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Old 04-09-2009, 12:22 AM   #1
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PRS 700 review from a K1 and PRS 505 user

I hemmed and hawed, but finally I succumbed. I bought a PRS 700.

My reasons for doing so really came down to its promised unification of what I love about my PRS 505 with the light wedge. Since I bought the light wedge for the 500 I found I wasn't using my Kindle 1 much at all. I prefer to read in subdued lighting (and total darkness... one of the features of the eb1150 that I really loved). The light wedge with the PRS 505 was a good solution, but it had its drawbacks. Its weight was not extreme, but lighter would be better. And the wedge had a habit of flying away from the screen when lying prone in bed.

The PRS 700 sounded like a good solution to these problems, while keeping the crisp eink lettering of the PRD 505 and Kindle 1.

There have been many reviews of the 700 already, and if you haven't I highly recommend Mos's video review of the 700 found here. She has done a fantastic job of highlighting the 700 and it's functionality. But I also know that some people have had negative reactions to the 700 aws their second eink reader purchase. It seemed to not be as readable as the non-touch screen eink readers. I want to give my honest perspective on my transition to the 700.

So, after that long preamble, I will touch on the major issues (pro and con) that others have mentioned.

1. Glare - I honestly have not found this to be an issue. That again may be because I prefer to read in subdued lighting, but I have used it in several situations with bright lighting. While it has more glare than the 505 of K1, it just does not seem difficult at all to find a comfortable angle to diminish the occasional glare. Usually a subtle shift will bring reduce the glare to a minimal amount.

2. Contrast - the contrast is lower in the 700 compared to the 505/K1, It is best described as grey background against dark grey lettering. Much of a persons reaction to that may have to do with personal eye comfort and preference, but I have found that it is actually still easy crisp reading. I don't see the "fuzziness" or cloudiness that others have remarked upon. I haven;t tried to capture this on camera, and I am convinced the 700 does not respond well to still pictures (perhaps it is superstitious about losing its soul to the camera) but Mos's video I think gives a fair representation of both the glare and contrast issue. as always YMMV.

3. Speed of page turn refresh - I honestly had no issue with the refresh rate of either the 505 or the K1. both seemed zippy enough for me. The 700 is faster, but not a factor for me. But the "rapid page skip" documented in Mos's video is an amazing thing to behold. There is virtually no "refresh flash" at all when fast forwarding or reversing. I think this may be to it not doing a complete reset when this function is used, but it does zip right along! I like this feature A LOT! *

4. Interface - the interface with the 700 is very intuitive, and a marked improvement from the 505/K1. The touch interface works smoothly and easily. Page turns require just a thumb swipe, and going from book to book tkaes a minimum of steps. Same with bookmarking, and resizing the font. I had not anticipated how much I would like the "cover view" of the 700. being able to view the covers of the books you have on the reader is just more pleasant than just reading a list of titles.

5. Side Lighting - I was at first wary of this feature (even though it was the major reason I bought the 700). the pictures I had seen looked like only the margins get much lighting. And at first, that seems very true. But I am amazed at how after a few moments the lighting just spreads across the whole page even in total darkness. It is not perfect, and not like back lighting, but the slight defects of side lighting just disappear after you get absorbed in the reading. I really don't even notice it after the first few moments.

6 Size and weight - even though the 700 is the same basic dimensions of the 505 and ever so slightly heavier than the 505 (sans light wedge) the 700 just seems smaller than the 505 (and tiny compared to either the K1 or K2) Very compact design and the bezels are not intrusive and uniform around the screen.

All in all, I am very happy with my new acquisition! No regrets at all. It makes for an excellent reader for my particular reading habits. I am still keeping the 505 for backup, and the K1 for those times when I want to use the whispernet for basic web browsing, but the 700 is going to be my main reader for the foreseeable future.**

Donn

* I can imagine someone with enough patience creating a "flip book" with a cartoon character jumping a fence that would look like basic animation with the "fast forward" feature of the 700.

** Until they get a flexible color reader with a screen that can accommodate graphic novels and manga.

Thanks for reading, and sorry for the length, I had no idea I had so much to say
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:30 AM   #2
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Great review! I'm glad you like it

I have to say, the only feature I'm envious of is the ability to look through your books by cover. I'd love that
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:40 AM   #3
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I am convinced the 700 does not respond well to still pictures (perhaps it is superstitious about losing its soul to the camera)
i think you may be right about that.

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* I can imagine someone with enough patience creating a "flip book" with a cartoon character jumping a fence that would look like basic animation with the "fast forward" feature of the 700.
that would be BRILLIANT !! what a great idea !! you should do it.

thanks for the review ! i agree, the UI is really well done, and so comfortable to use. it's nice to see a 505 user liking the 700 ! it has its flaws of course but it's still a really great device.
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Old 04-09-2009, 09:39 AM   #4
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Great Review and I completely concur!

I worried about putting my ebw-1150 aside for the Sony 700, but have been very happy with my new Sony. I wish the buttons were in a more convenient location (I liked the side buttons on the 1150), I very much miss the dictionary look-up of the 1150, and would like the lighting to be a little more powerful to reach the center of the screen, but otherwise, I am thrilled with my reader!

I also like the fact that I can create bookmarks with comments using the Ebook Library software on my laptop. I have started bookmarking the first page of a new ebook with a short summary of the book (usually the one from the estore where I purchased the book) and then editing it with a "Read" notation once I have read the book. Creating it on my PC before I download the book makes it easy to copy and paste! I would warn against using the Sync option, though. It has caused me nothing but headaches!
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Old 04-09-2009, 09:42 AM   #5
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I also like the fact that I can create bookmarks with comments using the Ebook Library software on my laptop. I have started bookmarking the first page of a new ebook with a short summary of the book (usually the one from the estore where I purchased the book) and then editing it with a "Read" notation once I have read the book. Creating it on my PC before I download the book makes it easy to copy and paste!
that is a great idea ! i also like to have a summary but i hadn't thought about creating it as a note (i was thinking of adding them to the beginning of each book, unless kovid adds that function first... ) another good idea is to add a note to remind yourself of which book you want to read next (i have a terrible memory for titles and authors, so sometimes i know what i want to read but i can't remember what it's called...).
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Old 04-09-2009, 11:16 AM   #6
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Donn:
Loved the review! Very honest. I too am superfractiousexpicalidociously in
love with my reader, but as in most romances some things are overlooked, and for me it has been the glare. But like you said its not something to go picketting over...
now if only we can cohert Sony to add a dictionary in the new firmware... i'd faint....
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that is a great idea ! i also like to have a summary but i hadn't thought about creating it as a note (i was thinking of adding them to the beginning of each book, unless kovid adds that function first... ) another good idea is to add a note to remind yourself of which book you want to read next (i have a terrible memory for titles and authors, so sometimes i know what i want to read but i can't remember what it's called...).
You know I have thought about adding a summary to each book too, but then I'd lose time where I could be reading. Also, theres something about plunging into a book you have no idea what it is about ( you just know you liked it enough to buy it at somepoint in time) then being pleaseantly surprised and reassured about your tastes in books (sometimes)
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Old 04-09-2009, 12:41 PM   #7
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...
now if only we can cohert Sony to add a dictionary in the new firmware... i'd faint....
I'd definitely buy one then
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:58 PM   #8
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that is a great idea ! i also like to have a summary but i hadn't thought about creating it as a note (i was thinking of adding them to the beginning of each book, unless kovid adds that function first... ) another good idea is to add a note to remind yourself of which book you want to read next (i have a terrible memory for titles and authors, so sometimes i know what i want to read but i can't remember what it's called...).
Zelda - If you do create the summary bookmark on your computer, make sure it is a one-way download to the reader. Everytime I have tried to Sync, my reader has locked up and I've had to delete everything off the reader and reload. Considering I'm a bit of a control freak and like to have as many books as I can wherever I go, we're talking reloading over 300 books.

I also have a terrible memory, hence the summaries, and like the idea of adding some sort of rating system (maybe, 5-"Must read next" to 0-"Can put off for a while") to the summary! Thanks.

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I'd definitely buy one then
Even with the huge cost of purchasing the reader, I would be willing to pay for an upgrade to include the dictionary look-up. It's a pretty important feature to me.
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:26 PM   #9
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kazbates and Alphapheemail remind me of the lack of dictionary lookup support.

Yes indeed, this is a flaw and I hope they correct it for the 700, and not just for the next generation. (like they did for the 505 and pdf reflow, but not on the 500)

Last edited by Donnageddon; 04-09-2009 at 08:28 PM. Reason: pour spellin'
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:13 PM   #10
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i think you may be right about that.



that would be BRILLIANT !! what a great idea !! you should do it.

thanks for the review ! i agree, the UI is really well done, and so comfortable to use. it's nice to see a 505 user liking the 700 ! it has its flaws of course but it's still a really great device.
Well, that's essentially what movies (digital or otherwise) are. They are frame by frame shots of movement. I don't think it would be that fun to do a "flip book" digitally because essentially then that's really just a movie but you command it to start using a specific hand motion on the touch screen.
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:38 PM   #11
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Well, that's essentially what movies (digital or otherwise) are. They are frame by frame shots of movement. I don't think it would be that fun to do a "flip book" digitally because essentially then that's really just a movie but you command it to start using a specific hand motion on the touch screen.
I think the thing that attracts me to the concept is that eink screens have not been able to show animation. It was always dismissed because of the refresh time. The fast forward on the 700 demonstrates that the page can be changed rather quickly.

It would certainly not be earth shaking, but a mild amusement.... Not sure I have the required patience to attempt it.
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