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Old 05-16-2008, 04:32 PM   #1
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e-ink devices in Hong Kong

Hey folks

Just tossing this one out here to make sure I'm not missing anything.

I've happily been reading eBooks on an iPaq for the last year or two, and have decided to buy an e-ink reader for my summer hols this year (late July) - it's a big reading opportunity, but in bright sunlight the iPaq won't cope.

So, en e-ink reader, but which one? Here's my thoughts so far; I'm in England, so the only 'supported' options are an Iliad or a Cybook Gen3; Iliad's a non-starter (too big, too expensive) so I'm leaning towards the Cybook, but my wife has a business trip to Hong Kong in early July, so I was wondering what else might be available - does anyone know?

I really like the iPaq 'pocketable' format, so the 5" Astrak Mentor is really interesting, but I don't believe it'll be available in time - I'm assuming the quoted launch dates are for US?

But there's also the Netronix EB100, Hanlin V3 and of course the Sony PSR505. My dad has the Sony (bought from the US) and I've played with it a few times; seems OK, a bit clunky - like personal computing from the 1980s, 'user-hostile'...

OTOH it's a (relatively) mature package which isn't to be sniffed at; on a remote Greek island, you don't want to be spend good 'reading time' faffing about with 'issues'.

FWIW, most of my reading is recent fiction, mostly in Microsoft Reader format at the moment (iPaq) but I'm happy to format-shift as required; PDF support doesn't matter to me, nor do dictionaries or annotation; I just want to read.

So, any other thoughts? Have I missed anything? Anyone know what's commonly available in Hong Kong? I mean, if I have to buy something unsupported, it may as well be cheap, right..?

Thanks in advance.

Pete
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Old 05-16-2008, 05:23 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by petermillard View Post
But there's also the Netronix EB100, Hanlin V3 and of course the Sony PSR505. My dad has the Sony (bought from the US) and I've played with it a few times; seems OK, a bit clunky - like personal computing from the 1980s, 'user-hostile'...
How so. Choosing a book from the menu and then pressing "next page, next page, next page, next page, next page" isn't very hostile.

Considering you want a solid device and don't want a dictionary and have alot of LIT books which are very easy to convert to LRF I would say the Sony would be a good bet for you.

If you want something a bit smaller, but it is not an eInk device you might want to look at the Jetbook. You would have to convert your books to .txt. It also has a world-wide warranty.

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Old 05-18-2008, 01:26 PM   #3
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Bob

Thanks for the reply, and please excuse my slow response - busy, busy...

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How so. Choosing a book from the menu and then pressing "next page, next page, next page, next page, next page" isn't very hostile.
It's the 'choosing a book from the menu' I found very slow, with clunky, platform-specific desktop software and what seemed like poor file management on the device itself. Not my idea of user friendly, personally, but I understand others may have different experiences having used one in earnest, rather than an extended 'play' like I had.

Quote:
Considering you want a solid device and don't want a dictionary and have a lot of LIT books which are very easy to convert to LRF I would say the Sony would be a good bet for you.
I've pretty much come to that conclusion; shame it didn't 'wow' me when I used my dad's, which is why I was leaning towards the Cybook...

Quote:
If you want something a bit smaller, but it is not an eInk device you might want to look at the Jetbook. You would have to convert your books to .txt. It also has a world-wide warranty.BOb
Yes, I saw your review in another thread - many thanks for posting that. The Jetbooks sounds interesting, and I hadn't realised the warranty was world-wide, which is a bonus. More food for thought.

Thanks again

Peter.
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Old 05-19-2008, 02:26 AM   #4
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Peter,

The format support of the Jetbook is extremely limited. You really have to convert to text, which means no formatting, no tables of contents - no anything, really. Getting a device which supports one of the popular commercial eBook formats (or to with such books can be easily converted) will give you a lot more flexibility.

A device with MobiPocket support will give you the greatest range of options.
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Old 05-19-2008, 06:14 AM   #5
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If the "user hostile" bit is the slow page-turns... eink is like that. My impression is that in terms of menus and on-device library management the Sony is pretty middle of the pack - it's crap for library management, just like everything else. It's also mediocre for menus, but that seems to be because the designers are fixated on the 10 "soft buttons" down the side. I'm also annoyed then when i type in page numbers it draws them all one at a time before it jumps to the page. It'd be just as fast to jump as soon as hit the enter button nd let me discover that I went to the wrong page that way, but if it did that then the other 90% of the time I'd get to my destination about 2s faster.
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Old 05-19-2008, 12:06 PM   #6
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Harry, thanks and yes I understand text will be very limiting, and I'm not entirely sure I could live with it; given my reading matter, TOCs aren't a big deal for me, but the unformatted text could wear a bit thin, pretty fast. Mobipocket support was one of the major points in favour of the Cybook.

Moz, I can live with the slow page turns of an e-ink screen (don't like it, but I can live with it) - but it's the overall 'clunkiness' of the Sony I find hard to come to terms with in a piece of 21st-Century consumer electronics. If a Sony TV took as long to change channels as the Reader does to change books, they'd never sell one. And as you say, mediocre for menus and on-device file management...

Cheers, Peter.
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Old 05-19-2008, 12:13 PM   #7
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Peter,

I think you'd find that after using for a few hours, you no longer notice the page turns. That's the experience of most users.

You're right - the library systems of virtually all current readers are rather primitive. They work OK for up to a few hundred books, but you wouldn't want to use them for 10,000 books. The Sony is distinctly better than the CyBook in this regard.

However, with eBooks one really isn't changing to a new one every few minutes, so, to a certain extent, it's rather less important than it might otherwise be.
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Old 05-19-2008, 03:12 PM   #8
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You're right - the library systems of virtually all current readers are rather primitive. They work OK for up to a few hundred books, but you wouldn't want to use them for 10,000 books. The Sony is distinctly better than the CyBook in this regard.

However, with eBooks one really isn't changing to a new one every few minutes, so, to a certain extent, it's rather less important than it might otherwise be.
Harry, thanks for that. Yes, primitive is the word I've been struggling for! I must say, when I tried out the library system of my Dad's Sony, I found it hard going with just 40-odd books (4 pages-worth) but yes, point taken that it isn't something you do that frequently - though I do like to have a few books on the go at any one time...

Interesting that your experience is that the Sony is better than the Cybook - I was hoping that the Cybook, being a more recent device, would be a bit slicker in operation - oh well!

Anyway, I've been sitting on the fence for long enough, so I think that all things considered the Sony probably wins the day - it's a relatively mature platform with plenty of conversion tools available, and one that I've had some experience of.

So I guess the next question is whether to buy direct from the U.S., have a friend in the U.S. buy on my behalf and send it to me, or wait a while and see if the boss can buy one for me in H.K.

Thanks again to everyone.

Peter
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Old 05-20-2008, 02:44 AM   #9
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Harry, thanks for that. Yes, primitive is the word I've been struggling for! I must say, when I tried out the library system of my Dad's Sony, I found it hard going with just 40-odd books (4 pages-worth) but yes, point taken that it isn't something you do that frequently - though I do like to have a few books on the go at any one time...

Interesting that your experience is that the Sony is better than the Cybook - I was hoping that the Cybook, being a more recent device, would be a bit slicker in operation - oh well!
To clarify - it's the library system of the CyBook that is more primitive than that of the Sony (although a new "folder view" has been promised for the next firmware release of the CyBook). As a book reader, I think personally that the CyBook has the edge, with its support for MobiPocket, ability to load any font that you wish on the machine, and dictionary lookup. That's why I replaced my Sony with a CyBook, and why I've just replaced my original CyBook with the new model.

It's no problem having a few dozen - a hundred even - books on either machine, but it's best to have your book "library" on a PC and simply store your current (and near future) reading matter on the book reader.
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