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Old 06-30-2009, 05:54 PM   #1
insomniac
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Looking for durability and readability under $400

Hey guys, I'm checking out the Sony PRS505 and Kindle 2 but I'd be open the other suggestions. Basically, I'm looking for a reader that is durable and has a clear screen, I don't really want any extra features, I just want to read on it.

I've heard that the Kindle 2 is a little fragile and the screen is a little harder to read in the sun than the 505 is. Also, the Kindle doesn't have an SD expansion slot, which is a huge minus. I don't know too much about the 505 though, is it any more durable, and do the 8 grey tones make it any less readable than the Kindles 16? Oh and I don't really plan on shopping with the content stores.


Thanks guys! =)

EDIT: Bonus points for any cool hacks.
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Old 06-30-2009, 05:58 PM   #2
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A couple of things..

1. The kindle and sony have the same screen... so I don't think readability is much different. Perhaps the main difference would be fonts.

2. The grey scale doesn't come into play at all when reading text. But, if you read books with alot of illustrations or perhaps comics and magna (sp?) then it will make a big difference and the Kindle is the way to go.

My question would be, what type of content are you looking for? Do you want to buy everything, read free Public Domain/Creative Commons stuff, buy from author sites or hope to use lending libraries???

The other two options would be the CyBook and the EZ Reader/BeBook... both mobipocket format devices. Both well liked by members here.

BOb
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:07 PM   #3
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Fonts won't be much of an issue I think, I've got good eyes, hehe. I just read text, not any comics or anything so I guess they're equal on that.

I don't plan on buying too many books if I can help it, Ill just be using Gutenberg, the authors site or some less legitimate methods of getting some reading material. I tend to read pdf files (text, not scanned) so I'm sure I could just convert them to other formats.

EDIT: I hate touchscreens by the way, they make the text harder to read. (at least on the Sony 700)

Last edited by insomniac; 06-30-2009 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:07 PM   #4
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I think the 505 is what you're looking for. Sturdy (although all ebook readers fall into the "somewhat fragile" category) and simple; reads books & not much else. (I understand it has an MP3 player, and maybe someday I'll figure out the settings for that.) It has cool hacks; I don't know anything about them, either.

Calibre's open source software allows for conversion from a lot of ebook types; Sony has more range of content (although Kindle has more, and cheaper, access to currently-popular content). The Sony's PDF support is a bit troublesome sometimes (ah, the joys of reading a letter-sized page on a six-inch screen), but the reflow works fine for well-made PDFs. Kindle's PDF support is awful--if the original is well-made, it'll transfer across okay (Amazon has to do the transfer, though, through email or download); if it's weirdly-formatted or badly-made, the results can be unreadable.

Sony has DRM'd epub/PDF support, so you can check out library ebooks with it. (This is the one feature that bumps it away from Aztak's EZ Reader... which has other benefits that I'm a bit blurry about.)

I recently broke the substrate on my PRS-505; Sony's customer service repaired it for the $29 labor fee--if I'd bought insurance, it would've been a free repair. I have no idea what Amazon's break/return policy is.

The grey tones won't matter a bit for text; they only come into play when you're looking at pictures. If you're planning on looking at a lot of image-heavy content, you may consider the difference; if your images are limited to the occasional photo in a newspaper article, or simple bar graphs, the 8-vs-16 shades won't matter. (Even for heavy images, it may not; the dithering tech is good enough to not matter to most people.)
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:11 PM   #5
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I don't plan on buying too many books if I can help it, Ill just be using Gutenberg, the authors site
OK...

Quote:
Originally Posted by insomniac View Post
or some less legitimate methods of getting some reading material.
LA LA LA... I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!

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Originally Posted by insomniac View Post
I tend to read pdf files (text, not scanned) so I'm sure I could just convert them to other formats.

EDIT: I hate touchscreens by the way, they make the text harder to read. (at least on the Sony 700)
Then I think you would be happy with either device. I have the original version of Both... the Kindle 1 and the Sony 500 and both are sturdy and solid. But, if you really want external storage the Sony is the choice. But, from what it sounds like you will read you can store alot of stuff on 1.4GB that the Kindle2 will give ya.

BOb
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:17 PM   #6
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Thanks for the suggestion of the cybook pilotbob, you don't happen to know how durable it is by chance do you?

It's just so...sexy, and I think it's exactly what I want.
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:19 PM   #7
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If you want to know about hacks for the 505 look here - they include the PRS customizer which allows you to put in a clock and change the function of buttons etc. I used it without any problems and I'm usually a bit nervous about messing around with things that work.

Try the Kindle forums for equivalents for them - I'm sure there must be something but I haven't used a kindle so can't comment on them
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:21 PM   #8
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Thanks for the suggestion of the cybook pilotbob, you don't happen to know how durable it is by chance do you?

It's just so...sexy, and I think it's exactly what I want.
No idea... I don't have that one. But, I am sure HarryT will find this thread and tell you about how awesome the CyBook is.

BOb
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:58 PM   #9
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Based on your requirements, I don't think the Kindle is worth its large price premium over the PRS-505.

The Sony is a good choice, but an alternative worth considering is the EZ Reader (Hanlin V3) which will be on sale this weekend at frys.com for $220 or less. Its primary advantage over the PRS-505 is support for real folders (important if you expect to have hundreds of ebooks on the device). Both have stellar battery life, I never turn my EZ Reader off and rarely have to explicitly charge it. I have three EInk readers and the one I use every day is the EZ Reader. This is because it supports the 3rd party OpenInkPot firmware (has its own forum here). This is already very good and is under active development. If you stick with its standard firmware, note that the EZ Reader is about to switch from MOBI DRM (encryption) to Adobe PDF and ePub - using the same software (Adobe mobile Digital Editions) that runs on the Sony PRS-505.
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Old 06-30-2009, 09:35 PM   #10
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I have the 505 and love it. My husband has the 700 and wishes he had my 505. I've played with a DX and like it better than the 700 but not as much as my 505. So I would recommend the 505.
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Old 06-30-2009, 10:21 PM   #11
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Too bad you didn't ask this a few weeks ago because Borders had coupons for Sony 505s for $100 off, costing only $200 for it. I took advantage of this and got one for just plain old reading purposes so I could have my own reader (my wife has a 700).

I can't speak for the durability of the 505 because I haven't dropped it yet and don't plan on it, but having read a lot of reviews of Kindle 2s and 505s I have seen a much lower percentage of breakage complaints for the 505. I can testify that the clarity of the 505's screen is superb. It does turn pages slower than my wife's 700 and I suppose if you are impatient or easily annoyed by such things that could bother you but it's really not that bad.

If you mostly want free ebooks such as Baen's sci-fi stuff or other out of copyright ones I would suggest the Sony over a Kindle 2 as you can get it for $100 cheaper or more. Even if you purchase ebooks I'm not sure the large price difference between the 505 and Kindle 2 justifies saving a dollar or 2 at the Amazon store anyway, especially since other ebook stores are dropping their prices lately anyway. Also I would suggest getting a M-edge cover for it because it offers better protection than the standard cover that comes with it. Andybaby has a great review of the M-edge covers for the Sony 700 here: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=47041 which describes them in detail (the 505 versions of the case are identical except they are slightly different in size to fit the 505).

Last edited by Modern Bear; 06-30-2009 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 06-30-2009, 11:54 PM   #12
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The cybook has a lot of fans, so maybe you should listen to them over my lone voice, but I had one and it wouldn't be my first choice. It is not any type of a bargain and yet its features don't match up to its price point. Furthermore, I'm not sure what they are really selling right now. The Cybook is currently out of stock on Bookeen's web site. If I had to guess, I would bet that you will see a 'new and improved' model when it comes back in stock. This guess is based on the fact that their supplier seems to be pushing out new designs lately and its about time for a model changeover.

I now own a Kindle and I love it, but if buying from the Amazon store is not your priority I would recommend a cheaper choice. In this case, I would either 1) Look at the 505 -- if you look in the deals thread you will find a credit card deal that will give you the 505 at an incredible bargain -- at least $150 off. 2) Consider the aforementioned Fry's deal on the EZReader. 3) Wait six weeks for the new EZReader Pocket Pro. 4) Look at the Etaco Jetbook (LCD screen).

One feature that I was surprised about on my Kindle was the text-to-speech feature. I wasn't so excited when I heard it announced, but I am using it all the time. When I am driving I often listen to books. As far as I know, the pocket pro is the only of these devices to have TTS -- although I don't know if the quality is as good as the Kindle.

Finally, much of this advice assumes you live in the US. Outside of the US, Bebook would be the distributor instead of the Astak EZReader.
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Old 07-01-2009, 09:33 AM   #13
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No idea... I don't have that one. But, I am sure HarryT will find this thread and tell you about how awesome the CyBook is.

BOb
Provided you buy the case, and keep the CyBook in it, it's pretty tough. All these devices are relatively immune to everyday knocks - what breaks the screen are bending or twisting forces.
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Old 07-01-2009, 11:48 AM   #14
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The PRS customizer hack also allow you to change the fonts on the device, which is great as you can pick your favorite font for all your books. I use Garamond.

I think the PRS-505 is the best alternative for you, as it has the best build quality of all the reader (all the case is aluminum), and if you are not gonna use Amazon's whispernet, the K2 huge price premium and its bulky keyboard push it down.
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Old 07-01-2009, 12:19 PM   #15
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My suggestion is purchase a reader that supports ePub and right now, it's the 505 that does with Adobe's DRM. Others will in not too long a time though. The Gen3 is going ot be moving away from Mobipocket toward ePub. ePub is the way to go.
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