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Old 01-02-2012, 09:12 PM   #1
jedd
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PB902 PDF usability questions

Howdi 90x users,

I'm a long time user of (and advocate for) the PB360 - I like it so much I bought a 360+ for my other half for Christmas. It's fantastic for novels, and I generally use only epub or mobi files on it. I did try doing some relatively small PDF's with it - but only the once, as it was a spectacularly unpleasant experience. It was a single Lonely Planet chapter, say about 15 pages, but quite dense in terms of bitmaps and navigation was just sssooooo slow - in the realm of 30+ seconds to render a new screen.

Which leads me to my questions.

I'm thinking about getting a 902, probably to never leave the house, for reading my collection of technical PDF's - thinking of things in the format (but never with the title) of those 'Dummies' books - which are probably around 10" diagonally. These tend to be heavily text, multiple fonts and frequently grey backgrounds, typically greyscale only (or at least colours that I can live without), and the occasional embedded bitmap image.

From what I've researched on this forum, I believe that:
o contrast isn't quite so good on PDF font rendering (but may be solved in an upcoming firmware release) compared to, say, some of the larger kindles
o responsiveness is pretty snappy on PDF's of this type
o my initial research conclusion is probably right - the PB902 is one of the better (usability, price, ergonomics) options for a ~9 inch e-ink reader

So, finally, he says, getting to the point, what I'd love to know from anyone who's done this with their 902 (or similar)

How usable are such PDF's in terms of page-flipping, delay on heavy-image pages?

How usable are 100% graphic / scan PDF's (I've got a couple that would be handy to read this way, but it's not a show-stopper) and how painful is it to navigate around a single page if I need to zoom it to read? Note, I'm happy to go landscape if needs be. I note that these files are usually around the 30-50MB - is that a major performance problem for a machine with 256MB of RAM?

With a zoomed-in PDF, is this easy enough to control the level of zoom so that on a normal 10" text book, I can get rid of the 2" of wasted blank space around all the margins, and most importantly retain that 'page position' when I move to the next page? Do subsequent page loads zoom to the middle of the page, or do they show the top & left margins and require a shuffle across and down? Apologies if this is a spectacularly dumb question.

To cut a long story short isn't my style - so thanks to anyone who read this far.

Last edited by jedd; 01-02-2012 at 09:13 PM. Reason: Misplaced parenthesis.
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Old 01-03-2012, 03:57 AM   #2
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I often read PDFs in 2- or 3-columns mode on a 602. I suppress the margins with BRISS.
I find it pretty readable, except for the figures, because it often requires to quit the multiple columns mode (it should be better on a 902)

1-column mode is sometime difficult to read on a 602 in case of long lines. But again, it should be better on a 902.
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Old 01-03-2012, 04:08 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jedd View Post
I'm thinking about getting a 902, probably to never leave the house, for reading my collection of technical PDF's .
My use case is pretty much the same. I have an 903, and quite like the notetaking abilities - so not sure if I would recommend a 902 over a 903/912. Briss is a necessity on the pocketbooks (as Tulapi said). I wrote a comparison of 903 and boox m92. The videos linked there might be helpful as well.
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Old 01-03-2012, 04:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jedd View Post
To cut a long story short isn't my style


If you are taking the plunge only because of the lonely planet pdf, I'd first try again with another file. I have both a 903 and a 360, and although obviously the pb903 is much better, I have read several technical textbooks with the P360, which is my preferred reader when travelling, with no particularly ill effects (apart from the obvious, i.e. it looks smaller than on the PB903!).

If you need hte device for work, the annotation capability is something you should not discount - but of course I am biased, as that was the reason for me to get the 903.

@jbaach
thanks once more for your great comparison videos and notes!
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:21 AM   #5
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Thank you

Wow - fantastic response - thanks peeps!

BRISS .. ya know, I'd looked for something that did precisely this ages ago when I was trying to print a two-pages-on-A4 format and never found anything, so I'm mighty impressed to discover it now. Sadly no Debian package for it, but I'll struggle on!

From a workflow perspective do you normally tie this into calibre (can you even do that?) or just batch through a stack of them and keep a separate copy of those PDF's for copying onto your PB?

Tulapi - do you mean you just move around on the page (down a few times, then across and up, then down again?) I'll take paola's suggestion on and try a less busy PDF, but one of the appeals of a 9" display is that I can get the whole page (probably) on screen at one time, and a lot of the books that I'm thinking about benefit from being able to see the whole page. I find on my 28" desktop computer that I don't use the two-page view at all, so I'm optimistic the ease of reading will transfer to the 902.

jbaach - thank you so much for the link - I'm at work currently but shall read and watch the videos this evening.

I did look at the 903 - the idea of taking notes is interesting but I can't see any use case for myself (as in I've never read an ebook and thought it'd be handy to make a note on it). If I had the feature, I may use it, of course, but it's not a high priority I mean. Similarly the 3G / wifi features aren't things that appeal. But the cost delta from the 902 to the 903 is non-trivial, and really hard for me to justify. Heck, I'd probably be really happy with one of those mythical 901's ... but they appear to be as rare as rocking horse poo.

My understanding is that the 903 has identical CPU & RAM configuration as the 902 - so the performance (for reading) should be identical, yes?
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:25 PM   #6
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Jedd, where do you live? The 912 might also be an option, as iti si identical to the 903 save for the fact taht it has no 3G - I would have bought a 912 if I could have done so, but it did not exist a year ago!

As for PDFs, sure you can fit a page in the large screens - I only meant to say that the 360 can also work as a back-up: don't sell it on/throw it away
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:44 PM   #7
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Paola - I'm based in London, UK these days. I see very nice (about A$50 cheaper) prices for the 902 in the US than here, which is a bit sad. But I can't see any 912's available in the UK or even EU .. ? That can't be right.

Why would you have got the 912 over the 90x? I'm assuming it's similar spec, but cheaper because it lacks the 3G.

And rest assured - the 360 will be with me until one of us dies.
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:49 PM   #8
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Actually I take that back - I can see PB912 for £333 out of Germany, but the PB902 is £270 locally.
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Old 01-03-2012, 05:10 PM   #9
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Hi Jedd,
I bought mine here:
http://www.greenreader.co.uk/collections/products
but I see there is no 912 yet.

As for my case, I have never used the 3G, as the wifi at home suffices, so if I could have I would have saved the money - I find that when I am out and about the wifi suffices for my needs.

If you are spending some time in the UK, no harm in writing to the guys (actually, girls) at greenreader, they will tell you if they have stock coming in.
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Old 01-04-2012, 01:33 AM   #10
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I think the simplest answer to your question about PDFs, would be - it depends. From my personal experience, the contrast is all over the place. Some are crystal clear, others you can barely read. But overall I think I'm happy with it (provided that there aren't many other alternatives in terms of the size at the moment). They might make it better with adjustable contrast (but who knows how soon...).
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Old 01-04-2012, 06:36 PM   #11
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I've just dropped a note to Ginta at greenreader.co.uk - that's where we've bought the two PB360's, and yes, they've been very helpful in the past. They have the 902 and 903 advertised, but both are showing up as being out of stock.

I watched some of jbaach's videos, and also found a 902 .v. 912 video on the 'tube .. and discovered the main difference there is touch-screen capability on the 912. Not a feature I'm dead keen on, so the price difference means I'll probably opt for the 902. As an aside, it looked like the 912 blacked the screen on page turns but the 902 did not. Sadly I don't know if they were using identical software - they definitely weren't using the same book, so it's either a function of the touchscreen component or just a disparity for that particular book.
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Old 01-27-2012, 08:41 PM   #12
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For the record ...

My 912 arrived this evening - I've only played with it for an hour or so - replaced the boot and power-off logos, upgraded to 2.1.2, fiddled with some briss'd PDF's.

So far .. I'm lovin' it.

I can see why some reviewers bemoaned the slower CPU / more modest RAM than other readers in the same price bracket, but coming from a 360 means that it feels more than fast enough. I think if I was used to using my other half's 360+ (which is much snappier) then I may have been slightly less impressed. But page turns on textbook PDF's - my primary use case - are plenty quick.

The touch screen interface is weird and unsettling, especially how natural it feels to use it. I'm thinking I should try to stick with the buttons otherwise I'm going to end up poking any writing implement to hand at my PB360.
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