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Old 02-24-2012, 10:15 AM   #1
Begemot
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WTB: Android based tablet with good screen for PDFs

What Android based tablets have the "easiest on eyes" screen for prolonged reading of largish PDFs?
E-ink sadly lacks the fast page flipping and zooming in/out that is desirable for large technical PDFs.

2nd requirement: the device should be relatively open to rooting, that is I want to able to load 3rd party e-reading applications. I do not wish to play in a walled garden.

Size: 7in-10in is fine, weight should not be over 1kg..

Price: $150-$300


Candidates:

Acer Iconia A100, A500:
Plus: Tegra 2 dual core CPU
Minus: price ~$300, unsure how suited these are for prolonged reading, seems to get mixed reviews

Ainol Elf & Aurora 7:
Plus: Inexpensive $140-180, reasonable CPU(single core), 1GB RAM, 1024x600 screen, IPS on Aurora, HDMI out (nice bonus), Android ICS out, Android 2.3.4 runs well
Minus: quality control is spotty, no reports of Elfs/Auroras used for prolonged reading of PDFs, might not really be meant to be an e-reader

Amazon Kindle Fire:
Plus: Amazon QC, dual core CPU, relatively easy to root, Gorillaglass screen 1024x600
Minus: reviews say screen too glossy and glares, not very comfortable, this seems to be a dealbreaker

Asus Transformer series:
Plus: powerful CPUs, Priime has quad core Tegra 3, new Prime will have a very nice screen resolution 1,920x1,200!! (still not released)
Minus: price>$300, not sure how nice the screens are for reading

Asus EA800
Plus: fascinating technology with my favorite screen reflective TFT plus Wacom for note taking
Minus: seems to be abandoned everywhere but Italy or Taiwan, mixed reviews, not open Android

B&N Nook Tablet:
Plus: 1024x600 IPS2 screen, dual core CPU, many respectable reviews give this tablet the edge over Kindle Fire, reviews note how nice the screen is for reading
Minus: With each update, B&N seems dead set against allowing of jailbreaking of its garden, very unfriendly to developers, another dealbreaker

B&N Nook Color:
Plus: respectable screen 1024x600 IPS, can be rooted
Minus: older CPU, not very powerful, big PDFs will probably choke?

Jetbook Color:
Plus: interesting color e-ink screen, early reports are very positive
Additional plus: I loved their original Jetbook screen (reflective 640x480 TFT), why didn't this technology go up to higher resolution?
Minus: runs Windows CE ?!, price >$300, pretty much locked down

Samsung Galaxy Tabs (7, 8.9, 10.1):
Plus: screens are nice, newer machines are quite powerful, can load whatever Android applications you want
Minus: price> $300+, maybe first Tab is good enough for reading?

What other candidates am I leaving out?
Anyone have any recommendations/experiences?

PS. I am currently hesitating between Ainol Elf/Aurora, Amazon Kindle Fire and B&N Nook tablet, one is unknown, one is glossy screen, and one is locked down...
PSS. I would pay $500 for a tablet if it was a perfect mix of responsive and readable and size.. but no such thing exists..

Last edited by Begemot; 02-24-2012 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 02-24-2012, 11:59 AM   #2
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What do you mean by "nice"? Technically speaking, what specifications are you looking for in a screen?

I have the Asus Transformer and I bought it specifically because it does have IPS, and I'm personally quite satisfied, but it is glossy (I don't think there are any tablets with matte). However I do think the screen is noticably better than the Acer Iconia, which was the other one I was considering, but YMMV.

I like the 10" screen also. It's great not to be forced to zoom for PDFs and manga.
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Old 02-24-2012, 01:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Begemot View Post
What Android based tablets have the "easiest on eyes" screen for prolonged reading of largish PDFs?
E-ink sadly lacks the fast page flipping and zooming in/out that is desirable for large technical PDFs.

2nd requirement: the device should be relatively open to rooting, that is I want to able to load 3rd party e-reading applications. I do not wish to play in a walled garden.

Size: 7in-10in is fine, weight should not be over 1kg..

Price: $150-$300


Candidates:

Acer Iconia A100, A500:
Plus: Tegra 2 dual core CPU
Minus: price ~$300, unsure how suited these are for prolonged reading, seems to get mixed reviews
<--- snip --->
I can report my personal experience with ICONIA Tab A500.
It is a good tablet, indeed.
I have to admit I haven't played with e-readers like kindle more than a few minutes in fairs and shops, but I don't feel good with them.
With an Android device you can make a lot of useful things, like having some applications for e-mail reading and web browsing.
But also playing games (chess), viewing some movies during the lunchtime (when you're alone or on the train) or writing notes and ideas.
I don't know if there are readers that can do the same, but I doubt it.
Also the illumination that lets you read also in the dark when you're wife is sleeping is great. Are there retro-illuminated e-readers ? I don't remember that kindle or others have it, but I could be wrong.
The only problem that I can report is about the USB devices management.
Accessing to a pen-drive or to other devices connected to the USB is a tricky job, you don't know how to find the folder path, also because it stays in the root of the file system.
So you must have a file browser that can access to the root of the file system, because the standard one simply doesn't see the folder.
The programs can access and see the files with ease: for example the Adobe PDF reader correctly sees all the PDFs that you have on your USB device, as well as the e-book readers app do.
Also you can copy or move them, but to access to other files not recognized by the applications you have installed is not so easy.
Reading is beautiful and relaxing, also in negative mode whith those e-readers that allow it. The resolution is good and the fluidity is quite all right now with the new O.S. update.
Also the dimension of the page is quite close to an original book, so for me is better that a small e-reader like kindle, because I'm not precisely a hawk...
I'm happy with it and I can sincerely suggest it.
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:18 AM   #4
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I'll also vote for the Iconia Tab A500. I used one for the same purpose (technical docs and schematics) and it worked very well. I'd still be using it if Kupa hadn't released their x11 Windows tablet with active digitizer screen...
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:05 AM   #5
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Thanks for the responses! Looks like Iconia A500 is not as bad as reviews led one to believe. Looks like NewEgg has one for ~$300 refurbished, tempting.

My main fear is that no matter the price, I would hate the screen. That is, I would be unable to read for an hour without hurting my eyes.

This was an issue with my Acer One netbook. Glossy screen and massive headaches from reading in bed. When I replaced the screen with matte the issues went away.

Kupa seems very nice although pricey.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Begemot View Post
Thanks for the responses! Looks like Iconia A500 is not as bad as reviews led one to believe. Looks like NewEgg has one for ~$300 refurbished, tempting.

My main fear is that no matter the price, I would hate the screen. That is, I would be unable to read for an hour without hurting my eyes.

This was an issue with my Acer One netbook. Glossy screen and massive headaches from reading in bed. When I replaced the screen with matte the issues went away.

Kupa seems very nice although pricey.
Glossy screens can be solved with screen protectors. Which I would put on all touch-enabled devices anyway...
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Old 02-28-2012, 08:24 PM   #7
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You could always get a pair of Gunnar glasses, they are supposed to help with watching or reading on a LCD.
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