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Old 01-06-2010, 08:32 PM   #1
backlit_searcher
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Backlit

Hi all

First post, so be gentle

My girlfriend has got into ebooks over the last year, but we have held off on buying an ebook reader for the simple reason that she can not use one at night, due to the lack of a backlight.

So far she has been using her netbook, a Samsung NC10, but I would love to get her a backlit eReader (assuming that is the generic name).

So, are there any out there at the moment, or are there any rumors of any coming out?
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Old 01-06-2010, 08:46 PM   #2
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The only one, and has been discontinued for some time now, was the Sony PRS-700. Some people like it quite a bit, some feel the lighting really hurt the display quality.

Recommendation: Purchase a good, current, reader and a regular book light.
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Old 01-06-2010, 09:29 PM   #3
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I have a very different opinion. If you are in the market for a backlit reader and don't mind biding your time just a little longer, you are about to witness the dawning of a new age in electronic devices.

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) starts tomorrow and promises the introduction of an explosion of reading devices, mobile devices and tablet style devices that are much anticipated in the ebook reading world (among lots of geeky others).

You might enjoy reading the review of the Jointech JE-100 by Coldsun. That is just one possibility and I mean it when I say there is much to look forward to in the first quarter of 2010. If there weren't so many possibilities coming along, I would have opted for the JE-100 but there are going to be faster, more powerful (and greener) devices very soon. Coldsun's review of the W1060 is also very good. If you want a more dedicated reader, I suspect there will be many to choose from as well.

Some people say e-ink is the only way to enjoy an electronic book and others of us are chomping at the bit for the new stuff. Whatever way you decide to go, a small avalanche is about to head our way. Personally, I plan to throw my book lights and head lamps in its path.
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Old 01-06-2010, 09:33 PM   #4
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I agree with Katelyn. If the lack of an e-ink screen doesn't bother you, wait until after CES to see what new devices are coming out. MSI has a really neat dual-screen tablet coming out and MS/HP may unveil the Courier concept. If you really want an e-ink screen, then get one and a nice book light.
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:19 PM   #5
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I have a Kindle and find the lack of backlighting a bonus. I can read for hours on end without tired eyes. If I need the backlighting, I can read on my iPhone with a free Kindle App. I purchased a Mighty Bright clip on light and use that at times as well.
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:28 AM   #6
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I agree I love the lack of backlighting.
Makes for much easier lengthy reading
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Old 01-07-2010, 02:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chainring View Post
The only one, and has been discontinued for some time now, was the Sony PRS-700. Some people like it quite a bit, some feel the lighting really hurt the display quality.

Recommendation: Purchase a good, current, reader and a regular book light.
No, the Sony PRS-700 has side-lighting. eInk screens are opaque, and hence cannot be backlit.
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Old 01-07-2010, 04:59 AM   #8
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The question was about backlit readers, not whether you like them or not.
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Old 01-07-2010, 07:03 AM   #9
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Hi Katelyn, and all the rest

Thanks for the replies. I had a quick look at the links you send and while they look like great products I think battery will become a factor.

I realise that a back light will affect performance, however it is a sacrifice I am willing to make. I am not overly pushed if the screen is colour or not, just that it can be used at night.

I am not pushed one way or the other on e-ink, although I have only briefly looked at it in a local book store once or twice. I remember using my palm, or was it handspring visor, to read books and it wasn't such a terrible experience - given it was probably 9 years ago.

I guess we will be waiting for CES to see what happen. Now it's not just new announcements for the Palm Pre I have to look forward to

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Old 01-07-2010, 07:21 AM   #10
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There is also the ebookwise-1150. I haven't used one, but I've seen that a lot of people here have liked this model of e-reader and the price is certainly right, I've seen it advertised for $89! I have to say, I'm not sure about the files it supports, however, and it is an older model afaik, so you'd have to check that out it you are interested.

http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/EBookwise-1150
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Old 01-07-2010, 07:23 AM   #11
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I'd not actually expect too much to change immediately - the choice is likely to be between something with an active screen, that you can read at night but will only have a battery life measured in hours (and may not be very good in daylight) or something with a reflective (typically eInk) screen, which will have a battery life measured in days (or weeks).

Your problem is that eInk, at least, is like paper in that it's opaque and reflects light off it - it won't pass through, so for night you need a light, although it could be a small one attached to the eBook cover - see the Sony accessories. On the other hand, the advantage is that the eInk screen only needs power when changing, which allows the long battery life.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
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There is also the ebookwise-1150. I haven't used one, but I've seen that a lot of people here have liked this model of e-reader and the price is certainly right, I've seen it advertised for $89! I have to say, I'm not sure about the files it supports, however, and it is an older model afaik, so you'd have to check that out it you are interested.

http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/EBookwise-1150
I loved my old 1150s and 1200s but they are so dated that I can't imagine going back to them. The .IMP format is old and outdated and the screens are much dimmer and greenish compared to today's standards in backlit screens.

For backlit devices, battery life is certainly an issue but I think that will improve over time as technology progresses. Whatever you decide on, it will be outdated in a short time anyway!
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Old 01-07-2010, 10:30 AM   #13
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No, the Sony PRS-700 has side-lighting. eInk screens are opaque, and hence cannot be backlit.
Oops, quite right. I should have known that since I did lots of research and almost bought the unit.

Thanks for the correction!
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:10 AM   #14
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I loved my old 1150s and 1200s but they are so dated that I can't imagine going back to them. The .IMP format is old and outdated and the screens are much dimmer and greenish compared to today's standards in backlit screens.
True, the eBookwise 1150 is dated, but as a new owner, I've really fallen in love with this device. You have to gauge your own interests though. Most of my reading is public domain texts, so if the OP's girlfriend likes to read a lot of new novels, it would be worthwhile to see what new books are available at the eBookwise store at <http://www.ebookwise.com/>.

My thinking is that the eBookwise will help me wait out the storm until a killer ereader comes within a reasonable price range--and I'm not expecting that to happen this year. The eBookwise is definitely LCD, but the "ergonomics" of reading are awesome, the screen does not bother my eyes (not at this stage of life, anyway), and like many EB owners, I've found the backlight a really nice feature for reading in bed without waking my wife. I don't think the screen is too dim, but that's just my experience (I've never used e-ink or the newer LCD screens like the Jetbook's). And in the end, as others told me before I bought mine, if you only use the eBookwise for a year, you are only out $2/week.

So again, you'll find a strong following behind the eBookwise for these reasons, but you have to judge your own requirements. Getting books onto the eBookwise is a bit more of a process, it is an LCD screen, and the online bookstore may not have all the new releases you are looking for. Oh, battery life for me has ranged between 12-15 hours with moderate backlighting.
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Old 01-08-2010, 02:20 AM   #15
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there are going to be a few tablet/slate type devices, the Notion Adam is very interestign but no clue when it will ship so it could be a year until it's done and shipping.

1. Here is the Endgadget link.

2. Here is a link to the MR thread about it

I forget the others but I also don't see many being ready to ship before March.

backlights are problematic as Harry pointed out. I actually prefer backlit readers and you will find many people also feel the same...so, make sure that your GF really does want a backlit reader. The thing about a device using an eink type display is reading it in the direct sunlight only makes it BETTER in fact for me, a LOT better.

I have two backlit devices in my old Clie PDA and a Nokia N800 Internet Tablet. Both are pretty nice. I can actually read the Clie in direct sunlight because it has a "transflective" display which reflects light back when you turn off the backlight.

The problem with buying any device that has a backlight and is not use a display without some form of transflective technology then if she wants to read outside, she won't be able to do so. But she can always add a book-light for reading indoors in poor ambient lighting or even the dark.

I would not buy any old device which cannot read the current formats or you will end up spending time learning how to format-shift and deDRM her DRM'd ebooks just so she can read them on that device. My old PDA is still OK because it supports MOBI format books but ePub, I pretty much have never even looked to see if there is a reader for PalmOS 5.0 which supports ePub...if you do end up needing to format-shift there is no easier tool than Calibre which was and still is being written by a member of MR...it has it's own forum...it's really slick software.

Anyway, read the news & comments section as well as visit Engadget to see a lot of info on what has been discovered and announced or even released at CES.

I wish I could recommend unconditionally a backlit reader but, to be honest, there have been none which stood out to me so far. I expect this to change as we see more slate/tablet like devices.

Something else is what will your budget be? Expect all of the tablets to be in the $200-$400 range...then again so are almost all of the eink type readers as well.

Just hang in there as info will keep trickling in over the next few weeks. I know of a couple devices yet to be announced from a company or two but neither will have a backlight.

Another question would be what size device would she be happy with? If she wants a smallish device then even an old PDA like one of the Clies or other PDA with a transflective display could be the option. Also, HP & Dell are joining the tablet/slate device market as well which will be backlit devices. And likely to not carry much of a brand premium because of the competition in today's market.

Last edited by brecklundin; 01-08-2010 at 02:34 AM.
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