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Old 12-03-2008, 04:38 PM   #1
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Sony 700 (built-in light) vs Cybook (Mobi)

I'm hoping to take the plunge soon, especially if certain family members take my hints that a Christmas contribution toward an ebook reader would be welcome. At the moment, I'm most interested in the Sony PRS-700 and the Cybook. Here's what seems most important to me right now in a reader, and some of them are mutually exclusive:

Ability to read in the dark
Support for Mobipocket format
Clean design and UI


Right now I do much of my reading in bed in the dark, using a backlit PDA. I'd like a bigger screen, and that argues for the PRS-700 with its light. But I have a huge number of free titles on my computer already in Mobipocket format, and I like the format. That argues for a Cybook--or wait 3 months for a Kindle. (Or do a lot of conversions to Sony format.)

I know I could use a clip-on light for the 505 or the Cybook, but that gets us into clumsyland (and probably a light more likely to disturb my sleeping wife). I thought about the light wedge for the 505, but one strike against that for me is the limited zoom on the font size.

So...

Here's a question for you people who have the PRS-700. How do you like using it with the built-in light in the dark? That's my biggest single reason for being interested in it, but I haven't seen too many reports on the light, though I've seen plenty about the screen generally.

Feedback, anyone?

Thanks!
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:07 PM   #2
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Hi Jeff,
I have the PRS-505, not the crowd your pinging but I can answer a few of your questions.


Quote:
Originally Posted by starrigger View Post
Support for Mobipocket format
Up until recently mobipocket was also my preferred format even over LRF. The main reason was because so I could configure the ebook to my liking. Calibre makes this process extremely easy. And is no more work than coping the file to the ebook.

Of course there is something to be said about having a device that naively supports a format.

Quote:
Originally Posted by starrigger View Post
Right now I do much of my reading in bed in the dark, using a backlit PDA. I'd like a bigger screen, and that argues for the PRS-700 with its light. But I have a huge number of free titles on my computer already in Mobipocket format, and I like the format. That argues for a Cybook--or wait 3 months for a Kindle. (Or do a lot of conversions to Sony format.)
See this poster's review of his 700
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...14&postcount=1

Quote:
Originally Posted by starrigger View Post
I know I could use a clip-on light for the 505 or the Cybook, but that gets us into clumsyland (and probably a light more likely to disturb my sleeping wife). I thought about the light wedge for the 505, but one strike against that for me is the limited zoom on the font size.
I tried several solutions here. The best solution by far is the light wedge SONY sells, but the wedge scratches very easily.

Don't worry about the font size if you are converting you can set your default base size to your liking. I rarely use a different font size on converted files. While on PDF I do tend to zoom more.

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Old 12-03-2008, 08:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starrigger View Post
Right now I do much of my reading in bed in the dark, using a backlit PDA. I'd like a bigger screen, and that argues for the PRS-700 with its light. But I have a huge number of free titles on my computer already in Mobipocket format, and I like the format. That argues for a Cybook--or wait 3 months for a Kindle. (Or do a lot of conversions to Sony format.)
Converting is not really all that hard. You can do it with a single click if you use calibre.

The devices that nativly read the Mobipocket without removing DRM would be the CyBook, EZ Reader (BeBook) or iLiad.

None of those have the built in light.

I really think you just need to go to the store and look at the 700. If the screen is ok for you then that is probably your best choice for reading in a dark room. I assume it is much better than a clip on light.

That said, in the US i would always recommend the Kindle first... content, content, content. I very much doubt that it will take 3 months for those Kindle orders to be fulfilled.

BOb
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:15 PM   #4
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As to font sizes & the ability to usa any True Type font, my eyes are old so I will often increase the font size toward the end of the day when my eyes get tired. Also depending on the ambient light I may increase the size as the light dims.

Personally I do not like to read in the dark with a back light although there are times I end up in that situation. That's when I use my Palm TX with back light. But then, unlike many people, I don't often read in bed.

I'm not familiar with the PRS-700 light and I realize it is not difficult to change formats for nonDRMed ebooks. However I got tired of having to make this change for every ebook I bought and have enjoyed having the Cybook so I can read Mobipocket format with no change. Just my opinion for what it's worth.
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:23 PM   #5
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Indeed, as mentioned by previous posters, while it is pretty easy to convert formats for the PRS-700 (Calibre!!!!!!) after a while it can be a bit of a pain.

The advantage of the Cybook or the EZ Reader (Hanlin v3/Bebook) is that they natively support DRM'd Mobi files.

That brings up the question of the Kindle. If you want to use Protected books from sources other then Amazon, you're going to have to use either the Kindlefix Hack or strip the DRM off the books.

On the Screen, I'll second the suggestion on going into a store to look at the &00 and the 505. The screens on the Cybook, Kindle & EZ reader are the same as that of the 505, so you can see which you prefer. You have to decide whether you want to trade off the convince of the Built in light for greater contrast.

While my personal preference is for the Cybook, you should really decide what you preference is.
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by =X= View Post
Hi Jeff,
Up until recently mobipocket was also my preferred format even over LRF. The main reason was because so I could configure the ebook to my liking. Calibre makes this process extremely easy. And is no more work than coping the file to the ebook.

See this poster's review of his 700
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...14&postcount=1


Don't worry about the font size if you are converting you can set your default base size to your liking. I rarely use a different font size on converted files. While on PDF I do tend to zoom more.

=X=
I have tried Calibre, and it worked okay. I wouldn't say it was as easy as a click or a copy (one title in my first small group failed in a batch process). I'm sure it's partly a matter of getting used to the software. But even so, having to convert a thousand titles gives one pause.

Thanks for the link to that other post. I hadn't seen it. I still hope to hear from more people who actually use the light to read in the dark.

As for font size, I didn't know you could set that in the conversion. But I'm not sure that answers my need, anyway. The reason I want to be able to set to a big font is so I can flop into bed without my glasses and read in the dark until I conk. (Hm. I hadn't thought about conking and rolling over on a $400 reader. So far I've only dropped my PDA once.) But for reading in the daytime, I'd want to set that same book to a small or medium font. So flexibility in the type size does matter to me. (I looked at a 505 in the Sony store and concluded that selecting the largest font on the display books was probably inadequate for me.)

If I had to pick today, I'd probably pick the Sony 700. But only if I had the option to return it.

For what it's worth, I was in the Tor Books offices recently and learned that all the staff had been given Sony 505s to use. The guy who does the conversions also has a Kindle. I asked him what he thought, and he greatly prefers the Sony.

I know PilotBob likes the Kindle--and I'm attracted to the idea of, for example, a really cheap Newsweek sub on the device. I haven't ruled it out. But I don't see myself shopping all that much in either the Kindle store or the Sony store. I already have enough unread books on my PC to last a lifetime, and I'm just as happy to shop at Fictionwise, etc., for any new books I might want. If anything, the ability to impulse-buy on the Kindle may be a warning flag for me! (Though it was pretty cool when an acquaintance in a restaurant showed me her Kindle and said, "Here are the books of yours that I just this minute bought." But mostly I want other people to do that. )
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
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That brings up the question of the Kindle. If you want to use Protected books from sources other then Amazon, you're going to have to use either the Kindlefix Hack or strip the DRM off the books.
Mm, I hadn't quite absorbed that fact. I was thinking you could read any mobi book on a Kindle. All but one of the books I have are non-DRM, and I haven't gotten used to the ways of the DRM.

I have no personal problem with taking off DRM so that I can shift it to another platform for my own use. (But I've also never tried, and I've seen some cries of anguish on the board here from people trying to get it right.)
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Old 12-03-2008, 10:34 PM   #8
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I read in the dark on the 700 and love it. In pitch darkness the sidelights have an eerie bluish tint, but once you get used to it it adds charm to reading at night.

I've been staying until 3 am regularly to finish this or that novel on the 700, two nights ago I finished Engine's Child by H. Phillips for example and last night I reread about 2/3 of it, while tonight I plan to read a mil-sf debut Peacekeeper by L. Reeve or a pdf arc of a debut fantasy Scars on the Face of God by C. Bauer.

I read 10 full novels including some fantasy door-stoppers at 600+ pages in print, with 6 reread at least once and one twice - pdf arc of Spirit by G. Jones - plus fragments of novels, and 2 short stories collections on my 700 in the 3 weeks or so since I bought it and most of my reading has been done evenings or at night with the light on.

Calibre is very good, reasonably fast, though I get some errors too once in a while, but I read quite a few pdf review arcs on the 700 natively, just dumped them the way I got them, no fiddling except for changing the metadata if necessary and this ability of reading pdf's fast and nicely was a big surprise.

But as mentioned, nothing is better than checking it in stores - when I heard of the 700 I was, meh, yeah touch screen and sidelights, but most likely the same slow navigation of eink, and then when I saw it I *wanted* it on the spot, and while sadly I could not get it that week since they had only display units, I got it the following week...
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Old 12-03-2008, 10:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starrigger View Post
Mm, I hadn't quite absorbed that fact. I was thinking you could read any mobi book on a Kindle. All but one of the books I have are non-DRM, and I haven't gotten used to the ways of the DRM.

I have no personal problem with taking off DRM so that I can shift it to another platform for my own use. (But I've also never tried, and I've seen some cries of anguish on the board here from people trying to get it right.)
Well, that's what the Kindlefix Hack does.

Amazon hides the PID (which you need for protected files) of the Kindle and the script allows you to get it. The main drawback is the the resultant PID is non standard, and many online book stores can't accept it. Still it should work with Library books, and I thinks that's one of the main reason people use it.

The Kindle should read any non protected Mobi files fine, the only exception if I understand correctly is Dictionaries, as the Kindle currently only supports one dictionary at a time.

As for stripping, its pretty easy and anyone who posts on the board should be able to figure it out. Ince you do, its just a matter of seconds per book.
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Old 12-04-2008, 12:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
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I read in the dark on the 700 and love it. In pitch darkness the sidelights have an eerie bluish tint, but once you get used to it it adds charm to reading at night....
Thanks. That's the kind of feedback I was hoping for.

I actually did look at one in the Sony store, but the closest I could get to trying it in darkness was standing in the TV demo room with the clerk whose job it was to make sure I didn't scamper off with it. And between trying to figure out the buttons, and talking to the clerk, I didn't exactly get a clear sense of the experience.
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Old 12-04-2008, 02:26 AM   #11
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I am very happy indeed with my CyBook and would thoroughly recommend it. It currently has the best MobiPocket support of any eInk device, and that's what's important to me, plus the additional benefits of such things as dictionary lookup, the ability to load your own fonts, etc, all go to make it a clear winner for me.
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Old 12-04-2008, 09:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Thanks. That's the kind of feedback I was hoping for.

I actually did look at one in the Sony store, but the closest I could get to trying it in darkness was standing in the TV demo room with the clerk whose job it was to make sure I didn't scamper off with it. And between trying to figure out the buttons, and talking to the clerk, I didn't exactly get a clear sense of the experience.
I agree that it's hard to get a sense of how the sidelights work in the Sony store - for me the stunning fact about the 700 is how fast it was, and that was the main reason I *wanted* it as well for excellent ergonomical features. In pitch darkness the lights were a bit strange at the beginning as opposed to the bright screen of my 770, but I got used with them fast and even started liking them as a feature, rather than "well that's the best that can be done and it's acceptable" feeling that I had originally.

I had a 500 and gave it away after a while as being too slow for my needs, as well as hating to use those 1-10 buttons menu navigation since it's so unnatural and distracting from reading, and I played with 505 demos very often at Borders or Target, always hoping they get somehow sufficiently fast that I could use one for heavy reading.
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Old 12-04-2008, 09:19 AM   #13
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Still haven't taken the plunge, still reading forums until my eyes are ready to fall out! I am NOT a super tech person -- can do some amazing things but definitely not a programmer or even close. So...it seems to me that the mobi format seems to be the most universally available. Is that right? If so, the Cybook sounds like it would be the easiest to use. I don't want to go the Kindle route because I don't like the idea of being beholden to one source -- gives them too much control of content and price. Various sites mentioned in these forums that have free ebooks seem to have them mostly in mobi format. Is that a good assumption? Just trying to sort things out. As I said, I think I've been reading too much but I can't stop myself.
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Old 12-04-2008, 09:20 AM   #14
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p.s. what is Calibre? Is it free software? Where available?
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:30 AM   #15
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p.s. what is Calibre? Is it free software? Where available?
Calibre is the wonderful software created by Mr. Kovid Goyal and available free here:

http://calibre.kovidgoyal.net/

It has many, many capabilities - I use it just in a basic way to convert to lrf - but it's very powerful and reliable.
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