- Free app
- 170 comics included
- Comics look crisp and sharp
- Sluggish and slow
ComiXology’s Comics app (Free) is one option for viewing and downloading comics on your iPhone or iPad. With more than 170 free comics included in the app, Comics has the potential to be a great download, but it’s let down by sluggish performance.
Free comics, but slow performance
ComiXology's iPhone app includes many of the big comic publishers, including Marvel Comics and Image Comics. The price for individual comics varies, but most average $0.99 to $1.99. Before you can purchase a comic, you’ll have to create a free ComiXology.com account. Update: As of late June 2010, the ComiXology app now includes DC Comics as well.
When you first launch it, the ComiXology app displays the top-rated free comics available for download. After browsing them, I found one that seemed interesting and tapped the Download button to start the process. I guess I started it too soon, while the app was still “updating’ because it took several minutes for my download to even start. After that, the comic downloaded in about two minutes over Wi-Fi.
Once you download a comic, you tap the title to launch it. My first comic was only nine frames, but reading it seemed a bit slow. To advance each page, you tap the arrows at the top of the screen. Unfortunately, moving between the frames is a bit laggy, which slows down the reading experience. While viewing many comics, I got the little “processing” wheel -- and this was with a speedy Wi-Fi connection.
While the sluggish performance is a notable downside, the comics themselves do look pretty fantastic. Full-color pages look crisp and sharp, and the text is easily readable -- even on the iPhone’s small screen. You can pinch to zoom for any small text, which shouldn't be a problem if you're using an iPad (thanks to the iPad's larger screen, it displays full-sized pages differently than on the iPhone).
The Bottom Line
ComiXology's iPhone app wasn’t as speedy as I would have liked. The update process when you first launch the app is a little tedious, and there’s a pause when moving between individual pages. On the other hand, the comics do look great. I only tested the Comics app on the iPhone, but I can imagine that the comics would look stellar on the iPad’s large display. Overall rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
What You'll Need