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Old 10-15-2011, 09:20 AM   #1
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Kobo Touch vs. Sony PRS-T1; advice appreciated!

Hi everyone

My first post on this forum, but I've been an avid lurker for a while, and thank people most sincerely for all the help they provide. I'd appreciate your thoughts on this dilemma. I currently own a Cool-ER, which I love, but I'm thinking of upgrading, mainly so I can have one that can support notes. I've been holding off because of the launch of the T1, but now WH Smith are stocking the Kobo Touch, and the price points are very similar - £129 for the T1 and £110 for the Kobo. Having tried out various readers, I have worked out that there are some things that for me are crunch points and others I'm not really bothered about, and I'm not sure how either of these two products measure up. So, this is what I've identified as essential, desirable or non-essential to me (not really in any particular order within the categories). Some of these I already know the Kobo and T1 have, but just in case there's a better one I haven't considered, I've listed all the points below (sorry it makes the post quite long).

Essential
1. Notes - both allow them. However, I'm not clear exactly how they export them. I'd prefer if I could export a bit of text with the note attached, rather than exporting the note as a mere drawing with no context. (BTW, I should mention I'm a proofreader, so I prefer to add notes using text and symbols rather than as 'sticky notes'.)

2. Compatibility with Overdrive - both have this, to allow library borrowing (the Kindle isn't compatible with UK libraries, so I'd never even consider one).

3. Stylus - do both of them need a special stylus? I tried out the Sony 600, and found that a cheap DS-type stylus worked perfectly well. Does anyone know if either or both of these can use a similar one? I also tried out a Samsung E60, and although the touch screen was fab, especially for making notes, it needed its own stylus; I even tried out other makes of Wacom stylus - nothing! I really, really don't think I want the stress of having a specific stylus (especially at what they cost!!) - ideally, I'd prefer to take out and lock away the stylus it comes with and use el cheapo DS one (or something similar that I'd be able to pick up in a pound shop).

4. Screen reflection. The Cool-ER is e-ink, and it's matte, and I can get lost in the book - the mechanism of delivering it disappears. The Samsung was the same (kind of - the weight was a bit of an issue), but the Sony 600 - oh, dear. I know people have said it's not that big a deal, that it's fine if you tilt the screen. And yes, it is, but I just found that every time I turned the page, or the sun moved a bit, or even if I moved, the screen became the focus, not the text - it was like someone slapping me on the face and screaming 'that's not a book, you fool!!' Added to that the really quite severe eyestrain I felt after a short while (as opposed to the total lack of it even after hours reading the Cool-ER), and I'm convinced I do not want a screen that's anything like the 600!

5. Screen size - 6" minimum. I'm a fast reader, and 5" is too small.

6. Sensible organization of the library. I have Calibre, and I quite liked the way it organized books on the Sony, but it collapsed in a heap using the Cool-ER, even though I'm sure I read somewhere on here that this ereader was supported. Anyway, on the Cool-ER, Calibre organizes the books into folders named with the author's name, which isn't awfully convenient - I'd really like to be able to organize by genre, as either an index or a list of folders.

7. Reasonably light weight. The Samsung was about 320g, and that was quite tiring on the wrist after a while. The <185g weight of the Kobo and T1 seems much more sensible.

Desirable, but not dealbreakers
1. Long battery life. I can obviously charge it up, even if I'm on holiday, but I'd prefer one with a battery life of 2-3 weeks. Both of these seem to be a month with wireless off.

2. Ability to handle PDFs reasonably well.

Not really bothered
1. Wireless - both have it.

2. Link to bookshops - ditto.

---------------
So, if it were you, which one would you choose, and why? And of course, if you have any suggestions as to one that might fit the bill even better, that would be great too.

Many thanks in advance for any help!
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Old 10-15-2011, 01:43 PM   #2
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Sony fixed the screen with the PRS x50 line. The T1 and the Kobo touch have identical Pearl Eink screens. If you thought your Cool-ER screen was good, just wait until you see the Pearl screen.

The Sony will export notes; how much text comes with them depends on publisher permissions with the DRM encrypted books.

The Kobo and Sony both use normal styli. Anything that can write on the screen without scratching it will work. With the T1, the stylus no longer fits into the reader when not in use.

Battery life should be about the same for both, depending on whether you have WiFi on or not.

Sony has the best reputation for handling PDFs, but PDF is a horrible format for a book. None of the readers will deal well with PDFs that are images or that have lots of charts, tables, or figures in them.

It's my opinion that Sony does the best job of helping me manage my books on the device. The Kobo seems much more basic and was released with a lot of bugs.

You can adjust how Calibre sends books to your Cool-ER. It doesn't have to be author folders.
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:55 PM   #3
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If you're coming to the table with many sideloaded books, pass on the Kobo. The Kobo excels with their own books that use a rendering engine different from Adobe's. With these books you'll be able to take advantage of all the features of the Kobo. Many of those features are not available with regular Adobe DRM books or even books that have DRM removed. You can get specifics by posting in the Kobo forum.
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:32 AM   #4
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Thanks, folks. Looks like the trend's towards the T1, then, unless someone can suggest any other I should consider?

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Originally Posted by polly View Post
Sony fixed the screen with the PRS x50 line. The T1 and the Kobo touch have identical Pearl Eink screens. If you thought your Cool-ER screen was good, just wait until you see the Pearl screen.
Sounds good! I was slightly concerned yesterday upon viewing the video review of the T1 that it was described as having a very white screen - my OH is dyslexic and finds a grey screen much easier to read, but it seems that the contrast on the T1 can be adjusted, so that's another point in its favour.

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The Sony will export notes; how much text comes with them depends on publisher permissions with the DRM encrypted books.
Almost all mine are free downloads, so I don't think DRM is a problem - is that right? Do you know if the Kobo does this in a similar way?

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Originally Posted by polly View Post
The Kobo and Sony both use normal styli. Anything that can write on the screen without scratching it will work. With the T1, the stylus no longer fits into the reader when not in use.
Excellent! None of the reviews I've viewed/read seem to be very impressed with it being a separate stylus, and it seems all the more reason to go for a different one. There did seem to be a hint that a DS or other plastic stylus might be produce scratches, and that a rubber-tipped one would be better, but all the rubber-tipped ones I've seen (including the Targus that somone else mentioned on here) seem to be very broad, so I can't imagine that they would be very easy to write with. Opinions?

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Originally Posted by polly View Post
PDF is a horrible format for a book. None of the readers will deal well with PDFs that are images or that have lots of charts, tables, or figures in them.
You're so right, but that's how most of my proofs arrive! It's useful to know that the Sony's the best even if it isn't good.

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Originally Posted by polly View Post
You can adjust how Calibre sends books to your Cool-ER. It doesn't have to be author folders.
Now that's interesting - do you have a link to any instruction how how to do this, please? When I plugged in the Cool-ER, it was just seen as a hard drive.

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Originally Posted by SCION View Post
If you're coming to the table with many sideloaded books, pass on the Kobo. The Kobo excels with their own books that use a rendering engine different from Adobe's.
Thanks - didn't know that. I do have a lot of books, but they're all out-of-copyright books I've downloaded, so it would only cost me a bit of time to replace them. However, I'd prefer to stick with epubs, so it still seems a good reason to avoid the Kobo.
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:32 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by LuvReadin View Post
Thanks - didn't know that. I do have a lot of books, but they're all out-of-copyright books I've downloaded, so it would only cost me a bit of time to replace them. However, I'd prefer to stick with epubs, so it still seems a good reason to avoid the Kobo.
I think what Scion was trying to say is that the Kobo features (i.e. search/annotations) tend to come out first for the native Kobo books and then get updated to work on e-pubs. E-pubs do work fine on Kobo's. Annotation for e-pub is currently in beta so should be available in the next couple of weeks. That said I'm not sure the export is going to do what you want.
I know the Kobo doesn't and I'm not sure the Sony actually allows you to WRITE notes (only use the keyboard) if that's what you want to do with the stylus.
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:35 AM   #6
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The Sony does support handwritten annotation in addition to using the on-screen keyboard.
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:50 AM   #7
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I think what Scion was trying to say is that the Kobo features (i.e. search/annotations) tend to come out first for the native Kobo books and then get updated to work on e-pubs. E-pubs do work fine on Kobo's. Annotation for e-pub is currently in beta so should be available in the next couple of weeks. That said I'm not sure the export is going to do what you want.
I know the Kobo doesn't and I'm not sure the Sony actually allows you to WRITE notes (only use the keyboard) if that's what you want to do with the stylus.
Thank you for spelling it out more. That's why I directed the OP to the Kobo forum.

Also, endnotes still appear to be problematic (with no explanation) in sideloaded books. Not aware if this has been fixed in the recent firmware updates. Thanks again.
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Old 10-16-2011, 03:00 PM   #8
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There are couple of features exclusive to T1 worth mentioning. One is that you can download books from Dropbox and some RSS book websites, using the reader's web browser. The other feature is that after highlighting a word, you can access Google or Wikipedia off the highlighted word, and then return to reading. Both are key features I was looking for that brings a reader more to tablet functionality.

I'm wary of Kobo. From reading their forum, it seems Kobo is just really buggy. My recommendation is Kindle first for being rock solid. There are some reports of bugginess in T1, but others aren't seeing it. My Sony Reader (PRS 950) is pretty rock solid.
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Old 10-16-2011, 03:05 PM   #9
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There are couple of features exclusive to T1 worth mentioning. One is that you can download books from Dropbox and some RSS book websites, using the reader's web browser. The other feature is that after highlighting a word, you can access Google or Wikipedia off the highlighted word, and then return to reading. Both are key features I was looking for that brings a reader more to tablet functionality.
Those are both useful features, but aren't "exclusive to T1". The Kindle will also do both of those things.
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Old 10-16-2011, 03:23 PM   #10
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Those are both useful features, but aren't "exclusive to T1". The Kindle will also do both of those things.
For the Kindle, you can't download from a third party website from their browser. The downloading feature is exclusive to their cloud service, if I'm not mistaken. I'm not aware that Kindle works with dropbox for example. (Edit: I searched how it works on Kindle, but it seems more of a hackish than a straightforward method.) Sony is more open the third party - you can also get books over the air from Google books and Overdrive library also.

Are you able to access Google in Kindle off a highlighted word?

Last edited by sonyreaderfan; 10-16-2011 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 10-16-2011, 03:32 PM   #11
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Sonyreaderfan, a question about your 950 (I'm considering buying one):
Does it also have the ability to go to wikipedia or google from a highlighted word, and straight back? Or is this something only the t1 can do?
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Old 10-16-2011, 03:43 PM   #12
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Sonyreaderfan, a question about your 950 (I'm considering buying one):
Does it also have the ability to go to wikipedia or google from a highlighted word, and straight back? Or is this something only the t1 can do?
Yes, it's not as straightforward. The Google feature is not available. You double-tap the word (instead of a long press on the word as in T1) and it brings up a dictionary entry on the bottom of the screen. In the dictionary entry there is an icon for Wikipedia, but not for Google. Tap that icon and it brings you to the Wikipedia page. To go back, you hit Options button->continue reading. (I think on the T1 there is a Return button so it's easier.)

Btw, for PRS 950, you really ought to install PRS+ to install custom fonts and other features. It makes the 950 so much more useful. Googling "Installing PRS+" will give you a lot of resources. Install it is painless. Here's one good resource:
http://www.anamardoll.com/2011/06/er...tion-with.html
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Old 10-16-2011, 04:03 PM   #13
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Yes, it's not as straightforward. The Google feature is not available. You double-tap the word (instead of a long press on the word as in T1) and it brings up a dictionary entry on the bottom of the screen. In the dictionary entry there is an icon for Wikipedia, but not for Google. Tap that icon and it brings you to the Wikipedia page. To go back, you hit Options button->continue reading. (I think on the T1 there is a Return button so it's easier.)

Btw, for PRS 950, you really ought to install PRS+ to install custom fonts and other features. It makes the 950 so much more useful. Googling "Installing PRS+" will give you a lot of resources. Install it is painless. Here's one good resource:
http://www.anamardoll.com/2011/06/er...tion-with.html
Thanks! I find it really hard to decide if I should buy a t1 or pay the extra premium for the 950... If I do I'll of course install prs+, seems like it really enhances the reader.
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Old 10-16-2011, 04:21 PM   #14
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For the Kindle, you can't download from a third party website from their browser. The downloading feature is exclusive to their cloud service, if I'm not mistaken.
You are mistaken . You can download any Mobipocket book or PDF file, for example, directly from the browser.

Quote:
Sony is more open the third party - you can also get books over the air from Google books and Overdrive library also.
Google, no, since they use the ePub format which the Kindle doesn't support, but Overdrive, yes, at least in the US where Overdrive are now supplying Kindle-format books.

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Are you able to access Google in Kindle off a highlighted word?
Yes. When you highlight a word on the Kindle you can either look in up in the dictionary, or search for it either in Wikipedia or on Google.
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Old 10-16-2011, 04:38 PM   #15
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You can adjust how Calibre sends books to your Cool-ER. It doesn't have to be author folders.

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Originally Posted by LuvReadin View Post

Now that's interesting - do you have a link to any instruction how how to do this, please? When I plugged in the Cool-ER, it was just seen as a hard drive.

That's how the computer will see the Sony, too. The adjustment is with Calibre. Go to Preferences/Saving Books to Disk. In the middle is the "Save template" text box. Calibre uses Python, so {} ]puts the variable in its own folder and / creates a subfolder. For example:

{tag}/{author_sort}/{title} - {authors}

should give you a top folder for the tag, with author folders inside the folder, and then each title in its own folder. With your reader attached to the computer, select Save to Disk and then navigate to your Cool-ER.

That's as much as I know about Python variables; for more detailed help, I'd start a new thread in the Calibre forum.
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