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Old 06-29-2009, 02:03 AM   #1
stike
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grad student seeks reassurance: Mentor and Q7

Hey all,

I've been lurking for a while but this is my first post. I've done a lot of research on the various options out there and was just hoping to get some feedback. I think it's come down to the smartQ 7 and the soon-to-be-released-hopefully Astak Mentor line.

I am a PhD student looking for a reader with the following:

1. Budgeted for a poverty-stricken graduate student (<$300, sorry Iliad and DX!)
2. Portable/commute-tough
3. Ability to mark-up, take notes directly on a PDF
4. Ability to read letter-size (a4) PDFs that are about 65% text, 35% charts/tables without too much trouble/tinkering (i.e. I have limited time to run them through various converters)
5. Nice ability to quickly search/sort a large # of PDFs
6. Web connectivity would be nice, but optional.
7. Preferably Eink/Pixel Qi, though I am willing to go in faith with an LCD.

Except for this last point, I think the Q7 would fit the bill and I think the upcoming Mentor line would also fit the bill. I am not sure whether the EB600 Grace/Swifty lines would work as well for PDFs as the EB900 or not.

Are there any other good candidates I am missing? I am aware of the great LCD/E ink debate, but was hoping that if there were any other options, you might provide some guidance. Also, I know there’s a lot of new large readers coming out: would any others fit the bill? I can wait.

Thank you!
P.S. FWIW, I hate reading outside and in the dark
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:39 AM   #2
desertgrandma
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Welcome to MobileRead, stike. Bumping you I think you got 'lost'.

I can't help, but I'm sure others here can.

Enjoy the forums.
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:29 PM   #3
wallcraft
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The Q7 probably does meet your requirements. I am a bit concerned about hardware build quality, based on a few posts here (but others have been favourable) and the other issue is that most likely you are going to need to install some software yourself and decide between various O/S options. So it isn't a "consumer" device, but it could meet your needs very well.

For 6" E-Ink devices, there seems now to be a convergence on mobile Adobe Digital Editions (first seen on the Sony PRS-505) for PDFs and ePubs. We still have not seen the release-quality versions (or any versions on some devices) of this software except on the Sony's. There is room for improvement over the Sony's PDF displaying capability (e.g. trimming margins, and zoom without reflow) but what the Sony (mobile ADE) has is state of the art for PDFs. It allows reflowing of the PDF if it isn't too image-heavy. Note that a 6" EInk screen just isn't very suitable for PDFs (because of its size, but also because fast zoom and pan isn't possible with EInk).

In the US, the EZ Reader from Astak (with a big sale coming up at Fry's on the 4th and 5th of July) is probably the best alternative to the Sony PRS-505. It is using old technology though (e.g. 4-bit greyscale). The Astak Mentor, like the EZ Reader, will also use mobile ADE but the hardware will be more modern with a different philosophy about hardware keys. Another option is the Astak EZ Reader Pocket Pro, which will be a Hanlin V5 with a 5" screen (very similar in design to the Hanlin V3/EZ Reader, but with more recent hardware). The Sony PRS-505 is a very polished design with a large user base, and should certainly be considered. For me, the big advantage of the Astak devices over the Sony's is folder support.

EDIT: The only current 6" EInk device that allows notes on PDFs (so far as I know) is the Sony PRS-700. Since it is using mobile ADE, this is presumably possible on other devices (probably even without a touch screen). I'm not sure if the standard PDF reader on the Q7 allows notes, but there are certainly Linux PDF aps that do.

Last edited by wallcraft; 06-29-2009 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 06-29-2009, 02:13 PM   #4
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Wallcroft did a great job summarizing the points. However let me re-emphasize one point he made. Most people will not be satisfied with viewing pdf's on a 6" eink screen.

Try this experiment. On your Pc open a pdf of one of your files. Now resize the window so that it measures 6" diagonal -- just use a physical ruler to measure it out. Now try to read the pdf.

There are a couple of caveats to this experience. As Wallcraft mentioned, the eink device will be worse, because it does not refresh quickly. This means that you can't just drag the page around to move it the way you can on your screen. Instead you will need to page down and have it refresh.

Additionally, its hard to match monitor resolution (usually about 100dpi color) versus eink (about 150dpi grayscale). However, the test should give you a feel for the size/amount of a page you can view at one time.
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