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kdavid

iPad for Studying Chinese

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kdavid

I'm considering purchasing an iPad. However, I don't want another expensive gadget laying around in a drawer collecting dust (like my Kindle does most of the time).

Ideally, it would be able to do everything my PC can do and more (ZDT, Anki, internet access, read Chinese using Firefox and Perakun plug in, etc).

For those with iPads, or those who have seen them in action, how are you using this to study Chinese, and what are your other general experiences, feelings, etc?

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bunny87

poor kindle. it has its uses (like electronic textbooks so you don't lug around heavy stuff), and free wifi in all sorts of places around the globe. and to those that read books, it's even better.

ipad can use pleco though... have you used it before? because if not, i wonder how you survive Chinese.

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heifeng

hmmm, ergonomically I always thought it looked like a nightmare....

爱疯后遗症 肩颈玩出病

Anyway, for just surfing the web & flashcards, it seems like a pricey solution. Then again I am a fan of the lightweight kindle (for sending myself Chinese novels or whatever) and paper flashcards...(worst case scenario borrowing the household nook if I really can't be bothered to sit infront of a PC and read Chinese news) so I'll let the actual IPAD owners chime in since their opinion is what is actually being sought :P

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jkhsu

I use my iPad (in the context of studying Chinese) mostly for:

1. Dictionary lookups which is really useful when reading paper books

2. Reading these forums in between breaks (while reading books)

3. Reading online Chinese text, books, etc.

I am interested to know if there is a perapera-kun or perapera-kun like software for the iPad though.

My only concern against getting an iPad would be the unavailability of Flash. You might not be able to access some (Chinese) video sites without Flash. So definitely take a look at the Android tablets out there before you decide.

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feihong

I use an iPad every day, often with the purpose of consuming some sort of Chinese media. I do surf a number of websites that contain Chinese text, and with Pleco loaded it is fairly convenient to look up the occasional word/character that I don't know. There are quite a few video watching apps for iPad, some of which are listed in this discussion. I used to read a lot of Chinese comics on the iPad, which was way more comfortable than reading them on my laptop (the app I used is called ComicZeal).

I don't particularly like editing documents using the iPad. It does have three different input methods for simplified Chinese, but if it's not a short email or comment I prefer to use a normal computer with a keyboard.

Although I use the iPad a lot, most of my more formal study activities are done on my iPod Touch, since it's a far more portable device. I do my flashcards using Anki and read the occasional bit of prose in Pleco's Reader extension.

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feihong

I would not recommend Android tablets. The iPad is a pretty hot selling item in China right now, and, at least for the time being, there are plenty of options for watching Chinese videos on the iPad. Besides all the dedicated apps for watching videos, surfing video web sites like Youku and Sohu has not been a problem.

If you must get a tablet, get an iPad.

@jkhsu

There is no software quite like perapera-kun for iOS but Pleco's Reader extension is similar and actually a little more useful, in my opinion.

Basically if you see some Chinese text on a website, you can copy and paste it into Reader and then you get a fully-annotated document that allows you to instantly look up any word or character. You can also add them directly into your flashcard database.

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character
Ideally, it would be able to do everything my PC can do and more (ZDT, Anki, internet access, read Chinese using Firefox and Perakun plug in, etc).
The iPad is not PC or Mac; it will not be able to run software written for those platforms. Unless you 'jailbreak' the iPad, it can only run web applications through its browser or apps available in the iPad/iPhone App Store.

That said, there are a lot of Chinese/Chinese-learning apps available for it, Pleco being the best.

It handles Kindle books (through the Kindle app) with lots of Chinese and (non-DRM) PDFs very well.

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jkhsu

@feihong - Thanks for the tip on the Pleco reader. I haven't purchased any add-ons for my Pleco yet. At least I know what I to do if/when I need this feature.

In general, I agree with feihong in that you can't really go wrong getting an iPad at this point in time. I've certainly used mine more than I thought I would and I really like the interface. But I do have to mention that I have encountered instances where I'd click on a link to some video and my iPad won't play it. Then, I usually have to use my Android phone to watch the same video. But these instances are rare and probably not a big deal when compared to all the video apps available for the iPad.

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scoff

Along the lines of jkhsu's comment, I use my iPad much more than I thought I would, especially for Chinese-related media. Resources are so much better now than when the iPad came out last year. Many sites are starting to use HTML 5 video instead of flash. For instance, you can now watch Phoenix TV's 锵锵三人行 straight from Safari instead of trying to find a podcast or desktop/laptop.

Apps I use daily:

  1. Pleco - dictionary & reader
  2. Anki - the app is a bit on the expensive side at $25, but I have been using the free desktop app for years so...
  3. 快捷音乐搜索 - it's like QQ music except that the app is available (and usable) in the U.S. for free.
  4. Reeder - RSS reader, which while not specifically for Chinese, enables me to stay caught up with the feeds I should be keeping up with on the desktop. The iPad just seems so much better for consuming media.
  5. TuneIn Radio - again not Chinese specific, but they have most of the Chinese radio stations I like.

The rest:

  1. Most of the video apps in the thread feihong already mentioned.
  2. Sina Weibo
  3. 南周阅读器 - there are some other newspaper apps, but this just happens to be the one I like.
  4. ManhuaMee - lists and downloads the available comics on xindm.cn (great place for comics in Chinese btw) and a few other sites as well.

Ideally, it would be able to do everything my PC can do and more (ZDT, Anki, internet access, read Chinese using Firefox and Perakun plug in, etc).

If these are your requirements, I think the iPad only falls flat in terms of browser character lookup (e.g., Perapera-kun, cantofish, etc.). AFAIK, the closest you can get is Pleco's Web Reader, which works well for relatively simple sites. I know Mike and the team are working on stability improvements, but I can't imagine trying to read the sina homepage using Web Reader.

All in all, if you have the time and a stable wifi connection, the iPad is great in general and also for studying Chinese.

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kdavid

I've never used Pleco as I found a ton of free software that could do what I needed.

Can Pleco annotate PDF texts, or those using the Kindle app?

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feihong

Anything that can be copied onto the clipboard can be annotated by Pleco. But it cannot directly annotate a PDF file, as far as I know (you can copy some text from a PDF and then use the Paste Reader to annotate it). I don't know of a way to copy text in the Kindle app.

Pleco can read ebooks if they are text files put into a zip file. But I don't think it supports any other ebook format.

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Areckx

for manhua I use manman manhua 漫漫漫画 on iPod touch. pleco, iCED+, chinese ls, and KTdict ce

I like having multiple interfaces...

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gato

If you don't have an iPhone/Android phone yet, I would suggesting getting that first before the iPad.

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cababunga

About perapera-kun and similar extensions. You can add pop-ups to Chinese text in your browser with bookmarklet from here http://mandarinspot.com/bookmark. I didn't try it on iPad, but it works on iPhone, so it should work on iPad as well.

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scoff
About perapera-kun and similar extensions. You can add pop-ups to Chinese text in your browser with bookmarklet from here http://mandarinspot.com/bookmark. I didn't try it on iPad, but it works on iPhone, so it should work on iPad as well.

Seems to work pretty well on the iPad. This is very cool.

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feihong

@scoff

ManhuaMee looks interesting. I see that it has a feature to load comics through Dropbox. Do you know what formats it can support? Also, does it do full resolution zooming?

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scoff

@feihong

I see that it has a feature to load comics through Dropbox. Do you know what formats it can support? Also, does it do full resolution zooming?

  1. ManhuaMee doesn't actually load comics through dropbox. It keeps a "shelf" of comics you're currently reading, and the list can be synced with a dropbox account. I imagine the feature might be useful if someone was using multiple iPads and didn't want to bookmark comics multiple times. However, it does not actually sync the comics themselves which would have to be re-downloaded.
  2. Comics need to be sideloaded through iTunes, but I don't have any .cbr or .cbz (any other popular formats?) archives to try right now so I'm not sure which formats it supports. Actually, I used to download images from xindm and then roll my own .cbz archives to use with ComicZeal. ManhuaMee has made life so much easier because comics can be downloaded from within the app.
  3. I believe full resolution zooming is a feature. The images from xindm aren't very high resolution to begin with but you can zoom in and out.

Supported Book Sites:

  1. JumpCN
  2. XinDM
  3. CocoComic
  4. 99mh

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kdavid

Another question for iPad users:

Is there a character writing word processor app?

I was thinking this could easily replace my laptop (which I lug to class each day) if I could type/write with it.

Ideally, an intuitive hand-writing app would be nice so that if I screw up stroke order the app knows what I want to write and gives me that option.

Ideas?

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imron

Many others disagree, but I quite like Apple's Chinese handwriting recognition input method, which is available in all applications that allow input. I've found it works quite well even for hastily scrawled writing and I use it as the Chinese input on my phone.

Edit: See here for an example.

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Safi

I use my iPad everyday. I'm at a beginner Chinese level and have found that eZiTest3 is a pretty good FREE app that has a lot of options. BTW - I have an old ipad1 that I purchased in the states, and it is getting kind of finicky regarding cutting and pasting (hence my inability to post a link to the app mentioned above) and other random stuff. Maybe an iPad2 will have all the bogs worked out by now...

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