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View Poll Results: Which reader meets my needs best?
Sony PRS-350 39 61.90%
Kindle WiFi 22 34.92%
Other (please specify in thread) 2 3.17%
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Old 11-06-2010, 09:12 AM   #1
Prosto_IA
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Kindle or Sony PRS-350?

What to do, what to do. I'm channelling Buridan's ass here. Let me explain why:

I'd like my reader to allow annotations. Both Kindle and Sony do. I'm not too bothered about handwritten notes, at least, not if the results of my signing for parcels on PDAs are anything to go by. Can anyone comment on the legibility of handwritten Sony notes? I gather Kindle notes can be downloaded from a webpage, how easy is it to transfer Sony notes? I'd rather not be looking at a physical qwerty keyboard all the time, though.

The ability to read Cyrillic is a must. I know the Sony reader can have different firmware flashed in order to do so, the Kindle handles it out of the box. Slight plus to Kindle, but I'm happy to flash. (So to speak, officer.)

Most of my collection is in epub, with the odd pdf. I do, however, have that excellent piece of software Calibre, so conversion to mobi is trivial. Conversely, being a Linux user, to convert the other way I would have to fiddle about with Kindle for PC under Wine, not to mention obscured file names and, most likely, brassica enthusiast applications. If ease of use were the sole criterion, then, I'd get a Kindle and convert from epub, but I have a strong aversion to closed proprietary ecosystems. Big, big minus against the Kindle.

Size. I'm currently doing most of my e-reading on my mobile phone. I like the convenience of something I can just slip into my pocket. The Kindle looks too big for this, whereas, well, the PRS-350 is the Pocket Touch. How portable is the Kindle, in practice?

I've read very good reviews of the PRS-350, but even with the VAT refund it's still about £30 more expensive than the Kindle, and a lot of folk seem well pleased with their Kindles. Given what I have said about my requirements, should I pay the extra for the Sony - which is what I'm leaning towards at the minute - or get the Kindle and have the difference to spend on content?

Please note that for now I am in Russia, and so can't get my hands on either device to try out how they feel. I'll be buying in the UK. Supplementary question, in either case is it safe to assume I'll need a cover?

Last edited by Prosto_IA; 11-06-2010 at 09:56 AM. Reason: Missed a word out
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Old 11-06-2010, 09:42 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prosto_IA View Post
Can anyone comment on the legibility of handwritten Sony notes? I gather Kindle notes can be downloaded from a webpage, how easy is it to transfer Sony notes?
I'm probably not the best to comment on legibility (I have a crab-like scrawl), but it's okay. Just okay really. I prefer to 'type' notes using the stylus, as the Sony is rather slow when it comes to handwritten notes. You use the software that comes with the Sony Reader to transfer notes onto your computer.

Quote:
Supplementary question, in either case is it safe to assume I'll need a cover?
Yes for either. Definitely, if you plan to slip it in your pocket or take it out or about with you.

As for your other factors... I would say for all your other factors that paying extra for the Sony is worth it (the size in particular is wonderful), but there's something to be said about the Kindle's ability to handle Cyrillic straight out of the box. I've actually flashed the firmware on my 350 to a modified version that happens to support Cyrillic, and although I found it an easy and straightforward process, there's always the risk of bricking the ereader. Seeing as a Linux user you're probably fairly tech savvy, flashing would probably go fine for you, but it's a risk worth mentioning regardless.
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Old 11-06-2010, 10:41 AM   #3
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Thank you for sharing your experiences as a Cyrillic-using Sony owner, viviena, I'm taking another step closer to that camp.
Quote:
Originally Posted by viviena View Post
I'm probably not the best to comment on legibility (I have a crab-like scrawl), but it's okay. Just okay really. I prefer to 'type' notes using the stylus, as the Sony is rather slow when it comes to handwritten notes. You use the software that comes with the Sony Reader to transfer notes onto your computer.
Heh, my handwriting won't win any beauty contests, either. As for transferring the notes, I'll need to check out Linux compatibility.
Quote:
[re covers] Yes for either. Definitely, if you plan to slip it in your pocket or take it out or about with you.
Understood, thanks.
Quote:
As for your other factors... I would say for all your other factors that paying extra for the Sony is worth it (the size in particular is wonderful), but there's something to be said about the Kindle's ability to handle Cyrillic straight out of the box. I've actually flashed the firmware on my 350 to a modified version that happens to support Cyrillic, and although I found it an easy and straightforward process, there's always the risk of bricking the ereader. Seeing as a Linux user you're probably fairly tech savvy, flashing would probably go fine for you, but it's a risk worth mentioning regardless.
Yes, thanks for flagging that. I am fairly confident about flashing devices - my phone runs CyanogenMod and my mp3 player, ahem, rocks Rockbox - but there's always a certain sense of apprehension.
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Old 11-07-2010, 12:50 PM   #4
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Thanks to the people taking the trouble to read and vote. I see the Kindle is making up lost ground - we've had an eloquent advocate for the Sony, does anyone fancy going into why they think the Kindle would suit me better?
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Old 11-07-2010, 06:54 PM   #5
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We spent today comparing e-readers for my wife to use and after she finally found a working Sony 350 (at Fry's) she was sold. She really liked the compact form factor and the touch screen. She has very small hands and the 350 was easy for her to use while holding in her hand. The response was fine and the touch screen was plenty responsive. Compared to my Aluratek Libre the screen on the Sony was much better. The lack of wifi isn't a big deal and the lack of an extra card slot isn't either. The internal memory can hold more books than anyone could read in a year. The ability to borrow books from the library is a nice bonus. I'll be ordering a 350 for her tonight.
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:06 PM   #6
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Recently i saw this article (http://ireaderreview.com/2010/09/10/...ony-350-photos). I believe it nicely sums up the good and bad points of both products. If you don't care for the advantages the k3 has over the 350, then you should really get the sony product since its very portable and you don't have to convert all your files again.
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Old 11-08-2010, 09:19 AM   #7
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I would not buy an e-reader without WiFi or 3G.
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:31 PM   #8
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I got a Kindle, because I prefer Amazon's store and the TTS feature is priceless to me. Size wasn't important.

But for your purposes, I think the Sony 350 would probably be better.

The wireless is nice at times, but I almost never use it. I have so many waiting in my queue to be read, I haven't ever needed one to be downloaded and ready to read in seconds.

The file organization is somewhat weak, so I prefer to keep most of them nice and organized in calibre, anyway. I just decide from there which ones to move over to the Kindle to be read within the next few weeks.
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Old 11-08-2010, 04:03 PM   #9
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I would recommend coming up with a list of features that are most important to you and buying the reader that has most of those features. I would check the bookstores and see which one sells the types of books you read at a price that you are comfortable paying.

If you already have a ton of e-pubs then the Sony probably makes sense for you. I have to admit to only sideloading books once in the 2 1/2 years I have owned a Kindle and that was in New Zealand. I had a K1 so I had to sideload books. Other then that, I always use the whispernet to get books.
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Old 11-08-2010, 04:27 PM   #10
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I just remembered something I have loved about the wireless on Kindle: the ability to highlight a phrase, place, or historical figure, and select Go To Wikipedia (or do a general web search) to read more about it, right on my Kindle.

That's especially great when reading bios or historical fiction.
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:30 PM   #11
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If wifi isn't an issue and you're not planning on purchasing content regularly from Amazon, I'd echo the love for the Sony. The size is lovely, the screen crisp, it's just plain nice. With the possible exception of the Sony Library software!

That said, after six months of using my iPad and getting addicted to the ease of being able to buy or transfer books wirelessly using the Kindle app and Stanza, I just went out and ordered the new Kindle 3G. In addition to the nice selection in the kindle store, I really appreciate being able to read a book on one device, and continue later on another one, picking up at the spot I've left off. I don't always have my iPad or Reader with me, but if I'm stuck in a waiting room, I can pop open my iPhone and while away my time with my current book.
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Old 11-09-2010, 04:58 PM   #12
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I have a Sony 300 and used to have a Kindle 3 before it was stolen. (I replaced it with a DX.) It's not quite the same thing as actually having a 350 and a K3, but it is a reasonable approximation for purposes of comparison, I think.

It seems to me that the Sony advantage over the K3 is physical.

For one thing, the 300 has a better physical interface, and I can only think that adding touch to the 300 would just make it better. It is easier to hold the Sony, and to click the buttons.

The physical advantage is the size. I find that I am more likely to carry the 300 around with me because it really does fit in my jacket pocket, whereas the K3 is awkward & sticks out. The Sony is also easier to hold.

The K3 advantage over the Sony is cross-device wireless syncing. Right now I'm reading the same book on my Sony & on my DX. Having to find the place I left off between the two is a big annoyance.

So my take on this is that if you read an ebook across multiple devices, the K3 is the better device, but if you do your reading on just one device, I think that the Sony is better.

My vote went to the Kindle. The reason is that I value being able to read on multiple devices. (But since I already have the Sony, & have learned how to strip the DRM from Kindle books, it doesn't make sense in my present circumstances to buy a K3.)
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Old 11-11-2010, 06:26 PM   #13
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So. I went down to the St. James Infirmary... No, wait, I went down to my friendly neighborhood Borders. Just to see the Sony 350.

I am confirmed in my opinion that is is a better EBR than the K3. But I would buy the 650.

Amazon has a better ebook store. And wireless is really cool. But boy howdy the 650 is nice.
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:51 PM   #14
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The thing with Calibre though, while it does convert from epub to Mobi pretty much, it also has a bug (or design feature, as people have been complaining about it for a long time and hasn't been altered) that pushes the margin over far too much.

See

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...&postcount=330

For what I mean.

So you have to open up the epub and fiddle with the css. If you have a lot of epubs, that could be a lot of work. It depends on the epub though.
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:05 AM   #15
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My thanks to you all for your input since I last posted, and my apologies for my prolonged silence - I've been packing up to come home after a long stay in Russia. I've been keeping up with the thread, but not really had time to respond.

Pace ProfCrash, I'm really not concerned about having any sort of wireless connectivity in my eReader: I don't see any advantage to it, although Piper_ has pointed out a use that hadn't occurred to me. It doesn't seem any hardship to sideload a dozen books or so off my TBR list, which ought to keep me going for a while. The features which are important to me are the ones I mention in my opening post.

BuddyBoy, I'm not planning to use Amazon a lot, both for philosophical objections to their set-up, but also because, if my current TBR list is anything to go by, for the next few years most of my reading is likely to be free classics, with the odd library book and academic pdf thrown in... I'm hoping that the size of the Sony (hang on, does that mean I've made up my mind? ) means that it will be my sole reader, and so, as Harmon says, syncing between devices shouldn't be an issue. Harmon, what was it that grabbed you about the 650?

JeremyR, thanks for the warning about the Calibre, ah, feature. It's another factor to bear in mind. I do have quite a sizeable epub collection already.
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