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Old 05-22-2009, 05:36 AM   #1
enarchay
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Very difficult time deciding. Kiddle 2, Sony 505, or Sony 700?

This post is a little detailed, but only because I want people to understand exactly what I'm looking for.

I like to read a lot in my free time. I have more than a bookshelf of books, and I have a huge wish list. I was complaining to my friend about book costs, so he recently started sending me some PDF books. Unfortunately, I can’t stand to read long books and articles on my computer because it hurts my eyes after a while. He recommended that I buy an ereader, and it sounded like a good idea. This would hopefully allow me to comfortably read all the content I can’t stand to read on my computer, while saving me some money in the process. However, I cannot decide which ereader to buy. I’ve narrowed it down to the Kindle 2, the Sony PRS-505, and the Sony PRS-700, but I can’t decide between them, and no matter which one I buy, it seems like I get some major drawbacks.

First, some background. I’m a college student and I read a lot in my free time. I read almost zero fiction, so I’m not sure Kindle’s store would be a big advantage for me. When I'm not reading the required texts for my college classes, I primarily read about philosophy and theology. Most of the texts I'm interested in are usually academic. For example, this summer I was hoping to buy The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy, some Backwell Companions, some books on logic, and some books on philosophy of religion (as an example, Warrant: The Current Debate by Alvin Plantinga). Before I even get to asking about the specific ereaders, my first question is, Do you think I will be able to get most of the stuff I want to read in ebook format? Glancing at amazon, for example, The Oxford Handbook is not available in Kindle format (or PDF from what I can tell). There's the option of torrent sites, but I'm not sure how I feel about that ethically, and I'm not sure if torrent sites would offer what I'm looking for either.

Some background on my reading preferences. When I'm reading, one thing I hate is when I see a quote I want to remember that takes too long to copy by handwriting; if I bookmark the page, I sometimes later forget what quote I wanted to remember. I don't typically annotate, but I do sometimes take separate hand-written notes. Another thing that is also a pain is when I come across an unfamiliar word and have to grab a dictionary.

Taking all into account, here is what I would like to get in an ereader:

Multiple format supportvery important. Since many of the books I already have on my computer are in PDF or dvju format, and many articles I would want to read would come in DOC or HTML format, it is important that the ereader will allow me to view as many of these different formats as possible. I don’t care if I have to convert as long as the converted file looks just as good as the original.

Ability to highlight text and take notesfairly important. Like I said, I often like to remember certain quotes, but I don’t feel like having to copy it down. It’d be nice if the ereader allowed me to highlight text for later reference. The ability to add notes would be nice as well, but that is less important than being able to highlight text.

Clear screenvery important. I’m going to be using this ereader as a replacement for most books, so I’ll be using it to read for extended periods of time. Obviously, I don’t want eyestrain, and I want to be able to read the books as comfortably as I would if they were paperback.

Dictionarymildly important. While it’s not a must, it would be nice for the ereader to have a built in dictionary.

Now the problem is, I don’t think I can get all four of those things in one ereader.

The Sony 505 offers support for multiple file formats, but you cannot zoom in on PDFs. Like most ereaders, it doesn't support djvu, but maybe that's not really a problem - how hard is it to convert dvju files to PDF or DOC? Moreover, the 505 has no ability to highlight text and take notes. (I guess I could use the bookmark function, but like I said, I’d probably later forget what quote I was trying to remember). A big plus for the 505 is that I can get it at a local store for $259, including the leather case and charger.

The Sony 700 comes so close to being perfect for me. It offers multiple format support like the Sony 505, but it allows you to zoom in on PDFs. The 700 also has the ability to highlight text and take notes. Plus it has a touch screen. The big problem is, many reviewers complain that the screen clarity suffers pretty bad when compared to the Kindle and 505. Some reviewers actually recommend the 505 over the 700. Are the upgrades worth the lack of readability? I checked the Sony 700 out at borders, but it was locked in place, so I couldn't really look at it from different angles. I thought it looked pretty clear, but I didn't have a 505 to compare it to.

The Kindle 2 also offers much of what I want. It has the ability to highlight text and take notes. It has (from what I read) a clear, readable screen. Unlike either Sony, it has a built-in dictionary, plus access to wikipedia - this is a big plus. While being able to download books from wirelessly on the Kindle is an advantage, it's not that important to me since I doubt I'll be using the Kindle store much. All in all, the Kindle 2 would probably be perfect for me, if it were not for the fact that it does not natively support PDF, DOC, or HTML files. I don’t mind converting files, but from what I’ve seen, converted PDF files suffer greatly. I tried converting some PDF files myself, and they looked pretty bad. Maybe there is a better way to do it, but I haven't seen it. In addition, it seems like converting PDF files to Kindle format leaves out the table of contents. Would this mean I would have to flip the pages over and over to get where I want?

Anyway, I can’t decide. If I get the Sony 700, I get pretty much all I want, but then I have to put up with the glaring screen. If I get the Sony 500, I gain readability, but lose all the important upgrades the 700 has. If I get the Kindle 2, I get all I want, but what good is it if it doesn’t support the majority of the books and articles I want to read (e.g. PDF, DOC, HTML)?

There's one more factor I haven't mentioned. Since ereaders are advancing rapidly, it would probably be best for me to wait a year when they are hopefully more advanced. However, my birthday is coming up in ten days, and this will probably be one of the last birthdays where my parents are willing to get me a nice gift. Plus, I'd probably save money in the long run - as I have many books already on my computer I can't stand to read. Not to mention, there are a ton of articles and blog posts I'd like to read more often, but I can't stand to because of the eyestrain from using my computer. So I think in the long run it'd be better not to wait. On the other hand, I don't want to spend a ton of money when I'll probably be replacing the ereader in the future, so I'm looking for the bang-for-my-buck.

As you can see, I’m stuck. I have no idea what to do. Can any of you give me some advice?

Last edited by enarchay; 05-22-2009 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:28 PM   #2
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I have the 700. The screen is definitely less clear than the 500 because of the additional layers, but I have never had a problem reading it. Thebuilt-in light is nice but I suppose a booklight would be fine for the others.

I chose a Sony because of PDF support, period. The 505 with lightwedge and cover was almost the same price as the 700 when I bought it so I went for the touchscreen model.

Don't forget about the Kindle DX--it supports PDFs.
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:29 PM   #3
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Also Target has 505 on display. My local Borders has both but I guess each is different. Bring a PDF on an SD card and try them out.
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:43 PM   #4
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The Sony 700 comes so close to being perfect for me.
I have never seen a PRS-700, but I think it is your best option. The issues with the 700 are glare and less contrast than the 505 and Kindle, but the screen is still "good enough" and the devices features are a very good fit to your needs. If there is a Sony Store nearby, then I suggest looking at both Sonys but I don't think you will be disappointed if you buy the PSR-700.
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Old 05-22-2009, 03:42 PM   #5
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Don't forget about the Kindle DX--it supports PDFs.
It's a bit pricey. I'm not sure if it would be worth it when ereaders are advancing so fast. What do you think? (Plus I'm not sure if I could afford it even if I wanted to buy it.)
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Old 05-22-2009, 03:43 PM   #6
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Also Target has 505 on display. My local Borders has both but I guess each is different. Bring a PDF on an SD card and try them out.
Yeah, my borders only had the 700 on display. I haven't tried target.

Does the Sony support a USB memory card? Not sure if I have an SD card.
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Old 05-22-2009, 03:44 PM   #7
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Anyone else got any advice?
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Old 05-23-2009, 02:37 PM   #8
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It seems that BeBook supports the greatest number of different formats, natively. However, they are not very competitive when it comes to pricing. £249.99 comared to £179.99 for Sony PRS 505 available from play.com. (PRS 700 is not available in Europe/UK, neither is Amazon's Kinlde).

Would anyone know goos PRS 700 is at handling note-taking.
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Old 05-23-2009, 08:04 PM   #9
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We read a lot of the same stuff.

The Kindle store is the best (for me) BECAUSE it has so much non-fiction. I picked up the Cambridge guide to Postmodern Theology just the other day.

As for PDFs, etc etc.... I had a Sony Reader before it had PDF flow and it wasn't terribly useful, I don't know about now. But the Kindle does a reasonable job with text pdf's.

Still, I'm getting a DX mainly for that reason. PDF's take work to make work well - on just about any device, I'd rather use that time for reading and spend a bit more.
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Old 05-23-2009, 08:27 PM   #10
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We read a lot of the same stuff.
That's cool. What are some other titles you were able to get - and how did they look?

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As for PDFs, etc etc.... I had a Sony Reader before it had PDF flow and it wasn't terribly useful, I don't know about now. But the Kindle does a reasonable job with text pdf's.
What Sony did you have? The 500, or the 505? What do you mean by PDF flow?

Quote:
Still, I'm getting a DX mainly for that reason. PDF's take work to make work well - on just about any device, I'd rather use that time for reading and spend a bit more.
Yeah... well I'd get the DX, but there's two main reasons why I'd rather not. 1) I want to get an ereader for my birthday, so I don't really have time to wait for the DX to come out; 2) I'm not sure I feel comfortable spending 500 bucks just for a few extra features I think the Kindle 2 should come with standard - also since ereaders will probably be far more advanced (and hopefully cheaper) in about a year, it'd feel like a waste.

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Old 05-24-2009, 02:02 AM   #11
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I've never had a Kindle purchase of that sort end up very bad. The vast majority of books I purchase have been excellently formatted.

I had the 505... PDF flow is something in Sony Readers (505 and 700) I think that automatically makes lots of text PDFs readable. I have no idea how well it works. They didn't have that feature then.

Ultimately, from what you've said here and the other thread, there is no ideal option for you. For the sort of needs you have, you're not going to find an ideal solution (aside from the DX). All of them have impressive drawbacks.

PDF's are the absolute worst things to deal with on ebooks because they are not an "ebook format," not really. They're about presenting text and images in a consistent way. You're almost better off getting a netbook or one of those little linux tablets someone on the boards are talking about (Q-7?)

I have a lot of PDFs, and I have more or less given up on trying to make them work on anything I have that isn't a computer. It's just not worth the work. I'll send documents if I have to read an article or something and have success making something 'readable' but not necessarily good. PDFs really need to be displayed at the size their made to work well most the time.
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Old 05-24-2009, 02:16 AM   #12
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I had the 505... PDF flow is something in Sony Readers (505 and 700) I think that automatically makes lots of text PDFs readable. I have no idea how well it works. They didn't have that feature then.
Did they change the 505 since then or something?

Quote:
Ultimately, from what you've said here and the other thread, there is no ideal option for you. For the sort of needs you have, you're not going to find an ideal solution (aside from the DX). All of them have impressive drawbacks.
Yeah... still not sure if the DX is really worth the money.

Quote:
I have a lot of PDFs, and I have more or less given up on trying to make them work on anything I have that isn't a computer. It's just not worth the work. I'll send documents if I have to read an article or something and have success making something 'readable' but not necessarily good. PDFs really need to be displayed at the size their made to work well most the time.
Well, one reason I was going to buy an ereader is because I often find detailed online articles and blogposts that I can't stand to read on my computer. I recently started printing them out, but that wastes a lot of paper. Not sure if the Kindle 2 will help me with this goal.

Hmm... not sure what to do. The decision gets harder and harder to make.
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Old 05-24-2009, 02:40 AM   #13
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For things you find online, the Kindle works fine. If it's not something you need super organized but is a PDF you make yourself (like a blog article) and then mail to the Kindle it works just great. I do that sort of thing all the time. I have a Mac so PDF is a built in option, but there are "printer pdf's" for PC's as well.

And yes, they had a firmware update that added PDF flow support for Sony Readers.

And the DX may not be worth the money. I'm not sure it is, but I know that the advantage I get is worth the money. Of course, I'm selling my K2 to buy one and so I'm only paying about $125 bucks when I buy my KDX as opposed to having to scrape together the money all at once. For me and for what I do - I don't want to spend time converting large PDF's and so it's an option. If circumstances were different.. I'd go with getting the cheaper linux tablet and just deal with the less than ideal LCD thing.
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Old 05-24-2009, 03:10 AM   #14
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For things you find online, the Kindle works fine. If it's not something you need super organized but is a PDF you make yourself (like a blog article) and then mail to the Kindle it works just great. I do that sort of thing all the time. I have a Mac so PDF is a built in option, but there are "printer pdf's" for PC's as well.
What about online Encyclopedia pages, like The Standford Encyclopedia? Do those look good when converted? Do the table of contents remain, I wonder?

Quote:
Of course, I'm selling my K2 to buy one and so I'm only paying about $125 bucks when I buy my KDX as opposed to having to scrape together the money all at once. For me and for what I do - I don't want to spend time converting large PDF's and so it's an option. If circumstances were different.. I'd go with getting the cheaper linux tablet and just deal with the less than ideal LCD thing.
How are you selling it and how much do you think you will get for it? I guess I could buy the Kindle 2 and by the time the DX lowers in price, I could sell the K2 and switch over. (Or not...)

Out of curiosity, what do you do for which the DX would be useful?
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Old 05-24-2009, 10:37 AM   #15
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I think you've done most of the work on finding pros and cons. I think you know enough to make a decision. All I can add is my personal expwrience.

I have the 505 and I really like the device its main advantage is price portability and format support. Like you I read a not of nonfiction. As for annotating the dvlevice is lacking. For note taking I've resorted to carrying a pen and sticky, not the best solution.
One thing you are overlooking that is VERY important is lighting. As a college student I read a lot when it was dark. Having a built in light is huge. Portable lights are not any good because of the glare on the screen. The 700 has a builtin light the 505 has the light wedge. I have the wedge and it is worth the price.

Content is king. If you only read philosophy abd religuos text from long dead author your fine with any book device. However if you read modern works amazon has the best selection, for non fiction. With fiction the gap is closer.

Amazon has the best prices they never have sales but are routinly 40% off list price. You can get better deals with fiction wise but you have to wait for their awesome sales but their nonfiction stock is not very good.

Conversion this site has a great myriad of tools to convert this format to that. Converting doc/html to Sony of kindle is trivial. What is not easy to convert is PDF, unless it is pure text. Regardless sony by far has the best PDF support. The 505/700 both have what is called reflow. If the default layout is to small for you to read you can increase the font. This will reflow the text and make the PDF look more like a text page vs a PDF. The reflow usually looks worse but at lease you can read. There are also tools built for the sony device that convert pdf to optimised image based pdf or lrf for the sony.

Based on your needs I would not recommend the 505 as an annotating device it is just lacking. Based on your needs I think the 700 is the best solution. The built in light PDF support and annotation mechanism will make this device the most sutable for your needs.
The kindle has content and that is huge. It also has a keypad which makes annotation easier than the 700 there you have to type on the screen

Well that is all I have to add good luck with your purchase. In the end let me say regardless of what device you choose you will be happy.

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