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Old 12-04-2009, 09:16 AM   #1
Storm27
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5 inch devices - firmware and functionality

Hi all

I'm hoping for some very detailed information on a couple of the devices I'm looking at buying. I thought I'd asked all my questions some weeks ago and was just waiting for the excuse to add a reader to my Christmas list; but having looked through the forums in a bit more depth I think I'm getting confused between functionality (and firmware) that already exists, functionality that been promised for future firmware updates and functionality that it would just be nice to have.

The devices I'm looking at are 5 inch readers -- bebook mini, Opus and Sony, with pocketbook 360 as a slight outsider. My preferred format is Mobipocket, just because I already have so many books in it. I would consider 6 inch devices, but think I want the lighter weight and smaller size and one of the things that has me confused is whether the bebook & cybook 5 inch devices have two potential firmwares depending on which format you want to read DRM books in or whether the mobi DRM firmware is only available for 6 inch devices. (This wouldn’t be a deal killer as pretty much everything I already own is or can be DRM free). However I understand from these forums that the same format might display differently or be rendered by a different program depending on which firmware is involved.

So, for all four devices I've mentioned above --

1. Is there firmware available that will read DRM Mobipocket?
2. Is there firmware available that will read any Mobipocket at all or will I have to convert my entire library?
3. What is your experience of how well Mobipocket books are displayed in each different firmware and how pleasant they are to read?
4. Same question for ePub just in case I have to convert.
5. How many font sizes does Mobipocket display in in the newest firmware (i.e. that does not handle Mobi DRM)? Are these font sizes reasonably clear and usable? (Ditto ePub)
6. Does it display differently or with more font sizes in the firmware that does handle Mobi DRM? (ditto ePub)
7. Can the display be changed into landscape format? Does this work for all formats? Does it work for Mobipocket? Are the answers the same whichever version of firmware is installed and at all font sizes?
8. Is there any difference in how books or the library view are displayed depending on whether books are in the memory or on a memory card?

Answers would be very much appreciated, particularly for the bebook mini and the Opus.
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:44 AM   #2
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1. No firmware for MOBI DRM on any 5" device (Opus has promised it).
2. DRM-free MOBI available on Mini and 360, not on PRS-300 and Opus.

For the BeBook Mini (EZ Reader Pocket Pro):
3. MOBI is ok. There have been some reports of hangups when reading MOBI, but you can recover without rebooting the device.
4. ePub is better than MOBI.
5. MOBI: Three font sizes, can add your own fonts. ePub: Five (soon 8) sizes, can add own fonts only by modifying each ePub (but you are creating your own, so this is easy to do).
6. N/A
7. Landscape available for ePub and most formats, but not for MOBI.
8. No difference between internal memory and SDHC card.

EDIT: I buy a lot of MOBI ebooks and I now routinely convert them to ePub using Calibre. I customize the look and feel using extra-css.

Last edited by wallcraft; 12-04-2009 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:46 AM   #3
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8. No difference between internal memory and SDHC card.
No difference in that, but there is reports on battery draining faster if you use SDcard instead of internal memory.
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Old 12-04-2009, 02:39 PM   #4
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For the BeBook Mini (EZ Reader Pocket Pro):
4. ePub is better than MOBI.
I prefer mobi over epub. I really dislike the epub implementation. No progress, no battery indicator, no chosing of my own font, no margin on top or bottom (which makes the first and last line hard to read, I think) and that nasty page number in the right margin, which will go over your text unless you enlarge your right margin. I convert everything (or strip the drm from) to mobipocket.
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Old 12-05-2009, 05:46 PM   #5
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Thank you everyone

Quote:
Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
1. No firmware for MOBI DRM on any 5" device (Opus has promised it).
2. DRM-free MOBI available on Mini and 360, not on PRS-300 and Opus.
Eek. That's exactly why I needed to ask the question -- I'd have sworn from general browsing that the Opus already had at least limited mobi support.

It sounds as if the different looks and feels on the bebook may be a matter of taste.

Quote:
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7. Landscape available for ePub and most formats, but not for MOBI.
I'd have to try the device out and see if this mattered, but at least I'd have the option of not having to convert -- and if the mobi display options don't work for me then that's what Calibre is for.

Conclusion -- the bebook is looking better all the time. (I also like the fact that there are several brands with interchangeable firmware which feels like a small degree of future proofing.)
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:49 PM   #6
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Conclusion -- the bebook is looking better all the time. (I also like the fact that there are several brands with interchangeable firmware which feels like a small degree of future proofing.)
Be wary with bebook firmware upgrades - if you upgrade beyond a certain level, you will lose your DRM Mobi access. Make sure you look at exactly what you're getting before you upgrade.
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:17 AM   #7
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Be wary with bebook firmware upgrades - if you upgrade beyond a certain level, you will lose your DRM Mobi access. Make sure you look at exactly what you're getting before you upgrade.
He was talking about 5" devices, so I presume he meant the BeBook Mini. Which never had mobi DRM...
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:41 AM   #8
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The Pocketbook 360 uses FBReader for DRM-free Mobi support. It works quite well. Hardware is solid, ergonomically correct, and the bookshelf is significantly better that the baseline Hanlin. It shares a lot of features and concepts with OpenInkpot. If you go to the Pocketbook forum you'll find an exquisitely detailed review loaded with screen capture images that document the UI.
I bought a 360 based on the review and I'm quite happy with it.
One advantage it offers is you can use FBReader for DRM-free epubs so you aren't stuck with ADE (even though the Pocketbook implementation is way better than the Hanlin releases its still ADE).
Check it out.

Last edited by fjtorres; 12-08-2009 at 07:47 AM.
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
1. Is there firmware available that will read DRM Mobipocket?
Opus will be able to, in the futur, but it won't read both mobi and ePub at the same time.

Quote:
2. Is there firmware available that will read any Mobipocket at all or will I have to convert my entire library?
See point one Having both drm is no go. Pocketbook have a firmware that handele both format without drm.

Quote:
3. What is your experience of how well Mobipocket books are displayed in each different firmware and how pleasant they are to read?
Nice, but ePub formating option are better.

Quote:
4. Same question for ePub just in case I have to convert.
ePub can get better formating. I would definitifly go ePub, and stop bother with mobi.

Quote:
7. Can the display be changed into landscape format? Does this work for all formats?
Yes for ePub on the opus, not sure about mobi.

Quote:
8. Is there any difference in how books or the library view are displayed depending on whether books are in the memory or on a memory card?
Nope for the opus.
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:41 AM   #10
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ePub can get better formating. I would definitifly go ePub, and stop bother with mobi.
Am I the only one that dislikes epub?
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:22 AM   #11
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Am I the only one that dislikes epub?
The issue isn't epub per-se.

Its the tools for creating/presenting them and how the standard's used and abused. Especially the Adobe stuff that everybody relies on. Too many variant interpretations/implementations end up at odds with each other. Add in lack of dictionary and annotation standards and things get messy.

Anyway, no; you are hardly the only one who finds epub as a product immature and more trouble than its worth. So far.

Things will improve, though; if Adobe's deathgrip doesn't kill it first.
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:32 PM   #12
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Thank you everyone! I now have a bebook mini on order.

Probably wouldn't have dared without these forums. I know it's just the effect of the tech being in its infancy, but I honestly have no idea how someone who was neither very tech savvy nor in touch with a community that is would manage to get a device plus readable books without risking a lot of money thrown away on inappropriate formats etc.
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