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Old 06-02-2011, 09:56 PM   #1
Jack Tingle
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Posts: 553
Karma: 1030920
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: The Bluest Commonwealth In East America
Device: Kindle PW, Nexus 7 (2013), Galaxy Player 5 (YP-G70C)
3 Readers Compared: K3, jetBook, Nook Color

So, up until today, I owned 3 purpose-built ereaders, plus a smartphone and 2 old PDAs. Today I took the Nook Color back on the B&N 14-day return ticket. I sort of regretted it, but it just wasn't good enough to keep.

The jetBook is the ultimate in versatility. It reads the largest number of formats of any reader, equalled only by the Astak PocketPro. The reflective LCD screen is better than most 1st generation eInk screens, and it's easy to hold and operate one handed. That said, it's getting a bit long in the tooth. So I bought a...

Kindle 3. The K3 is the standard by which most people judge dedicated ereaders. The Evil Bezos and his Cursed Minions have made it completely frictionless to spend way too much on books, given us instant gratification that would make Gordon Gecko grin, and thrown in a decent web browser. That said, it's not quite as easy to hold as the jetBook. It does have a better screen than the jetBook. Those are quibbles. The only way to make an advance over the K3 is to break the paradigm. So I bought a...

Nook Color. It's a paradigm breaker of an ereader. My impressions of the NC are below.

1) It's HEAVY! My jetBook is a bit on the weighty side. The K3 is featherweight by comparison. A 4 A-h battery is not light! I doubt you could start small gasoline engines with it, but maybe... You can certainly break a paradigm with it.
2) It's PRETTY. I didn't realize how much I missed a big, bright, LCD color screen. It's like the worlds largest PDA! (Ooooh! Shiny!)
3) It has a card slot! Huzzah! I miss that on the Kindle. I use the jetBook's card a lot.
4) Barnes & Noble did not screw around with eReader and mess it up. Works mostly the same as before. Ah, comfort.
5) The capacitive touch screen is different from my PDA/smarphone resistive screens. Personally, I don't like it as well, but YMMV.
6) The app store is a nice method of customization. One reason I bought the Nook is that it has some PDA functionality in apps. We'll see if it's good enough to make me dump smartphones entirely and use it as a giant PDA.
7) It works perfectly with 3rd party ePubs. I'd heard mixed signals about this. Right now, it's 2 for 2 on unencrypted ePubs. I haven't tried stock ADE books. I don't think I have any in hand at the moment---Oops, I found a couple of old ones. Works fine except they show up in 'My Files' rather than the Library.
8) The Crossword app is nice.

A few more experiments have found:
1) The best format for lists seems to be .xlsx.
2) Formatted text files seem to work best as HTML3 from Word 2010.
3) BN IMO made a mistake by not including .rtf as a neutral format.
4) I miss arrow keys when editing. Even WM6 h/w rec. had arrows.
5) Photo viewing is dyn-o-mite.
6) Thumb typing is not.
7) File management is pitiful. I understand the 'no delete' thing, but for heaven's sake, how about file size and date added? Especially for photos. A more general purpose device needs a bit of file management.
8) The slideshow button on the photo viewer doesn't seem to do anything.--Until you cycle through the grid view once. Then it works. Thank you online tip people.
9) Battery life is pretty good for a power hog. Wifi on or off doesn't seem to make a lot of difference, probably because as a percentage, it's a small amount on such a big backlit screen.

I picked xlsx format as the preferred purely because MS Office seems to be going that way.

The omission of rtf as a neutral file format (while including a bunch of doc and docx variants) is puzzling. rtf has very few bad features. It primarily omits a lot of file characteristics that can only get you in trouble if it gets crosswise. You can recover rtf files easily if they get corrupted, and they can't transmit nasty things. Both doc and docx worked (though docx was very slow to load), but plain vanilla filtered HTML 3 was best behaved. PDF was typical PDF, although even a tagged file didn't reflow. (It may have been just that file. Other tagged files did reflow.)

A comment or two on add-on software:

Springpad: Works OK and does some useful things. How do they plan on making money?
Fliq Note: Works OK, but doesn't seem to do anything useful. If you write a note and can't do anything with it, why wouldn't I just inscribe it on a roadside rock?
QuickOffice: Works well, and integrates seamlessly with Google Docs.

So why did I take it back? Basically, it's a really neat device, with a lot of good features and a great screen. It just isn't as good an ereader as the jetBook or the K3. The other advantages don't outweigh this fundamental flaw. It did give me a chance to play with an Android device. Unless something changes, I'll probably buy a dumb phone next time and try find a replacement for my old PDAs [1].

My recommendation: Buy a K3.

Regards,
Jack Tingle

[1] They still work but one has the buttons worn out and the other's digitizer spikes like mad. They're old.
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