I just received my new Bookeen Gen 3 on Christmas Eve and thought I would share a few thoughts. I have been a PRS-500 user since Nov last year and recently upgraded to the PRS0505, once I saw that the Bookeen Gen3 was out and supported MobiPocket I decided to take the plunge and get that as well. The intention is to keep the one I like and sell the other.
I have now been using the Gen3 for a couple of days, the best way I think to show my impressions is to list pro's and con's.
What I like:-
Things I do not like
- Fast page refresh and navigation, much better then the PRS-505
- Fast start up and good holding page while it boots.
- MobiPocket support - I can now buy books anywhere I want without having to convert them and worry how they display
- Can now buy copy protected books (DRAM), I do not live in the US so could not buy books from the Sony connect site for my PRS-500/505
- I can add any news feed I want using MobiPocket reader and the biggest advantage of all, they actually display properly. I gave up looking at news feeds on the Sony reader, there was no good choice and the display was awful. It's dead simple, simply connect to your PC, open MobiPocket desktop and it will automatically synchronise your chosen news feeds.
- Having menu's that you can set to configure and change things is great.
- Good screen display, identical to the Sony Reader PRS-505
- The thumbnail display of book covers is quite cool, there is a slight delay when displaying a books thumbnail for the first time as will automatically create a thumb nail and save it. Second time round it does not have to do this.
- Choice of choosing and adding fonts - Nice feature, not sure if I would ever use it though.
- Light weight, easy to hold in one hand for extended periods of time.
- You can use any USB charging device to charge the reader - I needed to shave a bit off my blackberry charger for it to fit.
- Do not have to wait after loading new books for the device to recognise them.
- Very fast almost instant page reformatting when changing font size, when choosing the font size you can see what you get. The PRS-505 take up to a minute or more depending on the size of the book.
- Good selection of supported file formats, some of those not supported can be converted with MobiPoket desktop.
- The battery life is better than the PRS-505, the Gen3 lasted 5 day's very heavy usage (8+ hours a day) where as the PRS-505 lasted 2 and a half.
- From HarryT's note below - One major benefit of the Gen3 over the Sony is dictionary support. HarryT also has his own posting about dictionary support Go to Artical
- Though not great PDF support is better than that on the PRS-505, Sony do plan to improve this in the next firmware update.
Part of the problem with most PDF documents, is that they are formatted A4 or larger, when the portrait-mode image is loaded, it just reduces the size of the font down to unacceptable levels. If the PDF has been reformatted to smaller than A4 before transferring to the Gen3 then it will display well.
- look & feel - The hardware when compared to the Sony PRS-505 appears cheep and flimsy, the quality of workmanship is just not up to that of Sony's reader.
- The page turning button is cheep and nasty, the click action is not smooth and does not always turn the page.
- Sorting and filtering of books - Much worse than the PRS-505, you can not sort by Author, no facility for book collections, you can off set this slightly by sorting by file location and putting your books into folders or by file name.
This is a Major issue, ok if you only have a very low number of books on the device. Once you have say 20+ then you have to page forward to find the book you want, the more books you gave the worse it gets.
- If you choose to display more than 5 books to a page then you can not see the complete title of the book, nor the author.
- There is no facility for searching for books/articles/authors - This does not exist for the Sony ready.
- No book cover for the reader - Has to be purchased separately, I am told the leather cover is excellent and I will be getting one.
- You can not charge the book and read at the same time.
- Search within books does not work in this firmware version (you get a waning message).
- Page number is not displayed in book, a bit limiting when you want to go to a certain page.
- page history would be very useful, I have accidentally lost my place a couple of time and it took ages to get back to the page I was on (I have since learned that you can use the back button on the left side to go back one step).
- If you turn the book off and turn it back on again, you do not go to the last page you were reading, you have to select the book again.
- Navigation around is generally much easier with the PRS-505 than the Gen3.
- The battery metre is not available when reading a book, this can only be seen from the Library page. I ran out of power the other day while reading and thought the book had frozen on me, nothing worked, I was stuck on one page and could not even do a reset.
It wasn't until I connected the charger I found the battery was flat.
- Does not support copy protected (DRM) PDF books, NOTE: The Sony PRS-505 does not support DRM protected e books either.
I am not sure which one I will eventually decide to keep, I like the look and feel of the Sony reader, if I were able to use MobiPocket with it then it would be no contest as the number of book websites I can buy books at is vast.
The Gen3 has more potential, hopefully in the next firmware upgrade they will sort a number of issues, I hope they are more willing to listen to what users want than Sony. The look and feel lets it down a bit, however not as muck as the Kindle which from what I can see is like a brick and plain ugly (apologies in advance if I upset anyone).
After 21 days and 26 books later, I have finally made my decision on which e book reader to keep. This is the Bookeen Gen3, my Sony PRS-505 has been sold on Ebay.
What decided me was speed, flexibility and the range of easily available e books for the Gen3.
Unfortunately I can not give an update on the leather cover as I am still waiting (4 weeks) for it to be delivered.
The Key differentiators for me were:
- Availability of e books, both copy protected (DRM) and unprotected with easy conversion to Mobipocket for some file formats.
- Speed - The Gen 3 is a lot faster in everything that it does
- Flexibility - Better formatting options, ability to sort books out in folders on both memory card and internal memory. Plus a number of other options that are just not available on the Sony PRS-505.
When I say sorting in folders, I mean via attached PC, you can not do this yet on the book reader. I create a folder by author and put that authors ebooks in that folder.
On the library screen, display the menu and select "Sort". Choose "Sort by File Path". Your books will still be displayed "linearly" but sorted by folder name.
Update - 7th Feb
Just a Quick update, I received my nice new shiny leather cover last week on the recommendation of HarryT and I have to say I am impressed with the quality. I will not go into any details re Leather or plastic as this has been done to death in a previous post
(the outside is man-made and the inner cover Leather).
In my opinion a cover for the Gen3 is a must, maybe this is the one for you.
What I like:
- Excellent quality
- Looks good - Lots of envious comments while reading on the train
- Provides excellent protection for the Gen3
- Cost - Initially I thought the price a bit high, however you get what you pay for and this is a quality product, well worth the wait.
- The cover is a good snug fit with all the buttons and ports accessible.
- The magnets work well to hold the cover closed.
- The book reader is now more bulky and will not fit into my coat pocket.
- The page turn button is not as easy to operate as the thickness of the leather causes it to be recessed, the cut-out for the button needs to be slightly better aligned.
- Although there is a cut-out to get to the USB socket, it is not as easy to remove the rubber cover - Having said that you can easily remove the Gen3 fro the cover or permanently remove the rubber cover from the USB socket.
- It is possible for the Gen3 to slide out of the cover if you hold the cover upside down and shake it - It must be noted that has never fallen out, this is just an observation that it would be safer if it were secured to the cover.