Review: Foxit PDF Reader

Foxit PDF Reader is a no-frills PDF reader that is light-weight and extremely quick loading, perfect for desktops, laptops or even netbooks.

Foxit PDF Reader is a no-frills PDF reader application that is light-weight and extremely quick loading, perfect for desktops, laptops or even netbooks.


Supported platforms:

  • Windows
  • Embedded Linux, Desktop Linux
  • Various Smartphone platforms: Windows Mobile, UIQ 3.x
  • U3 smart drive support

Additional vendor information

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Who's it for?

Foxit PDF Reader offers a viable alternative for businesses requiring a PDF viewer, but who are dissatisfied with the performance of Adobe's PDF Reader. In addition, companies might be uncomfortable with the large number of security vulnerabilities discovered in Adobe's viewer to date, as well as the need to constantly patch it with the latest updates.

What problem does it solve?

Time is money in business, and Foxit PDF Reader allows executives and management to quickly peruse PDF documents without having to waste time waiting for it to load. Unlike heavy-weight incumbents such as Adobe PDF Reader, Foxit PDF Reader excels with slower laptops or netbooks.

Standout features

  • Lightweight and fast: Its lean features allow Foxit PDF Reader to have a small footprint and fast loading times, even on slower workstations or netbooks.
  • PDF Form support: Supports basic PDF operations for filling out and printing of PDF forms
  • U3 smart drive support: Support for the U3 smart drive means that Foxit Reader can be installed on a flash drive for portability.
  • Free: Crucial features such as viewing documents and PDF Form support is free, while advanced add-ons such as the ability to make changes in the PDF are available at a reasonable cost.

What's wrong?

I have been using Foxit PDF Reader for a number of years now, and have not encountered any significant issues with it. On Windows Vista though, I have found that it is necessary to manually run Foxit PDF Reader as an Administrator in order to perform an automatic update. This is an aspect that is not obvious or properly documented.

The many versions of PDF software on the Web site of Foxit Software can be confusing initially. You can check out this Feature Comparison Sheet for a good overview; the one covered in this review is "Foxit Reader."

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

Personally, Foxit PDF Reader is my default PDF viewer of choice across my various workstations. While it is true that Adobe's PDF Reader has made great strides in speeding up its loading time, Foxit PDF Reader loads in no time at all, even on a slow laptop with a 1GHz CULV processor. In addition, the availability of PDF Forms support means that it is also suitable for companies that make use of this feature as part of their business process.

User rating:

Have you encountered or used Foxit PDF Reader? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

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