I recently got a Nexus 7, using it mainly to read academic papers. Often, I find an interesting article on my laptop, and want to stash it to my Android device to read later. I need this to be fully automatic–I am horrible at regularly doing manual synchronizations. Here I will describe the tools and workflow I use to synchronize PDFs from my laptop to my Android device.
I thought Dropbox would be all I needed. I already use it for synchronizing other files between computers. I thought I could just stick files in my Dropbox folder on my laptop, and have it automatically synchronized to my tablet. However, the Dropbox Android app does not automatically store files to the tablet; it just provides access to them when online. So, I searched for a tool to fill this hole.
Luckily, I found Dropsync, a full two-way sync Android client for Dropbox. It was very easy to set up (pick an SD card directory, pick a Dropbox directory, and it keeps them synchronized). I haven’t noticed any impact on battery life or performance of my tablet. Dropsync fits my needs perfectly.
Not related to synchronization, but the best Android PDF reader/annotator I’ve found is ezPDF Reader. In my opinion, its killer feature is its ability to zoom in just right. In a two-column paper, it zooms to fit one column perfectly in the width of the screen. When you get to the bottom of a column, a page flip gesture brings you to the next column. It fixes the zoom level for figures. In short, it does the Right Thing.