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Old 02-01-2010, 02:49 AM   #1
aliettedb
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PR-505 vs Bebook mini vs Bebook (5'' vs 6'' screens)

Having watched the market for a while, I've finally decided to take the plunge and buy myself an e-reader. I wanted the following things:

-e-ink with no glare
-expansion slot
-cheap (not willing to go above 249 euros, case included)

I read a lot of stuff taken from the internet in epub or pdf format, with no DRM (but I have absolutely no issues running stuff through Calibre before loading it up on the reader). My computer is a Mac with Mac OS X Leopard. Also, I live in France, so doesn't quite leave me with the same options as the US market.

What I want rules out the new generation of Sony models. I browsed around what was available, and it seems to boil down to Hanlin V3/V5 (easiest for me to get would be the various Bebook models, so either Bebook One or Bebook Mini) or the previous generation of Sony 505, which apparently you can still find around with a little ingenuity.

The Hanlin V3 seems a little old to me, and I'm worried about issues like general speed and speed of transfers (those units are all USB1.1)--and the interface looks a bit clunkier than the V5 models.
The Sony-505 looks good, but getting hold of one is going to be a hassle, and I'm probably looking at a 249 euros pricetag instead of 199 euros for the Bebook Mini.

The one I like best is the Bebook mini, but I'm a little worried about screensize--I'm a fairly fast reader, and I worry that the 5'' screen is going to have me constantly turning pages (the comparison is a little overwrought, but my current means of reading ebooks is my ipod, and I have the feeling I spend more time turning pages than reading.).

Are there people with those units willing to share their impressions with me? Is the extra inch worth shelling out and getting an older generation model?

The only units I've seen in France are the Sonys. The PR-505 is a bit bulky but looks nice, the PRS-600 has way too much glare, and I was given to understand that the PRS-300 didn't quite have the same resolution in pixels as the Hanlin V5 models, so the comparison doesn't quite make sense.

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by aliettedb; 02-01-2010 at 02:58 AM.
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:49 AM   #2
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The PRS-300 doesn't have an expansion slot, so that one should be out of the running...

I can only talk about the Mini. If you want large lettering, I'd go for a larger screen. Simply because the screen is bigger and thus can hold more letters on it. If you want normal sized letters or even smaller, I'd go for the Mini. It's newer and should be faster. And also because it supports folders (which I understand the Sony doesn't have, that one does have "collections", don't ask me how that works...)

I was used to reading on my 3.4" PDA and the screensize of my Mini surprised me, in a positive way.
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Old 02-01-2010, 10:55 AM   #3
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See Review of Hanlin V5 for V3 owners for my initial thoughts on the subject. There are now many more font sizes available on both devices (e.g. 9 for ePub), and both run essentially the same software. There is little noticeable speed difference between the two in normal use, which argues for the larger screen device. Transferring ebooks via USB 1.1 on the V3 is slower than on the V5, but ebooks are not large enough for this to be a serious problem.

I have actually switched back to the 6" V3 because it runs OpenInkPot, which I prefer to the standard firmware (although it is certainly good enough to be very usable).
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Old 02-01-2010, 04:46 PM   #4
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I chose the 5" for the portability but also worried about screen size. I found that the Hanlin v5 comes with enough easy ways to turn the pages that I don't notice it. The rocker switch especially is silent and right next to where my hand rests when I read in landscape mode.

I will probably get a larger screen size when some of the new versions come out, but the Hanlin v5 is a solid reader with a lot of great features.
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Old 02-02-2010, 02:09 AM   #5
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Hum, portability is very tempting, I'll admit (it's for my commute). I'll go take another look at the screensize--thanks!
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Old 02-02-2010, 02:22 AM   #6
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The expansion slot may not be as necessary as you suppose -- even with hundreds of books including some rather large PDFs, I've never gone past half full on my PRS-300.
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:16 AM   #7
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If you want a 5" device, I'd suggest going for the Pocketbook 360 or the Cybook Opus, rather than the BeBook Mini. I think they're both better machines. My main gripe about the Mini is that, due to the lack of a 5-way navigation control such as the other devices have, its handling of hyperlinks could best be described as "tortuous".

A 5" device is a lot more portable than a 6", and can comfortably be used one-handed.
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colinsky View Post
The expansion slot may not be as necessary as you suppose -- even with hundreds of books including some rather large PDFs, I've never gone past half full on my PRS-300.
I don't like to connect my reader to my PC the whole time. It's easier to pop the SD card and insert it into my (built-in) card reader... Otherwise I have to find a free USB port or unhook another device...

Quote:
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If you want a 5" device, I'd suggest going for the Pocketbook 360 or the Cybook Opus, rather than the BeBook Mini. I think they're both better machines. My main gripe about the Mini is that, due to the lack of a 5-way navigation control such as the other devices have, its handling of hyperlinks could best be described as "tortuous".
Could you explain this? I don't see how a 5-way navigation control would help with hyperlinks... I would see an advantage if the Pocketbook or Opus have some highlighting functionality...
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:17 AM   #9
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try the pocketbook 360, it has the features u want, and is newer tech than the 505, and you get more reading on screen as you have better control over use of screen
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Old 02-02-2010, 01:01 PM   #10
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My PC has a distinct lack of USB slots, so it's much more convenient to pop an SD card--hence why I wanted the extension slot.

Having been round the FNAC again and seen the PRS-700 and Cybook side-by-side, I will be plumping for a 5'' screen. Will now go and order my bebook mini...

Thanks very much everyone for the advice. Very useful.
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Old 02-02-2010, 01:05 PM   #11
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Could you explain this? I don't see how a 5-way navigation control would help with hyperlinks... I would see an advantage if the Pocketbook or Opus have some highlighting functionality...
Because on most machines, with an "up/down" control, you simply highlight each hyperlink on a page in turn, and press "OK" to select it. With the Mini, because it has no navigation control, you first have to select a "hyperlinks" menu, then choose the link you want by number. A somewhat inconvenient process.
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Old 02-02-2010, 01:06 PM   #12
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(I do take the point about hyperlinks, but I don't actually read books that have any of those...)
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Old 02-03-2010, 07:28 AM   #13
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Because on most machines, with an "up/down" control, you simply highlight each hyperlink on a page in turn, and press "OK" to select it. With the Mini, because it has no navigation control, you first have to select a "hyperlinks" menu, then choose the link you want by number. A somewhat inconvenient process.
Hmm, that depends on format...

On PDF, I use the 9 and 0 to go to the previous and next hyperlink, the same with epub. Only the mobi format uses the navigation menu.


And luckily the back and previous buttons on the side (and the thingie on the other side) go to the next page, even if there are plenty of hyperlinks on the page.
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