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Old 05-30-2008, 07:40 PM   #1
Polaris
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Will an iLiad drive me crazy?

Hi folks,

I'm considering getting my first ebook reader, and trying to decide what to get. I'm a graduate student, so I read lots and lots and lots of pdfs, and I tend to write all over them. I think an iLiad would meet my needs the best, despite the cost. Anything else would probably just be a really expensive toy (I'd enjoy being able to read books on it, but part of my goal is to save paper, and I'd still end up printing out all my school reading unless I can load pdfs easily and write on them). I'd probably get the book version, since I have no particular need for yet another wifi-enabled device. So...I have a few questions.

1) I've heard that the iLiad is really slow. Is this true? Is the v2 faster? How hard is it to load pdfs and how long does it take (most of mine have some charts/tables, but no really complex graphics).

2) How functional is the Wacom technology? Will it feel more or less like normal writing, or will it drive me crazy?

3) How much memory can I add to it? Can I use a flash drive?

4) I've heard rumors that iRex's customer service and that sometimes the manufacturing is shoddy and the iLiads break and are hard to replace? Along the same lines, I've heard the screens are super fragile. Is this true?

5) I probably won't be getting one for a bit yet. Does anyone know of any new readers coming out soon that I should hold out for?

I know some of this information is available elsewhere, but I'd really like answers from actual iLiad owners/users.

Thanks so much!!!!

Last edited by Polaris; 05-30-2008 at 07:41 PM. Reason: Edited to fix typo in Title
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Old 05-30-2008, 10:13 PM   #2
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I don't read PDFs or scribble, so I'll answer your other questions.

3) Memory: 1 GB MMC, any size (32 GB at least) CF, also a USB memory stick if you don't mind it sticking out the top.

4) In general the iLiad is very well made, but the black plastic matte finish can peal (the Book Edition should not have this problem). The screen can be damaged by strong local pressure (e.g. the edge of something pressing against it in a briefcase), so be careful. Recent reports suggest to me that iRex maintenance is improving, and is now good, although there are still isolated glitches. I have never had any problems with my iLiad v2.

5) This fall, there will be 9.7" Vizplex screens available. PVI will be building these with the option of a new pressure sensitive touch screen technology, see PVI adding "touch" to eink. It is likely that several vendors will use this screen to produce "iLiad killers", targeted at "professional" use. One we are certain about (which might not directly target PDF users) is the Astak Mentor. Its 9.7" variant looks very nice in mock-ups and has all the hardware bells and whistles - the quality of the software is unknown but the price is projected (by Astak) to be only ~$350. Slightly later, E-Ink will be bundling the same screens with Wacom technology and Epson controllers - see WACOM and E-Ink teaming up and Epson and E-Ink developed advanced display controller. It is unclear if anyone will commercialize this setup, but it might be better for a high end device than the (cheaper?) PVI approach.

I think the iLiad is perfect for your needs. Don't forget that new stuff is almost always: late, more expensive than projected, less capable than expected.

Last edited by wallcraft; 05-30-2008 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 05-30-2008, 11:15 PM   #3
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I've been using my iLiad mainly for reading and notating pdfs for study. The iLiad has significantly reduced my paper management woes.

It's dead easy to put a pdf onto the iLiad. I use mine just like an exeternal drive to my pc - drag and drop, it's all done.

The pdfs I read are mostly under a meg in size. I experience a slight delay when I intially zoom into them, (I usually read the pdfs 'sideways' on the iLiad - and 'zoom' - so the text appears larger and easier to read) - but after the intial resizing, everything is quick - each time you go back to the document, the iLiad remembers your zoom & pan settings. The largest pdf I've read on the iLiad was 12mb - and again - apart from the intial zooming, I experienced no time frustrations.

Related to this - you may want to have a think about what your charts/tables will look like on the iLiad size screen. This screen is 16cm x 12cm - as a test, size a few of your charts/tables to this dimension, and see if they're readable - if they're not, you'll need to be constantly panning in order to read your tables/charts. The panning is reasonably fast, but depending on the kind of person you are, this might drive you a little crazy (At work, I do stuff with large diagrams - and there are days when constant panning on the PC drvies me a little nutty )

I initially found the wacom dealy a bit weird, but now it's no big deal, and it doesn't slow me down at all (you need to get the calibration right though!).

The only time I really feel any frustration about the iLiad's speed is the boot up time (only a problem when I'm in impatient mode!), and the rare occasions when I have a doc with two or more columns (again, the constant panning issue). I suspect there may be a work around for this out there - but it hasn't been a frequent enough issue for me to follow up on it

An incidental frustration I've experienced is that the photocopiers at my university are for print only - ie, I can't scan docs on them - and my home scanner is note great for copying from books - so I use photocopier/scanners at work instead. You may want to think about what access you have to scanners if a large volume of your reading is print based in the first instance.
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Old 05-31-2008, 12:49 PM   #4
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Thank you so much for the responses (so far).

They make me feel better about getting an iliad. Thankfully, almost all the pdfs I have to read are online to begin with, so I don't have much of an issue with getting things from paper to a digital format. I also have a scanner/printer/copier dealy at home, so I can always use that. I also usually print my pdfs two to a page, so I'm used to reading tiny font. My eyes are still good enough for this, and hopefully, by the time that ceases to be the case, there will be a lot more options out there.

Two other questions...is the iliad actually a touch screen (i.e. for page forward/backward buttons)? And, are the next/previous and scrolling mechanisms comfortable to use?

Thanks again!
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Old 05-31-2008, 01:10 PM   #5
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If you look at a picture of an iLiad, you'll see a bar running right down the left side of the machine. That's a "rocker" bar, and you page forward or back by pushing it one way or the other. It's an absolutely excellent paging mechanism - far better than the buttons that other readers have.

Yes, the iLiad has a Wacom touch screen, and on-screen buttons for performing most operations (eg copying or deleting files).
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Old 06-01-2008, 09:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
I also usually print my pdfs two to a page, so I'm used to reading tiny font.
Hot tip - it's much easier to navigate pages on the iLiad if you print your pdfs one to a page (back to the panning issue) .
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Old 06-03-2008, 02:35 AM   #7
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Iliad customer service is in my experience non existent.
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