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Old 03-06-2008, 09:41 AM   #1
hidari
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Cool In defence of PPC/PDA/Nokia tablet: ebook readers

I will make this short and to the point. The site is dominated by the Sonyreaders, Kindlebleeders, Cybookers and Fictionwisecrookeds... However.. a few of us are quite happy with your PPC/PDA tablets. I find it funny that most people when they convert to a "proper" ereader that they then scathe the previous device that they were reading on....often that is the lowely PPC/PDA variant. I DO agree that eink is a better way to read a book; However, many complain that the PPC is too small to read on while an "Sonyreader" type is much better to read on because the screen is bigger!??. I find this logic a bit strange. I for one only read one line at a time. I do not read a whole screen of text in a nanosecond, even when I am speed reading through a book or a part of a book that is less interesting. I find the SMALLNESS one of the best reasons to have a PDA instead of an EREADER. The screen size is big enough on my PPC...3.7 inches diagonally. I have mobipocket on my Acer which makes it quite easy to adjust the color and size of the background and text as well as the size of the text.

I was wondering; Are there other PDA/PPC/Tablet readers who are quite happy with a smaller screen? I have two photos attached of my Acer N311 that I use to read everyday on the subway in Sapporo, Japan. Prior to that She was read everyday on the Moscow metro. The Acer lasts about 9 or ten hours for me with one battery charge. I charge it every day or two depending on how much reading I have done. I would like to hear other stories of PDA reading on this site if you have any to share.

PS. I did have ubook on my PPC but it did not work well so I have remained iwth mobipocket finding it the best ereader software for my Acer n311.

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Old 03-06-2008, 09:46 AM   #2
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PPS. My acer n311 weighs 135grams. THE SMALLNESS is great for me. I can put it in the pocket of my trousers if I wish. As i stated before, when a company releases a small eink reader I will be more than happy to buy it and give a review on it for the site.... That is unless it has too many DRM restrictions. I am waiting for the Erikson/Seiko ereader to come out....IF it ever does... or a simiiar one..
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Old 03-06-2008, 09:58 AM   #3
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The number of words per line in the pictures are for me to few. It would slow down the reading a lot to have so few words since it is the process of starting a new line that takes most of the time when reading plus that I am not used to read with only one fixation point so maybe I would use at least two on these kind of lines.

But on my N810 I got reasonable line length. And I have read books on my Palm T5. The main disadvantage for me was the ergonomics. It was very hard to find a convenient reading position and you had to turn page so often that my hand hurt some time after I read the first Honor Harrington-book one night on my T5.
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Old 03-06-2008, 10:33 AM   #4
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I totally agree with the original post. I just bought (today) a new iPAQ 212 and it's brilliant for reading ebooks.
It's COLOUR, ha,ha.
It's easy to carry on the train.
I can have a break and play sudoku.
And as for short lines being a problem, on the contrary, I find a small screen much easier with my small lens multifocals. It's easier to just scan down instead of down, left, right, down etc.

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Old 03-06-2008, 10:55 AM   #5
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The Nokia tablets (770, N8X0) are usually in landscape mode, and they then have almost exactly the same screen width as the 6" E-Ink devices in portrait mode. They are half as high though, so the line length is the same but twice as many page flips are required. Since the page flips are very fast, this isn't a big deal. Battery life isn't quite enough, but I was happy with my 770 as an e-book reader. E-Ink is better for most e-books, but the 770 really shines on SiFi Magazines with color illustrations. However, in this case the screen height is a limitation (in part because FBReader does not autoscale images).

I am still interested in a larger (than the 770) form factor tablet. Intel just announced that Centrino Atom devices must have 6" or less screens but there is no minimum battery life, see UMPC Portal's report. I am really looking for something with a ~6" screen and a 5-6 hour battery life, but my guess is that a 2-3 hour battery is more likely.
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Old 03-06-2008, 11:21 AM   #6
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Ya know its really whatever works for you. Personally, I read concurrently on my Sony reader as well as my HTC touch and uBook. The nice thing about my touch is that it is always with me, so I can always pull up a book, but the sony reader is better mainly for eyestrain. If you read for long periods of time, thats when the sony reader's benefits become apparant.
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Old 03-06-2008, 11:33 AM   #7
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Old 03-06-2008, 11:43 AM   #8
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Landscape mode possible for the Acer n311

Lanscape mode is possible on my PPC and it does make the sentences longer. BUT, for flipping pages as you can see on the first photo that I have on the original post, having it in vertical mode is much more convenient and allows me to use the device with one hand and flip the pages with my thumb.

NB cheers for putting comments on the thread. At least I know there are other PPC/PDA/Tablet readers at MR.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tompe View Post
The number of words per line in the pictures are for me to few. It would slow down the reading a lot to have so few words since it is the process of starting a new line that takes most of the time when reading plus that I am not used to read with only one fixation point so maybe I would use at least two on these kind of lines.

But on my N810 I got reasonable line length. And I have read books on my Palm T5. The main disadvantage for me was the ergonomics. It was very hard to find a convenient reading position and you had to turn page so often that my hand hurt some time after I read the first Honor Harrington-book one night on my T5.
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Old 03-06-2008, 11:45 AM   #9
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I find reading on my PPC no different to reading the column on a newspaper: A real newspaper not one online. The width is about the same as my PPC in vertical position.
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Old 03-06-2008, 12:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hidari View Post
I find reading on my PPC no different to reading the column on a newspaper: A real newspaper not one online. The width is about the same as my PPC in vertical position.
A lot of newspaper has a line length that is too short. Some old rule of thumbs is that a line should have 55-60 characters or 9-10 words for optimal readability. But I have also seen claims that the empirical support for these rule of thumbs are weak.
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Old 03-06-2008, 12:30 PM   #11
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I agree completely with Hidari. I think that in this forum many people got the e-ink fever. I don't know... perhaps if I see an e-ink device I get the fever too.

I thought about buying a e-ink device, but recently I changed my mind. I have now a Dell Axim X51V and my wife has an Acer N311 (they have the same screen) and we both use mobipocket for reading. And we will have the PDAs until they break apart...

If some of the PDAs break I think that I would buy a Nokia Tablet or a HP Ipaq 200.

By the way, Laine... how good is the HP as an e-book reader (screen quality, contrast, etc.)

L.
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Old 03-06-2008, 01:06 PM   #12
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I've said it several times before (though not recently, so now is probably a good time to repeat it): if you have something that works for you, and you don't see any benefit in changing to something else, then, by all means, stick with what you got!

Just 'cause there's something new out there doesn't mean that all the "old" things have to be abandoned. Sometimes the old ways are best. Certainly they're going to be better in specific circumstances.

Someday, I expect we'll look back upon these lowly readers that are the current "leading edge" and shake our heads that anyone could ever use something so primitive (rather like we do now with say, TRS80s), but I can tell you that my PRS500 fits about 90~95% of my own needs, so I'll be a long time upgrading, unless something big happens like I trash it, or something comes along that hits all of that last 5~10%.

If your needs are filled by something even easier and less expensive to get hold of, then I join you in being happy that you've got what works for you. More power to you.
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Old 03-06-2008, 07:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hidari View Post
I was wondering; Are there other PDA/PPC/Tablet readers who are quite happy with a smaller screen?
Yes. I use my Clie TH55 daily for ebook reading, and have done so for years. Screen is large enough for me, battery life is great, and I actually like a small amount of backlighting for the conditions I normally read in. Have happily read hundreds of books on it.

My main PDA (Treo 700p) is a slightly different story -- the screen is too small for me to use it for long book reading sessions -- but it is plenty good enough for short periods of reading when I am out and about.

I'm looking at Kindle/Sony/Cybook, but am not convinced that they're better enough -- for me -- at the current price point. So I watch, learn, and wait...
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Old 03-06-2008, 07:30 PM   #14
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@NatCh,

I couldn't agree more. If I had my way, I'd still be using my old HandEra 330 -- greyscale screen with the old green-ish backlight that was very easy on the eyes, didn't even need the backlight in daylight or most other lighting conditions, fast recharges that lasted a very long time, even a virtual graffitti area for lots of screen. Most importantly, compared to the ergonomics of these last remaining Palm devices, it had a thumb wheel, which was great for reading long texts. Sadly, the damn thing was dropped and run over... Don't ask, my teeth still grind just thinking about it.

As for the latest and greatest, a family member thought they were doing me a huge favor by buying me a Sony Reader for xmas, but I find I am actually reading less now than I used to on my eBookwise. I was just contemplating switching back, but I am going to visit said family member this weekend, so now may not be the best time.

Still, as you said, I would gladly still be using the HandEra, given a choice. There were a few others that weren't bad, a Sony SJ-22 and my Tapwave both come to mind, but neither was quite as good, and if memory serves, the HandEra was fairly cheap, too.

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Old 03-06-2008, 08:44 PM   #15
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Just saw some images of the HandEra 330... Looks like a great ereader..

hidari



Quote:
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@NatCh,

I couldn't agree more. If I had my way, I'd still be using my old HandEra 330 -- greyscale screen with the old green-ish backlight that was very easy on the eyes, didn't even need the backlight in daylight or most other lighting conditions, fast recharges that lasted a very long time, even a virtual graffitti area for lots of screen. Most importantly, compared to the ergonomics of these last remaining Palm devices, it had a thumb wheel, which was great for reading long texts. Sadly, the damn thing was dropped and run over... Don't ask, my teeth still grind just thinking about it.

As for the latest and greatest, a family member thought they were doing me a huge favor by buying me a Sony Reader for xmas, but I find I am actually reading less now than I used to on my eBookwise. I was just contemplating switching back, but I am going to visit said family member this weekend, so now may not be the best time.

Still, as you said, I would gladly still be using the HandEra, given a choice. There were a few others that weren't bad, a Sony SJ-22 and my Tapwave both come to mind, but neither was quite as good, and if memory serves, the HandEra was fairly cheap, too.

Jack
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