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Old 09-06-2009, 03:48 PM   #1
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Review of Hanlin V5 for V3 owners

Since there are many Hanlin V3 owners, here is a review of the V5 just for you.

I actually have an EZ Reader Basic and Pocket Pro, but Astak uses the Jinke standard firmware in both.

The V5 is small. This is obvious, but I did not expect it to be as small as it is. If you put the V5 on top of the V3, with the top left corners lined up, the V5 does not cover any of the V3's keypad and its right edge does not quite reach the edge of the V3's EInk screen. Overall, I prefer the look of the V5 - it has the same keys on the front but they seem better proportioned on the V5.

The USB port is at the top on the V5, with no plastic cover. It is USB 2.0, and file transfers are much faster than on the V3. The headphone port is still on the bottom. There are no volume keys on the right side (the earphones have a volume slider), but a rocker switch has been added top right. It provides a 3rd way to page forward and back and also a 2nd OK key (press the rocker in). I like the light touch of the rocker for page turns.

The included brown cover holds the V5 firmly and has a similar magnetic clasp to the V3's cover. However, it is not padded like the V3 version. I prefer the V3 cover, but the V5's is ok and should provide good protection for the screen.

There are 8 grey levels on the V5, and this make a significant difference with some images. On the other hand, the same image is larger on the V3 (due to fewer pixels per inch) and overall I would pick larger over more grey scales.

There is essentially no difference in the user interface or in how ebooks are displayed on the V5 (providing you are using the Adobe Digital Editions firmware on your V3). In particular the font sizes, in pixels, are exactly the same as on the V5. This means that a particular font size will be 83% as tall and wide on the V5 (because of 200 vs 166 ppi), but exactly the same number of words will fit on each line as before and there are the same number of lines per page. Since the V5's screen is smaller, you might have to increase the font size one notch on the V5 over the V3.

There are eight included fonts for TXT ebooks on the V5, and you can add your own as before. There were only two fonts available for FB2 ebooks, and I was not able to get it to recognize my own fonts (which worked on the V3). Adding a font family for MOBI ebooks works on the V5 just as on the V3. The V5 is using a Serif font (Times) for the file system (8 ebooks per page) listing, and I much prefer the San Serif (Arial) used on the V3.

On the V5, I find myself reading ePub in landscape mode. If the available font sizes were a little better chosen I would switch back to portrait. Like all the ebook formats, the ePub font sizes in pixels are the same on the V3 and V5 but they are better suited to the higher pixel density of the V5. Even on the V5, Jinke's choice of font sizes for ePub is far from optimal.

In normal use I don't notice any speed difference between the two. When run side by side, the V5 is faster opening ebooks and perhaps 25% faster turning pages. The V5 still has the black flash on all page turns.

I did not extensively test the TTS capability. See Review of Hanlin V5 (Malaysia) for a video of TTS in English (at the bottom of the post). It is not available in MOBI or ePub. It is available for DRM-free PDF by switching from Adobe Digital Editions to XPDF. The XPDF mode is the old V3 PDF viewer (pre-ADE) and it isn't an option on the V3 with ADE. Note that even with XPDF, TTS of PDFs will depend on how the PDF was produced.

Overall, if you like your V3 a V5 is more of the same in a smaller package with refreshed hardware. Sony is certainly betting that "basic" means 5", and perhaps they are right. I would certainly recommend the V5 over the V3 for new buyers unless they clearly needed a 6" screen.
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Old 09-06-2009, 10:05 PM   #2
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Thanks for the info. Good comparison.
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Old 09-06-2009, 11:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
...exactly the same number of words will fit on each line as before and there are the same number of lines per page.

...I would certainly recommend the V5 over the V3 for new buyers unless they clearly needed a 6" screen.
Thanks wallcraft. That's all good to know.

What I have highlighted is contrary to what I have read here in the past couple of weeks. I guess one just makes a choice between the number of lines or the font size.
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Old 09-06-2009, 11:53 PM   #4
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What I have highlighted is contrary to what I have read here in the past couple of weeks. I guess one just makes a choice between the number of lines or the font size.
From what I have read, on the Sony PRS-300 the font size is not the same in pixels as on the PRS-505. In that case the font is the same physical size on both devices, so it has more pixels per character and fewer words per line and lines per page on the smaller screen. In the case of the V5, Jinke has made the alternative choice of keeping the font size in pixels the same.
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Old 09-07-2009, 01:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
From what I have read, on the Sony PRS-300 the font size is not the same in pixels as on the PRS-505. In that case the font is the same physical size on both devices, so it has more pixels per character and fewer words per line and lines per page on the smaller screen. In the case of the V5, Jinke has made the alternative choice of keeping the font size in pixels the same.
Interesting, so Sony interprets point size as point size and Jinke interprets point size as pixel size.

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Old 09-07-2009, 08:51 AM   #6
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Good review. Does anyone know if someone has or will put together a video of the v3 and v5 clones side-by-side? I am still looking and I thought I made my decision a week ago but am now starting to rethink the situation.

My concerns really are that the v3 was released 2 years ago, where as the v5 released this year has faster processor and newer display controller - which I believe allows for partial screen update eg: of the menu, rather than an entire screen refresh when bringing up the menu on the v3. Am I correct? The big issue for me is the screen size, is the 5" just as readable as the 6"? I know you can zoom, but I don't want to buy a 5", zoom and have a paragraph of large fonts vs 2-3 paragraphs on a 6" in a nice readable sized font.
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Old 09-07-2009, 10:50 AM   #7
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I'm not sure I understood you, but the V3 doesn't refresh the whole screen when you bring up the menu: V3 can do partial screen updates, in fact when it loads an eBook it draws a "wait" animation square and the only refreshed portion is the square of the animation.
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Old 09-07-2009, 11:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solicitous View Post
My concerns really are that the v3 was released 2 years ago, where as the v5 released this year has faster processor and newer display controller - which I believe allows for partial screen update eg: of the menu, rather than an entire screen refresh when bringing up the menu on the v3.
I have not seen any practical advantage of the Epson (V5) over the Apollo (V3) controller, with the exception of the number of gray levels. This may be because all vendors started out with the Apollo, so they have not taken full advantage of the Epson. As Lo Zeno points out, the Apollo can do partial screen updates (the Epson can in principle do several simultaneously).
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Old 09-10-2009, 08:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
Since there are many Hanlin V3 owners, here is a review of the V5 just for you.

I actually have an EZ Reader Basic and Pocket Pro, but Astak uses the Jinke standard firmware in both.
Would you place the two side-by-side again, bring up the same (or very similar) text on both, and judge whether either one has better contrast than the other ("whiter-whites! blacker-blacks!") The subject of relative contrast came up in another thread (in the Astak forum) regarding a comment made by a CNet reviewer regarding the relative contrast between the 5" PP and a 6" Sony device.

Thanks!
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Old 09-11-2009, 12:00 AM   #10
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Would you place the two side-by-side again, bring up the same (or very similar) text on both, and judge whether either one has better contrast than the other ("whiter-whites! blacker-blacks!")
I have not responded before, because I think variations between screens on the same device may be larger than I see between the two EZ Readers. To my eye, using the default ePub font, the 6" Basic has slightly darker characters than the 5" Pocket Pro. The background is the same gray on both.
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Old 09-11-2009, 12:10 AM   #11
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I have not responded before, because I think variations between screens on the same device may be larger than I see between the two EZ Readers. To my eye, using the default ePub font, the 6" Basic has slightly darker characters than the 5" Pocket Pro. The background is the same gray on both.
Thanks, wallcraft!
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Old 09-14-2009, 05:52 AM   #12
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does the v5 read the same file types as the v3?
i only ask because im looking at getting one for all my reading needs.
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Old 09-14-2009, 09:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaleDe View Post
Interesting, so Sony interprets point size as point size and Jinke interprets point size as pixel size.

Dale
I think you mean that Sony renders font size in point increments and Jinke renders them in pixel increments. ;-)

Which is exactly true.
If you measure the ADE font sizes on a V3 you'll see they come in at exact millimeter sizes rather than at any recognizable point size.
With the new update they are continuing the practice
(note how the font sizes are described in percentages rather than points)

Clearly, typographic convention/accuracy is not a concern for those coding ADE on Hanlin.
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Old 09-14-2009, 10:17 AM   #14
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does the v5 read the same file types as the v3?
Yes. On the V3, older firmware reads DRMed (encrypted) MOBI but the latest firmware reads DRM-free MOBI and DRMed Adobe PDF and ePub. The V5 firmware reads exactly the same formats as the latest V3 firmware (e.g. DRM-free MOBI, etcetera).
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
I think you mean that Sony renders font size in point increments and Jinke renders them in pixel increments. ;-)

Which is exactly true.
If you measure the ADE font sizes on a V3 you'll see they come in at exact millimeter sizes rather than at any recognizable point size.
With the new update they are continuing the practice
(note how the font sizes are described in percentages rather than points)

Clearly, typographic convention/accuracy is not a concern for those coding ADE on Hanlin.
Actually I mean almost exactly what I said. I recently tried an ePUB that had hardcoded (CSS coded) 12 point font and the interpretation of the Reader was to display it 12 pixels high however they did add spacing between the lines that would have normally been included in the points size. The result was 42 lines displayed in 800 pixels or about 19 pixels per line (12 plus spacing). This is clearly wrong. Changing the font size in ADE did nothing. Running the file through Calibre removed the hard coding and made the file readable.

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