Android users commonly have questions about using PDFs on their devices. Some common FAQs include:

Why am I unable to view PDF files?

There are a few reasons why you may be unable to view PDFs on your Android device:

  • You don’t have an installed PDF reader app like Xodo. Install one of the recommended apps in this guide.
  • The PDF file is corrupted or damaged. Try viewing the file on another device to test.
  • Your Android OS needs to be updated. Make sure you have the latest OS updates.

How can I open a PDF online for free?

Many websites allow you to view PDFs online without downloading, like Xodo. You can also use Google Drive – upload the PDF file to Drive and open it using Google Docs.

How to change the default PDF viewer?

To change your default PDF viewer app on Android:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps > Default apps
  2. Under “Opening links,” tap the PDF reader app you want to set as the default


After reviewing multiple popular PDF readers for Android, Xodo, Adobe Acrobat, and Foxit emerged as top recommendations. Xodo is completely free, fast, and has excellent annotation tools. Adobe Acrobat is the gold standard with robust features, albeit at a high subscription price. Foxit offers a good balance of features and affordability through one-time purchases.

For most users, Xodo will meet PDF reading and annotation needs with an intuitive, easy-to-use interface. Power users who work extensively with PDFs may benefit from Acrobat’s advanced capabilities. Overall, with free and paid options for both casual and professional use, Android users have quality choices to effectively view, edit, organize and share PDFs on mobile devices.

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