A few days ago I was downloading and reading some PDF’s on the Internet on my netbook an ASUS EEE(k) PC, and I was really frustrated when one PDF was taking an eternity to load. But what can we do? Adobe’s Acrobat Reader is the first thing that most users put on their computers.

While we are expected to use Acrobat, because after all, Adobe is the maker of PDF standard, but the fact is – it is a memory consuming application. The main problem of Adobe Reader is its weak integration with Internet browsers – it takes ages to open a PDF online. So me being myself, I browsed around hoping to find a faster alternative.

After going through several PDF applications, I picked up Foxit Reader v 3.0 Build 1506. Foxit is a free application and the critical add-ons and updates are free. The advanced add-ons are included in Foxit Reader Pro Pack have a reasonable cost  – $39.00 per user – but then this PDF reader becomes a PDF writer as well.

Foxit Reader supports Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/W7 and its core is compatible with PDF Standard 1.7. The app is incredibly small and simple. Being only 1.5MB big, the installation is quick, and you can choose from default (in which everything is installed) or custom (where you pick what you want to be installed like shortcut on desktop, quick launch icon, icon in taskbar, Foxit toolbar for Firefox). After that, I opened one PDF on my netbook and it was really fast, but the ultimate test was opening PDF’s on the Internet. I just changed the default PDF handling plug-in in my browser (Firefox) and picked one pretty big PDF file. To my surprise, it opened right away without waiting or unwanted rumbling on the hard disc. Just one click and it opened. A big plus to Foxit is that the interface is similar to Adobe Reader, so the transition is fairly easy.

Of course, besides fast opening it has some more useful tools in it; it allows you to draw graphics, highlight text, type text and make notes on a PDF document and then print out or save the annotated document. You may even convert the whole PDF document into a simple text file. Also, it highly respects the security and privacy of users and will never connect to the Internet without the user’s permission.

So far I’m pretty happy with foxit and will continue to use it, at least until I find something better, and of course free. If you want quick PDF reader while browsing, this just may be a ticket to ride. Doesn’t cost a thing to try.