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Old 08-26-2013, 07:58 AM   #1
Man Eating Duck
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Frontlit alternative to Sony Readers - advice needed

Hi! I have used Sony devices for about four years, but after the recent announcement by Sony (no frontlight) I'm looking at E-Ink alternatives. The PW is not an option for various reasons, although I really like its display and light. It's the only frontlit device I've seen in person, since few physical stores in my country stock E-Ink readers you can look at.

I would like to hear from others who have experience with alternatives. Price is not really a consideration for a device I'm using for hours each day. I'm especially interested in hearing about contenders I might have missed. Right now the Kobo Glo seems most attractive, alternatively the Aura, however I have seen rumours that Kobo will announce a new reader soon.

I have a few requirements apart from the frontlight:
  • Option to not have the time displayed while reading. This is an absolute must
  • 6" screen (fits in my pockets), the Kobo Aura at ~1cm larger than my 650 is probably OK
  • Possibility of maintaining collections/shelves from calibre: The Sony handles this very well, but it need not be as advanced. Even a reader which can display folders would be OK, as calibre can manage that on send to device. I use this mainly to separate my TBR list from the rest, so tagging which can be managed from calibre would also work.
  • Integrated dictionaries. A good English one is most important, but at least Spanish in addition would be nice.
  • Contrast and resolution at least on par with the prs-650 is probably a given by now.

Not important:
  • PDF support, zoom
  • Storage, ~1 GB is more than adequate
  • Online features. Highlight export might be nice, but "social features" are actually a minus in my opinion.
  • Wi-Fi/3G. USB and calibre sync is enough for me.

What I love about my current 650 is its stability and durability, which is also why I really hoped Sony would make a lighted reader. I find clip-on lights and lighted covers cumbersome, especially when reading in bed.

I have done some research, here's a quick summary of my findings:
  • Kobo Glo: I hear bad things about the stability. If it were only connection issues that would probably be manageable, but reports of glitches during reading and even hard locks requiring a cabled connection to reset makes me wary of going for that one.
  • Kobo Aura: similar stability issues, a bit large for my liking.
  • Onyx i62HD: relatively bad light quality
  • Nook Simple Touch: Varying experiences with uneven light and bluish tint, poor dictionary options
  • Odyssey Frontlight HD: No English dictionary (!), poor display contrast, light somewhat uneven
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:10 AM   #2
HarryT
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You've done your research very thoroughly. I'm not aware of any other devices than the ones you mention. Personally I think the Kindle Paperwhite is the best one on the market, but I know you've said you don't want one of those.
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:30 AM   #3
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The Kobo Glo is really fantastic. However Kobo is having an "event" tomorrow at which they might introduce new e-ink readers.

(I run the last (IMO) stable software release, and unless you WANT to put the wifi on and sync up with the Kobo servers, there is no need to update unless you want to).
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Old 08-27-2013, 03:19 PM   #4
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There is pocketbook and tolino. Tolino didn't have a dictionary when it came out but perhaps they added it.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Man Eating Duck View Post
  • Option to not have the time displayed while reading. This is an absolute must
  • 6" screen (fits in my pockets), the Kobo Aura at ~1cm larger than my 650 is probably OK
  • Possibility of maintaining collections/shelves from calibre: The Sony handles this very well, but it need not be as advanced. Even a reader which can display folders would be OK, as calibre can manage that on send to device. I use this mainly to separate my TBR list from the rest, so tagging which can be managed from calibre would also work.
  • Integrated dictionaries. A good English one is most important, but at least Spanish in addition would be nice.
  • Contrast and resolution at least on par with the prs-650 is probably a given by now.
Not important:
  • PDF support, zoom
  • Storage, ~1 GB is more than adequate
  • Online features. Highlight export might be nice, but "social features" are actually a minus in my opinion.
  • Wi-Fi/3G. USB and calibre sync is enough for me.
I loved my first reader, Sony PRS-T1, but had the grey (B) surface. I changed it to the T2 which luckily had the white (A) surface, and IMO significant improvements. I then had eyes problems, which means the quality became all important, especially since I read hours everyday (3 to 5) occasionally in poor lighting (notably in public transport).

So I bought a Kobo Glo which was much better from this point of view: high definition, good lighting, possibility to play with existing fonts / margins / spaces between lines, and to sideload other, even more readable fonts. Once I got used to the system, and discovered the plugins in Calibre to adjust the home screen to my taste, I loved it, even though the translation dictionaries are much poorer than Sony's. But then, I prefer single language dictionaries, which exist only for English in Sony. It is pleasant that the Kobos know to call the right dictionary for the book I'm reading: I read in 5 languages in parallel, and it was annoying to have to change the dictionary every time I opened a book.

The quality of the bilingual dictionaries (and the possibility of navigating within), PDFs management and global navigation (in books and within books are the only things which I now find poorer (much) in Kobo compared to Sony. I solved the note calling problems with converting annotated books to kepubs, which make it even better than with Sony (I like the pop-up for short notes).

I now read on the Aura HD which I bought as soon as it came out, and which is way above the Glo: the lighting is much better, the definition too, but it is harder to hold one handed (I have small hands, and it is slippery).

The brand new Aura 6" with medium definition might be your answer: from what I gather, it is less heavy, less slippery, and smaller all around. Anyway, I now find the low Sony definition unbearable.

The time appears rapidly at the top when you tap the page number to get menus, but is not otherwise visible.
With help from Calibre, plugins and this forum, I now manage shelves fine on the Kobos.
I know there are ways to sideload dictionaries, but haven't ventured.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anacreon View Post
The brand new Aura 6" with medium definition might be your answer: from what I gather, it is less heavy, less slippery, and smaller all around. Anyway, I now find the low Sony definition unbearable.

[...]

I know there are ways to sideload dictionaries, but haven't ventured.
Thank you very much for taking the time to reply, this is *very* helpful

I have looked at the specs for the new Aura, and that will probably be my new reader. I realise that the Kobo will need some tweaking to perform to my liking, but I'm comfortable with that. Now it remains to be seen how easy it is to buy it from Norway.
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Old 08-30-2013, 06:23 PM   #7
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I switched from Sony PRS-650 to Kobo Glo. I've had no stability problems and no screen problems. Very happy with the decision.
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