Love it but two major issues

I just posted this as a 4 star review in the app store and then found this forum so I thought I’d post it hear as well.

I’ve had to migrate from my favorite comic reader (Comic Rack) since it is no longer supported by the latest IOS update and decided to give Panels a shot. It seems like a great clean interface. I like the interface of Chunky quite a bit better but Panels has two major things going for it but also two major problems.

  1. Is of course the name of the app. Panels offers a guided Panel view. If you’ve ever tried this out on Comixology you know how great it can be. I’m sure Panels is using some sort of algorithm and it works mostly. The problem that really breaks it for me is when there is a page that the program can’t figure out. Today’s comics often draw the page with characters moving from outside the border into other panels or it’s just a big splash page. I don’t blame the program for not getting these right the problem is that while in panel view the zoom feature doesn’t work correctly. If while in panel view it decides that 2/3 of the page is a panel or the whole page is a panel it zooms out so the whole panel is on the screen making it hard to read. So you should be able to zoom in but as soon as you let go the panel snaps back making it unreadable. On iPad this isn’t much of a problem but it makes it pretty useless on the iPhone and also I tend to not need panel view on the iPad as the screen is larger. In order to zoom in and stay zoomed so you can read you have to constantly turn panel view off to read that page then turn it back on to go back to panel view. It can be frustrating to say the least.

  2. Syncing your reading process over multiple devices. I have dreamed of this for years. I wanted to read a comic on my iPad while at home and then if I have to go out or go to work I could then pull out my iPhone and pick up right where I left off. This works great in Panels.

The major problem I have with the program (other than the zooming issue while in Panel view) is that there is no marking of what you’ve read or unread. Every other reader I’ve used has some way of marking your reading process and if a book is finished. As it is now if I stop during a run of a comic and come back to it later I have no idea on what issue I’ve left off on. This also makes it difficult to keep your iPad and iPhone collection properly synced. If you read 3 comics on your iPad at night and delete them you have no way of remembering which ones there where when you pick up your phone later.

This app seems to be actively being developed which gives me hope so I intend to stick with it but these are some major issues I feel need to be addressed.

I @Steve_Gaston thank you so much for taking the time on writing that great review. We really appreciate it.

  1. Your assumption is correct. PanelsView is an experimental feature that uses computer vision to analyses the page in real time to calculate the panels frames. We know that it doesn’t work for all the comics and we still have to improve the algorithm. We tried to smoothen the experience by adding some additional gestures and the zoom, but it’s clear that we’ve failed :sweat_smile:
    We’ll give it a thought and try to improve the zooming behaviour and improve the reading experience. Thank you so much for pointing this out.

  2. This is something that we are planning to improve in the near future. For the moment, the only suggestion I can make is that you turn on the “Show reading progress” option in settings. This will show a progress bar on top of each comic and should make more obvious which comics you’ve already read. Anyway, we have some ideas to improve the tracking experience in the future.

Thank you for your review @Steve_Gaston

I only want to add a small comment to dani’s answer. Panels 1.10 added a much better way to show you your recent comics. You can join the beta program to try it or wait a few days until we release it to the public.

(here is a screenshot)

Also as Dani said, we will add a way to mark comics as read, unread and manga directly from the library. This changes were supposed to come with Panels 1.10 but we decided to drop them for the next version as the release was getting pretty big with all the other new stuff.

I hope you like Panels 1.10! We are very excited with it and can’t wait to release it.