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Old 11-22-2009, 10:37 AM   #1
DrMoze
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300 (5") screen EASY and FAST for reading!

There seems to be a misconception that the 300 isn't as good for fast readers because the screen is smaller. As I noted a while back, the 300 has about 5/6 the amount of text per line and 5/6 the number of lines per screen as on a comparable 6" screen. This leads to 2/3 the amount of text per screenful, or 50% more page turns.

OTOH, I find (after long reading sessions) that the 300 is a bit easier on the eyes--my eyes don't have to scan across longer text lines, and can stay more centered as I work my way down the page. I believe that I actually read a bit faster on the 300 than on the 500/505 with larger screens. And timing the page turn when I hit the last line doesn't slow things down one bit.

So, I think (after a lot of reading on both 5" and 6" ebook devices) that reading on the 5" screen is just as fast as on the 6" screen, if not faster, and is easier on the eyes in the long run. This is the same effect that makes it easy to quickly read narrow newspaper columns by basically tracking down the center of the column, where your eyes barely move left/right to catch the entire short line of text.

Funny, I see so many people here saying the 5" screen is "too small" and they wouldn't want one, after just looking at one in a store (or even just reading the specs!). But I have not seen a 300 owner here suggest that the 5" screen is too small or that it slows down the reading process. (I may have missed one such comment here, if it exists!)

My opinions are based on extensive first-hand experience. And I think it is disturbing that so many people here make such comments against the 5" screen, dissuading others who are considering one, without having really spent a lot of time using one.
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Old 11-22-2009, 11:51 AM   #2
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I completely agree with you. I have a 600, but I experience the same thing. I need to have the font larger than most, but as a consequence, I probably have about the same amount of text on my 6" screen as most people would have on a 5" screen. I love it and find that my eyes don't get as tired because the font is larger and I don't have to move my eyes back and forth as much.

I have thought about getting a 300 for this very reason. I wonder, could I get by with the smaller screen and a smaller font if my eyes didn't have to move back and forth as much. But I am attached to the dictionary and touch screen. I keep going back and forth.
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Old 11-22-2009, 12:35 PM   #3
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Totally agree with you. I have a 5" CyBook Opus, and don't find it to be the slightest bit uncomfortable to use on account of the screen size.
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Old 11-22-2009, 12:51 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by DrMoze View Post
But I have not seen a 300 owner here suggest that the 5" screen is too small or that it slows down the reading process.
Before I bought my 300, I did all my e-book reading on the 2.6 x 2.6 inch, 160 x 160 pixel screens of old Handspring Visors (that I have a whole stock of from Ebay.) I've read hundreds of books on that screen (including a couple of them around 1000 pages long, the most recent being Ananthem.)

You won't hear me saying that the 300 is "too small." Also won't hear me saying that 200dpi is too low resolution, as some say (the Handsprings were around 60dpi.)
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Old 11-22-2009, 01:32 PM   #5
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I think the same. Indeed, I've recommended to a friend of mine who wants a e-book reader only for novels like me.
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Old 11-22-2009, 02:35 PM   #6
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I've got mixed feelings on this, but the size isn't as much the issue.

My now decommissioned reader was a 4"x3" PDA screen that I've used and abused for years now. Never had "size" problems with reading from it. I could get a clear font small enough that I'd spend enough time on one page that I wasn't constantly flipping it . . . and there in lies my problem with the 300.

My PDA had practically instantaneous response. You press a button, before your eyes could make it to the top of the screen (and on a small screen too), the next page was there. I'd drooled over the 500, 505, and even toyed awhile about shelling out for an iliad, but i'd see the videos and see the user press the button . . . then wait . . . then the screen would flicker and be done -- in many cases more than a second transpired.

Yes, I know E-Ink has a notoriously slow refresh rate, but the more I've looked at them, the more I've come to realize that it isn't the screen that makes it painful -- it's the sleeping processor. It has to be aroused from slumber, gather it's wits about itself, read from memory, render the page load it on the screen hardware, and *THEN* the screen would start it's flicker and change. The processor lag took FAR more than the screen's redraw delay.

It wasn't until Sony made the 600 that a fast enough processor was in play to cut the "load" time down to transitions I can tolerate. After seeing the 600 perform, I was hoping the 300 had taken advantage of it's bigger brother's design choices -- sadly it had not. The response rate isn't much better than the 505, *AND* I'll have to do it more because the screen is smaller.

So yes, I agree a smaller, clearer page with the right font size can give you a faster(and easier) per-word read experience than say an atlas sized page with a comparable font (900, I'm looking at you!) *BUT* if the page transitions are significantly slower due to the processor, and you have to change more often, you're not really much better off.

I'd love a smaller form than my 600, but as for speed, I'd take function over form any day.

Dan <><
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Old 11-22-2009, 09:06 PM   #7
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Too Big

Am I the only person in the world that thinks all these ebook readers are too big?

I've been reading books for years on Palm Pilots, Tungstens, Palm Centro phone and a Moto Q Windows Mobile phone (Blackberry size). I have never thought these were too small to read on and I'll be 72 years old in a week or so.

The only problem is battery life. Runs the darn phone down in a day. I starting reading about these ereaders and thought I'd better investigate them. I'm an engineer, so I always investigate first before buying.

They looked good on paper and the computer screen-2 week battery life, store lots of books, most handle several formats. I'd better go fondle one and have plastic ready.

I went to Best Buy and looked at the Sony. They are both huge! The pocket size 300 sure doesn't fit my pocket. Down here in Florida (unless you're a lawyer) we don't were a suit coat very often. Short sleeve dress shirt and a tie, maybe, but even going to lunch, it's usually too hot for a coat. If an ereader isn't going to fit in a dress shirt pocket, forget it.

I take mine to lunch. You know, "I'll have a #2 special, keep the iced tea full and let me read." I take it to the movies with the wife. You have to get there 30-45 minutes early. She watches the commercials until the movie starts and I read.

I am not going to lug one of those gigantic gadgets around. Make me one that uses eink and is the size of my Q or a Blackberry and you've got a sale. I I wanted something to lug around, I'd get a small laptop or one of those slow netbooks.

Ed
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Old 11-23-2009, 03:11 AM   #8
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A 6" Reader is almost exactly the same size as a paperback book. I don't think many people would regard that as being an object so "huge" that it can't be carried around .
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Old 11-23-2009, 05:51 AM   #9
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I'm with Ed on this one.

It's not so much that it's smaller than the paper alternative, it's that we've cast aside our paper bondage long ago. For avid readers moving from paper to ebook, it's no sweat. From we few who are moving from a PDA, the pocket size takes a mighty big pocket.

Useless history: when palm went about building their first, well, palm, one of their engineers cut and recut a block of wood and went around the office checking pockets to see if it actually fit. I bring this up because most ebook manufacturers are approaching "pocket" dimensions as what's the smallest page size around, not what's the typical pocket size.

Yes, I can carry 1000's of books in one device the size of a book, but I'm still having to keep track of a device the size of a book -- but how many books will I read on one outing? 90%+ of the time, it's only one.

How has this device that's about the same size and weight, and just as anti-portable really helped me in the day-to-day?

My point is not that Ebooks are useless unless they're like PDAs -- it's that it's not quite optimal "handy-ness". An inch here and there, it'll slip in my pocket, and pop out on a whim. It *COULD* become a gadget that goes everywhere with me that I don't have to think about until I use it. Instead, I have to keep up with it, make sure I don't leave it in the restaurant or set it down on the park bench, all while juggling it with everything else I'm carrying -- I have pockets for a reason!

No, my complaint is not that's they're useless, it's that they could be more useful!

Dan <><
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Old 11-23-2009, 06:10 AM   #10
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I like that the 300 is about the same size as a book. The portability isn't an issue for me because almost none of my clothes have pockets anyway, so I almost always have a satchel or other small bag with me, and it's a perfect size for a handbag.

I tend to read for long periods (on weekends I'll happily lie around reading for 10 - 12 hours at a time). I used to read on a Nintendo DS and found my hand would get cramped after just a few hours of holding the smaller device (not to mention the eyestrain from the tiny screen). The 300 is a nice size to hold and read for those long sessions.
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Old 11-23-2009, 10:54 AM   #11
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I agree with some points about size-- with my old Handsprings, I just slipped it in a shirt or pants pocket and took it with me everywhere I went, no need to debate whether to take it or not. The 300 is just slightly too big (and way too expensive-- my old PDAs are around 10 bucks to replace from Ebay) to stick in a pocket without thought-- it becomes something that must be kept track of. But it is an acceptable trade-off to be able to display more than format-less plain text. When the screens and readers start being flexible (won't break the glass) or roll-up is when readers will really hit their prime.
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Old 11-23-2009, 12:19 PM   #12
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I have a 300.

On the refresh issue, I just don't have a problem. Maybe it's a question of timing - for a while I would hit the page change button a fraction too soon, and not quite finish reading the page before the change occurred. But now that I have my timing down, I can hit the page change at the right time to let me finish reading the page, & move on to the next, without even noticing the page change.

On the size issue, I'm with Ed. I live in Chicago, so for 8 or 9 months of the year I'm wearing a jacket or windbreaker, so I have a pocket big enough for my 300, which I keep in a Tuff-Luf case. But it seems to me that a slightly smaller screen packaged in a form which put the various buttons on the side rather than the surface of the device would make a legitimately pocket sized reader possible.

There's another element in reading on a small screen which seems to me to have some relevance to the size issue. I think that the nature of the reading material makes a difference. I find it very easy to read novels and short stories on the 300. But nonfiction is a different matter. I think it's because if one is reading critically, the flow of the thought in the writing necessitates some back & forth reading - that is, one reads paragraph A, then paragraph B, which sometimes leads to a "lookback" to paragraph A - sometimes from way down the line in paragraph G a few pages later.

This is a general problem I have with ereading, such that I find I do most of my non-fiction reading on pbooks rather than ebooks. Of course, the largest screen size I've tried is 6 inches - it may not be as much of an issue on the larger models.
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Old 11-23-2009, 06:45 PM   #13
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pikelet,

alas, the man purse has not had it's full day in the sun, and I fear I won't be trendy enough to carry one if it ever does.

I will agree, it's harder to get a comfortable grip on a smaller device. It wouldn't surprise me its one of the limiting factors on pbook dimensions.


Harmon,

My pockets aren't as big as yours, but I didn't need a jacket to get to work this morning -- nothin' personal, but you can keep your winter

On timing, I'd note that Ga Tech published a behavioral study about what people were willing to do to accommodate a device they liked -- specifically the Roomba. They found people would go to extremes to accommodate the little robot -- some to the point of pre-vacuuming for it.

While I'm not trying to say the 300's timing is soooo bad you're delusional if you live with it, I would point out what you and others have mentioned -- you've had to train yourself to pre-press the button to accommodate the processor lag.

My day job is software maintainance for a user interface of an embedded system. Response time is something we measure in 10's of ms if we can, and low 100's of ms if we can't. At work, a 1/3 second delay(333ms) is uncomfortably long and a 1/2 second delay (500 ms) simply wouldn't be acceptable -- however, you won't pick up one of my boxes for less than 6 figures . . . I can afford to be picky how efficiently I manage my applications.

I do agree that larger screens are accommodating to non-fiction as opposed to fiction, but I doubt you've never tried it on something bigger than 6" -- after all, I look at technical documents all the time on an 19" screen. I have regular access to 22", 24" and dual 19" screens. Guess which one I pick if I'm reading just one document? On goes the workstation with the 24" screen. Yes, monitors do present some different challenges than E-ink displays, but they're not incomparable. I think that beautifully reinforces what you're saying. Will large E-ink screens become the tech manual platform of choice . . . well, maybe if we can get around ill-formatted PDFs . . .


In the end, I'd love a smaller-faster-cheaper device for personal use, and someday, someone will make one. However, today, I still own a 600 and I'm pleased with the device. Faults-and-all, it's the best intersection of what I require and what I'll tolerate.

Dan <><
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Old 11-23-2009, 06:58 PM   #14
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I saw the Sony 300 and 600 advertised in the flyers from Best Buy and Office Depot this past week.
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Old 11-25-2009, 12:43 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by CraftyDan View Post
alas, the man purse has not had it's full day in the sun, and I fear I won't be trendy enough to carry one if it ever does.
I've tried to carry one around. I actually have a couple of "special use" bags - one for opera/concerts which will hold binoculars, chocolate, glasses cleaners and a book. Another for when I'm being a tourist.

But on the whole, I don't like carrying things, bags or otherwise. Cargo pants are my salvation.

Quote:
I will agree, it's harder to get a comfortable grip on a smaller device. It wouldn't surprise me its one of the limiting factors on pbook dimensions.
Other way around for me - comfort increases as size decreases.

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My pockets aren't as big as yours, but I didn't need a jacket to get to work this morning -- nothin' personal, but you can keep your winter
Well, I don't have to worry about floods & himorhurricanes. But I spent many of my formative years in south Alabama, and believe firmly that a reasonable winter temperature is 30 above, not 30 below.

Quote:
I would point out what you and others have mentioned -- you've had to train yourself to pre-press the button to accommodate the processor lag.
Yep. Fortunately, I'm easy to train. Ask my wife...

Quote:
I do agree that larger screens are accommodating to non-fiction as opposed to fiction, but I doubt you've never tried it on something bigger than 6" -- after all, I look at technical documents all the time on an 19" screen.
When it comes to documents which extend beyond one screen, I have difficulty reading on computer screens. If I really want to read them, I print them out. I think part of the issue is the aspect ratio - that is, I expect a certain page ratio similar to a book's, and computer screens are too wide & too short. I don't like the half page reading experience.

I'd love to have a full page monitor, but my employer is the government. Lowest bidder & all that. And of course, there's no such laptop.

I go from a top line Mac with an ethernet connection at home - shazam! - to a slow poke circa 2007 PC running XP at work- pokety pokety pokety. I have learned to deal with lag.

Quote:
In the end, I'd love a smaller-faster-cheaper device for personal use, and someday, someone will make one. However, today, I still own a 600 and I'm pleased with the device. Faults-and-all, it's the best intersection of what I require and what I'll tolerate.
For a long time, I've hoped that Apple would make such a product. But I'm about to officially give up. Even if they do, I'm afraid it will be too large. So for too smaller/but faster/kinda cheaper it looks like the iPod Touch.
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