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Old 12-28-2011, 11:49 AM   #1
Krystl
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Europe: Sony T1 vs Kobo or something else?

I am an American teacher living in Europe (for 18 years now), I have quite the library of books in various languages filling my house. I have been reading all the pros and cons of e-books and have come to the conclusion that it is a good solution for my needs. However, finding a device to tryout here is harder than it should be (not prevalent here--Germans, I KNOW that they have them, but not here where I am ).

I am concerned by DRM (sorry, just not sure I buy the arguements right now--don't get me started on geographically coding DVDs etc.) and also the fact that e-books via amazon are practically non-existant for my location--have to cross the border into Germany for a more limited selection. Therefore, Kindle is NOT an option. Nook is also a no-go for similar reasons.

I have read through the posts here, but everyone needs something else.

Epub seems to be the way to go. Finding readers for this seems to be more difficult, as people seem to compare kindle and nook. Both the Sony and the Kobo are mentioned but I am not sure how these two compare to one another. I am open to any other suggestion, as well--but like the smaller format as pdf etc. is not necessary.

I would like an epub reader with
-- both buttons and touchscreen (solely for note-taking)
-- stable OS
-- simple loading and functioning (fairly intuitive)
-- readablility (minimal flashing, fluid scrolling)
-- collection capabilities via metadata (i.e. over Calibre)
-- export capabilities of notes
-- expandable memory
-- "unlocked" for all sources (non proprietary)
-- landscape mode for event. text pdfs

another question is the reading of German-specific letters (umlauts). In my test in calibre the umlauts couldn't be reproduced--is this normal and something for me to "get used to"?

I have 101 questions, but first I need a device
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Old 12-28-2011, 12:30 PM   #2
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Actually, if you have a US based credit Card and a US address that you use, you can shop at the US Amazon store. Since you are a US citizen, I think it is likely that you have both of these, perhaps using a family members address as the basis for a US Credit Card?

Just saying.

If I had to chose between the Sony and the Kobo, I would chose the Sony. I would ask a friend in the US to buy it for you though. It is a lot less expensive in the US then it is Europe even when paying the shipping.
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Old 12-28-2011, 01:12 PM   #3
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Hi Krystl, hope you like it here in AT

I do NOT have a Kobo (but was very interested at the time it came out and read up on it). I do have a Sony and have to say, I really, really like it and find, that it meets all of your criteria, so let's see...

-- both buttons and touchscreen (solely for note-taking)
Sony has buttons, Kobo is touch only.

-- stable OS
Sony had glitches, which got fixed recently and it's stable now. Kobo has a bit of a reputation for trying very hard to fix bugs and with every firmware update one bug gets solved and a new one appears. I have read, though, that it got quite stable lately.

-- simple loading and functioning (fairly intuitive)
The kobo seems to have a very nice user interface (judging from youtube videos here), but I find the Sony UI also very ok. For library management I use calibre. Simply the best.

-- readablility (minimal flashing, fluid scrolling)
I am not disturbed by the Sony's flashing, but this is very subjective. There are readers, where you can adjust the number of pageturns until the next full refresh. The T1 does not offer this possibilty. While I don't need this (had it on another reader, didn't like it), this is a point of a lot of discussion; ultimately, everyone has to find out for him-/herself.

-- collection capabilities via metadata (i.e. over Calibre)
collections work beautifully with calibre/T1.
At the time, when I was interested in the kobo, collections did not work, which was one of the dealbreakers for me. This may have changed, I don't know.

-- export capabilities of notes
I don't know, but searching the the Sony forums here ("export notes") shows some promising results.

-- expandable memory
yes and yes (micro SD card)

-- "unlocked" for all sources (non proprietary)
not sure, what you mean (read below)

-- landscape mode for event. text pdfs
yes on Sony, don't know about the kobo.

About sources/DRM: personally, I hate being bothered by any kind of DRM scheme. I also witnessed already several ebook-shops going down. Had I not removed the DRM in time, my payed for content would have been lost. So I just buy, wherever I like and strip off the DRM (takes about 2 seconds, it's that easy meanwhile). Ironically I mostly buy Amazon (reading almost exclusively English books).
We are not allowed to give detailed information about this, but google for "Apprentice Alf" and you will get to the right place.

Umlaute work just fine on the T1 (also on my laptop, maybe your OS is not up to it?).

The T1 is on display in shops here, I saw it at Saturn, so maybe you can check it out there.
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Old 12-28-2011, 02:12 PM   #4
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Thank you.

Yes, I love it here--I have lived here for 18 years and so no, I don't have an American credit card. It's just been too long. I'm more European than American--I am having a hard time writing this in English. lol

When I looked at my local Saturn (Salzburg Europark), they didn't have any . It ws most disappointing. Neither did Media Markt or even Conrad across the border. Shopping trip to Munich??? hmmm.... now there's an idea.

My OS is the German Windows7 with German Office, so umlauts etc. should not be a problem (typing on a German int'l keyboard ). Maybe it was the RSS of Kurier that didn't convert--it just kind of "freaked me out"--the information was perfectly fine, but when I opened the Calibre reader, it was all screwed up like a bad e-mail. I read in several languages, so it was suddenly something I had never even considered until seeing the "A24" etc. for the special graphems.

Yes, you caught my meaning about proprietary --Kindle and Nook seem to be sold primarily for their DRM works. Since I knew that DRM is here taboo I decided not to be too direct. I haven't played with that at all (stripping it)--like I said, I am just starting out. (But Apprentice Alf is on my research notes.)

I have been hearing that the e-books are less expensive in the USA. My next visit should include that, as well.

When you buy from Amazon, do you have problems? For me, it always shunts me over to the German website which is much more limited.

Thank you for your help.
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Old 12-28-2011, 02:26 PM   #5
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I just recently did the Kobo Touch vs Sony T1 (I ended up deciding on getting a Sony 650 for my own quirky reasons).

The Sony T1 is the bomb! Get that one.

The Kobo Touch is very nice. Certainly a top device.

You can use a US Proxy Server to fool Amazon into thinking you are in the US, so it wont try to boot you over to the German site.
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Old 12-28-2011, 03:39 PM   #6
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sounds like i should just stick with the sony.... i looked at the 350 briefly (tiny--i like that) but really think taking notes with a stylus has its own benefits...

hmmm... guess i'm going to get a lesson on bending new rules here--and i had just figured sooo much out.

the more i look and read, the more fascinating this is--kinda like getting stuck in powell's bookstore and getting honestly, deliriously lost....

ok... thank you all....
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Old 12-29-2011, 06:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krystl View Post
When you buy from Amazon, do you have problems? For me, it always shunts me over to the German website which is much more limited.
I bought from amazon.com for a while, but when a book was geographically restricted they refused. I know it's possible to use proxy servers, etc. but really, I can't be bothered. If they don't want to sell a book, they will lose the deal.
I finally swapped to amazon.de and at least for me, there is enough of English stuff. Mostly, they have the best prices.


Before going to Munich, better take a trip to Linz, it was there on display a few days ago. (Saturn and Thalia)
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Old 12-29-2011, 07:11 AM   #8
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I've weighed them both up but realistically you need to define what your needs are. I found the Sony T1 does too much and it's form isn't as nice as the kobo. If you want a simple reader then go the kobo. If you want audio then go the Sony. I suggest going to a store and holding them and playing with them. Also don't forget to check which stores suit your needs. Good luck and happy reading.
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:14 AM   #9
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+1 to everything Wakingdreamer has posted. He/she has got it in a nutshell.
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:18 AM   #10
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Like you, I have been living in Europe for nearly 20 years now and I got an e-reader specifically to have "easy access" to English language books, recent titles and to be able to download English language newspapers and magazines (using Calibre).

I've got two Sonys (not the T-1 - yet, but a PRS600 and a PRS350) and I love them both. I went with the Sonys largely because I wanted to go with the epub format. Of the criteria you list, I think only the exporting of notes might be an issue. (I have used the note taking function, but have yet to need or want to export the notes.)

I'm a big Amazon customer - through their *.com, *.co.uk, *.fr and now and then through *.de - but as far as I can tell, they go by your shipping address rather than an IP address, so I'm not sure that getting one of those IP spoofer accounts would really help. And there are reports that if you change your shipping address too often, they get upset and ask you for "proof" of your address.

Not sure how they are doing it now, but when I got my PRS600, I simply registered it as being a "US" reader (by installing the US dictionary). That lets me into the Sony Store in the US. I ran into problems when trying to use my US based credit card (with a French billing address) so I make all my purchases using the Sony bookstore gift cards. A friend in the US gets them for me and just e-mails me the code you need to credit them to your account. When they asked me for my address, I just gave them hers. Oddly enough, I use my European e-mail address which is clearly NOT a .com domain.

Otherwise, for English language books, I use Kobo, though they're getting difficult to use now that they're working with FNAC here in France. My account is set to "English" but I get a mix of French and English screens, and often have to click around on the site to get the latest releases in English rather than in French. But surprisingly enough, they sometimes have better prices than the Sony store (when you convert from euros to $), at least if you can apply one of their discount codes.
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:42 AM   #11
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The IP spoofers do work but only if you have a US Credit Card that is tied to a US address. Most of the expatriots I know have kept a US Credit Card based at a family members home address just because it is good to have. You set your account home address to that address and then you choose your outside the US address for sending packages to.

I have heard that you can also send Amazon a copy of your American Passport and that you can gain access to the US store without a US Credit Card but that was a few years back and it is not something talked about a ton. It might be worth contacting Amazon about.

At the very least, it will help you get past geographic restrictions for a wide variety of books and other products.
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:26 PM   #12
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Thanks for your help! A lot of great information here. I did define my needs as clearly and consisely as I could without getting into details. Each of those listed is on my "needs" list for a practical reader. As a teacher, I really want a work device more than "just a simple reader"--the notes, etc. are very important factors for me. I have no problem with the multiple languages, etc. as that is what I do and my books here are equally distributed.

I guess I need to research the note exportation because that cannot be "tested" in a store and no one here seems to know if it works with one or the other. When I read, I often need to make notes and it would be most practical to be able to export the notes (via usb or so--doesn't have to be wifi) to my PC instead of retyping everything into onenote--just looking to "smooth" the workflow for me pulling me away from my PC.

Ironically, Linz is not as accessible to me as Munich--so Munich is the city of choice (but thanks for the tip--it would give me a reason to visit my friends). But yet the problem remains getting BOTH of them here in one store--have you seen them both in Saturn? I am more sceptical about finding the Kobo.

I intentionally stated that I am not necessarily looking for bookstore recommendations or how to buy through amazon. Stores are of no consequence to me here--especially amazon--as I don't want the whole proxy thing (been there, done that, done with that--and yes, it can be VERY problematic with ip addresses, etc.). I do not want anyone else on my account, even family. No, I actually don't have an American credit card. Why would I? I spend less than 3 weeks in the States a year and it is not "easier" for me (not much of a "charge it" girl--I live on what I make and use my card here). Most of my ex-patriot friends who are completely integrated here don't seem to have them either--nor an American bank account. I am one of the "ex-patriots" who has spent more of their life here than in the States and is therefore not tied to the USA except through family--who I purposefully do not financially tie to me (even per address). LOVE the gift card idea and it is one of the benefits of going electronic--thank you for letting me know it works well!

When I am looking for how or where to buy, I know I can post here and get great help.This is, however, a non-issue for me. It frustrates me that no matter what is said--people always come back to how to work amazon. Sorry for the rant, but I really don't care about discussing amazon here--just the practical firmware and software differences between the kobo and the sony or if anyone else has another suggestion for any reason.

So far I have heard= the sony is great and more have them; the sony "does too much" (whatever that means); the kobo is a great simple reader for basic reading (no mention as to whether it does what I am looking for); it all comes down to what I feel. Unfortunately, several of my requests had to do with things one cannot determine by a quick play-around in a store. Guess I just have to keep waiting for the person who knows about note exportation capabilities.

At least I know that I am not missing any device that is not in the "top 5"--except the sony 650 which was mentioned (makes me curious why....)

Thank you for your responses
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Old 12-29-2011, 06:08 PM   #13
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The kobo is not on display in the shops I have been. I would have been very curious, but alas.

Exporting notes from the T1 is possible (described here), you will have to use Sony's software, which is not very well liked around here, e.g. it will delete books on your reader when syncing, as long as they are not in the Sony library software. So using calibre and Sony's software parallel seems to be a bit problematic. I never used it (did not even register my reader with ADE, Apprentice Alf takes care of DRM), so I can't tell first hand experience.
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:18 PM   #14
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Thank you Vish. Another question: you have both the x350 and the T1. What is the benefit to the T1 vs the 350 and vice versa (I loved the idea of a true baby reader). I know the T1 is the must "up-to-date" etc. but there is so much positive review of the 350. Knowing what I am looking for and why--would the 350 be an alternative or should I just stick with the T1?

So it's not just me. I was really hoping that someone with Kobo experience would chime in here. From what I have read, it has the exporting better down. Just really not wanting to get a reader by "gut instincts".

I finally got to play with the sony for about 15 min. which was great. I really liked what I could do and see. As I have been stalking the forums here for a bit, I wasn't surprised with what I saw--except the flashing was much less than what I had been dreading. No page skips, but then, I didn't do much or spend hours playing around. I was a bit overwhelmed with the different options and selection options/menus, but that is normal.
No known work-around for the sony software. bummer. I am still hoping some brilliant person here (you all know so much more than I do, anyway) will come up with an "of course, it is soo easy just......" response.

If I end up with one, I guess I'll be looking around ADE etc.--I'm so confused....

Oh--yes, I've googled alf.... just not quite active yet.
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:24 PM   #15
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Well, I am a bit of a tech person (besides reading a lot), so the prospect of a rooted android reader with wifi was just way too tempting... It's a great reader and a great toy.
So meanwhile, my girlfriend has laid hands on the 350 and she is not likely to loosen her grip, which I can perfectly understand. (Besides, what's the use of an unused device, it's just going to rot faster).
Honestly speaking, each time a take the 350, I think "Oh my, it's such a great little thing". Honestly, to me it's one of the very best readers around, especially with PRS+ installed (which is a firmware-addon, developed by some ingenious guys around here. It adds some functionality, which makes it really shine).
But.
I just don't know, if exporting notes with the 350 is possible at all. I once wanted to get a drawing as a jpg and it was quite a hassle, but then, I never ever installed the Sony software, neither the old, nor the new one.
So unless someone else here can confirm that exporting notes works fine with the 350/650, stick to the T1. It IS truly a very, very good reader.
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