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Old 02-25-2012, 06:51 PM   #1
mdietz39
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Best device to read Google book PDF's?

I do a lot of genealogical research and one of my main sources of data is Google books. I can download PDF images of books written in the 1700 - 1900 period with tons of data for me. However they are PDF images, not PDF text. I can find no decent OCR to handle all the fonts used during those 300 years so I am forced to read the book. However I would like to have a smaller device than my pc. I have tried my Kindle but the screen is so small I have to enlarge the image which forces me to constantly be scrolling back and forth.
I would like a device which can handle the (normally) 8" width of the image. Long life on the battery would be nice and a USB port or some means of transferring the book from my PC is required.

Any suggestions are appreciated.

Thank you
Mike
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Old 02-25-2012, 07:09 PM   #2
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U could try one of the large eink tablets....but they are expensive and not sure if they would solve your problem...ie. Kindle DX, Irex....etc....otherwise.....Tablet or netbook.....
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:38 PM   #3
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Tablet. Either Android OS or iPad.

The largest tablets available are the Windows ones (12"), but those use x86 intel chips and thus have awful battery life.
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Old 02-26-2012, 05:58 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by charmian View Post
Tablet. Either Android OS or iPad.
This. IME, e-ink readers just don't deal well with pdfs (you can look up my threads on the topic). I ended up getting an iPad for that purpose.
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:58 AM   #5
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iPad or a 10" Android tablet. iPad with the "Goodreader" app is pretty hard to beat as a PDF reader.
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Old 02-26-2012, 07:13 AM   #6
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Like people mentioned, what do you see yourself carrying to read?

You will want something with AT LEAST a 1024x720 pixels screen, 8 inch minimum, since most PDF's are based on A4 or lettertype page sizes.
These pages are pretty detailed, thus you need a resolution as above,or better, to read the text well.

Seeing that you'll need such a device there are 4 main categories of devices that have on-screen displays:

1- A laptop
2- A netbook
3- A tablet
4- A large size e-ink reader

1-Laptop ($400-800):
Pro's:
- Fast
- Compatible with (almost) every book format
- Good screen contrast ratios;made for medium bright environments

cons:
- Low battery life
- Heavy
- Not really weather proof (can't be used under light rain or humid environments)
- Lousy screen brightness outside
- Annoying bright screen in low light environments

2-Netbook ($250-400):
Has everything a laptop has save for:
- Bit slower than a laptop, but much faster than a tablet.
- Has a lower screen resolution (though within minimum requirements if you can handle holding the netbook at a 90 degrees angle).
- Equal annoying screen brightness

The good about a netbook:
- Has better battery life (nearly double of a laptop)
- Weighs less (half of a laptop), and is more portable.
- Costs less (half of a laptop)

3- Tablet ($150-350)
Pro's:
- Small in size (half of a netbook)
- Lighter in weight (half a netbook's)
- Compatible with 'almost' every book format
- Cheapest solution (tablets are cheaper than ebook readers based on e-ink, and start at about half the price of netbooks to about equal the price of netbooks).

Cons:
- Minimum resolution (often @800x480 pix it is boarderline of minimum requirements,and some PDF's will not be readable).
- Low battery life, between a laptop and netbook.
- Annoying screen brightness for low light, unreadable in full sunlight.
- Better weather resistant (can be used in light rain)
- Slow performance (much slower than a netbook)

4- Large size Ebook reader ($290-499):
Pro's:
- Significant reduced eye-wear (better viewable, and readable for longer times in bright sunlight, as well as in normal inside light)
- Extremely light, handy easy to carry, similar to tablets.
- Best battery life of all (often extending 10x the battery life of a tablet or laptop)
- Can be used in nearly all weather conditions (including light rain)

Cons:
- Only visible in lighted area's or outside. Not viewable in dark area's.
- Very expensive
- Very limited file support,some files need to be converted
- Not all devices have the options to expand the memory
- Performance is the slowest


It looks to me like you either can get a tablet, or if you want some quality reading, you'll have to go with a 9" hi-res e-ink reader.
There are currently 4 ebook readers I could recommend; 2 of which are exceptional:

1- The kindle DX
2- The Jetbook Color.

What the Kindle DX has over the color:
- Better B/W resolution
- Better contrast ratio
- Faster page turns
- (Lousy) Keyboard

What the Jetbook Color has over the Kindle:
- Color display
- Equal black resolution, but lower color resolution
- SD/SDHC card reader
- Wider file support (not limited to Kindle store offers)
- Sleeker looks
- TTS
- Touch screen
- Wifi



I would recommend the Kindle DX if it only had better file support, and an SD card reader.
Because it's lacking that, I'm recommending the Jetbook Color.

Last edited by ProDigit; 02-26-2012 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 02-26-2012, 07:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProDigit View Post
3- Tablet ($150-350)
Pro's:
- Small in size
- Lighter in weight than a netbook
- Compatible with almost every book format
- Cheapest solution

Cons:
- Minimum resolution
- Low battery life, comparable to a laptop
- Annoying screen brightness
- Better weather resistant (can be used in light rain)
- Slow performance
I can't speak for other tablets, but the iPad has a much, MUCH better battery life than a typical laptop (I get a good 12h usage from mine between charges, compared to perhaps 3h for a typical laptop) and, with its dual-core processor, neither is it slow. Of course, neither is it cheap - you can buy a decent laptop for the price of an iPad.
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Old 02-26-2012, 07:41 AM   #8
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yes, the ipad is the top of the line out of several hundreds of different models.
The majority of tablets have about 1/4 the performance of the ipad.
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdietz39 View Post
However they are PDF images, not PDF tex

Kindle DXG takes easily 5 seconds and more to turn a page with these kind of pdfs, I own lots of this kind of books, and DXG is simply unusable with them. I'm talking about pdf files of 35/90 MB, scans of old books with 300 or more pages.

Have two certainties to share:
  • whatever 9,7" ereader you buy, you'll have to trim borders, because zooming this kind of files is painful and only a few readers have the right kind of zooming tools for these (DXG hasn't, Boox M92 has the "Zoom select" like the enTourage had)
  • whatever 9,7" e-paper reader you buy, these are the worst kind of files you can work with. No way, you need a device with some ram and processing power

I'm sorry but you'll need a tablet or a slate. If you find a used enTourage edge you can try it, it has a 1.2 ghz cpu which makes it still the more powerful e-paper device out there.

If you're in love with e-paper devices, you can split your files into 2/3 parts, trim the borders and...Wait for some more Boox M92 / Pocketbook 912 reviews.

Last edited by lorenzoens; 02-26-2012 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 02-26-2012, 01:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdietz39 View Post
I do a lot of genealogical research and one of my main sources of data is Google books. I can download PDF images of books written in the 1700 - 1900 period with tons of data for me. However they are PDF images, not PDF text.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProDigit View Post
You will want something with AT LEAST a 1024x720 pixels screen, 8 inch minimum, since most PDF's are based on A4 or lettertype page sizes.

Are they really? I think many of the books written in the 1700-1900 period are rather small.

If you have the possibility (availability, right to return) I would try out a iRiver HD Story and see if it can serve your needs.
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Old 02-26-2012, 05:41 PM   #11
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The problem with large sized ebook readers is latency.
The slower CPU (which on itself is fast enough) is slowed down by slow ram, slow flash memory, and an even slower screen.

But that's what you pay for to get a near to 10x increase in battery life compared to computers or tablets!

The future for ebooks is bright though!
Certain ARM manufacturers are going to manufacture their chips with intel, at 20nm; meaning 4x lower power use, and upto 4x faster performance!
They're also working on the all-in-one system chip; so the chip has direct access to the RAM, being on the same die with it... Though those ideas are about 2-5 years off.

And I'm not even mentioning the potential breakthroughs on e-paper (one being printed on plastic instead of glass, resulting in much lighter, and thinner devices); two being the continual research to get better results on e-ink through improved drivers, and faster response times.

Last edited by ProDigit; 02-26-2012 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:14 PM   #12
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I have a Kindle DX and I seriously considered exchanging it for a
larger tablet but in doing so it would cut the battery life significantly.

Something you may need to consider as you make your selection.
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