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Old 05-30-2008, 03:48 AM   #1
Abraxus
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Almost decided... Sony vs Cybook

Hi all -

Been lurking around for a little while (great community here, by the way), trying to narrow down my choices, and I'm down to two: The Sony 505 or the Cybook Gen3.

Though I have searched through many of the sub-forums here, there are a few questions I still have that I haven't found the answers to, and I was hoping you could help me out:

1) File reading. One of the things that I do now (with all the books I read on my PDA) is make my eBooks into plain text (.txt) files. I know, I lose some of the formatting options, but for what I read, it's fine because I also put the books inside a .zip file and read them while compressed (with uBook reader). My question: can either the Sony or the Cybook read inside .zip files (or any other compressed format)?

2) Fonts. Going along with the above situation, can I choose a 'default' font for the .txt files that I'll be reading, or will I have to convert to a proprietary format to get a different font? I've read that the default for the Sony is not that great (some Times variant), but if I can change the default, that's fine, I just need to know if it's possible. I don't mind if it's a bit technical, but just whether or not it can be done.

3) Comparative advantage. I know that there are a lot of 'overlapping' features on all the e-ink devices (same screens, etc), but I'd like to know when looking at the Sony and Cybook if there is anything that one can do that the other can't at all, such as the font question above, or anything else? I'm not talking about what you like better or worse, but are there are features on one that don't appear on the other?

4) Any other advice you could give me would be great, especially perhaps a bit of explanation as to why the Cybook is nearly $100US more than the Sony...

Well, thanks for reading, and any advice you can give me will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-30-2008, 04:56 AM   #2
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1) Neither reader can read from zipped files.
2) Can't change the TXT font with Sony, possible on Cybook.
3) Sony's features missing on Cybook:
  • It has extra buttons and that makes menu navigation faster.
  • Sony's LRF format can be more rich that Cybook's Mobi. E.g. it supports headers/footers, different fonts in one book and embedded fonts.
  • Sony can read RTF files without conversion.
  • Page number display when reading.
  • Books can be sorted by Author or Title.
  • Internal hyperlinks in PDFs are supported.
Cybook's features missing on Sony:
  • Mobi support, including DRM.
  • Dictionary lookup (only in Mobi books, needs purchase of a Mobi dictionary).
  • Books can be sorted by file path (allowing implicit grouping by folders).
  • Supports toggling of full justification and text emboldening.
  • User TrueType fonts can be used.
4) My guess that Cybook is expensive because they think they can get away with that price. So far it seems they're right since they run out of stock each month.
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Old 05-30-2008, 05:16 AM   #3
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You missed out a few things the CyBook can do that the Sony can't:

- (Limited) direct support for HTML.
- Support for PalmDoc format.
- Proper support for font families (vs. "synthesised" bold/italics on the Sony).
- User can select any font in any of 12 different sizes to read a book (compared to three sizes on the Sony).
- User-replaceable battery.

It's not true, by the way, that Mobi files don't support multiple fonts. Fonts can be directly specified in a Mobi book. They tend not to be (which allows the user a free choice of the font in which to display the book) but they can be explicitly specified by the book is required.
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Old 05-30-2008, 10:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igorsk View Post
Cybook's features missing on Sony:
  • Mobi support, including DRM.
  • Dictionary lookup (only in Mobi books, needs purchase of a Mobi dictionary).
  • Books can be sorted by file path (allowing implicit grouping by folders).
  • Supports toggling of full justification and text emboldening.
  • User TrueType fonts can be used.
Question: since the only thing really that would sway me to the Cybook over the Sony right now is the dictionary, am I understanding it correctly that the dictionary doesn't work for everything I might have, just certain types/formats? How often would that come up? (This whole formatting thing gets a bit confusing)

Last edited by MidknytOwl; 05-30-2008 at 10:45 AM. Reason: The quote went haywire!
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Old 05-30-2008, 11:22 AM   #5
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That's entirely up to you. Personally, I convert everything I read to Mobi format (or obtain it in Mobi format in the first place), hence the dictionary is always available. There are several excellent (and free) tools for creating Mobi format books.
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Old 05-30-2008, 11:49 AM   #6
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The Hanlin reader can deal with text or images inside a zip file I believe and perhaps an RAR as well.
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Old 05-30-2008, 11:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaleDe View Post
The Hanlin reader can deal with text or images inside a zip file I believe and perhaps an RAR as well.
Is the Hanlin reader available in the US, though? Looking at the wiki matrix and just glancing at some info in other places, it seems as though it's marketed outside the US.

Thanks for all the replies...I'll be responding more thoroughly in a little while!
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igorsk View Post
<snip>
2) Can't change the TXT font with Sony, possible on Cybook.
3) Sony's features missing on Cybook:[LIST][*]Sony's LRF format can be more rich that Cybook's Mobi. E.g. it supports headers/footers, different fonts in one book and embedded fonts.
<snip>[*]Books can be sorted by Author or Title.
<snip>
Hmm... if I convert to the Sony format (LRF?), would I be able to embed a font, though? If that's the case, then I may go for that, keeping all my .txt books on my file server at home.

The reason I'm being picky about this is that I find it's much easier for me to adjust font/size/spacing in the reader program on the device (PC, PDA, etc) then it is to constantly be shifting formats between devices. Does that make sense?

With the Author/Title sorting: Is that with the files in Sony format, or would there be some metadata I could adjust for any file?

Thanks again... I'm getting closer! (well, with the comment about the Hanlin, I may not be, but still)

Last edited by Abraxus; 05-30-2008 at 12:05 PM. Reason: Formatting issues
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraxus View Post
Is the Hanlin reader available in the US, though? Looking at the wiki matrix and just glancing at some info in other places, it seems as though it's marketed outside the US.

Thanks for all the replies...I'll be responding more thoroughly in a little while!
In the age of the Internet it doesn't seem to matter if it is marketed in the US. They Cybook is not available in any US store except the Internet. The iLiad is similar. The wiki on Hanlin Reader does list several places it can be purchased. It is certainly not as popular as the Sony, iRex, Amazon, or Bookeen so far.

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Old 05-30-2008, 12:11 PM   #10
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Argh... another question

Ack! I forgot to ask earlier...

According the wiki matrix, the Sony has 8 levels of grayscale, and the Cybook 4.

Assuming this is accurate, is there a noticeable difference between the two? As a side note, the greater resolution of my VGA pda has ruined me for the QVGA models. I know that this isn't a resolution issue, per se, but a 'how-well-does-it-shade' issue. However, if text is much sharper on the Sony, that may make all the difference, font issues aside.

Ok, thanks - now I'll let some responses come back before posting new questions . Thanks for all your patience!
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:20 PM   #11
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This isn't a question.. ha!

Just as a note, the Hanlin reader V2 is able to read inside .zip files, but it seems as though the V3 isn't, at least according to the formats list on their website. If a V3 owner could verify this, it would be much appreciated.

Of course, the V3 is the one with the Vizplex screen... *sigh*
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraxus View Post
2) Fonts. Going along with the above situation, can I choose a 'default' font for the .txt files that I'll be reading, or will I have to convert to a proprietary format to get a different font? I've read that the default for the Sony is not that great (some Times variant), but if I can change the default, that's fine, I just need to know if it's possible. I don't mind if it's a bit technical, but just whether or not it can be done.
You can change the default font on Sony using the following tip.
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20644

AFAIK, you can also embed various fonts in LRF format but I heard it will slow down the page turn significantly.
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:58 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Abraxus View Post
Hmm... if I convert to the Sony format (LRF?), would I be able to embed a font, though? If that's the case, then I may go for that, keeping all my .txt books on my file server at home.
You can do, but at the expense of a considerably slowdown in page turning speed (normally about half a second - slow to 2-3 sec with an embedded font).

Quote:
With the Author/Title sorting: Is that with the files in Sony format, or would there be some metadata I could adjust for any file?
LRF, MobiPocket, and RTF files have author/title metadata. Other formats don't (the filename is appears in the library).
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:59 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Abraxus View Post
Ack! I forgot to ask earlier...

According the wiki matrix, the Sony has 8 levels of grayscale, and the Cybook 4.

Assuming this is accurate, is there a noticeable difference between the two? As a side note, the greater resolution of my VGA pda has ruined me for the QVGA models. I know that this isn't a resolution issue, per se, but a 'how-well-does-it-shade' issue. However, if text is much sharper on the Sony, that may make all the difference, font issues aside.
Nope - doesn't make the slightest practical difference. I went from a 16 grey-scale iLiad to a 4 grey-scale Gen3 and saw no difference.
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Old 05-30-2008, 01:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraxus View Post
Just as a note, the Hanlin reader V2 is able to read inside .zip files, but it seems as though the V3 isn't, at least according to the formats list on their website. If a V3 owner could verify this, it would be much appreciated.

Of course, the V3 is the one with the Vizplex screen... *sigh*
I think you should ask your question in the Hanlin forum. They may not see this one. I believe it was added in a firmware upgrade a few months back.

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