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Old 01-04-2009, 07:11 PM   #1
pox67
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Bebook versus Sony PRS-505

As promised here are my thoughts on the Bebook versus a Sony PRS-505.

I owned a 505 for a couple of months before it was stolen. With the insurance I bought a Bebook. I probably would have bought another Sony but by the time the insurance had come through the Australian dollar had gone from 98c to 65c US. There is no way I could justify buying another Sony unfortunately.


First of all these are just my thoughts on the 2 products. Other peoples mileage will vary greatly and something I can't stand may not bother someone else. Also there might be things that I just haven't figured out about the Bebook yet and so are down here as niggles.

Bebook firmware: 2.01NL

Screen: goes to Sony. The Sony has a much whiter background and better contrast. The Bebook seems to always have a lot of very tiny black dots on the white screens making it look not as white as the Sony.
After a page turn there is significant ghosting left over from the previous screen on the Bebook. I think the screen not having as good a contrast or showing whites as well comes from this ghosting. It doesn't do a proper refresh of the screen so a lot of pixels are left in their old state when others around them change.
Viewing comics on the PRS-505 was acceptable as it had an 8 greyscale screen. The 4 greyscale of the Bebook and the fact that it doesn't do a full screen clear on refresh makes comics unreadable.

Speed: goes to sony again. Start up speed seems to be the same. Sony did have trouble with big memory cards with a lot of books on it though.
The Bebook is very slow opening a book for the first time. FB2 (by Amber LIT Convert) is unusably slow. The Bebook seems slower at turning pages in general than the Sony. There is a very noticeable pause when changing settings on the Bebook as well.

Controls: I liked the Sony number buttons down the side where they line up next to their option on screen. I'll get used to the Bebook way with the buttons along the bottom I imagine. The page turn buttons are on the left side for the Bebook and the right side for the Sony. I prefer the right side buttons as that feels more natural to me, it depends on which handedness you are I guess. They both have page turn buttons at the bottom of the device.

Stability: The Bebook has crashed, frozen and turned itself off on me a few times. Mostly while playing around trying formats. It doesn't seem to like big FB2 files, it takes ages to open and will often just hang or switch itself off.
I don't remember the Sony exhibiting any crash or freeze behaviour.

Ease of use: it took me awhile to get to grips with the Sony and the conversion software needed to use the device.
(being in Australia I couldn't use the Sony store so bought my books in .LIT format and converted to LRF)
Once I worked out that I bought books in LIT, cracked them open and used Calibre to move to LRF I was happy. This was not ideal, I would prefer a direct download and drop on the reader.
RTF has a lot of options and is pretty quick to open up on the Bebook. FB2 is just to slow. Mobi is quite nice actually, on par with RTF. What I have noticed is that the Bebook does th-
is alot with RTF files. It can get really anno-
ying as you read as well. Once stuff was LRFed with the Sony that didn't happen.

Acrobat: I think the PRS-505 does a better job of PDF files at the moment. It has reflow at least which the Bebook doesn't seem to. Both PDF viewers could be much improved though.

Physical: the Sony has it all over the Bebook, everyone knows it. I am not sure why but the Bebook also feels bulkier and heavier although they are near enough the same. It might be the leather case of the Bebook which is adding he weight. It is good protection though.

So what would I buy?
With the current firmware on the Bebook I would get another PRS-505. The firmware is often being updated though so this verdict might change if a killer firmware becomes available.
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:05 AM   #2
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As a BeBook owner, I'd say that there is an issue with your display; mine shows a clear background at all times (it is close to white, doesn't show any random dots even under magnification), and never shows ghosting. Can you post a photo, others may also be able to comment.

I can't comment on your comparison to the Sony, but I find my BeBook to be very stable - maybe has needed rebooting a few times (maybe 6) during the past 6 months.

You are right about the weight of the cover - it certainly adds a lot to the weight of the reader, but I wouldn't want to be without the protection it gives.

I think of all the devices available Sony has the most stylish and well presented unit, it has been interesting watching their evolution. Most of the other readers are really lacking investment in product design, but the BeBook though utilitarian does get the job done quite well.
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Old 01-05-2009, 06:51 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjh View Post
As a BeBook owner, I'd say that there is an issue with your display; mine shows a clear background at all times (it is close to white, doesn't show any random dots even under magnification), and never shows ghosting. Can you post a photo, others may also be able to comment.
If it is an issue with the display, it's not an isolated one. I'm on my second display for my V3 (the first one broke on me), and I have the same issues: the screen has those tiny black dots (significantly smaller than a pixel, looks kinda like fine charcoal dust) making it less bright and contrasty than it could be, and there is noticeable ghosting. My first screen had no ghosting that I can recall and was somewhat brighter, too.

Quote:
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I can't comment on your comparison to the Sony, but I find my BeBook to be very stable - maybe has needed rebooting a few times (maybe 6) during the past 6 months.
There seems to be some persistent issue with FB2 in the V3 firmware. It is at the same time one of the best supported formats on the device (formatting, TOC, etc.) and apparently one of the least stable ones (hangs, reboots, etc.)

The long wait for opening an FB2 is probably the reader software paginating the whole book. This takes a while, but you get accurate page numbers out of the deal, which IS kinda nice (and judging from the page numbering related complaints in the Sony and Cybook forums, not that common, either).
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:59 AM   #4
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In comparing the Sony PRS-500, the Cybook Gen3, and the EZ Reader (the US version of the Hanlin V3 = BeBook) I find Cybook to feel the lightest and the EZ Reader to have the best screen contrast. Sony (with LRF) & EZ Reader (with Mobipocket) both start quickly.

Bottom line for me - HW best is the EZ Reader, SW/firmware best is the Cybook.
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gudy View Post
If it is an issue with the display, it's not an isolated one. I'm on my second display for my V3 (the first one broke on me), and I have the same issues: the screen has those tiny black dots (significantly smaller than a pixel, looks kinda like fine charcoal dust) making it less bright and contrasty than it could be, and there is noticeable ghosting. My first screen had no ghosting that I can recall and was somewhat brighter, too.
My Cybook screen have these kind of dots also. But I do not think it is related to ghosting. I think my first Cybook had them also. From comments on the forum I though this was normal for all screens.
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Old 01-05-2009, 01:32 PM   #6
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The long wait for opening an FB2 is probably the reader software paginating the whole book. This takes a while, but you get accurate page numbers out of the deal, which IS kinda nice (and judging from the page numbering related complaints in the Sony and Cybook forums, not that common, either).
This is one of the reasons I like the FB2 format so much. I like accurate page numbers and I'm willing to accept longer opening times to get them. I might have a different view on this if the key-lock feature didn't exist and the battery life didn't allow the unit to remain on for a number of weeks.
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Old 01-05-2009, 05:55 PM   #7
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The screen issue appears to be recent, certainly more people are commenting on it. It might be a bad batch of screens.
Here is a link to a thread on the Bebook forum:
http://mybebook.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=339
That picture shows exactly what I have although mine seems to change the placing off the dots. You'll notice white dots on black and on white back ground some black dots.
The PRS-505 didn't have this problem, whites and blacks were completely uniform.

I am going back on what I said about Mobi on the Bebook. It just looks wrong, the formatting of headings don't work well and letting is double spaced and large even on the smallest font setting.
For me RTF seems to be the best format so far. It has accurate page counts and if done well the headings can look good.
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:37 PM   #8
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Happily I can say that after the Jan update Mobi files are much better. I would even consider buying in this format now.

FB2 is, if anything, worse.
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:06 AM   #9
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Hi there!

I just wanted to ask, that is there any experience about the solution of the screen's problem (the "tiny dots")? Can I change it under warranty? I have the same issue with my screen (Hanlin V3 clone). I have my device about a month and the dots are quite visible. (The box has the "wizplex" sign printed on it - if it means something relevant.)

Thanks!

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Old 02-04-2009, 12:28 PM   #10
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Hi there!

I just wanted to ask, that is there any experience about the solution of the screen's problem (the "tiny dots")? Can I change it under warranty? I have the same issue with my screen (Hanlin V3 clone). I have my device about a month and the dots are quite visible. (The box has the "wizplex" sign printed on it - if it means something relevant.)

Thanks!

Steven
Hi Steven,

I don't think it's a problem - it's just the way eInk screens are.
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:59 PM   #11
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Thanks Harry!

You mean that its normal? So there is no reason to change it, or to choose an other device? Cos some people here (and on the Bebook forum) wrote, they don't have these tiny dots, and if it could have, or should have better contrast... Maybe some people have lower quality screen panels, like me? Well, its not a big problem, but in good light conditions, they are visible and a little embarrassing.
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Old 02-04-2009, 06:12 PM   #12
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Hi Steven,

I don't think it's a problem - it's just the way eInk screens are.
I've had an iLiad and a Bebook, and neither has had this problem. Well, not so far, any way.
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Old 02-04-2009, 06:46 PM   #13
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My EZ reader doesn't have this problem either.
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:01 PM   #14
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Hi Steven,

I don't think it's a problem - it's just the way eInk screens are.
Nah, I had a Sony PRS-505 before my Bebook and the screen was silky smooth white or black.
The Bebook doesn't refresh properly and leaves a spattering of unchanged pixels everywhere. It kind of looks grubby or smudged. I think it was a bad batch of screens as some people say their Bebooks are fine.
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:22 AM   #15
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We're not talking about "pixels" here, but very, very small dots - a lot smaller than a pixel. Look at your screen surface VERY close up. I'm sure you'll see them there.
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