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Old 12-21-2012, 11:45 PM   #1
ghero
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Sony PRS-T2 vs Kobo Glo

I am a PRS--T2 owner for several months, but I also bought a Kobo glo for my mom as a christmas gift, so I got a chance to compare them both.

I bought glo for christmas because I was dissatisfied about T2 was rather a downgrade of T1. Also, when I was looking at the hardware specifications and prices, glo seems to be a better choice. However, when I actually got to use the glo after I bought it, I found that when come to actual reading experiences, T2 is still a much better choice than glo, even though glo is built on better hardware.

About reading epub:
My first issue with glo is merely a minor issue. Glo is not format-friendly with non-kobo epub books. When you read a non-kobo epub, the page number sometimes stack right on a character of the actual content (this character is usually at the end of a line.) Also, you sometimes read a weird format where the page is only half full, and the continuation of the content is displayed on the next page. Where as when I use T2, I don't encounter any of those problems.

The second issue with glo on epub is a major one, for some people, like me. When come to epub, it seems that glo does not support as much language as T2, at least T2 supports Chinese well, but glo does not. Glo can read Chinese pdf but not Chinese epub. Where sony usually also does well on Chinese epub books, but glo fails to read them (you get a screen of squares denoting unrecognized characters). However, there is a way of getting around of this issue which requires some extra work. Basically you download the font file you want kobo to support, and place it in a folder called fonts (you will have to create this file under root). And when you reading the epub, select the font you just implemented. I did get this after a little bit struggle, and I can get glo to read chinese epub nicely after that. However, there is also another problem with this, when you reset your glo, the glo will lose the ability to recognize the chinese character in epub again, even though the font file is still there. There are ways to re-fix this, which I'm not gonna talk about here, but it is quite annoying.

Also, I want to talk more about dealing with freeze on both devices. On T2, because there are physical keys, like return or home, which can force the device to respond (by clicking it again and again), so I rarely (if ever) run into freeze problems with T2. On the other hand, the glo, even though claims to have an improved processor (does not seem to be more responsive than T2), because the lack of the physical key that forces to exit freeze (sometimes even hold power does not shut down/restart the device), so I end up running into freeze problems more frequently in glo. Which I have to stick a pen in the reset hole to exit freeze. It does not seem to be a big problem to many users, but again, if you are someone who reads epubs in languages like Chinese, you will have some issues to re-fix after that.

Another thing is that for T2, you can manage your collection at PC by using calibre. But for glo, which is called shelves instead of collections, you cannot manage shelves in calibre, and have to do that on device, however, I do not consider this to be a major problem.

Now lets talk about reading PDFs, which I consider T2 to have a huge advantage over glo:

The problem of reading PDF in e ink readers is that sometimes, what do you do when the font size is to small. Of course you can change the font size, but for PDF, change the font size usually messes up with the format, which format often matters in many PDFs, also sometimes words are part of a picture instead of text in PDFs, another thing is that, for pdf, if you change the font size, then you dramatically slows down the process of page turns. so we need some better methods to deal with them.

My most favorite method used on PDFs with T2 is crop, sometimes combined with column split. It solves a lot problems. Also landscape mode also works very well with some of the PDFs (mostly lecture slides). Pinch and zoom is also quite convenient, but I don't use this feature much.

However, use glo to read pdf is not near as convenient as T2. I can't find my most favorite crop or column split feature in glo. And zooming and landscape mode is just so inconvenient in glo. The problem with zooming and landscaping in glo is that you have to manually configure it for every page on your own. And you have to exit the zooming/landscape mode before you turn into next page. Where as when I use T2, all these kind of features will be automatically applied to every page, you just have to tap or click to turn the pages without ever to worry about reconfiguring those features.

So that's much about the comparison given the time I just bought the glo in my hand. In a shorter conclusion, even though on specification information, glo seems to have a better hardware, but when comes down to actual reading experiences, I think T2 does a much better job. However I do have to appreciate glo's light feature. Even Though on internet video comparison, the light seems to be bluish against some other readers, but when you are on your naked eye, you just don't even notice about that bluish. It is the similar thing which LCDs are very blue when on video, but you just don't notice them on your eye. It is actually very comfortable to have such a light, even though you are not in dark, it just makes you eye very relaxed and comfortable.

After I compared T2 with the product of other brand, I am actually right now very looking forward into sony's next model of ereader. If there is one major feature I want the T2 to take from glo, it is not the resolution (I just don't even notice that advantage), not the better processor (I would like ereaders to be much more responsive though), it is the light that glo has, because it really tunes you up, regardless if you are reading in dark or not, it is just something which the external light can't deliver. So in the future sony ereaders, I want the models to preserve the existing amazing reading experiences (the pdf experience is a big advantage for me), keep the device open (not like some brand which attempt to bind you to their books), and yes, have a light like glo.

So that's about it.
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:53 PM   #2
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Firstly let me say that I've always been a big Sony fan but couldn't get excited about the PRST2 as an 'upgrade' to the PRST1. Nor did I have any interest in rooting the PRST2 to act as a low-level android device. So I decided to try the Kobo Glo.

There are a couple of points you made where I think you are mistaken...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghero View Post
My first issue with glo is merely a minor issue. Glo is not format-friendly with non-kobo epub books. When you read a non-kobo epub, the page number sometimes stack right on a character of the actual content (this character is usually at the end of a line.)
All you need to do to fix this is to uncheck the box in Settings - Reading Settings - Show page number in margins (on page 2). Then you will only get page numbers at the bottom of each page.

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Originally Posted by ghero View Post
Another thing is that for T2, you can manage your collection at PC by using calibre. But for glo, which is called shelves instead of collections, you cannot manage shelves in calibre, and have to do that on device, however, I do not consider this to be a major problem.
This is not correct. The calibre Kobo Touch driver (also used by Kobo Glo) can be configured to automatically manage Kobo Shelves in the same way as the PRST1/T2 driver automatically manages Sony Collections. You need to go to Preferences - Plugins - Device Interface - Kobo Touch - Customize and configure as you wish. I've attached a screencap to show an example. If you're not seeing this then maybe you need a more recent version of calibre.

Calibre's metadata plugboards also work well on the Kobo if you're used to using those on your Sony.

Regarding fonts, I cannot comment on your Chinese fonts experience as I only read in English. In my opinion font handling on the Kobos is one area which is clearly superior to Sony. Various custom firmwares (PRSPlus and Morkl's modified reader app) have done wonderful things for Sony models (excluding PRST2) for epub font customisation. But the Kobos allow you to easily use any font you like as a standard feature and no technical knowledge is required. The Kobo's ability to control font-weight for many of the built-in fonts is also a great standard feature. The fact you also have the ability to change line spacing, page margins and justification from the device is an improvement over any Sony to date. Plus a choice of 24 font-sizes...
[Added] In fact all the features Morkl's modified reader app brought to the PRST1 are standard features on the Kobo (custom fonts, extra font-sizes, clock visible whilst reading, control pages between full screen refresh).

I agree with you about the Glo light. I didn't think I really needed it but I find it invaluable in the murky UK daylight at this time of year as well as in the evenings, of course.

I also agree that Sony's PDF capabilities are much better than Kobo's. It's also my experience that Sony firmware is more robust than Kobo. I haven't had anything really bad happen to me but I have needed a paperclip more often than I ever needed one with a Sony.
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Last edited by jackie_w; 12-22-2012 at 05:57 PM. Reason: added info
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Old 12-23-2012, 03:48 AM   #3
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Well, I've got both the 650 and the Glo, and I'm not sure that I would bother with a Kobo again if Sony puts out a reader with light built in.

You've both articulated the issues as you see them, and I'll state a couple that are a pain in the a for moi!!

Notes

Trying to get a book endowed with Notes to acknowledge that a tap on the note means that you want to be taken to the notes page is an arduous task. Often you will get a page turn instead, or get a highlight or the dictionary - but not any action regarding the Note.

Then, should I be able to exercise the note funtion, I'll be blowed if I can get back to the originating page with any consistency. Yep - page turns, dictionary etc but no notice taken of the tap, or slight depress of the text, to get back.

Annotations and Highlighting

After you think that you've successfully save these and in due course exited the book - and then returned - you may or not not be able to find the notes/annotations. I've had them disappear, and then some - but not all - return.

I got the Glo because I need 2 book lights to adequately see the 650, and from the light point of view the Glo is great. Although I think there needs to be a 'tone' delimiter built in, because brightness isn't the issue as much as the lighting tone. For example, harsh and soft.

I've never had to reset my Sony, or boot it because it's hung. My Glo, in the 9 days I've owned it, I've paper clip started it twice already!!

The 650 is a wonderful workhorse, and with the PRS+ Enhancement, an excellent device.

I do like that Calibre has introduced for testing purposes the ability to import the annotations and highlighting from the Glo - if they still exist, lol.

Well, that's my 2 cents worth.

Oh, I forgot - the darn Kobo desktop software does not give you the choice to Sync or not to Sync. Therefore I've started a dummy Kobo account which I do not use to buy books with, and that's the account that I use as the Glo active account, which means that I only have to use the Kobo desktop when there's an OS update.

Having said that, I don't use Kepubs on my Glo - only Calibre cleaned and side-loaded books.

My playbook gets the Kepubs, but not my Glo. (Kobo is a native app to the Playbook)

Overall, at 7ins the Playbook is still by far the best device to read from, but it's a tad heavy, has only a 12 or so hour battery (typical of tablets), and the reading apps, including Kobo, do not have the full functionality of the dedicated ereaders. And I've never had a prob with getting the notes to work.
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:10 AM   #4
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Some other points:

Sony has much better dictionaries compared to Glo.
Sony firmware more stable (though it hardly changes). Kobo firmware updates are too buggy.
But I hate the Sony T2 hardware buttons - far too infantile and toy-like.
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Old 12-25-2012, 12:08 AM   #5
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Lifesaver post for me. My prs-650 just died ( ) and I've been wandering about between doubts and uncertainty whether should I get a kobo glo or a prs t2.

I would like to have just one question to the original poster then, because this is what gets me more in doubt: would you trade the prs apparently more stable and 'better' software for the glow of kobo glo?
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Old 12-25-2012, 12:58 AM   #6
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I would like to have just one question to the original poster then, because this is what gets me more in doubt: would you trade the prs apparently more stable and 'better' software for the glow of kobo glo?
No, I would not. Because even though glow light is really awsome, but it is functionally replacable by the external light (eventhough with inferior eye experience, but you can still read like fine). But for the better system stability and pdf reading features which prs has, you can't find anything else to functionally replace them. Plus, prs is now much cheaper.

Also, if you are looking to buy a new reader, I suggest you to stay patient a little bit more, see what sony's next reader mode is like. I think sony will likely to add all the physical features that has made kobo glo stand out, if they want to attract users to stay in market. But the problem is we just don't know when they will release a new model.

Also, since each person has different in needs, if you are not a frequent or hard core pdf reader (and don't read epub from languages like Chinese) and you don't want to wait, you might consider kobo glo. However, again, if you ask me to choose between them, I would personally go with the prs reader.

Also, thx to jackie to teach me sth which I did not know about kobo. I really appreciate the corrections and tips you provided.
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Old 12-25-2012, 05:49 AM   #7
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I went from the Sony PRS 650 to a Kobo Glo, and I would not be without the light now - I have not used the 650 since getting the Glo. But if Sony came out with their own front-lit reader I would probably get it. There are just too many niggling problems with the Glo's firmware; the hardware is fine, and I really like the overall design of the Glo. But Sony really dropped the ball with the T2, and I don't think they have sold many. I would not be surprised if they pulled out of the ereader market altogether, which would be a great shame. A front-lit T2 would be great (as long as it did not have those silly shaped buttons).

Some of the things I do not like about the Glo's firmware, most of which you can workaround:

Dictionaries are poor compared to Sony. But you can load on your own custom dictionaries (not officially supported by Kobo).

Fonts are too thin, especially when the light is on. You can adjust the weight on the device of the built-in fonts; for side-loaded fonts you have to use third party software to adjust the weight.

Too much screen space is wasted on top and bottom menu bars when reading. For side-loaded epubs you do not get the top menu, but there is no way to get rid of the bottom menu. For Kobo epubs you are stuck with both.

The line height adjustment does not go low enough, i.e., to 1em. To override this in the epub, you have to set it at the paragraph level (p), i.e., on each paragraph, via a class or inline style.

No permanently displayed clock when reading. You have to touch the screen to display the clock, and it only displays for a second or two - blink and you miss it!

Firmware upgrades introduce more bugs, add features I am not interested in, and do not include features I would like (see above).

Last edited by ShellShock; 12-25-2012 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 12-25-2012, 08:48 AM   #8
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I have both and the T2 has faster page turns and is lighter and I'm thinking of switiching back.
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Old 12-25-2012, 04:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghero View Post
Also, if you are looking to buy a new reader, I suggest you to stay patient a little bit more, see what sony's next reader mode is like.
Just ordered the T2 on e-bay (I don't have much options since my reader has became a sleeping beauty, no waiting for me). Many thanks for your input, I was really struggling to make a decision, specialy cause the prs 650 was the only e-reader I ever owned.

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I would not be surprised if they pulled out of the ereader market altogether, which would be a great shame.
Let's really hope they don't pull out. 2 years ago, mainly due software reasons, sony semmed the best alternative to me.

Now 2 years later it seems the same again.

+ Sony readers are the easier to get online without extra taxes, extra pricing, etc, at some places where population is raped by governament with taxes like Brazil =D.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:45 PM   #10
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How can you read Chinese original epub books? My T2 doesn't support. Can you tell me the configuration?
I asked Customer Service at UK Sony, who said not supportable. I wonder if I should refund it.

Thanks in advance.
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