A review of the new digital version White Dwarf

Note #1: To see full resolution versions of the screenshots click on them.

Note #2: For the issue review itself, go to Tale of Painters, I mostly agree with their review about aesthetics and general feeling, but haven't read any article in depth yet.

 

The digital White Dwarf is available only via Apple's virtual kiosk, starting with this month's number which also has been given a full overhaul (and 1€/$/£ price increase ¬.¬).

We already have codex and some books in digital format, but as they are even more expensive than the physical versions, I didn't even bothered checking them. But look at the digital WD price:

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That's 2€ less per issue, and the yearly subscription gets you the magazine down to 4€/issue. It is quite tempting, if the new approach proves hobbyist-centered instead of an ads-display like it's been for the last years (or so it seems, I just peek one WD each X months).

The (few) times I buy a White Dwarf I end up scanning the pages I want and throwing out the rest, so, I went on and bought october's magazine as won't take any valuable physical space at home.

It weights 345 MB, so can only be done under wifi and wil take one or two minutes with a decent DSL. As it is integrated with the newsstand each issue will fill it individually there.

On to the issue itself. Just opening you notice some pages have small animations, mostly text sliding into the correct place, some images fading in, or some 360º animations playing once automatically.

As the help explains, the digital version has special features:

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Very clever way of hiding prices but allowing you to go online and buy them, by the way.

Well thought and less intrusive, you can decide whenever you want "commercial info" or not (new prices appear a bit cryptic for the average user, as you will notice):

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360º images are pretty much like the website ones, except with the new dark red background. I would have prefered bigger size (they are neither too small neither big), but for normal minis it is ok. Bigger ones like the new chaos dragon are impossible to see in detail because of the small resolution (and no zoom available).

 

The zoomable images are by far the best feature. Take a look at how much you can zoom:

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For deep investigation of painting techniques I think this is awesome, you can see any detail no matter how small it is.  Some big pictures (like army displays) even allow to see a far greater level of detail than the print version.

 

The index of the magazine has also been adapted for the iPad, allowing you to slide up/down to see all sections, or left/right to see individual articles inside each section. Or just go to the next page for a sequential reading. It is not the most intuitive UI (you have to drag in certain places or won't work) but quite handy once you get to it.

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Apart from the zoomable photos, some pages have inline photo carousels (again not so easy to spot at first), with some images you can slide:

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In the battle report there is a "post-battle video debrief" (with full screen option). As I haven't read it yet I cannot judge the quality of what the contestants say.

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Other generic features of the digital magazines are present, like custom bookmarks or text search inside issues.

 

I have an iPad 1, so the iPad 3 will probably render sharper texts. Still, the content was perfectly readable in all pages except the introduction (and as was the copyright and employees list I don't care at all).

 

My only real complain is the lack of an option to do a general zoom (as if viewing a normal PDF), a pity for better appreciation of some images.
On those you can zoom, it really allows a huge zoom with impressive level of detail, but if you cant is a pity. I don't care to get a pixellized or blurry image if I can zoom a bit.


Categories: Magazines

Comments?


Posted by Kartones on 2012-09-22