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Old 11-09-2009, 12:43 PM   #1
Alianne
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Which is the best reader for annotations...

I think Plastic Logic's Que might be the reader for me, but until that comes out, I'd like to see if there are other readers that might do the trick.

I'm a student and we read a lot of stuff for class and that's what i'm planning on using the ereader for. I'm looking for an ereader which can handle pdf and .doc files and which allows me to make annotations and highlights.

I've read that several readers have this function, but I'm not too clear on how the annotation and highlighting works. Right now, I go to class with thick piles of photocopied materials which are all colorfully highlighted covered with notes in the margins. I was wondering if there was an ereader which can duplicate that effect. a good search function would also be a huge plus as well as a customizable file management system.
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Old 11-09-2009, 02:13 PM   #2
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Well may begin a pre-order for the Boox 60 by Onyx so Ill talk about that first.

It supports pdfs as well as just about every other format available but not docs yet- thats coming in the next software release. Its a wacom tablet which means the touch functionality is stylus based.

PDF Reflow and zooming is I think the best I've seen but I haven't used it for anything more technical then my tax returns and my business plan.

Note taking and highlighting is easy- you can select the part you want to highlight then save that and in pdfs you can write notes on the document with the stylus. You cant however take the written notes off the device yet.


Search is really nice- its full text search of every file and annotations. Plus the Boox supports folders so you can sort all of your documents.

There's also WiFi with a webkit browser - I've used in my house out at "coffee shops" and a certain bookseller which offers free WiFi to download books from Google books.

Downsides-

Wacom uses juice faster than other touch techs BUT when you stow the stylus it does turn the wacom off.

You cant' just bring up a keyboard to make notes. There is a keyboard that pops up to search your files or the web or use the dictionary but not to make notes- you have to write with the stylus.

6inch screen- This can be limiting for PDFs and probably 8inch or 10inch would be better but the Reflow and Zooming is really exceptional.

Price- Notice I said at the start "we MAY start a pre-order" thats because its going to be on the High end- $350-$380 depending on how many orders we get. 100 orders would put us into the $370-$380 range but 200 would bring it down to $350

this video shows the functionality quite well




Alternatives of course will be the new one from Irex coming soon that will be available from Best Buy and The Que. The Irex will have close to the same specs wacom/stylus input but with an 8 inch screen and is supposed to retail at $399. I did read it may not have "full screen sribble" at first like the Boox does but would come later as an update. Irex updates are something of a wait historically.

The Que- Well I really believe this thing is going to be the best device out for students and professionals alike and I dont believe it will be $500 as some speculated. It might even be under $400. If it is that'll make the Irex and Boox's kind of moot imho. We'll know in January- Ill be going to CES although I wont make it for the opening day- hopefully I will even have a review unit before then.

I have been talking with them for 4 months now about wanting to be a reseller partner as they have said that B&N wont be the only but they will not commit until after the launch in Jan. I'm really looking forward to it.
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:40 PM   #3
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The device that best meets your needs NOW is unquestionably the iRex DR1000S.

If that's out of your price range, the Sony PRS-600 is pretty good - it allows both "freehand" annotations with the stylus, and typed notes with the on-screen keyboard.

The Kindle 2 is out since it doesn't support PDF, as is the Kindle DX, since although it support PDF, it doesn't allow you to annotate them.
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Old 11-13-2009, 02:21 AM   #4
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A friend of mine just bought the Sony PRS-600 so I'll be able to try it out and see how it works. Can the annotations be exported and shared?
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Old 11-13-2009, 04:19 AM   #5
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The annotations can be exported to the Sony eBook Library on the PC or Mac; I don't think they can be shared, but I've not investigated that too closely, so I could be wrong.
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Old 11-14-2009, 09:44 AM   #6
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as is the Kindle DX, since although it support PDF, it doesn't allow you to annotate them.

I"ve been told (perhaps innaccurately?) that if you convert a PDF file through Calibre or some such, that you can annotate on it. Which is a PITA, but doable if the large format and price point are acceptable. Particularly since it seems like to really optimize PDF's for most devices, you have to do something with them, anyway. Of course, annotations with the DX keyboard are supposed to be a PITA, regardless.

My personal strategy is to wait until the Que comes out, the iRex 800 has annotation, and see how those stack up and are priced. If they don't seem to be all that and a pack of peanuts, I'll get a refurb DX and see if it meets my needs within 30 days. If not, ship it back and get a Sony 600. At least that's my strategy this week, I've been known to change my mind!
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Old 11-14-2009, 09:56 AM   #7
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I"ve been told (perhaps innaccurately?) that if you convert a PDF file through Calibre or some such, that you can annotate on it. Which is a PITA, but doable if the large format and price point are acceptable. Particularly since it seems like to really optimize PDF's for most devices, you have to do something with them, anyway. Of course, annotations with the DX keyboard are supposed to be a PITA, regardless.
Well, yes, you could do that, but then it's not a PDF any more, and hence rather bypasses the point of this thread . If you've converted many PDFs, you'll also know that they very often convert extremely badly, since a PDF is not an ebook, and does not contain the information required to convert to an ebook format.
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Old 11-14-2009, 02:58 PM   #8
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Well, yes, you could do that, but then it's not a PDF any more, and hence rather bypasses the point of this thread .
It doesn't, really though. Piles of printouts aren't PDF's anymore, either, they're ink on pulped trees. I don't really care what the thing becomes, as long as it is in a form that is useable to me, with a substantial enough improvement on the ink-on-pulped trees to make it worth the purchase price.

Whether something does or does not convert "well" is going to vary with the tolerances of the person doing the reading, which is going to be influenced heavily by the kinds of files they are trying to read. Nothing with less than an 8.5 X 11 inch screen is going to display EXACTLY like a paper printout designed for the US market. The individual purchaser will just have to decide if the other advantages of a given reader outweigh the problems for what THEY are going to do.
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Old 11-16-2009, 01:54 AM   #9
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I'm interested in e-book readers that can do free form annotations too. Could we compile a list of them in this thread?

So far I've got:
Current:
I-Rex Iliad
I-Rex 1000S
Sony PRS700

Upcoming:
Plastic Logic Que
Sony PRS 900
I-rex DR800SG
(help me out)

The main question for me is: do I ask for one for Christmas or do I wait?
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Old 11-16-2009, 03:44 AM   #10
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The Sony PRS-700 cannot make free-hand annotations, since it has no touch screen. The PRS-600 can.
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:32 PM   #11
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The Sony PRS-700 cannot make free-hand annotations, since it has no touch screen.
Um, what? It has the same touch screen as the 600. It's just not implemented in the 700's original firmware.
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Old 11-18-2009, 04:56 AM   #12
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I'm on the fence about this one: Entourage eDGe. It seems like a netbook/ e-book reader hybrid. The downside is that with all the features they've packed in, the battery life is a mere 16 hours. It's also heavier and more bulky.
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Old 11-18-2009, 07:11 AM   #13
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Um, what? It has the same touch screen as the 600. It's just not implemented in the 700's original firmware.
Sorry, you're right, of course. However, I believe that I am correct in saying that the PRS-700 doesn't support freehand annotation.
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Old 11-18-2009, 07:32 AM   #14
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Piles of printouts aren't PDF's anymore, either, they're ink on pulped trees.
While this sounds like a good argument, it is in fact irrelevant: a PDF printed out on paper will look, in almost all cases, 100% like the PDF on screen. This is partially what PDF was designed for, after all.

A PDF converted to a format your eBook reader understands is however a completely different matter. In my experience tables get messed up, images are moved from their position inline to between parts of text, equations are seldom kept intact, footnotes are often found either halfway through text or sometimes even at the end of the book, and all this is assuming you are converting a text-based PDF and not a scanned-image one, which converts even worse - if at all. The best way to view a PDF on an eBook reader, at this moment, is in its original format.

Of course every rule has its exceptions, and indeed some PDF's with mostly text or only the occasional image here and there and no footnotes, tables, equations or other layout quirks will be converted quite well. Sadly for us academics, almost no serious paper falls into this catagory. I have all but given up on reading those on my eReader in fact, realising you simply cannot expect something designed for A4 format to look exactly the same on a screen barely a quarter the size - in this I fully agree with you. If your main purpose is to read papers on an eReader, I very strongly suggest getting something with a big enough screen to display them in their original layout - which means at least 10" or so.

On a more ontopic note: the PRS-600 allows you to make annotations, highlights and bookmarks (as well as full-text search on a per-book basis). Annotations can be both text- as well as freehand based. There is a 100-character limit on exporting highlights to a PC though, probably for copyright reasons. In this regard it is well suited for academic purposes, were it not for its limiting 6" screensize.
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Old 11-18-2009, 07:46 PM   #15
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I'm in the same boat as bruncle - do I jump on it now or wait until the new ones come out, which is shortly?

Do I get a PRS-600 now, or wait for the 900 or the I-rex DR800SG?

Do I go ahead and get a pocketbook 360 now and then hold off on something bigger as a possible second reader when those come out so I can make a fully educated decision on the more expensive readers while still having a great reading device?
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