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Old 06-04-2012, 01:54 PM   #1
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Question June 2012: A cheap, rugged ebook reader for the beach?

Hi all, I'm a (very) long time lurker but first time poster here.
This forum has been a fount of useful advice but I'm afraid I need some specific help this time!

BACKGROUND:
I have been looking at dedicated ereaders for a long time but have never owned one.
Nevertheless I have a lot of experience with ebooks, been reading them for years on a 12" tablet PC.
I have quite a large collection, mostly in EPUB and PDF formats. I also know about editing and converting text/ebooks (Calibre, Sigil, NP++, all kinds of PDF tools).

THE FUTURE:
I am very interested in buying a "phablet" in the near future. Not sure yet if I should pull the trigger on the Samsung Galaxy Note or hold out a few months for its successor(s).
I'm only mentioning this because I do NOT want to buy a "high end" ebook reader, so please don't suggest any!

CURRENT SITUATION:
Right now I am looking for a decent, CHEAP ebook reader. Why?
1. To tie me over until I get a top-of-the-line gadget, and
2. So I have a gizmo that I could use in more adventurous places, to the beach, camping, etc. where I'd be afraid to take (and leave in a backpack) a $500+ device.

USAGE:
  • 90% fiction novels
  • A user manual or a scientific paper once in a blue moon
  • If possible, comic books (European large size, ~A4)
Are there any budget readers with a USEFUL "magnifying glass" feature?


SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS:

+ budget: < $100 (less is better).
Again, I want something that wouldn't kill me if it were stolen, damaged... you get the idea.

+ as "rugged" as possible.
I'm thinking NO TOUCH SCREEN (don't want to smear sunscreen all over it!)

+ long battery life.
I'm planning to take this into the wilderness, not plug it in to charge every other day. Hence eink >> LCD.

+ decent storage space.
I own a lot of books. 2GB may be tight, 4GB+ is better.

+ if possible, EPUB format support.
I'm willing to convert formats if necessary, but in the long run I prefer EPUB.


On the other hand:

- don't care about wifi connectivity
(Where would I get it in the wilderness?)

- don't care about any bells & whistles or audio
(I already have a great MP3 player)

- don't care about being tied to a store
(I already own many ebooks, DRM removed)

- don't care about touch screen, in fact I specifically prefer NOT to have a touch screen!
(would I be making a big mistake?)

Finally, I have not been following the evolution of ebook readers for the past 6 months or so.
Are there any newer models that you guys would recommend?
Like a no-name 6" color e-ink device for $50? j/k


TL;DR:
I'm looking for a CHEAP, NON-TOUCHSCREEN device to read novels on the beach.
Suggestions?
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:03 PM   #2
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I'd suggest looking for an end-of-range or discontinued or nearly discontinued model.

Say, the CyBook Opus or the Sony PRS-300.
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:48 PM   #3
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You don't say where you live but this interesting thread was in the Sony section. Some people even got one for less than $40! They're $149 here...
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=178427
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Old 06-04-2012, 06:46 PM   #4
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Kindle non-touch. $79 if you're in the US.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
+ long battery life.
I'm planning to take this into the wilderness, not plug it in to charge every other day. Hence eink >> LCD.
How about the battery driven jetBook Lite or Mini? Although I'd consider them old tech and overpriced at this stage I think they are still the only models that use standard batteries.
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:33 AM   #6
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Kindle Non-Touch (or K4). Put it in a ziploc bag and you are good to go.

While you say that most of your stuff is in EPUb you know Calibre and will take you no time to remove DRM if you want.

Target has been selling Sony T-1s at a massive discount. If you can find one of those you would be good to go.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:13 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the helpful answers!
Guess I forgot to mention that I'm indeed in the USA.

I was considering the following:
- Sony PRS-300
- Sony T1
- Kindle basic 4th generation
- Kindle Keyboard (3rd generation)

Didn't want to mention it right away so I could get unbiased recommendations

What is interesting to me is that none of you mention any "newer" models - so I didn't miss any recent development as far as lower-end devices are concerned?
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MCSmarties View Post
I was considering the following:
- Sony PRS-300
- Sony T1
- Kindle basic 4th generation
- Kindle Keyboard (3rd generation)
Besides those the others I can think of that you might consider would be the Cybook Opus or the PocketBook 360/360 Plus.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:21 PM   #9
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I have an idea... pBooks for the beach.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:54 PM   #10
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Most of the newer models are touch screen based and you said you did not want a touch screen because of getting sunscreen on the screen.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:55 PM   #11
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I have an idea... pBooks for the beach.
Bleech. I take my K1 with me. I have a waterproof bag that I can use, not a ziploc, that works great. Why carry all those books with me when I can bring one device. HEck, there are pictures of me floating in the river with my K3 from last summer. The K3 was enclosed in the waterproof bag. It was great.
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:14 PM   #12
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I've broken 3 K3's, so I don't know if I would call them durable. My 2nd grader uses a Sony 300 I picked up on ebay for about $30 - it's lasted all year in her backpack with only a neoprene sleeve, so I'd say it's been durable. Might not be the newest - so what? Agree that if you're going to the beach you'll want to bag it - I do.
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:21 PM   #13
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I have a K1, DXG, and K2 and not one problem. Of the 10 or so Kindles owned in my family, not one break. They have been on planes, buses, trains, and cruise ships. They are used by Tweens, teens, and adults. They have been to hospitals and all over the world. No breakage.

In my experience, Kindles are pretty darn durable.
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:16 PM   #14
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I've broken 3 K3's, so I don't know if I would call them durable.
Just out of curiosity how did you break them?




Kindle's are no more or less durable than any other eInk based read IMO. (except maybe older Sonys with a metal casing which might be slightly more so)

Last edited by AnemicOak; 06-05-2012 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 06-06-2012, 11:10 AM   #15
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How about the battery driven jetBook Lite or Mini? Although I'd consider them old tech and overpriced at this stage I think they are still the only models that use standard batteries.
I +1 this recommendation. I have a jetbook lite that my daughter has confiscated from me as a basic ebook reader. The screen works well in direct sunlight, the page turns are button and not touch-screen and it uses 4 AA batteries which you can find just about anywhere now days.

It has support for a lot of different ebook formats along with an external SD card slot for expanded storage.

I can't recommend the mini from personal experience, but the main difference is that it uses AAA batteries and has only TXT and FB2 support natively. Other formats have to be converted.
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