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Old 05-11-2008, 04:10 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Kingston View Post
Gen 3 is great and is so amazingly thin it is almost not there....but, as you say, it is buggy. At the price Bookeen charges it should perform as flawlessly as the Iliad, Sony or Kindle....but it doesn't. If you can live with dropped bookmarks and the device not remembering your place in a book, then Gen 3 is for you.
Are you really still experiencing these bugs after upgrading the firmware? The new firmware release was specifically to fix bugs.
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Old 05-11-2008, 05:13 AM   #17
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Are you really still experiencing these bugs after upgrading the firmware? The new firmware release was specifically to fix bugs.

With comments like these in the upgrade thread:

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Originally Posted by JWLaRue View Post
I want my old (538) firmware back!

While the new firmware may have fixed some bugs, none of which I was experiencing, the event management of the page button is not a good step forward.

Somebody, please send me the 'old' firmware! (I'm going to try Bookeen, but an expecting to be pointed at the new firmware)

-tnx,

Jeff
I am understandably hesitant to jump right in and go from bad to worse.

I'm going to wait until a lot of users have upgraded to see if it is indeed an 'improvement'.

Again, IMHO, Bookeen falls down in the software department when compared to Sony and Kindle. I've had zero problems with the Sony & Kindle, which is what is to be expected when paying $300-400 for devices like these.

It is a nifty piece of hardware though, and I do use it a lot, especially when reading while laying down. The superlight weight can't be beat, even by Jetbook.
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Old 05-11-2008, 05:19 AM   #18
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That is, I believe, the only person who's reported such a problem, compared to the many people (including myself) who've found significant improvements as a result of the upgrade - the dictionary look up is a lot faster now - the navigation button response has been much improved. Several known bugs have been fixed (eg issues with large cover images on books, and problems with some dictionaries not finding words have been sorted).

What have you got to lose by upgrading? You can always reflash with firmware 538 if you don't like it.

By the way, for the first few months of its life, the Sony was very buggy indeed - it was only really after the 2nd firmware upgrade that things stabilized.
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Old 05-11-2008, 07:28 PM   #19
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I have all 4 of the US-sold eink devices plus the Jetbook. The Kindle is slower in opening menu items than Gen 3 or 505.
This is very interesting and exactly what I wanted to know.

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But much to my delight, I found that using the Calibre program with a lit file (after removing the drm) makes a letter-perfect copy in lrf format, with all the photos, clickable TOC and everything else included, just like you bought the book from Sony itself. But your conversion is drm free, and can be used on another device in the future should your needs change.

The 505 has the best menu structure and layout of controls, matched only by the Jetbook.

Get the Sony if you don't mind doing conversions. I can buy a book from Fictionwise and have it ready to read on the Sony is less than 5 minutes.
Hmm so this is pretty interesting to me. I won't open too much discussion here on conversion of DRM material, but I did research the combination of ConvertLIT and Calibre and could certainly manage that easy enough.

At this point here are my thoughts on the 3 main devices I'm considering.

Bookeen Cybook Gen3
  • Lightest Reader.
  • Best font options.
  • A little buggy for a $400 device I'm hearing.
  • Just seems unpolished for a $400 device compared to other offerings.
  • Will always be a very 3rd party kind of device - not necessarily good or bad.

Sony PRS-505
  • Least Expensive of the 3.
  • Most readily available and from multiple vendors.
  • IMO the best hardware design for how I intend to use an ebook reader.
  • About tied for best UI along with the Kindle.
  • Sony in general (good hardware, history of really annoying philosophy around DRM and proprietary formats.)
  • To use mobipocket would need to convert - I don't mind converting as needed so not really an issue, but something to keep in mind.

Amazon Kindle
  • Whispernet service with access to Wikipedia, google, instant buying of books, etc.
  • QWERTY Keyboard - this is good and bad for me and right now I'd say it's more on the bad side, but I've not spent time with it so it's hard to really say.
  • Probably the most supported, most likely to continue being supported device of the 3 because Amazon has devoted *so* much effort to this project.
  • About tied for best UI along with the 505.
  • Conversely I don't like feeling so tied into Amazon.
  • It is and always will be ugly IMO.
  • Most expensive, but only barely more than the Cybook.
  • A bit less battery life than the other 2 devices, though still respectable.

So thinking it through as I write up the list and tossing my own personal bias on it all - after all, it really comes down to personal preference - I'm leaning towards the Sony PRS-505. Wow... never would have thought that actually as I tend to shy away from Sony these days hehe.

I'll let all that simmer in the back of my mind tonight and maybe tomorrow make a final decision. Thank you all very much for the input - it's definitely appreciated and whatever I end up deciding in the end I'll certainly be sticking around here and hopefully become a part of this community.

EDIT: I can get the 505 with shipping for under $280 USD. That's a pretty significant difference from the $400 tag on a Kindle and nearly as much for the Gen3. That may really be the final point that moves the 505 into the winner's circle.

~Shadowplay~

Last edited by Shadowplay; 05-23-2008 at 03:46 PM. Reason: more info
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Old 05-12-2008, 03:47 AM   #20
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That is, I believe, the only person who's reported such a problem, compared to the many people (including myself) who've found significant improvements as a result of the upgrade - the dictionary look up is a lot faster now - the navigation button response has been much improved. Several known bugs have been fixed (eg issues with large cover images on books, and problems with some dictionaries not finding words have been sorted).

What have you got to lose by upgrading? You can always reflash with firmware 538 if you don't like it.

By the way, for the first few months of its life, the Sony was very buggy indeed - it was only really after the 2nd firmware upgrade that things stabilized.
If it's so easy to reflash why is JW LaRue begging someone to email him the 538 build?


Look, Harry, I respect your expertise. You have great technical prowess with book reformatting and other matters, one of the reasons you are a mod and I'm not.

I've had way too many bad experiences 'upgrading' Windows only to have programs cease to function or misbehave in a zillion different ways. The word is out now that the SP3 for XP is buggy and causes endless reboots.

Until I'm sure that the cybook upgrade is really going to improve things and not cause me more problems than I already have I'm going to be cautious and wait.

I re-read that thread and there are not a lot of truly favorable comments about the update. Some neutral, others negative.

It's been my observation when only one person is upset with new software there are scores of others who have not taken to time to express their disappointment.

If there is truly an easy way to reflash back to 538 I may try it , but until then I'll live with what I got. I like my Cybook a lot and presently split reading most of my books between the Iliad and the Cybook, with the Kindle used for newspapers and blogs and Sony used to quickly find a place in a book because of the great menu.
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Old 05-12-2008, 05:35 AM   #21
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If it's so easy to reflash why is JW LaRue begging someone to email him the 538 build?
You need to request the 538 firmware update instructions from Bookeen - it wasn't a "public" update. Just e-mail "support@bookeen.com" and they'll send you the location of the firmware file. At least one person has reported that one can "downgrade" from the new firmware to 538 by that method.
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Old 05-12-2008, 05:38 AM   #22
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The word is out now that the SP3 for XP is buggy and causes endless reboots.
The issue appears to be restricted to machines with certain types of AMD processor, from what I've read. If you have an Intel CPU you'll be fine.
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:31 PM   #23
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There is pretty much no reason to install SP3. It is basically a roll up of all the already shipped updates. The only new feature is some DEP stuff and some support for a Server 2008 feature.

The real advantage to SP3 is if you are doing new installs you can slipstream your install CD so after the install you don't need to install hundreds of updates which requires about 4 or 5 reboots (BTDT).

Also, any problems you have heard about are a very small minority. You haven't heard from the millions that have installed it with zero issues.

BOb
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Old 05-12-2008, 03:11 PM   #24
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I went through a similar process just recently and ended up with the Kindle. I had the same reservation about how the Kindle looks and was worried about accidentally hitting the next page buttons all the time. Let me tell you that in real use as an ereader it is not an issue at all. The ergonomics are very natural in person and the Kindle is very thin, not like the way it looks on all the videos and on Youtube for some reason. Honestly, when you are reading you don't really even notice how the device looks, it just works flawlessly.

More importantly there are some features that make it really enhance the reading experience. The dictionary lookup is one of the most used feature. It is so convenient that I can't help but look up words everytime I read. Add to that you can look up on google, wikipedia, etc. and it is almost unlimited as an instant reference. The qwerty keyboard makes it so convenient to enter something on the browser or to search. The device is snappy and responds pretty fast to input.

I am not sure what you mean by being tied to Amazon for content. The Kindle supports non-DRM mobi, prc without problem. There are so many easy conversion software on mobileread that it is no barrier to getting content on the Kindle. You should also know that it has a fullscreen 800x600 picture viewer function that I use routinely to read pdf documents that I have converted to jpg and a split in to thirds and viewed in landscape.

The battery life is easily 5-6 days with heavy reading and light whispernet. Unless you have no access to electricity it is more that adequate for most people. I don't even think about battery life as a concern any more. It does cost more but I think it delivers a more complete reading experience. I am no fan of big corporations like Amazon but in this case the Kindle pretty feature rich device. If you are in the US and in range of Whispernet it is hard not use all the features on it.
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Old 05-12-2008, 03:24 PM   #25
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I definitely see the strengths of the Kindle and if I didn't already have my PDA phone with data connection I think the Kindle would be the clear winner for me, but since I do already have internet with me at all times...

I've just ordered the Sony PRS-505. Yes I finally stopped flip-flopping around and pulled the trigger. Yes I know I've just given a big chunk of change to the evil Sony empire, but the device really feels like the right fit for me.

Here's the irony: I bought the 505 through Amazon.com That was the best pricing I could find. $269 USD through an Amazon partner, plus paid a little extra for the expedited shipping. The final bill was $286.50 shipped. That's just good times right there.

Thanks to everyone who offered advice and different perspectives here. For anyone interested in ebook hardware this is truly an indispensable resource. I will definitely be sticking around here... at least until people get sick of me.

~Shadowplay~

p.s. - I've been doing the TOR "Watch the Skies" bit since it's inception, even though I didn't have nor originally intend to get a dedicated reader. That means I've got 13 modern books of the type I tend to read (scifi/fantasy) all ready to load, not to mention all the free classic books available. I'll be plenty busy for a while before I even have to buy an ebook!
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Old 05-12-2008, 04:34 PM   #26
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Thanks to everyone who offered advice and different perspectives here. For anyone interested in ebook hardware this is truly an indispensable resource. I will definitely be sticking around here... at least until people get sick of me.

~Shadowplay~
Glad to be of help. Your summary in post #19 is so comprehensive and thorough (and opinionated) it needs to be used in the future. I hope you will repost it (or some variation) when future "what should I buy?" threads go up.

I started with Kindle and used to be a proselytizer for Kindle much as Harry is for Gen 3.

I still think Kindle is best for a non-techy user like my sister who is scared to death of a USB cable.

But for someone comfortable with conversion like yourself, you definitely made the right choice. Even if Sony pulls out of the ebook reader business (and it will no doubt follow history and do so in 5-7 years) you will have a device that will give you many years of great service.

If you need help with using the conversion software, send me a PM.
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Old 05-12-2008, 05:10 PM   #27
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From the research I've done I'd have to agree - the Kindle is where it's at for a normal consumer, but admittedly there's not much normal about me.

For my PDA (Cingular / AT&T 8525) I've flashed so many ROMs it's almost boring at this point so I'm pretty comfortable exploring some of the hacks I've seen for the 505 posted elsewhere on this site.

I did some ebook conversion last night from PDFs and .prc source files to .lrf with no problems. I haven't worked on anything with DRM yet, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I may have some questions when I get there so I'll keep you in mind, Kingston.

Now I just have to figure out how to be patient until it arrives. /sigh.

~Shadowplay~
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Old 05-12-2008, 05:39 PM   #28
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Calibre is a snap. Kovid made it so idiot proof that I had no problem at all setting it up and using it.

Luckily I had someone to walk me through convertlit, since the instructions are minimal at best. It's very easy to use, but very frustrating if you don't know the exact sequence of steps to follow.

Welcome to the wonderful of ebook reading!
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Old 05-12-2008, 08:35 PM   #29
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Since your Sony is on the way let me share with you a great case I found for it , the M edge Leisure case:

http://www.amazon.com/Leisure-Case-S...634518&sr=8-10

Unlike the photo (which shows the PRS 500) the Leisure case is perfectly proportioned for the device. One of the few annoying things about the 505 is the chrome edge on the top & bottom, which can create a glare in bright light, like a shiny car bumper in 5 o'clock traffic.

This case covers up the chrome but otherwise gives access to all controls (except the on/off button). It is a felt-like recession into which the 505 fits perfectly. The front cover is clear plastic and you press the control buttons through the plastic cover. It is dust free and makes your Sony water resistant. You can grab the device with your thumbs over the screen if you wish, since the screen is protected by the plastic.

(BTW, that's something that is often commented on about Kindle: you don't have a lot of 'free' areas to pick up the device. Same thing is true of the 505.)

It's much better than any case I've found for my menagerie of devices.

No other case is as practical and well suited to its device as the Leisure case.

You can buy it directly from M edge:

http://www.buymedge.com/p_Sony505Ls.html

but I found it cheaper to buy it from Amazon.

Last edited by Kingston; 05-12-2008 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 05-12-2008, 09:44 PM   #30
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Hmm that case is very interesting. I checked that Amazon store's other items for the Sony Readers and see there's also an "Executive Jacket". Either one looks like a nice fit.

With the case you mentioned do you read it through the plastic or do you take it out for actual reading? I always have mixed feelings about cases of that nature. You get full protection from dust, spills, etc., but you sacrifice some visual quality at the same time or add in the inconvenience of adding/remove the case regularly. Let me know what life with that case is like.
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