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Old 06-16-2010, 07:39 PM   #1
Truth
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Question JBL vs. Kobo vs. Libre vs. ???

Hi all,

I post here as a long time lurker finally seeking the wisdom of the experts. I've been spending so much time reading these forums that I have actually increased my confusion as to which device to purchase.

Technically, there is no rush, but I would like advice on which ereader best fits my current needs/wants.

- I would prefer not to spend over $200, but the Kindle price range is not completely unfeasible. I'm in Canada, so the Nook isn't available and the prices are higher than in the States.

- I would prefer a 6", but I've heard that there isn't a huge difference between the 5" and 6" readers.

- I would prefer e-ink, but I've been reading a lot of good things about the Jetbook's screen.

- It must be able to handle pdf documents relatively smoothly (resize or zoom). I have a number of game manuals that I am tired of carrying around with me and tired of carrying my clunky old laptop instead of the books. Since the manuals are scanned documents often in the 50 Mb+ range, the reader needs to be able to operate fairly quickly.

- I would prefer that it have memory expansion so that those game manuals don't have to sit on the reader all the time.

- DRM compatibility means little to me. I'll happily jailbreak or "acquire" jail-broken texts as I see fit (although I mostly read classics).

- I am also a comic/manga reader, so something that can handle them would be nice. I know that the smaller readers aren't recommended for Manga, but I can't afford (read: justify the price to my wife) larger readers. Again, if I can open moderate quality images/pdf, zoom in, and read them, I think I'll be fine with that.

- An on-board dictionary would be nice but isn't strictly essential.

- The ability to handle Japanese text would be sweet, but isn't a deal breaker.

- I don't listen to music while reading, so that doesn't matter.

- Easy organization would be nice, too.

So, please tell me... am I crazy? Does such a reader exist? Will any of the readers mentioned in the thread title do what I want? Is there something else in my preferred price range that is worth looking at? Should I wait for the next generation?
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Old 06-16-2010, 08:03 PM   #2
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Well, the PocketBook 301+ does decently well with PDFs in my experience. Sure, it's not great (like all eReaders), but it's good enough. If you'd like, you can email me one of your game manuals and I'll test it on the PB 301+ and send you some pics of it. Just shoot me a PM if you're interested. The 301+ is 6", extremely light, e-ink, has an SD slot that can handle up to a 32 GB card, does have a dictionary, and supports organization via folders. I don't know what manga would look like, but I'd be happy to test it as well. Not sure about Japanese support either.
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:50 PM   #3
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Honestly, it sounds like the iPad is perfect for you. It heandles PDF beautifully, is great for comics and you can read classics to your heart's content in iBooks and other apps. On-board dictionary, too (albeit only in English). Not great in sunlight, though. That's the one Achilles heel right now.
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:55 PM   #4
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iPad is way over OP budget
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:15 PM   #5
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iPad is way over OP budget
If I am not mistaken, almost everything that has a decent PDF support is outside of that price range.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:37 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by speedtouch View Post
Well, the PocketBook 301+ does decently well with PDFs in my experience. Sure, it's not great (like all eReaders), but it's good enough. If you'd like, you can email me one of your game manuals and I'll test it on the PB 301+ and send you some pics of it. Just shoot me a PM if you're interested. The 301+ is 6", extremely light, e-ink, has an SD slot that can handle up to a 32 GB card, does have a dictionary, and supports organization via folders. I don't know what manga would look like, but I'd be happy to test it as well. Not sure about Japanese support either.
PocketBook 301+ (as well as all other PocketBook readers) supports all languages including Japanese.
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Old 06-17-2010, 01:08 AM   #7
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I appreciate all the comments so far, but I should clarify a couple of points.

While the Pocketbook 301 sounds interesting, it is pricier than what I would like to spend (it will be in the $300 range here in Canada, plus shipping and customs fees). It could be a consideration if nothing else matches. The Pocketbook 360 is a bit better, but it's pushing the top end of my price range.

The iPad is out because of price and other considerations: backlit display for reading, no multitasking (I know ereaders don't multitask, but it's a tablet and not a dedicated ereader), Apple proprietary crap, etc.

I think I'm mainly asking what readers in my price range (under $250 CA) will be able to do what I want in a not completely irritating manner. Currently, the Jetbook Lite is only $140 CA (Newegg.ca), the Jetbook is $150 CA (ditto) the Libre is $160 CA (ditto ditto), the Kobo is $150 (Indigo/Chapters), the Sony PRS300 is $170 (Staples) and I'm not sure what others are available in my price range.

The worst case scenario would see me buying the most recommended inexpensive reader and returning it if it doesn't meet my needs/expectations.

Last edited by Truth; 06-17-2010 at 01:28 AM.
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Old 06-17-2010, 01:30 AM   #8
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If you are not in a hurry to get an ereader and can wait, the JetBook Lite goes on sale every so often at Newegg for $99.99 US plus free shipping.

I have the JetBook Lite, and I like it so far. It has it limitations, but it is inexpensive. It doesn't flash the screen black like the e-ink readers. And its non backlit screen is easy on the eyes.

The JetBook Lite only has 2 fonts, Arial and Verdana. Except in PDF, which will have embedded fonts, so you get any font there. The JetBook Lite uses the Foxit PDF reader, and it does really well for documents that are formatted for the 5 inch display. You get the multiple fonts, plus what ever formatting the word processor provided, plus you get Table of Contents in the menu (unfortunately, table of contents is not supported for any other format). For PDFs formatted for an 8.5 X 11 inch paper, the experience is not great. And there is no reflow option on the JetBook Lite.

The Ipod Touch makes a nice small ereader. Stanza is awesome, and the user settings on the lineheight, paragraph margins, hyphenation, font, font size, and inverted mode are great. The PDF reader on the Ipod touch is way better than you will find on any small screen e-ink reader because of the touch zooming and panning, as well as the pdf reflow capability (using GoodReader). I find it easier to read and to navigate books on the Ipod Touch as compared to the JetBook Lite. But the JBL is $100, the Ipod Touch is $160 (if you search Google).

Last edited by Pranananda; 06-17-2010 at 01:35 AM.
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Old 06-17-2010, 01:54 AM   #9
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How well does the Jetbook handle zooming in and panning PDFs? I've read elsewhere in the forums that it is significantly faster than other readers; is that true?

I think that I can safely say that I am against the Ipod for similar reasons to the iPad; I am looking for a dedicated ereader. I know myself well enough to know that a device that does more than let me read is far too likely to get used as everything but an ereader. Also, I prefer to avoid the Apple cult.
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:26 AM   #10
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There is a mode called Split Screen:9, which creates a 3 X 3 grid on your 8.5 X 11 inch PDF, and each of the nine parts of the 3 X 3 grid are mapped to the 1-9 key. So to read a page, you press 1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3 a bunch of times until you consume the first 1/3 of the page, then you start pressing 4-5-6-4-5-6-4-5-6, etc, until you finished the page.

This is hard to keep the flow of the writing going as you are constantly pressing these buttons.

The Aluratek Libre, which is the same hardware as the Jetbook (not lite), has PDF reflow, so you might check that out. It doesn't used the AA batteries like the Lite (meaning it has a charger), but it does support music. The dictionary support is not as rich as the JetBook, but that's because Ectaco is a translation dictionary company.

I would defer any judgment of the Ipod Touch until you tried it after playing with the other ereaders. The text looks very crisp and the hardware is very responsive, which make the user experience quite delightful.
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:14 PM   #11
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Does the Jetbook (not Lite) have reflow? Is "Split Screen: 9" the only zoom option on the Jetbooks? Does the libre have the same thing?

Do the Kobo and the PRS300 have the same sort of thing?

And for all of these, how will they handle the large filesizes (sometimes 70Mb+) that I may be working with? I tried a Kobo in store, and it seemed to take ages to open the included books, so it seems that it would take forever to open some of the files I want to use it for.
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:24 PM   #12
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The Jetbook doesn't have reflow. The Jetbook and the JBL have pan and zoom, in addition to the Split Screen:9 option. I don't know what feature the Libre has for PDF besides reflow.

I don't know if a 70Mb PDF is going to work with the JBL (they might, I just have never done this). These PDFs are larger than comic books, which are around 20-30 Mb.

Using the pan and zoom feature on a e-ink display is going to severely reduce the battery life. Those readers are measured in page turns, and if you are using pan and zoom (or split 9) to read a PDF formatted for letter size, reading one PDF page might be 100 page turns. So this means after reading 80 PDF pages, you would need to recharge (assuming your device support 8000 page turns per charge). At least for reflective LCD, you don't have this issue.
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Old 06-18-2010, 11:21 AM   #13
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Thank you. That is definitely something to keep in mind.

The Jetbook sounds like the best choice for my needs (and in my current price range). How is its image quality for something like manga? Does it have a fixed zoom, and can I view things in Landscape?

As a side note, does anyone have any experience with the Hanlin series? More research reveals that there is a 9.7" Hanlin coming out that may only be around $300. I could stretch my budget in a few months if I could get a larger reader for only a little more.

Last edited by Truth; 06-18-2010 at 11:27 AM.
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