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Old 07-24-2008, 04:36 AM   #1
tarq
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Newbie seeking advice on what to buy

Hi all, another newbie, first post!

I would like a little help in choosing an ebook reader of some sort but am baffled as to where to start, I'm in the UK.

At the moment I have a PDA Palm Tungsten E, on which the battery has just about had it. I've bought replacement batteries for other devices, but they've never been very good, not lasting long or charging properly, so a new battery would be a last option.

I mainly use it as PDA but also download a lot of reading material, ie Word docs and a few ebooks. I would like to be able to copy downloaded web pages, (like this for instance) and pdf files onto it as well. (Palm doesn't do that unless they can be converted into a Word doc.), so I think a USB port is a must have.

It would be nice to have a larger screen, and one that can be read in bright daylight, but not so large that it isn't easily portable. I wonder what my options are?

I'm not too bothered about the PDA functions because I may be getting a new mobile with them on soon, so it's mainly the reader part, of course it would be helpful if they were there.

I have a budget of about £200 max.
Any sugestions gratefully looked into.

TIA.
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Old 07-24-2008, 04:47 AM   #2
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Old 07-24-2008, 06:21 AM   #3
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Beat me too it, I'm tempted to upgrade to a PRS-505 when it comes out, as Sony appear to have given up on updates for the 500
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:08 AM   #4
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Sony Reader now available for pre-order from WaterStones. But, also worth considering is the Hanlin V3 and Cybook, both available from e-readers in the UK.

The Sony Reader appears to be the cheapest available, but you'll need to convert any documents into their proprietary format. Which isn't that big an issue so long as you keep a copy of the original for future conversion.

The Hanlin v3 (lBook) supports the widest range of formats and uses a standard Nokia phone battery (user replaceable). I don't understand why devices are still sold without the ability for the user to replace a faulty battery. Not sure if the Sony supports that? But for me, it's a big plus point.

Downside to the Hanlin is that it's £50 over your planned budget. The Cybook standard comes in at the same price, but the Deluxe would be further outside out of your budget.

From all the research I did prior to buying the Hanlin, the Sony didn't sound a bad alternative. It wasn't available in the UK at the time though, so I didn't consider it too much and would have had to check into whether the battery could be replaced or not.

The main thing that put me off the Sony, is their proprietary format which is the only format you could buy books in from the Sony store. The risk of the store closing down and losing the ability to activate books on a future device was off putting.

If you're happy enough to convert books (country laws applying) between format though, then the Sony reader is quite an attractive option. Buy Mobi or .lit books and covert them to html then onto the readers proprietary format.

If you'd be against converting books for any reason, then I'd probably advise against the Sony & Hanlin, and suggest the Cybook. This supports MobiPocket format, which is widely available. As of the latest firmware update, the Hanlin does support .lit, but I don't believe the viewer is up to standards yet for that format.

Compared to a PDA though, I'm sure whichever device you decide to get you'll be very happy with the purchase. The display is crisp and clean even in direct sunlight which would have made a PDA display an unreadable mess.
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:15 AM   #5
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Sony Reader now available for pre-order from WaterStones.

The Sony Reader appears to be the cheapest available, but you'll need to convert any documents into their proprietary format. Which isn't that big an issue so long as you keep a copy of the original for future conversion.

The main thing that put me off the Sony, is their proprietary format which is the only format you could buy books in from the Sony store. The risk of the store closing down and losing the ability to activate books on a future device was off putting.
The Sony Reader PRS-505 will very soon support ePub and reflowable PDF. So no, you don't have just Sony's BBeB format. I'm seeing some eBooks now available for sale in ePub format which means once the new firmware is out, you'll be able to purchase these eBooks and read them on the 505.

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=26775
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:40 AM   #6
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The Sony Reader PRS-505 will very soon support ePub and reflowable PDF. So no, you don't have just Sony's BBeB format. I'm seeing some eBooks now available for sale in ePub format which means once the new firmware is out, you'll be able to purchase these eBooks and read them on the 505.

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=26775
Yes, I was just reading about that in the Waterstones / Sony Reader thread.

ePub support removes the main downside to the Sony. Hopefully with waterstones pushing the device we'll see more best sellers available in ePub. Plus in time there will be plenty of tools becoming available to convert from various formats to ePub.

I think the Sony is going to be very strong competitor to the Cybook and Hanlin once it becomes available. It's got the looks, the cheaper price point and soon will have a standard book format. Even purchases from the Sony book store would be a possibility if they ever added ePub to their store and even if they don't, there will be plenty of other stores making them available.

It's really hard to recommend any other reader at this time. Only reason I could see to buy the Hanlin or Cybook, is if you wanted the device NOW If you can wait, the Sony looks to be the best option.
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Old 07-24-2008, 08:24 AM   #7
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I would wait until current 505 owners have had a chance to see the new firmware in action. That way, you'll know how good or not iePub support really is as well as relowable PDF. This could mean PDF might be usable for once on a 6" eink screen. And if this is done right, I think it'll blow away the Gen3, V3 and Kindle for now.
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Old 07-24-2008, 09:17 AM   #8
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Thanks for all your help, I'll probably wait until after the Sony is launched, to see if there are any problems with it.

I'm not very computor savy so it would have to be easy for me to d/l my word docs and web pages onto it. I don't invisage buying many actual 'ebooks'.

I would use it mainly for reading d/l'd web pages and word docs. I was also looking at the 'ASUS eee', as an alternative pocket size pc. That seems to have web & program possibilities, but of course the screen wont be half as good. Also it's probably heavier & bulkier.

I'm trying to work out the best possible combination for an avid reader on the move to not have too many 'gadgets' to lug around!
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Old 07-25-2008, 09:01 AM   #9
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DAK if an ereader or a small pc can be used on a plane?

Also what is the battery life/replacement like on the Sony?

I find most mobile devices seem to need new batteries after a couple of years, some are not available and even if they are they never work as well as the originals.

I see the Sony505 is avaiable in the US, is there any reason not to buy 1 there and have it shipped? From what I've read on these boards the warrenty is practically worthless anyway.

Also, now I'm on a roll, with the Sony 505, is it possible to transfer txt files & web pages onto it, with out going through their site, and no doubt paying for it?

As you can see I know very little about these ereaders.
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Old 07-25-2008, 10:06 AM   #10
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ePub support removes the main downside to the Sony. Hopefully with waterstones pushing the device we'll see more best sellers available in ePub.
Looking forward, ePub is the most significant capability of Adobe DE on the PRS-505, but don't forget that it also supports all existing Secure Adobe ebooks. I have had bad things to say about Adobe ebooks in the past, because they keep changing the ground under readers who just want access to their legally purchased ebooks on new devices. However, Adobe Digitial Editions appears to be a viable and stable platform for ebooks and there are probably more Secure Adobe ebooks than any other format.
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Old 07-25-2008, 10:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarq View Post
Hi all, another newbie, first post!

I would like a little help in choosing an ebook reader of some sort but am baffled as to where to start, I'm in the UK.

At the moment I have a PDA Palm Tungsten E, on which the battery has just about had it. I've bought replacement batteries for other devices, but they've never been very good, not lasting long or charging properly, so a new battery would be a last option.

I mainly use it as PDA but also download a lot of reading material, ie Word docs and a few ebooks. I would like to be able to copy downloaded web pages, (like this for instance) and pdf files onto it as well. (Palm doesn't do that unless they can be converted into a Word doc.), so I think a USB port is a must have.

It would be nice to have a larger screen, and one that can be read in bright daylight, but not so large that it isn't easily portable. I wonder what my options are?

I'm not too bothered about the PDA functions because I may be getting a new mobile with them on soon, so it's mainly the reader part, of course it would be helpful if they were there.

I have a budget of about £200 max.
Any sugestions gratefully looked into.

TIA.
tarq
hi tarq, Im finding it hard to decide on an ereader too. My previous device was a palm T3, and my latest phone is a jailbroken iphone, i ues both devices for reading as well as their other capabilities (although my t3 has just about had it - over six years of faithful service isnt too bad)

For me I think I will probably get either the hanlin v3 or asus eee, and this is after months of looking at different models, but Im still holding out in case something else catches my eye.

For your purposes I couldnt help noticeing you said usb was a requirement - have you had a look at the asus eee. comes in both windows, and linux, very small, comes in 7,9 and 10 inch screen varieties depending on which model you go for, its also marketed as the RM Asus minibook over here (uk), around the £200-300, is basically a very small laptop. I am very tempted - the main drawback is its not an e-ink device, but on the plus side its has either linux or windows and can potentially run anything on it - when i say anything I mean within reason - dont expect to play any of the latest full blown games on it, or expect you can do encode video etc! As a small portable device, its an excellent reader, music, video playback, internet browser.
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Old 07-25-2008, 11:38 AM   #12
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Hi, thanks for the info. I must admit to being tempted by the Asus EEE, especially the new 901 model.

I was wondering about the 'wifi' aspect.

Does it mean you can go anywhere and hook up to a wireles network, what about the costs, how are they charged?

As you can tell I know nothing about modern workings, my mobile phone is 10years old and the Palm is 5!

They are all coming to the end of their life so that's why I'm looking to replace them, they do nothing fancy. The phone makes calls and probably 'texts' too, if I knew how to. The Palm is just a PDA that I use as an ereader and organiser with no net connections.

I'm way behind the times, but am going on holiday in Septemeber so thought it would be nice to have something better than the Palm to take my reading on. lol
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Old 07-25-2008, 12:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarq View Post
Hi, thanks for the info. I must admit to being tempted by the Asus EEE, especially the new 901 model.

I was wondering about the 'wifi' aspect.

Does it mean you can go anywhere and hook up to a wireles network, what about the costs, how are they charged?

As you can tell I know nothing about modern workings, my mobile phone is 10years old and the Palm is 5!

They are all coming to the end of their life so that's why I'm looking to replace them, they do nothing fancy. The phone makes calls and probably 'texts' too, if I knew how to. The Palm is just a PDA that I use as an ereader and organiser with no net connections.

I'm way behind the times, but am going on holiday in Septemeber so thought it would be nice to have something better than the Palm to take my reading on. lol
How you hook up, and what (if anything) it costs depends on where you are. Lots of places (I think Starbucks is one of them) offer free wifi hotspots for the use of people in the store.

At most airports there are wifi hotspots, but they usually cost (I remember one being $10 an hour). Some hotels have them for free, others charge by the day. If it's a pay site, then they will take your payment and then you get a logon id to use the wifi.

Most of the people in my valley have unsecure wifi networks. We allow anyone who's in the valley to piggyback off of our signals .... however, the signals don't extend out all that far.

There are programs and devices out there which will help to locate free wifi, and some cities are working hard to provide free hotspots throughout the downtown areas.

So ... it depends.
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Old 07-25-2008, 12:38 PM   #14
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If you have broadband Internet to your house, a WiFi router will allow you to share the connection with multiple devices without running Ethernet wires. It also means that your laptop can be moved about the house without loosing the connection and without a cable.

I don't know what the situation is like in the UK. In the US, many hotels now offer free WiFi access to the Internet for guests and some Airports have free WiFi. Most WiFi hotspots, though, require payment. Either a daily sign-up or a monthly subscription. Two examples are McDonalds and Starbucks.
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Old 07-25-2008, 01:02 PM   #15
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I'm not very computor savy so it would have to be easy for me to d/l my word docs and web pages onto it.
Assuming you have MS Word on your computer, the Sony PC-side software will accept MS Word Doc files (it uses Word to convert them for you automagically). The web pages, you'd probably have the extra step of copying them into Word. Or you can use the Calibre application to run them for you also automagically.

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DAK if an ereader or a small pc can be used on a plane?
Yup, they can -- I use my PRS500 on a plane at least twice a month these days. You will have to disable the wireless on a laptop, though, so make sure you know how to do that.

Quote:
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Also what is the battery life/replacement like on the Sony?
The 505 was getting ~3 weeks on a charge before the latest firmware came out, it's too soon to tell if the firmware will affect that or not.

The battery isn't user-replaceable on the 505, unless you're an adventurous user.

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I find most mobile devices seem to need new batteries after a couple of years, some are not available and even if they are they never work as well as the originals.
I still have a PRS500 which is almost 2 years old. Its battery doesn't give me the ~4 weeks per charge it routinely turned out when it was new, but I am still getting ~3 weeks lately.

Quote:
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I see the Sony505 is avaiable in the US, is there any reason not to buy 1 there and have it shipped? From what I've read on these boards the warrenty is practically worthless anyway.
I think with the 505 coming out in the UK so soon, I'd suggest you wait for it, if you can stand to. That'll avoid the warranty issue you've mentioned, and it'll be easier than shipping (plus no import duties for you). Besides, that'll give you a bit more time for research to make sure you're getting what you want -- that's the important bit, that you get something that fits your needs.

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Also, now I'm on a roll, with the Sony 505, is it possible to transfer txt files & web pages onto it, with out going through their site, and no doubt paying for it?
Yup, in fact they don't have any way to transfer stuff through their site, it's all done through the PC side software. And no, it doesn't cost any extra.

The PRS505 will handle TXT, RTF (no in-line pix on those though ), Sony's LRF/BBeB format (which you can get from Sony, Fictionwise.com, Feedbooks.com, our own e-book uploads section, Baen's Webscriptions.net and a few other places), and with the new firmware, PDF becomes a fairly valid option, plus, of course, epub, which stands a reasonable chance to become a de facto "standard" format for e-books, in my humble opinion.

Hope that helps some.
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