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Old 08-10-2009, 08:57 AM   #1
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Reading in the dark?

Hey yall,

My wife is looking to get her mom an e-reader for Christmas. Being as my MIL is in the tech industry she reads a lot fo tech papers and word documents. Is there a reader out there with SD or MicroSD that can hand DOC content or one we can easily convert DOC's for that will be readable? I guess PDF wont be readable on a smaller screen? What about one thats lit for reading in the dark?

Thanks!
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:36 AM   #2
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As to reading in the dark it is really hard to say. As of this microsecond only LCD devices or an eink device with an external light are current options. In a few months time the first devices using the 3Qi hybrid/multi-mode display by Pixel Qi will hit the market and a few months after that there will be even better options.

To be honest I would not go with anything until the last possible moment, I see the industry as being at the big point of explosion on the mass market. The next 3-months will have a lot of new devices and the 6-8 months after that will see even more device options.

For now read, read and then read some more...it might be nice to get her one of the new readers from Sony, the 5" while not huge is nice in that it can be put in a pocket (with care) or purse if she likes reading while out and about. The new Sony's will be in most major retail stores by the holiday shopping season and right now there is the well received Jetbook reader device you can checkout at Bed Bath and Beyond. It is not eink but is also sort of nice, plus it's a good price.

I would read the News section here on MobileRead to see the latest info...

And yes, in general, unless specifically formatted for a small display, PDF's not not so hot on smaller display devices. BUT, apparently the Adobe Digital Editions ePub books are kinda nice on any device...but people who have done more than read about them will certainly offer better info there...

Right now if you were forced to choose, probably the Kindle DX ....but there are at least 2, and likely more, larger format readers due out this fall or early Q1 of 2010...then there is also the iRex current devices, which are pretty spendy but really nice.

Glad it is you rolling the dice...nothing worse than buying for the MIL...no matter you are gonna be wrong!! hehehehehe....good luck!
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:57 AM   #3
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How Ironic my usual forum avatar being similar to yours (hadn't uploaded it here till I saw your LOL)

Its so surprising no one has in a good way addressed the light issue as yet. I will continue to be diligent and read here (have had this site in my RSS for a couple years now.

No worries since the wife is known to do all the shopping I am off the hook except for being lazy and leaving all the shopping to her LOL.
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:12 AM   #4
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Its so surprising no one has in a good way addressed the light issue as yet.
"Switching a light on" is an effective solution .
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Old 08-10-2009, 02:16 PM   #5
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"Switching a light on" is an effective solution .
Not really... My husband would kill me if I did that every night (beside me having to get out of bed, crawling over him, to turn it back off). And the bedside light we have doesn't really work for reading in bed... (a new bed is on the drawing board though, and we plan to make some really nice bedlights on that!)

rahlquist, I've a LCD device (backlit) that works perfectly for me. It runs on Windows CE, which means I can read a lot of formats, including DOC and PDF (not that I want to, but I can...) Be adviced though that the current LCD devices generally have a much shorter battery life than the e-ink devices. If you want something for christmas, I'd at least wait till this fall, when several new readers should be arriving.

Otherwise, I'd give her a raincheck to get a device when the PixelQi screens come out.
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Old 08-10-2009, 02:25 PM   #6
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The Sony PRS-700 is backlit, but not really as bright as I would like...I don't recommend it very highly, only for that reason. Otherwise, I LOVE it. You can enlarge the text on it, so that is a very nice feature.
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:23 AM   #7
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The Sony PRS-700 is backlit, but not really as bright as I would like...I don't recommend it very highly, only for that reason. Otherwise, I LOVE it. You can enlarge the text on it, so that is a very nice feature.
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Technically speaking the PRS-700 is not backlit. That would imply that the light shines from behind the screen, as will an LCD monitor, even though this is physically impossible with eInk. In fact the light comes from the sides and is spread out by a diffuser, making it frontlit.
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Old 08-11-2009, 01:34 AM   #8
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"Switching a light on" is an effective solution .
dang you HARRY!! That one is classic...
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:59 AM   #9
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I have the PRS-505 and I also bought the official light-cover case... it's really nice, though a bit heavy. It's bright enough even on the low setting... though I used a black permanent to lower the peripheral light problem caused by the light-wedge.

The cost of the PRS-505 and cover together is the same as the PRS-700 but I went with the 505 because I heard the readability is better (due to the 700's touchscreen). And I am very happy with the red aluminum casing (the 700 is plastic).

But of course the Sony Readers (and everything except the Iliads) are crap for technical documents.
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:13 PM   #10
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Technically speaking the PRS-700 is not backlit. That would imply that the light shines from behind the screen, as will an LCD monitor, even though this is physically impossible with eInk. In fact the light comes from the sides and is spread out by a diffuser, making it frontlit.
Okey Dokey...see we need to be a little more technically precise here. Mea Culpa....regardless, the lighting is fairly dim, because of the touch screen the contrast is definitely not as much as the 550. Also glare can be a factor.
But the touchscreen is great!
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Old 08-11-2009, 03:18 PM   #11
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According to Sony, the contrast is less because of the lighting, not because of the touchscreen...
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:32 PM   #12
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Nope...examined both under the same lighting at the same time in the Sony Store at the mall...difference IS in the screen. No doubt about it, regardless of what the 'public line' Sony puts out in the media is.
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Old 08-12-2009, 06:27 AM   #13
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Nope...examined both under the same lighting at the same time in the Sony Store at the mall...difference IS in the screen. No doubt about it, regardless of what the 'public line' Sony puts out in the media is.

The touch part and the light part are layers that are both on top of the e-ink screen, at the same time. I am confused, what exactly did you compare it with?
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Old 08-12-2009, 06:36 AM   #14
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I suspect the problem is the spacing between the screen and the touch/light diffuser layers, caused by the lighting LEDs. If the touch screen was flush with the underlying eInk screen (as it hopefully will be on the PRS-600), the issue should be greatly alleviated, or even entirely eliminated.
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Old 08-12-2009, 06:52 AM   #15
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I'd definetly say the Sony 505 with Light Wedge.

PDF's - verymuch depends on how they're formatted. If they aren't DRMd and you can rest the page size ot the Sony screen you shouldn't have too much trouble at all. Even without doing this reading the whole page isn't that small a font size, though it might depend on your eyes!

The lightwedge is superb.
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