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Old 08-20-2013, 11:25 PM   #1
Xen
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Looking for new ebook reader

I have a kindle, inherited from my son after he decided he hated it (I TOLD him so)

It's fine=ish - the search function is abysmal, and I can't keep more than a handful of books on it unless I'm willing to deal with multiple power-downs and resets when it locks up - but as long as I only keep a few books on it and minimize my searching, it suits as a portable e-reader, given it was free. Oh yeah, and the clock loses time like crazy so I either have to constantly set the clock or just resign myself to not knowing what time it is.

However now I would like to have something with a larger screen size, no touch screen, will take a microSD card, and with the capability of user-changed battery. That could be a hack, as long as it's an easy hack.

I would like to use this as a home reader, on which I could read PDF formats (they look horrible when changing them to an e-format) and magazines. I do not need color. I do want some form of easy-on-the-eyes e-ink. I would want graphics to be rendered fairly well in greyscale - fairly well is good enough as my eyes are getting decrepit anyway. But I would need to be able to actually read text with minimal manipulation of the display size.

I have no need of wifi. The reader should handle epubs and pdfs. I do not need advanced note-taking capabilities. Bookmarking is required; better organization than the Kindle gives me (which is basically none) would be a big plus.

I doubt I'm going to hit every requirement, but what can you guys suggest that might get me close?

EDIT: BTW the PDFs would be mostly purely text - some library books only come in PDF format for some odd reason. I imagine most magazines that have e-copies are also in PDF format, but I don't know. Magazines such as Aasimov's Science Fiction and Archeology are the sort of thing I'm talking about.

Last edited by Xen; 08-21-2013 at 12:07 AM.
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Old 08-21-2013, 02:23 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Xen View Post
I have a kindle, inherited from my son after he decided he hated it (I TOLD him so)

It's fine=ish - the search function is abysmal, and I can't keep more than a handful of books on it unless I'm willing to deal with multiple power-downs and resets when it locks up - but as long as I only keep a few books on it and minimize my searching, it suits as a portable e-reader, given it was free. Oh yeah, and the clock loses time like crazy so I either have to constantly set the clock or just resign myself to not knowing what time it is.

However now I would like to have something with a larger screen size, no touch screen, will take a microSD card, and with the capability of user-changed battery. That could be a hack, as long as it's an easy hack.

I would like to use this as a home reader, on which I could read PDF formats (they look horrible when changing them to an e-format) and magazines. I do not need color. I do want some form of easy-on-the-eyes e-ink. I would want graphics to be rendered fairly well in greyscale - fairly well is good enough as my eyes are getting decrepit anyway. But I would need to be able to actually read text with minimal manipulation of the display size.

I have no need of wifi. The reader should handle epubs and pdfs. I do not need advanced note-taking capabilities. Bookmarking is required; better organization than the Kindle gives me (which is basically none) would be a big plus.

I doubt I'm going to hit every requirement, but what can you guys suggest that might get me close?

EDIT: BTW the PDFs would be mostly purely text - some library books only come in PDF format for some odd reason. I imagine most magazines that have e-copies are also in PDF format, but I don't know. Magazines such as Aasimov's Science Fiction and Archeology are the sort of thing I'm talking about.
I'm guessing that's a very old Kindle, or it's unregistered and/or not connected to wifi to keep time, or it has some other issue? Most Kindles function very well. No microSD cards, though, so if that's a dealbreaker, they're out.

It might be useful if you could give a list of what is an absolute requirement, what you would really really like, and what you would quite like but don't mind if it's missing.

Addressing the latter first: I'm pretty sure most SF magazines have an epub or Kindle version nowadays - the ones I sub to (eg Clarkesworld) certainly do, and I read them just fine on my Kobo. The Asimov's website says it has subs available for Kindle, Nook, Sony etc. Lightspeed, Apex, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Locus are all available in epub.

If you really do want to read PDFs easily and well, you need a tablet. If you can find ways around the PDF issue, a Kobo Aura might be a device to consider. It's larger than the standard 6 inch eink screen, takes an SD card, but not available in non-touch. Your user-changed battery and non-touch wishes are probably the most difficult to fill with current-day devices. You might need to look outside of the majors.
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Old 08-21-2013, 04:19 AM   #3
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One option could be pirys maxi. It's an eight inch reader and I think it doesn't have wifi or touch screen, but it does have sd slot. I didn't find any reviews on net last time I checked, but there was a thread here about pirys mini.
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:58 AM   #4
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Sorry, I've been ill and didn't get back.

No e-ink is a deal-breaker - so tablets are out. Besides they are heavy - the one my son has seems heavier than my clamshell netbook! And they are touch screen. I see absolutely no advantages to a tablet over a clamshell netbook or notebook computer.

I want MicroSD card slot and a user changeable battery. Not exactly a deal breaker by itself but that's a really high want.

I don't want touch screen if there is any way to avoid it. I do want to be able to organize books into categories or folder or "bookshelves" or something besides the flat list the Kindle gives you.

My current kindle - Yes, it's an older Kindle, I think the Kindle 3. No, it is not connected to wifi, and never will be. It was registered when my son first bought it, but he only kept it for about a week. It is a pretty awful e-reader in many ways. It should be able to keep time regardless of whether or not it's connected to wifi - a clock is a very minor hardware function these days. I can live with the wrong time on my Kindle, but the horrible search function, absolutely no way to organize books on it, no microSD slot, and the fact that I can't keep more than about 20 books on it without it turning up toes and dying at the drop of a hat (well, at the initiation of a search anyway) is also not a desired feature. Also I'm not 100% sure but it seems to me I read somewhere that the old battery-change hack isn't possible with the new Kindles but I frankly haven't looked into it since another Kindle is the LAST thing I want, or pretty close to it.

Reliance on proprietary formats (eg the Kindle) is a deal breaker.

I know Aasimov's and SF&F should have epub versions but I think most other magazines publish in PDF. I guess I can manage those on my computer if I must. But I would like a larger format than the Kindle I have, with a mini-keyboard or a way to plug a keyboard in, no touch screen, e-ink is absolutely required.

Really pretty much basically what I already said.

I guess the only thing I DIDN'T say is that I would like something that works well and has some support and is a fairly well known e-reader. I just googled "pirys maxi" and it turned up THIS thread, LOL! Is that possibly misspelled?

Last edited by Xen; 09-04-2013 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:12 AM   #5
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Can I ask why you put so much store by user changeable batteries? It's going to limit your options very, very severely, and you're not going to get any "fairly well known e-readers" in that category. There are other ways of charging an eink reader when you're out of range of power for an extended time (remembering that we're talking weeks here, not hours or days), like a solar USB charger.

ETA: danicca was trying to type "Pyrus Maxi". 8 inch but low res 'Digital Ink' screen, 4G on board, micro SD slot. 309 g, 149 euros. No idea what the support is like. No evidence for user-replaceable battery.

Last edited by meeera; 09-04-2013 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:24 AM   #6
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On the batteries, there is user-replaceable by design, and then user-replaceable with various degrees of effort, asymptotically approaching impossible. IOW, you can replace the battery on most readers if you REALLY want to.

Some of your criteria are false.
Kindle does have categories for organization.
SOME tablets are lighter than some ereaders.
(Though I demand eink as well.)

Some of your other criteria, are, IMNSHO, rather biased and arbitrary, so it's hard to rationally address them. For example, while Amazon's format is technically 'proprietary' it forces no additional 'reliance' on anything or anyone in any practical way.

Last edited by ApK; 09-04-2013 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:28 AM   #7
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On the batteries, there is user-replaceable by design, and then user-replaceable with various degrees of effort, asymptotically approaching impossible. IOW, you can replace the battery on most readers if you REALLY want to.
Ah, I read "user changeable" and read it as "user swappable" - I assumed this was for relatively frequent battery changing, not a single end-of-life replacement. I really don't get completely basing an ereader purchase now around the possibility that you might want to futz around chasing batteries on ebay and hacking open the device in case you might want to keep using it three or four years from now when the battery craps out. The tech is going to be very different by then. You might be very different by then. Etc.
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Old 09-04-2013, 12:04 PM   #8
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Ah, I read "user changeable" and read it as "user swappable" - I assumed this was for relatively frequent battery changing, not a single end-of-life replacement. I really don't get completely basing an ereader purchase now around the possibility that you might want to futz around chasing batteries on ebay and hacking open the device in case you might want to keep using it three or four years from now when the battery craps out. The tech is going to be very different by then. You might be very different by then. Etc.
Speaking for myself, I would prefer swappable batteries. True there other ways to extend life on a trip, and I like those options, but they all involve carrying another piece of equipment, as does the carrying of a spare battery, but the swappable battery would be fastest and most convenient.
But also, I'm opposed to the planned-obsolescence/disposable society philosophy of a 'non-replaceable' battery. I DO re-solder batteries. I have replaced batteries in my iPods, old smart phones, cordless tools, etc, because I can find uses for them even after I may have upgraded to other devices in their primary roles.
I don't like the idea of being encouraged to throw things like that away, and If I'm not going to Reduce by not having a thing, I'd prefer to Reuse before I Recycle.

BTW, we just sold off a 4th Gen iPod Touch because the battery was more trouble and money to replace than I could justify. But at least I got decent money for it, and I sold it to someone who DID intend to replace the battery.

Last edited by ApK; 09-04-2013 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 09-04-2013, 12:15 PM   #9
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Speaking for myself, I would prefer swappable batteries. True there other ways to extend life on a trip, and I like those options, but they all involve carrying another piece of equipment, as does the carrying of a spare battery, but the swappable battery would be fastest and most convenient.
A device like this is a pretty good alternative:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Portable-Bat.../dp/B00BWS1E2M

It will provide about 2 full charges for my Kindle from a set of 4 AA batteries.
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Old 09-04-2013, 12:24 PM   #10
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A device like this is a pretty good alternative:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Portable-Bat.../dp/B00BWS1E2M

It will provide about 2 full charges for my Kindle from a set of 4 AA batteries.
I like the looks of that one.
I have one very tiny one that is left over from my old dumbphone. It was barely bigger than the single AA cell it used, and I kept in in my brief case at all times. I no longer have the phone or the briefcase, and I doubt it would be powerful enough for new devices.
I built one from a kit that used two AA cells, and it worked for about a week. I can solder, but not exceptionally well .
And I got a rechargable recharger (weird to my mind) in a bundle with my new smartphone. My wife uses that one with her phone.
I also have a portable solar charger that charges four AA cells. I might modify it into a USB charger with the parts from the above mentioned kit.

Sorry for the tangent. As you were.

Last edited by ApK; 09-04-2013 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 09-04-2013, 12:38 PM   #11
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I do want to be able to organize books into categories or folder or "bookshelves" or something besides the flat list the Kindle gives you.
So you want a directory structure like you'd get using Windows? Most of the big companies use categories/shelves like the Kindles offer, if that's not working for you there are a few smaller brands (Onyx, Bookeen, PocketBook) that offer a folder/directory structure.

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I can live with the wrong time on my Kindle, but the horrible search function,
Have you checked to make sure your books have indexed correctly? Because many consider the Kindle's search one of the better ones.

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absolutely no way to organize books on it
You mean besides collections?

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But I would like a larger format than the Kindle I have
As far as bigger devices than your Kindle I can think of the Onyx Boox M92, PocketBook 902 & 912 & Pyrus Maxi. I'm afraid I don't know a ton about all the features on them through as I've never been in the market for a larger reader.
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:40 PM   #12
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Yep, it was misspelled Sorry about confusion. But it's not a well known reader, and anyway, most ereaders are 6 inch, and I don't think any can add keyboard (don't I wish).
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Old 09-04-2013, 03:37 PM   #13
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I've always found the search on Kindle to be very good. I don't know what you are talkng about when you say it is abysmal.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:01 PM   #14
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I've always found the search on Kindle to be very good. I don't know what you are talkng about when you say it is abysmal.
Indeed. It's pretty much the only reader on the market which offers a true global search capability.
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:21 PM   #15
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The new Sony T3 has a fast charge mode that will enable you to read one more book. The device that HarryT mentioned would take care of power failure fears. Most ebook batteries seem to last several years and you would possibly pay more that the cost of a new ereader buying AA or AAA batteries if that is what you want by then, plus the weight. When you are already going to replace a device that still has working batteries, I don't follow your reasoning.

A larger format ereader that does PDF's is going to be expensive and heavier. Sony does a reasonable job, and probably the others as well for library book (fiction) type PDFs.

For organization any of them you have to put a little personal effort into them either by using calibre or the reader software. The kindle does have collections but you must register to use them. The Sony has better collections IMO and no need to register, but it does not magically do it all for you. Using calibre you need to spend time (an hour or so) to set it up and then it is almost magic from then on. Using the reader's software you must do it for each book yourself.

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