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Old 09-11-2008, 02:26 AM   #1
MrFinch
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Your thoughts on the best non e-ink device?

Greetings all,

First of all, thanks to everyone who posts here-I've lurked for lo these many moons and done a lot of reading and soaked up a wealth of information

Recently, I purchased a BeBook for a close friend of mine. Her requirements for the device (multi format, ease of use, not reading any DRM books and so on) were the same as mine, so she asked me to place the order on her behalf, and then set the device up when it arrived, as she's not that particularly technically minded. She just wants to read the sucker.

Sooooooo....along comes the BeBook in the post. Can't fault the customer service or the promptness of the transaction, but...the device itself is godawful.

I'd been looking foward to getting my hands on it, because I was going to buy one next. However...the eInk screen is just terrible. In strong light its not too bad (but decidely greyish and dead-looking) and in any other sort of light it looks like the text is floating above the screen. Throw in the glacial speed of page turns and the horror of the inverted image flash as the page redraws and all I had by the end of the day was a splitting headache and a severely lowered set of expectations.

This has caused me to re-think my own reader requirements somewhat. Currently I'm using a Nokia 770. I love it to death, but I would like a bigger screen-and that's my only beef with this particular device. Love the supersharp screen (and now realise how much I love the backlight, after doing without one on the BeBook!). So-any recommendations for me folks? Here's my major requirements for a reader:

NOT eInk
must be backlit
able to read a variety of formats would be very nice
DRM is not an issue. I refuse to sully any of my devices with such a thing.
a little beeeeger than the Nokia 770 would be nice...


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Old 09-11-2008, 02:38 AM   #2
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Lots of people here use the Ebookwise 1150. It has a 5.5" screen, backlit. Most any format you want can be converted to work on it. There is a forum discussion group just for this product here at MobileRead.

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Old 09-11-2008, 04:24 AM   #3
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Sorry to hear that you couldn't get on with eInk screens. You're unusual in that - most people love them!
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:58 AM   #4
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I personally think the e-ink is the best invention after the printing press and movable type.
Your Mileage Might Vary (Tm)
- and it obviously DOES vary ;-))

If *I* personally was looking for a dedicated non e-ink e-book reader I would have a look at jetbook - http://www.jetbook.net/

Or perhaps an Asus eee
Friend of mine purchased Asus eee - the 9" version and it runs 7.5 hour on the battery.


I have been using an old Cassiopeia A-20 for reading books for years. And Cassiopeia A-11 before that. It is a pocket computer with grey LCD screen. It has a clam-shell design and can be purchased second-hand (more likely fifth hand, or even more likely salvaged from a trash heap) very cheap.
Beware - do not buy before you see the display in person.
Also have a look at HP Jornada (second-hand again)

Before Cassiopeia I have been using old notebooks salvaged from recycle bin. My last book-reading notebook (this one was not pulled from a trash bin) was Toshiba Libretto C-50 - pentium processor, 32MB RAM, 6" display 640x480, dimensions of VHS video tape.

Last edited by kacir; 09-11-2008 at 05:01 AM. Reason: correcting a minor typo
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Old 09-11-2008, 05:48 AM   #5
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The JetBook has nice hardware, but it's let down by its VERY restricted format support - basically plain text and PDF.
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Old 09-11-2008, 08:44 AM   #6
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Quote:
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The JetBook has nice hardware, but it's let down by its VERY restricted format support - basically plain text and PDF.
It is not back lit. So it should have never been been brought up.
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:08 AM   #7
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On the Jetbook specs page it says
Quote:
5-INCH VGA MONOCHROME REFLECTIVE-TYPE TFT LCD, high contrast with eye friendly background, 180 degree viewing area
Doesn't LCD means it is backlit?
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Old 09-11-2008, 10:00 AM   #8
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Another recommendation for the Ebookwise 1150. I /love/ mine, I (like you) configured an eink device for a friend of mine, and while I could get used to the slow page turns etc, I prefer to read in bed at night and not disturb my wife.

The other selling point is how quick and easy it is to convert the Ereader format to IMP as I have over 200 DRM books in that format from Fictionwise. I can even read outside on a nice day without a lot of trouble, so am unsure of why LCD isn't as popular as e-ink. <shrug>
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Old 09-11-2008, 10:19 AM   #9
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Thanks to all for your replies so far!

Harry, I'm just a contrary old bugger I guess...I was really excited by eInk when I read about it, but the reality was less than inspiring for me. I think I've just been ruined by the fantastic screen on my 770, it's so clear and sharp.

Kacir, thanks for the Jetbook-but I'm afraid I have to agree with Harry there, its just too restricted at the moment. I love my html and fb2 files, because you get all the lovely formatting that makes a good eBook. And yes, even though they are a TFT screen, they don't seem to be backlit. Strange.

DaleDe and Shigfield, thanks for your words of recommendation for the eBookwise. It looks very interesting. A question for you, that I cant seem to track down with any good answer though...in pictures the screen looks very green. When you power the bugger up, is it white screen/black text? And whats the contrast/sharpness of the page like?

Again, thanks all! Feel free to wade in with more ideas if you have em...some one suggested the HTC Athena, man that looks niiiiiiiiice.........

EDIT: Jeebus, never mind me-DaleDe, just found your excellent review page on the eBookwise. White screen, black text. Google is my friend.

Last edited by MrFinch; 09-11-2008 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 09-11-2008, 10:32 AM   #10
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UMPCPortal is the place to see all "bigger than Nokia 770" options. Almost all of them are more expensive, and these are all UMPC-like, i.e. not just ebook readers. The Raon Everun (4.8" screen) is interesting, with a long battery life and is "only" $700 (in the US). Another possibility is the One Laptop Per Child XO-1 see G1G1 v2 to start on November 17 and cost $399.
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Old 09-11-2008, 10:48 AM   #11
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My advice.

Tabletpc - 12 to 14" screen, and doubles as a normal computer... no need to worry with formats and the likes - you can read them all... no need to worry with the size of PDF's - you can read them all.

UMPC - 5 to 7" screen, does 99% of all the above one does.

Best regards,
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Old 09-11-2008, 11:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFinch View Post
Thanks to all for your replies so far!

Harry, I'm just a contrary old bugger I guess...I was really excited by eInk when I read about it, but the reality was less than inspiring for me. I think I've just been ruined by the fantastic screen on my 770, it's so clear and sharp. .

Mr. Finch. Not sure where you live. BUT I was a PDA/ 770 Freak of a fan..but I must admit that e-ink is the BEST thing on the market to read ebooks. Maybe you have great eye sight and are only 20 years old. However...In the end It really is the best... you should seriously RECONSIDER....

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Old 09-11-2008, 11:34 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by mulderfox View Post
On the Jetbook specs page it says
Doesn't LCD means it is backlit?
No it does not. There are several LCD technologies. the Jetbook uses reflective technology which uses a mirror like backing to use front light (ambient light) to highlight the screen display. See the wiki for more details.

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Old 09-11-2008, 11:42 AM   #14
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The eBookwise screen does not photograph well. The display is green as you say when the backlight is off but it brightens considerably toward white when the backlight it turned on. Both the backlight and the contrast levels can be controlled to get the best reading experience in various lighting conditions. Outdoors the backlight can be turned off to provide for better reading but it is not as good as E-Ink when outdoors. Note this is a 16 level gray scale screen and can achieve 20 hours on a single battery charge.

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Old 09-11-2008, 01:59 PM   #15
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UMPCPortal is the place to see all "bigger than Nokia 770" options. Almost all of them are more expensive, and these are all UMPC-like, i.e. not just ebook readers. The Raon Everun (4.8" screen) is interesting, with a long battery life and is "only" $700 (in the US). Another possibility is the One Laptop Per Child XO-1 see G1G1 v2 to start on November 17 and cost $399.
Doesn't the OLPC have two modes for the screen? You can have color with a backlight and monochrome reflective for reading in sunlight, no? Seems like a great compromise. Not quite as sleek as some of the other options, though.
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