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Old 11-18-2010, 07:09 PM   #1
ardeegee
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Device: PRS-350
PRS-350 vs PRS-300-- early impressions

My PRS-350 arrived yesterday and I've been comparing it to my PRS-300. The first impression was in taking it out of the box-- it feels like it weighs nothing! I never thought of the 300 as heavy before, but now it feels like a brick (even though the 350 is actually only 30 percent lighter.) The Pearl display does have slightly blacker blacks and a slightly lighter "white", but the difference is subtle, and only obvious when you have the readers side-by-side. The new display alone is not enough of a reason to upgrade. But the performance increase is.

When I ordered the 350 a few days back, I happened to be reading an especially slow PDF that consists of scanned images, and I decided to make it an arbitrary test of the performance of the two readers. I opened the document to page 1 and timed how long it took to reach page 21 (a total of 20 page turns), waiting for each page to fully refresh before pressing the button again. On the 300, that test took 75 seconds. On the 350, it took 23 seconds-- around 3.25x as fast! (I had a friend do the same test on his Jetbook Lite-- it took 34 seconds.)

With all file types, for the 300 there is a perceptible delay between pressing the page forward/back button and the screen refresh cycle beginning, always taking (seemingly, but too short for me to accurately measure) at least as long as the screen refresh cycle itself. With the 350, the page refresh starts essentially instantly after you press the forward/back buttons-- the actual reverse image/new image refresh cycle looks to take the same amount of time, but thanks to the vastly improved page rendering speed, the time to go from pressing the button to having a new page visible is at least doubled and beyond, depending on the type of file being read. Also, there is a new "fast forward" mode (my term, not theirs) where, if you hold down the page forward/back button, it scans rapidly through pages without doing the screen reverse ("black screen") in between. That allows you to scan through maybe 2 or 3 pages per second, with no image degradation that I've noticed.

One very nice surprise was in the formatting-- the official photos of the 350 and 650 show screen shots of pages with horribly ragged right edges, and I thought that the 350 still didn't fully justify text, but it does. RTF and ePub files are now fully justified at all text sizes, but TXT files aren't (and I see no reason why TXT files without manual line breaks shouldn't format as well as an RTF or ePub.)

Overall, I'm very happy that I upgraded, and it makes my 300 look like something dug up in a cave. (Okay, two small complaints-- I wish that it had a fixture for a hand strap, and I wish the stylus was made from metal-- the supplied plastic stylus is too light, and feels like you are playing with a soda straw.)
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