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Old 02-13-2009, 10:02 AM   #1
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CyBook Gen 3 compared to Sony PRS-505

I just bought a Sony PRS-505 from expansys. I thought it would be useful to compare it to my CyBook Gen 3, which I've had for a year.

First impressions:

The Sony is shorter but a little wider than the CyBook. It's aspect ration is much more like the aspect ratio of A-series paper than of a book, which is what the cybook looks like.

It's considerably heavier. The specs say this, but I didn't realise it would be so noticeable in the hand. Not that the Sony is excessively heavy - it's just heavier than the CyBook.

It has /far/ more buttons than the cybook. I think I rather like the 10 menu buttons down the side, and I definitely like the next/previous page buttons - in two different places. I'd prefer to have the menu (which seems to mean "up a level" in a different place, but it's certainly more convenient than the menu button of the cybook on the left hand side.

I haven't had it long enough to compare battery life, but unless I turn off the CyBook after reading, or enable the auto shutoff, the CyBook will drain its battery in three days. I don't like auto shutoff, or turning off the CyBook, because the start-up time is long when there are a lot of books on it. I understand the Sony will hibernate automatically with fast 'on', so giving much better battery life. I'll see.

I don't like the very limited font size selection on the sony. It seems very strange to have an eBook and then limit the resizing of the text so much.

So far, I like the Sony. The nicer button placement and the possibility of long battery life currently outweigh the limited font sizes. Of course, without Calibre it'd be a complete non-starter for me on the Mac. Thanks Kovid!
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:45 PM   #2
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The Sony is unquestionably much better engineered than the CyBook but for me, having owned both, the CyBook wins "hands down" in software terms - things like font selection, dictionary lookup, etc.
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:31 PM   #3
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Made the same road you did and stated my opinion about the two of them before.

The Cybook is my main reader!
The Sony as a good second but just that a second - and the unique when reading PDF’s is needed.
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Old 02-13-2009, 03:41 PM   #4
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Good comparison.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
So far, I like the Sony. The nicer button placement and the possibility of long battery life currently outweigh the limited font sizes.
I'm with Harry: for me, the Cybook wins. The font options plus dictionary lookup outweigh the nicer hardware of the Sony.
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Old 02-14-2009, 08:27 AM   #5
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For me the Sony is better designed than the CyBook. I'm very happy with my Sony and its feature to organize my eBooks in collections on the reader.
But for novices who are looking for eBooks in another language than english the CyBook seems to be the better device because it does support Mobi, PalmDoc and Html out of the box and offers PDF-support too (even if the pdf-support is not as good as with the Sony). Most of the non-english eBook-Publishers i'm aware of are using Mobi, PalmDoc, PDF or Html...
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Old 02-14-2009, 09:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by netseeker View Post
For me the Sony is better designed than the CyBook. I'm very happy with my Sony and its feature to organize my eBooks in collections on the reader.
But for novices who are looking for eBooks in another language than english the CyBook seems to be the better device because it does support Mobi, PalmDoc and Html out of the box and offers PDF-support too (even if the pdf-support is not as good as with the Sony). Most of the non-english eBook-Publishers i'm aware of are using Mobi, PalmDoc, PDF or Html...
not necessarily ; the trend among european publishers starting to offer ebooks seems to be to publish in epub format ; Hachette for example has partnered with the Fnac for the launch of the sony in france, and they offer only epub ebooks (there is also PanMacMillan but they publish english language books so it's not really relevant). mobipocket is still common among older publishers but i don't think there are very many non-english language ones.
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Old 02-14-2009, 09:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
not necessarily ; the trend among european publishers starting to offer ebooks seems to be to publish in epub format ;
I do agree. ePub seems to be the new trend here in europe. But especially german publishers like Libri, Ciando, beam-ebooks.de and others are currently using Mobi, PDF or PalmDoc. ePub offers are still rare at the moment. Well at least Libri and Thalia will additionally start to offer ePubs within the next few weeks. I guess in france the situation is already a little bit better because the Sony is already available there.

But i'm pretty sure that amazon will not start to offer ePubs once the Kindle will come to europe...
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Old 02-14-2009, 09:17 PM   #8
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I have both - much prefer the Sony, even if I can't change the fonts easily. I've found that I really don't change fonts between more than two sizes anyway, so all the extra choices were just gravy. I wish I had better luck with imbedded fonts in my LRFs - I haven't been able to get Calibre's "imbedded fonts" options to work with any of the san serif fonts on my computer! If that worked better (and I believe Kovid has said the problem is in the LRF specs, not Calibre), I wouldn't miss that option at all with the Cybook.

I also find that I didn't use the dictionary lookup feature enough for it to factor in my selection process (it was something I had on the eBookwise).

The Cybook always felt too insubstantial in my hands. I hate the cover (the kind that's a sleeve with cutouts) because it covers the little light in the upper right-hand corner. And since I have one of the only-slightly-older Cybooks that makes me fight for button control, the only way I can know for sure if the page turn is going to go is if I can see that little light flicker. But given the number of threads about broken screens, I'm not willing to read with the Cybook out of the cover, so it's just an exercise in frustration for me to use it.

My co-worker has been reading on it lately (I'm glad it's getting some use), and I can't tell you how many times she's come in from lunch and said "It froze up on me again!" She said it's frustrating that the battery indicator doesn't display when the book is being read. I really don't remember. I do agree with the original poster, though, that the battery life does seem shorter than the Sony's.

I will admit, because I prefer reading a san serif font on "screen" when I can, everytime I pick up the Cybook I wish I liked it better. The type just seems so much cleaner and less...cluttered...to me. But a few minutes struggling with a recalcitrant page-turn button is usually enough to remind me why I prefer my Sony.
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Old 02-15-2009, 11:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FizzyWater View Post
I will admit, because I prefer reading a san serif font on "screen" when I can, everytime I pick up the Cybook I wish I liked it better. The type just seems so much cleaner and less...cluttered...to me. But a few minutes struggling with a recalcitrant page-turn button is usually enough to remind me why I prefer my Sony.
The "sticky" page turn button was certainly a problem with the original 64MB CyBooks. A total "non-problem with the current 512MB model.
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Old 02-15-2009, 11:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
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The "sticky" page turn button was certainly a problem with the original 64MB CyBooks. A total "non-problem with the current 512MB model.
Some of the 64MB Cybooks. I have one of them without any button issues at all.
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Old 02-15-2009, 11:16 AM   #11
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Thank you for the correction, Bill.
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Old 02-15-2009, 11:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FizzyWater View Post
I hate the cover (the kind that's a sleeve with cutouts) because it covers the little light in the upper right-hand corner.

She said it's frustrating that the battery indicator doesn't display when the book is being read.
The current cover has a cutout for the light - I haven't got around to punching a hole in my old cover yet, but I really ought to.

We're promised a battery indicator while reading in the next firmware release, which should be real soon now....
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
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The "sticky" page turn button was certainly a problem with the original 64MB CyBooks. A total "non-problem with the current 512MB model.
This why it would be helpful if we had separate forums (sections, folders,
whatever you want to call it) for EACH model.

Like reading the Sony 500 / 505 folder.. lots of things apply
only to the 500 OR the 505 and it does get confusing for those
of us who are new to ereading devices.

ex. in this case someone might be looking at the getting the Cybook
but read about a "sticky button" problem not realizing that is with
an older model.. make sense?

Just throwing that thought out there : )
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Old 02-15-2009, 01:59 PM   #14
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This why it would be helpful if we had separate forums (sections, folders,
whatever you want to call it) for EACH model.
It's a balance though. If you break things into too many sections it gets hard to figure out where things should go. You get people placing comments in the wrong section and I think it generally gets harder to find anything unless you know the exact search you want. It's certainly harder to browse.
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