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Old 03-05-2010, 02:09 AM   #1
jackitsu
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Question I just got MORE indecisive... need input :P

I found this site while trying to find alternatives to the whole Kindle/nook/Sony (though I'm still considering these as well, just wanted a bigger variety.)

I've looked at the spreadsheet of different readers, and it just made it harder! (I don't understand half the jargon, and one of my key components doesn't seem to be there--price!)

Bottom line: I want something basic and affordable, but well made. I want to read, and want to get as close to reading a real book as you can get, which means I don't want unnecessary distractions added in... connectivity, color, touch screen, internet/messaging etc. I live in the US, read mostly fiction/biography/history, and most of the e-books I find are in pdf form. Also, I'm right handed since that sometimes seems to matter. :P


Here's what I want to do with it:

-- I want to be able to read pdf e-books. Nothing technical, no pictures... I've been surfing around trying to see how the text-only pdfs size up on readers.
-- Crisp, easy to read format that's easy on the eyes. Seems fairly standard, but I've never handled one of these up close.
-- Less expensive (or at the very least not more expensive) than a Kindle.
-- Room to customize, especially in organization of files and font size.
-- Well made. I don't intend to have more than one e-reader, at least for a very long while.
--Decent battery life.

Here's what I don't want it to do:

-- I have no interest in extra bells and whistles (the only ones I ever found remotely appealing was the text-to-speech that Kindle has and being able to access a dictionary at will). I don't need it to connect to the internet, surf the web, or message a friend. I just want to read.
-- Color of any kind. (The nook just looks so distracting to me)

Things I'd love but aren't deal breakers:

-- SD card storage.
-- Being able to take notes.
-- Dictionary.
-- Text to speech.
-- The ability to play MP3s for audio books.

Things that don't bother me:

-- Having to use a stylus.
-- Having to download on a computer and transfer to the device (actually prefer it.)

Last edited by jackitsu; 03-05-2010 at 07:21 AM.
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:26 AM   #2
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Is there some reason you eliminated the Sony 300? It seems it would suit your needs, except for the e-ink (which is impossible to avoid unless you want to read from a phone, ipod or tablet, but then you get a bunch of stuff you don't want). I have a 505 and read a lot of pdf's on it. It depends on totally on the formatting of the pdf how it looks on any of the devices.
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:40 AM   #3
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Oh yeah, I don't uninclude any of the big names I was familiar with, just was looking more for alternatives or more to search through. Will give it a quick edit to be clearer. And I was looking at the Sony 300 and it looks pretty much close to a lot of things I am looking for. I think I will have to go with E-ink in the end, as I know despite the page turn thing that I don't like, it is probably the best technology out there for it.

Last edited by jackitsu; 03-05-2010 at 02:50 AM.
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:53 AM   #4
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How about the Jetbook/Libre? They don't use the eInk displays, and therefore don't have that refresh, but still have a really easy to read grayscale screen. The battery life is measured in time (24 hours or 2 weeks standby) rather than pageturns (7500 on the Sony 300 iirc), but still quite long. They take SD cards, and can display PDFs fine. Does not have note-taking, does have bookmarking, the Jetbook has dictionaries (it's from a company that does translators) but the Libre does not.

There is also the Jetbook-lite which uses AA batteries instead of an internal battery. This makes it good if you're going to be away from any power source for a while. (Noting that the other two can charge from either AC or USB -- so a generic USB car charger should work fine.)

//Edit: Worth noting that the Libre and Jetbook are identical hardware, just with different software on them. The Libre handles more formats (including ADE DRM'd PDFs and ePubs), the Jetbook has the dictionaries (including bilingual) but no DRM capabilities. The Jetbook-lite is the same as the Jetbook, but able to handle eReader DRM.

Last edited by Nakor; 03-05-2010 at 03:01 AM.
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Old 03-05-2010, 04:55 AM   #5
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I think one of the biggest issues I have is not really being able to try one out for a while, because the reason I want one is because of the eye strain from trying to read e-books on the computer. How the text looks, especially after a couple of hours is probably the most important thing to me.

But yeah I've been checking them out. The Sony and the Jetbook (though I don't really like the page turn button placement, especially on the jetbook/
libre) are looking pretty good to me, but I'm still so unsure. I'm pretty broke so it's an investment for me.

Any ideas on how Jetbook and Sony 300 compare? Similar things? Big differences between E-ink and alternative? How easy is it to get used to E-ink?
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:00 AM   #6
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It's really, really, really easy to get used to E-ink.

I stopped noticing the flash as soon as I got engrossed in the very first thing I read.

In my mind it's no more distracting than turning a page.

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Old 03-05-2010, 06:45 AM   #7
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Check PocketBook 360
It has 5" screen and all the features you want except for text2speech.
It has two applications for parsing pdf files, so if your pdf does not look right in AdobeViewer you can try opening it in pdfViewer.
Its pdf-viewing ability is excellent among electronic reading devices, yet due to small screen still very poor if you compare it with a PC or a small notebook. pdf files simply were not meant for viewing on small screens. Period.

5" screen can be a bit small, if you want to read pdf files, so perhaps PocketBook 301 - a 6 inch device with the same firmware as PB360 would be better for you.

The best for pdf viewing would be 9" screen, but here you are losing portability and the price is at the moment a little bit steep.

I personally convert pdf files for reading using an OCR software. Readiris or Finereader can convert all text-only books almost flawlessly. I am using Readiris Pro 11, because that OCR came as a bundle with cheap HP multifunction printer/scanner/copier machine.
Converted rtf files are much, MUCH better for reading on small screen than pdf files. You can chanfe font infinitely, you can change layout, the books open much faster ...

Last edited by kacir; 03-05-2010 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:20 AM   #8
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I wouldn't be against converting my pdfs into something more easily readable, if I can figure out how.

The Pocketbook is a little more than I'd like to spend, I think.
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:45 AM   #9
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I'm still very happy with my Cybook Gen3 (had it for 2 years now). Keeps things simple. It's the lightest 6" reader I think, although this means that it's not as robust, so take care of it. But very easy to hold and a joy to read.

The updated firmware for ePub works well, lots of font sizes to choose from, and an emboldened option.

The pdf support has an automatic crop margins feature which flips the pdf to landscape and gives you the widest view it can on the text itself. This means you can scroll through about a third of an A4 page at a time. The text is tiny but readable, but you won't get any better on a 6" device.

If you want to have the pdf more readable then you can set the zoom manually. If a pdf is formatted in columns this is fine. You read down one side then move back up and down the other. If you want better support for A4 pdfs then you're going to need a much larger reader, and at the moment none of them are really full-sized.

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Old 03-05-2010, 09:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
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... Cybook Gen3 ... It's the lightest 6" reader I think,
PocketBook 301 is EXACTLY the same hardware, so it weighs the same.
Just the firmware is ... different.
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:39 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by kacir View Post
PocketBook 301 is EXACTLY the same hardware, so it weighs the same.
Just the firmware is ... different.
Is the firmware better?

I'm thinking of getting a new reader myself, and browsing the threads on the various other machines I'm getting some shocks. A number of the features that I've taken for granted on my Cybook seem to be missing or dumbed down on other, often more popular, readers.

Things like lots of font sizes, multiple fonts, TrueType support so you can add your own, full text justification in ePub, good control over zoom in pdfs, including crop margins, thumbnail support.

It seems to me that we need an ePub feature comparison wiki. Most of the comparisons here centre around the hardware or format support, rather than the capabilities of the reader software.

Edit: Note I'm aware that some of these features are mentioned in the main comparison wiki; I just think a separate one going into a lot more detail and focussed on the format on each device would be helpful. For example, the features on the Cybook are different depending on whether you're reading ePub or Mobi.

Graham

Last edited by Graham; 03-05-2010 at 10:52 AM. Reason: Clarification
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackitsu View Post

--I want to be able to read pdf e-books. Nothing technical, no pictures... I've been surfing around trying to see how the text-only pdfs size up on readers.
-- Crisp, easy to read format that's easy on the eyes. Seems fairly standard, but I've never handled one of these up close.
-- Less expensive (or at the very least not more expensive) than a Kindle.
-- Room to customize, especially in organization of files and font size.
-- Well made. I don't intend to have more than one e-reader, at least for a very long while.
--Decent battery life.
-- SD card storage.
-- Text to speech.
-- The ability to play MP3s for audio books.
-- Having to download on a computer and transfer to the device (actually prefer it.)
Have you considered an Astak Pocket Pro? It's a wonderful 5" device that does all the options I have left listed from your lists up above. And it's a great price and comes in many different colours.
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:55 PM   #13
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Like Laura I have the Astak Pocket Pro. Its 5", which is a great size, and it has expandable memory (up to 16gb) and so far I love it. Like you I use mainly PDFs on history/bios/fiction, and the pocketpro has exceeded my needs. Battery life is awesome, and its very inexpensive compared to many, at only $199, go check out the Astak forum.
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:01 PM   #14
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I have it pretty much narrowed down to the Pocket Pro or the Jetbook Lite. I put in a $100 bid on a new jetbook on ebay, which would be fabulous! I am totally excited, but looking at specs and forums it seems the pocket pro would be a little closer to what I want... but I think either would be awesome.

Any huge differences between the two anyone knows about?
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:48 PM   #15
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Is the firmware better?
I do not want to start a flamewar ...
Disclaimer: I do not own Cybook, I have never used one.

PocketBook does have a few features that Cybook does not have.
It has on-screen keyboard. It can delete, copy, move a file, it can create a directory. You can make notes, it has support for dictionaries. User generated dictionaries. I have some 15 dictionaries on my machine. It does support fonts, and not only ttf, but also ttc, otf, and other vector types. EVERYTHING is customizable. Yes, even keys are mappable to any function. You can also install custom themes (defining icons, graphical main menu and layout of menus) and even third party programs. PocketBook company supports development of third party applications and supplies an SDK and prizes for best programs. There are about 50 third-party applications available at the moment, including Linux terminal, scientific calculator, lots of games ... There are several versions of third party reading applications - FBReader - that implement various very interesting features.

HarryT is owner of Cybook and also PocketBook and he says that he prefers PocketBook.

HarryT says that the epub reading application from Adobe is implemented better on Cybook.
But on PocketBook you can open epubs in fbreader, and there you can configure almost everything. Margins, font type, font size (in unlimited range with step 1 point), line spacing, hyphenation (switch on/off or fine tune how long is the word that can be hyphenated), you can fine-tune all styles, you can switch off status line. Fbreader does not display page numbers in margins in epubs.
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