Price: $9.99   Score: 9/10   Genre: Productivity

While many PDF readers exist on the iPad, iAnnotate PDF stands head and shoulders above the rest. With its ease of use and robust features, this is the ultimate app for anyone who works heavily with PDFs.

The first time you open iAnnotate you’re greeted with a guide, as well as an easy to use tutorial that shows you the ropes. There’s a highlighter, a pen tool, and other freeform tools that allow you to write straight on the document, as well as comment tools that pop up the keyboard and allow you to write notes and then either choose to expand or collapse them when done.

The expansive annotation options are nice, but in my testing phase and throughout my readings, I found myself relying most heavily on the highlighter, ruler, and text bubble tool. As specific components become familiar you can customize your toolbar to include only the options you use most, a move that reduces clutter and leads to quick access to an optimized annotation experience. This feature is nice, and makes the app feel like your own to a certain extent.

Beyond annotation, the actual process of uploading, displaying, and exporting PDFs is fairly straightforward. You can use the embedded web browser to search for documents, enter URLs for specific download, or just open and save attachments from email. As you start to accumulate documents they file away automatically, displaying the most recently displayed PDFs like tabs in a web browser.

From there, jumping back to “that PDF you read back in January” is as easy as searching for favorites, keywords, and/or tags. While it’s possible to pack the app with old PDFs, some people may want to export their read PDFs elsewhere.

In the past iAnnotate was criticized because users had difficulty exporting annotated pdfs back to their computer. It seems that a recent update may have fixed this, because in this case finding the connection and uploading annotated PDFs back to my computer was a snap. In the case of a faulty connection, iAnnotate is also integrated with email so you can send PDFs on the go or store them in your inbox for later use.

Whatever the case, iAnnotate seems to be the most feature laden PDF app on the market today. If you’re a casual, read-a-PDF-every-once-in-awhile kind of person you can probably opt for something cheaper than $9.99, but for anyone in research, this is the kind of app that will transform your life.

Bottom Line: iAnnotate is the Godfather of PDF readers and annotation tools. Easy to use and customizable, this is well worth the $9.99 price tag for anyone who works a lot with PDFs.