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Old 11-17-2008, 02:16 AM   #1
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Sony PRS-505 or BeBook?

Hi all, I'm looking for some advice and comments on my thought process regarding buying my first eReader.

About 90% of the material I read are trade/work PDF's books and journals etc. with some images/graphs. The other 10% will be popular fiction purchased online via booksonboard / fictionwise / mobipocket / sony centre (they all carry the stuff I read and are about the same price).

I have no problem converting files if needed. I tested out pdflrf and Calibre and they work fine on my material as far as I can see from the Calibre LRF viewer.

I like the functionality of the iLiad Book Edition (scribbling notes) but don't like the size and price. I like keeping the cost down since from my experience with gadgets like these technology moves fast and in 1-2 years the new gen devices will be a lot cooler and the new "must have" :-)

The CyBook Gen3 has a nice dictionary lookup feature but seems best for Mobipocket formats and not so great for PDF and even converted PDF(?) Also some users reported screens broke easily. (I'm located in Asia so servicing will be an issue).

The Sony PRS-700 seems on paper like a good option, but the reviews of the screen + higher price turned me off.

BeBook seem to be very flexible, more open source and frequent firmware updates which is cool, handles PDF well, but price is just a bit higher and doesn't look as good as the Sony in my opinion.

The Sony PRS-505 seems to offer the best price / functionality / looks combination for my needs.

In summary I'm inclined towards the 505 but not sure I have the BeBook advantages covered well.

Any thoughts and comments would be appreciated.
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Old 11-19-2008, 12:57 PM   #2
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I'm in a very similar boat. I'm looking to buy a reader for my wife for the holidays (although her reading material of choice is fantasy/sci-fi), and am debating between the 505, the 700, and the BeBook. I had a 700 on preorder, and it actually arrived today, but before I open it I'm going to drop by the Sony Store and have a look at their demo model (which they just got in, too), and see how bad the screen is for myself. I may return it.

When I dropped by the Sony Store and picked up the 505, I noticed right away that my right thumb fell right over top of the page turn buttons on the right side. The BeBook has more or less the same page turn buttons as the Sony, but reversed, so I imagine my lefty wife might prefer the BeBook for that reason.

On the other hand, as you mention, the Sony is a fine looking machine, with it's extruded aluminum case, whereas the BeBook is plastic. Also, not sure where you are, but here in Ottawa, there's at least 3 Sony stores, so I have somewhere I can return it to if I have warranty problems, whereas the BeBook I'd have to ship somewhere. Minor consideration, perhaps.

I also understand that the Sony lists all the books on it in one giant list, whereas the BeBook can be organized into folders? (Maybe someone with a Sony or a BeBook can comment futher here?)

The BeBook certainly supports more formats than the Sony, but now that Sony supports epub there's very few formats you couldn't convert to work on the Sony. The open source "Calibre" tool automates a lot of conversions for you if you have a Sony reader (and I'm working on a little project that should make it easy for any other reader).
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Old 11-19-2008, 09:42 PM   #3
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I just pulled the trigger on getting the PRS-505 while your post was on its way :-)

One aspect that affected my decision quite strongly is that I never had a chance to check any of the devices in person as I'm located outside the US (in Thailand). I relied heavily on reading other people's experience shared on this forum. The 700's screen was a major concern. The screen readability is a crucial part of this kind of device so I wasn't going to take chances on this, returning and replacing it would have been too much of a hassle.

I think I'm going to enjoy the 505 for quite some time and if I really want to replace it in the future then maybe with a 705 when they sort out the screen.

Had the BeBook been priced more competitively then I would have had a harder time deciding but coming in at above the Sony made it a lot less attractive. If you're in the US you can also get great deals through buying on eBay via a link in live.com and get 20-30% off rebate from M$.

Good luck with your purchase.

P.S. I also ordered the PRS-ACL1, for two reasons: I like reading in bed before going to sleep and was looking for something that won't shine in my wife's face. Plus I think the extra layer on top helps protect the screen, see the other thread in the 505 sub-forum about the lady's experience with the Sony ending in tears after putting her elbow on top of the device and cracking the screen.





Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonWalton View Post
I'm in a very similar boat. I'm looking to buy a reader for my wife for the holidays (although her reading material of choice is fantasy/sci-fi), and am debating between the 505, the 700, and the BeBook. I had a 700 on preorder, and it actually arrived today, but before I open it I'm going to drop by the Sony Store and have a look at their demo model (which they just got in, too), and see how bad the screen is for myself. I may return it.

When I dropped by the Sony Store and picked up the 505, I noticed right away that my right thumb fell right over top of the page turn buttons on the right side. The BeBook has more or less the same page turn buttons as the Sony, but reversed, so I imagine my lefty wife might prefer the BeBook for that reason.

On the other hand, as you mention, the Sony is a fine looking machine, with it's extruded aluminum case, whereas the BeBook is plastic. Also, not sure where you are, but here in Ottawa, there's at least 3 Sony stores, so I have somewhere I can return it to if I have warranty problems, whereas the BeBook I'd have to ship somewhere. Minor consideration, perhaps.

I also understand that the Sony lists all the books on it in one giant list, whereas the BeBook can be organized into folders? (Maybe someone with a Sony or a BeBook can comment futher here?)

The BeBook certainly supports more formats than the Sony, but now that Sony supports epub there's very few formats you couldn't convert to work on the Sony. The open source "Calibre" tool automates a lot of conversions for you if you have a Sony reader (and I'm working on a little project that should make it easy for any other reader).
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Old 11-28-2008, 06:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonWalton View Post
I also understand that the Sony lists all the books on it in one giant list, whereas the BeBook can be organized into folders? (Maybe someone with a Sony or a BeBook can comment futher here?)
hi,

I'm from the uk, and I just bought a bebook, after pondering between the cybook, 505 and bebook (iliad was just too picey for me). Yes the bebook allows you to add as many folders as you see fit and categorise to your hearts content.

The bebook is a hanlin clone, so you can choose to install any hanlin firmware. For me, because I have a lot of non drm books already, the bebook gives me the best bang for buck. However drm support is not quite there yet (although they are working on new firmware to support it) and the bebook forums are quite active, plus Astek will start to sell their hanlin clones, the more clones the better - will hopefully give us a better choice of firmware. For me, I am over the moon with my bebook, absolutely love it. If drm is your priority though, maybe the 505 or cybook might be a better choice for now, although time will tell.
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Old 11-28-2008, 07:00 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by redbaron101 View Post
The bebook is a hanlin clone, so you can choose to install any hanlin firmware. For me, because I have a lot of non drm books already, the bebook gives me the best bang for buck. However drm support is not quite there yet (although they are working on new firmware to support it)
This is incorrect - the V3 and BeBook support MobiPocket DRM.

Their MobiPocket support is not currently anything like as good as that of the CyBook, however. If you wish to read MobiPocket books, the CyBook is (IMHO) a much better choice, as well as being some £40 cheaper than the BeBook.
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Old 12-09-2008, 12:06 PM   #6
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This is incorrect - the V3 and BeBook support MobiPocket DRM.

Their MobiPocket support is not currently anything like as good as that of the CyBook, however. If you wish to read MobiPocket books, the CyBook is (IMHO) a much better choice, as well as being some £40 cheaper than the BeBook.
well said harry, but thats exactly what I meant about drm, although its supported, its still not quite there on the hanlins (doesn't work well), give it a number of firmwares and perhaps it will improve. Even though bebook is dearer, I still stand by my view that the bebook gives you more bang for buck, if your into non drm ebooks, for the number of different formats it supports, its well worth it.

Last edited by redbaron101; 12-09-2008 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 03-17-2009, 01:50 PM   #7
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sony vs bebook

Well since I already own a sony 505 I somewhat am biased, but I'll still give my opinions. The main distinction from the two seems to be the wireless connectivity the bebook has (or can get). If you prefer the wifi and easier access to rss feeds then I would vote for the bebook. Otherwise the sony should be just fine. I have also found that a lot of digital distributions of drm pdf files ONLY work on the sony, which if you use the online library options makes a huge difference. Though if bebook has mobiread drm support that would work too. The only other thing might be that the sony seems to have a lot more third party support and software (calibre for instance). Also, either way I highly recommend getting book armor: ecaddycase.com
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:16 PM   #8
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Unfortunately the Bebook does not support mobi library-DRM'd files, though it does support ordinary mobi files with and without DRM.
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Old 03-17-2009, 03:07 PM   #9
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If you use a program like Calibre, you can organize your books into collections on the Sony so it will not be one giant list.
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:05 AM   #10
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Of cause Bebook/Hanlin, it support most popular format (PDF, Mobli, ePub....) and over ten languages. We all know that vizplex screen is easy to break, Sony is hard to replace, I have replaced my Hanlin display by self. They use cell phone battery, Nokia Bl4C be fit.
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Old 03-19-2009, 01:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonWalton View Post
When I dropped by the Sony Store and picked up the 505, I noticed right away that my right thumb fell right over top of the page turn buttons on the right side. The BeBook has more or less the same page turn buttons as the Sony, but reversed, so I imagine my lefty wife might prefer the BeBook for that reason.
Just an FYI--I'm a lefty and find the 505 very comfortable to use. I use both sets of page buttons depending on how I'm currently holding my reader.

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Old 03-19-2009, 07:35 PM   #12
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I have been in the same situation, trying to decide between several readers- mostly BeBook, Sony 505, Sony 700 or even the Kindle. I also have many technical/scientific PDF documents to read, probably many public domain classic books and, if the price is right, some purchased books.
I read about the screen issue of the 700 vs. the 505 and decided to see for myself. I copied a few files onto an SD card and plugged them into both Sony Readers and the local Borders shop.
Yes, the contrast on the 700 screen is less than the 505 and text seemed crisper on the 505. But, the 505 was sluggish when opening PDF files. Sluggish, at least in comparison with the 700. The zoom provided another way to look at PDF's, but it was a bit cumbersome. Changing the text size worked better on some files than others - I need to learn more about converting PDF files...
So, considering PDF's, I'm leaning towards the 700. The screen is readible, just not as bright. There was a recent post of someone trying to remove the LED lights and eliminating a gap in the screen construction to improve clarity - not sure of the progress.
For the BeBook- I like to ability to read in different fonts. However, I've read that fonts can be embedded into ePub files - but I don't know anything more than that. Not sure how it's done and if fonts for foreign languages can be embedded?

Good luck deciding, I'm still researching and learning.
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