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Old 12-31-2008, 10:31 AM   #1
LucidDreams
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PRS-700 vs PRS-505 for PDF files?

I'm in the market to buy my first eBook Reader. I have limited my purchase down to the PRS-700 or PRS-505, thanks to Sony's $100 credit for purchases over $299 when applying/using a Sony Credit Card. With that said, I'm trying to determine which of the two Sony eBook Readers I should get. From a price perspective I'm leaning towards the PRS-505.

I'm not looking for a lot of the features that the PRS-700 has, though they would be nice to have. But one thing is a MUST - the ability to read PDF files. I'm not talking about A4 (8.5x11") PDF files since asking a 6" screen to display such documents is not realistic. Most of the PDF books that I currently have are in/around the 6x9" size - standard book size. But from what I've read the PRS-700 has the ability to zoom and pan a PDF file where the PRS-505 can't, so it might have some use for A4 PDF's - for limited reading purposes.

Given my needs - will the PRS-505 be able to handle PDF's that are around the 6x9" size. Also, is it possible for the PRS-505 to "crop" or "zoom" (without reflow) so the white boarder in the PDF file doesn't exist anymore (vs processing the PDF to remove that space)? And can it do this feature in both portrait and landscape modes? Figure I will most likely be reading the PDF files that are 6x9" in landscape do to the small size of the eBook reader display.

I know there are other eBook Readers that are better for PDF documents - iliad, soon to be plastic logic, soon to be Astak 9.7, etc. But I'm looking for something more portable. If I really like my 1st eBook Reader then I will most likely get the Plastic Logic eBook reader once it becomes available but will use that for around the house, to get me away from using a PC/Laptop for reading. As I see it, people will need to eBook readers - one for portable on the go reading (small) and one for reading newspapers/letters (larger) which would be done at work/home but not really taken/used on the go in personal life (ex: not going to take it on the beach or to a coffee shop).
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Old 12-31-2008, 11:44 AM   #2
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If PDFs and a 6" screen are central to your needs, then perhaps it would be worth waiting until Feb/Mar for the Foxit eSlick, see Foxit eSlick, New eInk based reader for $229.
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Old 12-31-2008, 12:19 PM   #3
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If PDFs and a 6" screen are central to your needs, then perhaps it would be worth waiting until Feb/Mar for the Foxit eSlick, see Foxit eSlick, New eInk based reader for $229.
Thanks for the suggestion. I use the Foxit PDF reader on my PC and it's so much better then Adobe's own product. But the problem I have with the Foxit eBook Reader is that the normal price is going to be $259 and that the $229 price is only for pre-orders. It's also important to note that the pre-order $50 deposit is NOT refundable. Plus you need to add on shipping charges. Since this is a 1st gen product for them I can't see pre-ordering it. Also, the PRS-700 can be had for $299.99 (using the Sony Credit Card you get $100 credit in 8-12 wks). And the Sony PRS-700 allows PDF zoom/panning which looks more refind then what I've seen in the video prototype they have posted on their website.
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Old 12-31-2008, 01:46 PM   #4
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The 700 is very good at displaying pdf files. Fast and supporting reflow for the text pdf's that are made that way, while for the rest horizontal half page reading works nicely with zoom in for pictures, diagrams...

Only double page scans are tricky as well as double column text pdf's that do not reflow.

I have a 100MB pdf scan that I never imagined I could read on something less powerful/smaller than a tablet and it works like a charm on the 700 in horizontal half page mode and even Google books work decently - only the pictures/graphics do not sometimes, but that's an ADE bug since they do not work in ADE on my PC either, only in the regular Adobe Reader

If you have a Borders/Sony Style close where they have the 700 demo, load some pdf's on a sd card and go check it since the store people usually allow it.
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Old 12-31-2008, 06:14 PM   #5
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The 700 is very good at displaying pdf files. Fast and supporting reflow for the text pdf's that are made that way, while for the rest horizontal half page reading works nicely with zoom in for pictures, diagrams...
Thanks, it's good to know that the 700 handles PDF's well - so long as they're not too large (A4 - 8.5x11") or full page image PDF's (for the whole book). The reflow might be useful so long as the formating of the text looks good.

But the big question is whether the 505 can handle PDF's as well as the 700. I think the one feature the 505 doesn't have is being able to pan while zoomed in on a PDF. That's useful for looking at larger PDF's (A4 - 8.5x11") but probably not need for book sized PDF's (6x9"). If the 505 can work well enough with PDFs then I can save myself $100 bucks (can get it for $199).
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:14 PM   #6
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Comparing the displays of the PRS-505 and PRS-700

Over the weekend I visited a Borders bookstore which had the PRS-505 and PRS-700 sitting side by side. When you look at both next to each other, the 505's display is obviously better. Specifically, it's more paper-like and the letters are relatively much more sharp. The 700's display is more muddied and closer to a poorly lit monitor. I had read this feedback elsewhere but wanted to confirm for myself. In short: the additional features of the 700 are nice, but the essential reason for an e-book device is the paper-like display. If I had to choose tomorrow, I'd get a 505 no question.
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:27 PM   #7
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In short: the additional features of the 700 are nice, but the essential reason for an e-book device is the paper-like display. If I had to choose tomorrow, I'd get a 505 no question.
Actually, I'm not in need of the extra features that the 700 provides. Just need to know how the 505 handles PDF files after the latest firmware update. All I'm looking to do is view 6x9" PDF files in landscape mode without margins (landscape + zoom so no margins are displayed). I also don't want the text to be reflowed since the formatting can be awkward on some PDFs - judging from the Sony Reader software. Just wish the Sony Reader software allowed me to view PDFs in landscape mode with "M" zoom so I can see how the Sony 505 will handle various PDF files.

The two things that the 700 has that I like is the fact that you can zoom and pan on a PDF file and it's much faster overall then the 505. But they're the only two features I would like to have/want. But I agree the display isn't as crisp and the background is more grey on the 700 (less text to page pop). The text is still readable but I can see how current 505 owners would be turned off by the screen on the 700. I don't understand why Sony didn't get the touch screen right - looking at the Plastic Logic unit didn't show any of the problems with regards to the screen on the 700 - no glare, no depth to the e-ink screen, and whiter background (well Plastic Logic uses a different screen technology so the background can't be compared but everything else can be). It probably came down to cost and high production supply for the touch screen material and not going with the newer Flex e-ink screen (no depth needed between screen and touch screen), which was a poor choice on Sony's part. I would expect their Nex-Gen eBook Reader not to have this problem since I'm sure they're well aware that people are not happy with the screen.

I guess I'll need to find a local store to compare the 505 (with the latest firmware - hope they have a demo with it installed) and the 700. I think the 700 will do all that I need based on the videos I've seen. It's just that there's no videos that I could find that show how the 505 handles PDF files using the newest firmware.

Ideally, I would like to keep the cost down since I will probably only read 10-12 books a year. The main reason for wanting a eBook Reader is for the portability factor - not being forced to read in front of a computer monitor. Plus with the $100 credit that's being offered by Sony, I should be able to sell the unit for about the cost I paid for in when newer models come out this year (by Sony and other companies). $200 or less is the price point which will get more people to buy eBook Readers. The current MSRP of $399.99 for the 700 is a rip off if you ask me since you can get a mini-notebook for less that has more power and hardware. Plus Sony is marking these devices up pretty heavy considering you can get $100 off the price by applying and using a Sony Visa card (Chase Credit Card). They wouldn't be doing that if they were lose money, otherwise they wouldn't be in business. And I've yet to see any online retailer sell the 505 for $199.99 or the 700 for $299.99

Last edited by LucidDreams; 01-05-2009 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:56 AM   #8
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Hi

For what you describe you will be perfectly well served by the 505.

Hell, you will be even surprised by how well, sometimes, books/documents formatted for A4/letter size look when reading them as reflowed text.

Anyway, the landscape option is good for reading some small text PDF’s and if you manage to crop the white margins of the text prior to put them on the reader, it looks even better.

Go for the 505, you will not regret it.

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Old 01-06-2009, 11:54 AM   #9
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Hell, you will be even surprised by how well, sometimes, books/documents formatted for A4/letter size look when reading them as reflowed text.

Anyway, the landscape option is good for reading some small text PDF’s and if you manage to crop the white margins of the text prior to put them on the reader, it looks even better.
Thanks for the info, it's appreciated. As you've stated the 505 can actually work well with A4/letter size documents but even without reflow enabled (see link below). Of course that depends on the text size and how big the margins are.

8x11" Document - Landscape with "M" zoom on a 505

I also had a chance to play around with PDFill's free PDF tools - used the PDF crop feature to eliminate the blank margins completely on some PDF books I have. But I will have to play with those files on an actual 505 since the Sony Reader software doesn't handle landscape mode simulation. I also wonder if the 505 just "zooms" while in landscape to 1/2 page mode, regardless of what the width margins are. Since if I crop the blank margins out of the PDF files it would seem that it would display less then 1/2 a page (larger text). So it would be nice to confirm that on the 505.

I feel more comfortable now going with the 505 since I can easily tweak PDF books (eliminate top/bottom/side margins) and still keep it in a PDF format. Most solutions I've seen out there convert the PDF to image files which is not acceptable to me for an eBook Reader. Since that would mean converting again down the road for a new eBook Reader (larger display). And if I eliminate the margins on the PDF's for the 505 then that's something I can leave alone since it will only display better on future devices - less worry about how current/future eBook Readers handle zooming of PDF files. Now if only Adobe can get their act together since I did see a few PDF files that don't display graphics correctly in the Sony Reader software & ADE.

Last edited by LucidDreams; 01-06-2009 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:37 PM   #10
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In landscape what it does (if not using reflow), is to “cut” the page in 2, having from 3 to 5 lines “superimposed” between half’s, or if you want , the last 3/5 lines are greyed out in the first half, and are the same 3/5, still greyed out in the second part.

For the sizing, what’s mandatory is the height of the text, so if the page has too much weight then width, it “cuts” in half the way I describe above, and the width fits accordingly, in this case maintains more or less white space, even if you “cut” all of it with a tool before putting it in the reader.

The screen is more or less 4x3 (800x600), so If you have a page 10x5, in landscape it’s going to be 5x2.5, and thus the 2.5 are filled with white until they become ~ 3.4 (or something like that, that respects the ratio 4x3).

Its’ not exactly like this because the reader as always a black bar (bottom in portrait and left side in landscape), who eats a bit of space and thus make my numbers not exact.

Best,
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Old 01-31-2009, 05:16 AM   #11
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First of all, I love my 505. I bought it for clarity - read for hours at a time and no perceivable eyestrain.

With DDHarriman's suggestion, I just cropped the margins off a pdf with lots of figures and charts - ended up about 6x8. Liken it about 9 point printed size. Much better than before.

If your pdfs are mostly just text, and you don't care about paragraph full-justification, zooming will be just fine. Otherwise I bet an epub or lrf conversion would end up better.

Although it works very well for "real" ebook formats like epub and lrf, zoom is not _my_ favorite feature for pdfs, since (for editables) it removes the graphics and full-justification formatting.
If they ever implemented a centered-percentage zoom in PDFs, I'd be much happier.

Landscape mode works really well for "just a little too small for portrait" situations. it keeps original formatting, including graphics and layout.
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