Originally Posted by ab7vf
IMHO stock answers like "ipad" "tablet" are less than useless ... in particular since you specified (I thought) e-ink, not lcd ... are there any "ipods .. tablets" that do e-ink?
End of rant ... mostly
Why exactly do you believe it is a 'stock' answer? Do you think I am just repeating something for the fun of it?
Many of those who recommend tablets do so because we have been there done that with e-ink, and have concluded that e-ink doesn't do the job. As a researcher, I might plough through fifty PDFs per day. Some of them, I will be reading and annotating in detail, some I will be flicking through to find particular quotes or pieces of information, some of them I will be skimming as part of an initial literature review. If I had to chose between doing that on e-ink or on paper, quite frankly I would use paper, because in comparison e-ink would slow me down, and I really don't have time for that. Given the amount of PDFs I go though, I also have no time to 'experiment' with cropping pages or zooming or other things to try to get a useful copy. My requirements are pretty simply: I want to open the PDF and have it ready to read. That definitely didn't happen to me with a 6" e-ink reader. While a 9" reader would definitely have helped (and I did consider one), everyone I spoke to who is doing similar work and who had experience with this said that a tablet would be superior. I now agree with them. Why? Because
- scrolling and page rendering is super fast (this is extremely important to me as outlined above - I really can't have this way of working slowing me down compared to paper)
- the annotation capacities on tablets are far superior - for example, it is easy to distinguish by colour how some text relates to method, some to theory, and some to review findings, hand writing is much more accurate, there are a lot of advanced options for navigating and jumping back and forth within a document)
- I can easily import PDFs to the note taking apps that serve as my digital notebook for my research, and its great to have this in the same place as all my research literature
- tablets come with proper solutions for PDF management for research, such as Sente, Papers, Mendeley, or whatever your app of choice may be. IMO, having a strong workflow for managing literature is key when you do research, especially when you are talking a few thousand PDFs.
I could go on, but the point is that my so called 'stock' answer is actually based on a lot of considerations that are pretty important when you are doing research, as the OP is about to start doing. I, too, would LOVE to be able to do all of this on e-ink. I have a Kindle and a T1 and I think they are brilliant for recreational reading. I also spend on average ten hours a day in front of a computer. So, yes, e-ink would be great. But IME, it simply doesn't do the job as well, and the difference in performance for the kind of work I do is beyond significant. I simply don't think e-ink readers were designed to support serious research work.
As to reading on LCD, while I was initially very sceptical about that, I then found that I wasn't bothered by it. I do think it is much more comfortable reading on an iPad than my mac. In any case, it is a tiny compromise compared to the increase in performance.
Of course, your mileage may vary on all this - but please realise that the so called stock answers about tablets often originate from the fact that we have been there, done that, and weren't impressed. I, too, went on about not wanting a tablet and insisting on e-ink in the beginning. My mind was changed the hard way.