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Old 03-25-2011, 05:52 PM   #1
ndorf
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The perfect PDF Reader for 8 1/2 x 11" ???

Hello. I am brand new to this forum, and I am on the "hunt" for the perfect eReader for my needs--which I suspect are more a niche than mainstream. I thought I would post this to get some opinions or suggestions on where I should be looking.

I do pre-sales technical support and marketing. I have a bookshelf full of hardcopy technical and product manuals in 8 1/2 x 11" format, most all of which are in soft PDF format and for those that are not, I have access to a high speed scanner that can scan to PDF. I would very much benefit by having a thin, light, slate device that would allow me to carry in my briefcase (in which I already have to still carry a laptop) all that reference material, rapidly available with instant-on and robust folder organization and search function.

I don't care if the screen is color. I don't even care if it is less readable outdoors, because all my use would be indoors.

This is what is important to me:

* large screen, 9.x" or better
* excellent battery life
* fast page turns
* extensible storage such as SD or microSD card
* USB support to xfer files between laptop and device
* WiFi, but 3G not so important
* Support for hyperlinks including Table of Contents
* PDF Zoom (not just font selection)
* PDF reflow would be nice
* PDF cropping would be nice, although could use "Briss" on PC
* Would really like the device to double as a note-taking slate
* PDF annotations
* lightweight and thin
* manufacturer reputation for support, firmware updates
* A decent web browser--something more than "experimental" would be great.

I don't read alot of fiction so I don't care so much about ebooks such as mobi, ePub and eCommerce bookstores.

OK so where does that leave me? Seemingly empty-handed for now.

iPAD?
A colleague has an iPAD, and the screen is amazing, the page turns are fast, but no extensible storage and no USB xfer (at least without jailbreaking it.

Kindle DX?
Great screen. Thin and light. No extensible storage. Not a touch screen. Weak PDF support. The latest firmware supposedly improved PDF support as far as I know, no hyperlinks. An alternate OS called Duokan, developed by a Chinese team and available also in English, looks very promising with respect to enhanced PDF support, but I am skeptical about going away from the mainstream. Comments?

ASUS DR-900?
Not available in the U.S., only Europe and Asia. I suspect I might not be satisfied with the Sipix screen vs. the Visplex or Pearl technologies.

Onyx Boox M90?
Might possibly be the device of my dreams. Seems like it may meet every requirement. The manufacturer, via email, advised me that it should be to the U.S. in May 2011. I have read at least one horror story on this bbs about support, and hope it is only an anomaly.

Pocketbook Pro 903?
Also looks very promising. I would LOVE to see a side by side comparison of this device vs. the M90. The manufacture, via email, told me expect availability this fall. Not sure I want to wait.

HP TouchPad running WebOS?
Looks intriguing, probably too heavy. I know nothing at this point about the PDF support, which again is my key application.

Any and all advice welcome.

Thanks,

Neil
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Old 03-25-2011, 07:38 PM   #2
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I haven't owned it for more than 24 hours yet, but an iPad with the Good Reader app might work well for you. Reads PDFs like a dream and does let you mark them up and export them as well. I imagine you could overcome the usb issue (something that bugs me as well) by using Dropbox or something similar.

Sorry that I can't give you more thorough info. Got mine (first generation) at the Verizon blowout yesterday. That was the first app I bought (and I only plan to use it for reading PDFs). But I was very impressed how well it handled them.
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Old 03-26-2011, 05:28 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndorf View Post
This is what is important to me:

* large screen, 9.x" or better
* excellent battery life
* fast page turns
* extensible storage such as SD or microSD card
* USB support to xfer files between laptop and device
* WiFi, but 3G not so important
* Support for hyperlinks including Table of Contents
* PDF Zoom (not just font selection)
* PDF reflow would be nice
* PDF cropping would be nice, although could use "Briss" on PC
* Would really like the device to double as a note-taking slate
* PDF annotations
* lightweight and thin
* manufacturer reputation for support, firmware updates
* A decent web browser--something more than "experimental" would be great.
I have your same needs (plus I want to be able to read in natural sunlight), and in the end settled with a pocketbook 903 - lcd screens tire my eyes easily, which took alll tablets away for me.

The PB903 has an excellent hardware, at least as far as I can tell, though the big drawback for me is that it still cannot take proper annotations (you can highlight text, save it as an image, and then annotate that: ok, but not ideal), but hopefully they will come with the new firmware - as Pocketbook is promising release of the SDK and new firmware update by mid April, you could wait until then to see whether they deliver on the promise.

As far as I know the German shop does ship anywhere, as the UK shop (though the latter seem less organised when it comes to service). Of course, there may be the issue of custom duty.

In spite of current limitations, I am very happy with my PB, and the helpful guys in the forum have already provided many hacks that improve its functionality - even without the official SDK. So one of the big attractions for me is Pocketbook policy to allow end users to develop and improve the software. Nevertheless, if they do not deliver on their promises (I can wait until April-May), I will probably consider getting the Onyx Boox M90 for a friend. That should be in the US in May, Dulin talks about it here.

I have also considered the Asus, but the screen looks too dark (I am sure you already have seen the comparison betweenSipiX and Vixplex here), but there are happy users, and the SDK has already been released (all the info is in this thread, which I am sure you have already read, but just in case). It is a matter of personal taste, and in my case Sipix is too dark, while the Onyx seems to be ticking all the boxes - if PB does not improve, which I hope it will
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Old 03-31-2011, 01:18 PM   #4
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If you are willing to wait until it comes out, the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 seems like a killer device for that - 1.3 lbs, thinner than iPad 2, hi-res at 1280x800, and great battery life. I am looking to get one myself, after having been so disappointed in Amazon and their lack of any kind of support of Kindle DXG for proper PDF handling.

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Old 03-31-2011, 01:24 PM   #5
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The Onyx Boox M90 looks promising. The Hanvon Wisereader E920 should arrive in the summer I think and has a very high def screen (at present the colour version seems to have the same model number, but has lower definition).
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Old 03-31-2011, 05:12 PM   #6
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Wow, I was all set on getting a Kindle DX for reading PDFs never knew so many other options existed

I came here looking to decide between nook color and Kindle DX...since nook is cheaper and people are saying it handle PDF's quite well, although you have to read it in landscape mode...the idea of which I don't like very much, but still can try..

Can you guys let me know, if the PDF support on Kindle DX right now, is bad?
I just want to read standard A4 sized PDF with much meddling around with fast page turns. Also I don't want much advanced features but taking some annotations would be nice, although I don't want it, right along with PDF but anywhere in Kindle, is it possible on DX

Is it a good enough device to do that? or should I consider Ipad/nook color instead?
I hope the TS don't mind, hijacking his thread, If he does I can post a new one
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Old 03-31-2011, 05:25 PM   #7
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Personally I find the iPad (and iPad 2) a bit too small to comfortably read 8.5x11 PDFs full screen without zooming in a bit. I know people use workarounds like cutting off margins, reflowing, etc.

Then again, to really display them like a full sheet of paper you'd need a 13.9" display. It could happen one day
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Old 03-31-2011, 05:34 PM   #8
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Hi TheMafioso-
The kindle dx support is pretty lacking right now, even in comparison to the kindle 3. For example, it doesn't have the ability to highlight, take notes, or look up words in a dictionary, all of which the K3 does. Amazon does not seem to be planning on adding these features to the dx (or at least not this version of the dx), probably because it has less RAM, I believe. Also, it can only zoom to preset values (150%, 200%, etc.)- although the K3 has this shortcoming also. Neither of them support links or table of contents.

One thing that it does do, however, is to automatically crop the margins off of pdfs- this even works on scanned (image) pdfs, not just text ones.

Finally, one last note. I don't know what sort of documents you're working with (whether or not there'll be a lot of math equations in them), but a lot of viewers on many devices have problems with the letter beta from latex files: this affects the kindles, the adobe pdfviewer on the pocketbook, the sony readers, and the entourage edge. If you're someone who reads a lot of math or physics journal papers, this can be a problem.
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Old 03-31-2011, 05:54 PM   #9
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I would have liked an e-ink device for my PDFs, but I bit the bullet and ended up getting the iPad 2 yesterday. So far, I love it and I'm very glad that I chose it. The battery life, while nowhere near the battery life on an e-ink device, is surprisingly good.
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Old 03-31-2011, 08:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by physics View Post
Hi TheMafioso-
The kindle dx support is pretty lacking right now, even in comparison to the kindle 3. For example, it doesn't have the ability to highlight, take notes, or look up words in a dictionary, all of which the K3 does. Amazon does not seem to be planning on adding these features to the dx (or at least not this version of the dx), probably because it has less RAM, I believe. Also, it can only zoom to preset values (150%, 200%, etc.)- although the K3 has this shortcoming also. Neither of them support links or table of contents.

One thing that it does do, however, is to automatically crop the margins off of pdfs- this even works on scanned (image) pdfs, not just text ones.

Finally, one last note. I don't know what sort of documents you're working with (whether or not there'll be a lot of math equations in them), but a lot of viewers on many devices have problems with the letter beta from latex files: this affects the kindles, the adobe pdfviewer on the pocketbook, the sony readers, and the entourage edge. If you're someone who reads a lot of math or physics journal papers, this can be a problem.
Thanks a lot for the reply physics
Well I don't plan to read math and stuff, I need it for reading software dev books...
Lack of table of contents is a major short coming.
Guess if its treating it like scanned images, then i won't able to search keywords, either Its an absolute must
I was more keen on getting the kindle over nook/ipad because of the better battery life..
Does anybody know if pocketreader 903 will support table of contents and searching?
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Old 04-01-2011, 09:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMafioso View Post
Does anybody know if pocketreader 903 will support table of contents and searching?
Yes it does! But only with "normal" pdfs, not with scanned images of course. Actually i don't think that any device can do that ;-)
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:37 AM   #12
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Kindle DX

From what I have read so far (but I have not personally tested), Duokan for the Kindle DX addresses many of the shortcomings for PDF viewing. I think there is a separate thread on Duokan elsewhere on the Mobileread forums.
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:55 AM   #13
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Thanks...

To all who have contributed to this particular thread. All really good contributions.

Lately, I have been thinking more about "workflow" and not just reader features. What do I mean by workflow?

Well, when I need to research information in one of my many 8 1/2 x 11" formatted manuals, all of the information I need to find is not necessarily in one manual or one chapter. I find many times that a section in one manual sends me over to another manual--or to a different page or chapter in the same manual--where I might also be referred again to yet a 3rd manual. Sounds cumbersome, yes, but it's real life for me. So at my desk, on occasion, I might have 2 or 3 manuals open at different pages, taking up the entire real estate of my desk!

My wife has a Kindle 3 and I played with it a little last night. As everyone knows, the pearl screen is phenomenal, but I did notice a little refresh flicker with every page turn. Page turns are plenty fast for sequential reading, such as would be the case reading a novel, but I could not visualize a scenario where I needed to quickly browse, back and forth between chapters, let alone opening closing different books.

I think having a touch screen with or without stylus would help some, since one would not have to sequentially press a D-Pad to move the cursor from link-to-link to make choices. But still, I'm coming to the conclusion that for technical reference kinds of work, fast document open and close times, and super fast page swipes would pretty much be a necessity. That probably means a device with a 1Ghz (or even dual core) processor such as iPad or one of the Android slates. And said device still would need to support hyperlinks, TOC, and all the other features we have been discussing here in this thread.

Yes, I would have to deal with the heavier weight. Many of the Android slates are coming out in 16:9 aspect ratio, which makes for less than desirable use as an e-reader. The 4:3 aspect ratio of the iPad is really ideal, but I am still skeptical about its closed platform--no USB (except for camera usage), no tethering over USB or bluetooth, no extendible storage. As as the other tablets go, I believe that the HP Touchpad will also be in this format, and in the Android world, the Viewsonic G Pad and maybe the Xoom is close. The Archos 101 unfortunately is a very narrow 16:9 screen otherwise from weight and cost standpoint I would give it close consideration. I haven't seen the forthcoming 10" version of the Samsung Galaxy yet. Does anyone here have any specific Android experience especially with respect to the field of available PDF readers for that platform?

Thanks again for posting to this thread; please keep the ideas flowing!

Neil
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Old 04-01-2011, 01:24 PM   #14
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You have a couple of issues to deal with. Aside from screen size, you have the question of whether the PDF viewer software on the device supports PDF reflow (I believe the KindleDX does not, even though Amazon licensed Adobe's Mobile SDK, which does), and whether the PDF is created with the tagging that lets the viewer software figure out how to reflow the content. (MR users have reported amusing results using reflow on PDFs (like magazines) with multi-column formats you don't want to reflow, as it makes hash of the content.)

I'm not sure any device out there at the moment is really what you need, and it may be a case of "which is the best compromise".

I think the ideal solution isn't on your end, but rather on your employer's - you need to have the technical information available to you in a conveniently searchable format that isn't encapsulated in a PDF. Marketing and tech support really should not have to pore through hardcopy or PDFs to get answers to questions.

If you don't have an internal technical database (possibly stored as XML, and using XSLT to transform to HTML or the like for access, you need to lobby for one.
______
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Old 04-01-2011, 01:32 PM   #15
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Some one please correct me if I am wrong, but I beleive that Amazon created its own proprietary book format becuase they wanted to have super fast page turns. Perhaps the Kindle 3 is the answer, I believe it can handle the required paper size. My readers can't handle the screen size so I will not talk about them.
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