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I have never looked very kindly on Adobe Reader simply because of how bloated it has become over the years. For awhile the startup times were getting longer and longer until they finally realized that users were getting frustrated, and then they started to shift some focus to performance. While it has gotten better in the last couple major releases I’ve never been able to find my way back to Adobe, and the sad thing is that I’ve been starting to see one of my favorite alternatives, Foxit Reader, traveling down Adobe’s same path to doom.

There are still some lightweight PDF readers out there, and one of the more notorious ones is Sumatra. It’s easy on your system’s resources, and offers most of the PDF functionality you’ll need on a day-to-day basis. I stumbled across another app the other day called SlimPDF though, and as you can see in the screenshot above it has an elegant interface while throwing in the features you want from an app like this. More importantly, however, is that it’s extremely light on resources. Take a look at the quick memory usage comparison I made between Sumatra and SlimPDF:

  • Memory usage at startup (no PDF open)
    • Sumatra: 6.2MB
    • SlimPDF: 1.9MB (69% less)
  • Memory usage with one PDF open
    • Sumatra: 12.8MB
    • SlimPDF: 8.5MB (34% less)
  • Memory usage with two PDFs open
    • Sumatra: 19.8MB
    • SlimPDF: 16.9MB (15% less)

Pretty incredible, huh? And here I thought Sumatra is about as light as a PDF reader could get. The installer is also pretty clean… meaning it doesn’t try to get you to install any kind of third-party utilities. They do, however, offer a registration page during the set up, but there is a “skip” button you can click to bypass it. I’d definitely rate this as one of my favorite PDF readers right now, and would definitely recommend that you give it a shot.

SlimPDF Homepage (Windows only; Freeware)