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Old 12-22-2009, 07:20 PM   #1
catharsis
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Best Reader for A4 documents and textbooks

Hello all,

I'm working in research and I would need a device that would display journal articles (usually 2 columns on 8,5 x 11 inch) and textbooks, usually all PDFs. Also, I would need battery life for at least a day's use and I need it to be available in Europe (online ebook stores don't concern me that much, I just need it to be shipped in the EU). As I didn't see any devices on display yet (I almost saw an iRiver Story ), I'm not ruling out the 6 inch devices, but I'm curious if 2 column document are displayed decently if reflowed. Of course, I would prefer a large screen display so my money would go either on the iRex DR800, Sony PRS-900 or Amazon Kindle DX. I'm planning to buy it mid-January or I could wait until mid-February. So, considering the Europe availability, what would you recommend?
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Old 12-23-2009, 01:30 AM   #2
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The Irex 1000 (if I'm recalling the number correct) is the one most reccomended. But it's pretty pricy.

I'm in the same boat--need something for journal articles (and I want stylus annotation for highlighting and jotting notes in the margins like I do on printouts currently).

I've decided to just wait for a tablet device. Current devices are too pricey, and e-ink is laggy for taking notes etc. And I'd just prefer a multi-function device.

In any case, you should wait until early next year. For one, the Plastic Logic Que will have price and specs etc. revealed in early January. It's aimed at the business market and designed to handle A4 documents, PDFs etc. And some other large screen devices will likely be announced at CES as well I'd think.
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Old 12-23-2009, 01:41 AM   #3
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If you need it right now, the Irex DR1000 is really the only one out there that does all that. The Kindle DX is large format and does do PDF, but I've read that it has some issues with PDF.

The DR1000 is pricey, but it really does a good job. I know that there have been threads here about people who have problems or bash Irex for poor support, but I haven't had any major issues with my DR1000 and as for minor issues, there isn't a single electronic device I've ever owned that didn't have an occasional issue. My DR1000 displays PDFs wonderfully and I do have quite a few. I also moved to using it for all my reading because I get more text per screen than on my Iliad. As for battery life, I routinely get 4-5 days before I have to charge it.

I'm really happy with mine, especially the PDF support.

My $0.02 worth.
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Old 12-23-2009, 06:16 AM   #4
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700€ is way too much for what I want to spend (I'd go for a of maximum 500€). So, basically, it's better to wait after CES. What about displaying a A4 document on a 6" device? Did anyone try to read journal articles on a 6" screen?
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Old 12-23-2009, 06:45 AM   #5
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If €500 is your price limit, I'd suggest getting a netbook. The DR1000 really is the only eInk device currently on the market that will meet your needs. Yes, it's expensive, but you get what you pay for.
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Old 12-23-2009, 11:58 AM   #6
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I say just wait. Netbooks and laptops are awkward to read on. And lack the ability to mark up with a stylus if you want that like I do.

Wait and see what the price is on the Que and what else comes out at CES. Hopefully the long rumored Apple Tablet will actually come out. I don't think it will be good for what you and I seem to want. But it should lead to a deluge of cheaper tablets from other companies as well, and give us more options.

It's just one of those areas where it's better to wait for a more ideal device at a better price rather than settling for the current options IMO.

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Old 12-23-2009, 01:14 PM   #7
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That's why I said that if you want one now, the DR1000 is rally the only one that meets your requirements. You do also have the option of getting a tablet PC, but from what I have read, they're underwhelming.

Of course there's always something better just around the corner.

You have to look at what you want, what you have to spend (not what you want to spend, but what is your actual budget), and then do a cost/benefit analysis. Don't forget to include things like the ability to take all your textbooks to the cafe to study with.

You may find that the DR1000 is what you want. You may also find that it's too expensive and a netbook will do the job just fine, and couple that with a less expensive e-reader for occasional jaunts.

We all have our opinions and are just dying to give them to everyone, but you need to figure out what's best for you, based on what we've all done.

Happy hunting
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Old 12-23-2009, 01:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catharsis View Post
700€ is way too much for what I want to spend (I'd go for a of maximum 500€). So, basically, it's better to wait after CES. What about displaying a A4 document on a 6" device? Did anyone try to read journal articles on a 6" screen?
I wasn't happy reading PDFs on a small screen because most of the ones I have don't flow, so the images are so small it's really difficult to read. If they're epubs or re-flowable PDFs you may have better luck. That's why I sprung for the DR1000 and am happy with it.

Your mileage may vary
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Old 12-23-2009, 02:22 PM   #9
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Kindle DX works quite nicely for letter and A4 PDFs

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If €500 is your price limit, I'd suggest getting a netbook. The DR1000 really is the only eInk device currently on the market that will meet your needs. Yes, it's expensive, but you get what you pay for.
I would not agree - If the Kindle DX is available in your area it works very well with PDF's - yes it does not do TOC's but it renders almost every pdf I have thrown at it with ease - i have 20 law books scans that range from 30 meg to well over 200 meg and it read them all with aplomb. With the recent update i dont even have to crop them becuase in landscape mode it automatically crops the white space on pdf's now. and for $489 US it is a pretty good value. In my opinion the DX1000, while a very good pdf reader is simply not worth twice the price; plus with the DX you will have access to a huge library of books from Amazon. (insert negative comments here from Amazon haters and DRM blah blah blah )

Like most consumers (check out Apple and Itunes) most people dont care about being tied to a single store; although your can load all the pdf's and open mobi books you want on your kindle, as long as they can easily get what they want at a price they want. Ease + Selection + Moderate Price = market dominance. Its a model that has proven itself over and over again. In my mind Amazon is the only one with the full equation, with the Nook being the only other real player to offer a complete vision.

Sony has its Daily reader coming out with wireless,and while I absolutely love thier 550, the new ones with the touch layer; I risk a jihad here, seem to me a wrong direction for sony. Also the Sony book library is smaller and on the whole more expensive than Amazon

I ditched my DR1000 because it felt to much like a niche product and without a viable consumable market (ie books) i can not see how Irex will sustain anything but a tiny and highly specialized market share.

I have also tried the netbook route - I have not found anything a netbook does well - they are on the whole slow, cramped and underpowered. 3 hours is the most you will get out of most of them also, so unless you intend to stay tethered to power they seem very impactible to me - maybe if some come out with the Qpixel screen and take on more of a teblet form factor will I think they would be decent book readers

I do agree with the the thread though that reading full size pdf's other than casually is an excercise in futility on most 6 inch readers
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Old 12-23-2009, 02:48 PM   #10
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...a tablet PC, but from what I have read, they're underwhelming.
Yeah, underwhelming for sure, and over priced. Just too big, bulky and hot for reading, and too short of battery life.

Hopefully some less powerful tablets designed just for reading pdfs, magazines etc. and some lite functions like PDA and web surfing will remedy that down the road.

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Of course there's always something better just around the corner.
Very true. But in the large screen e-reader devices it's probably worth waiting to at least see how the Que pans out, given details will be revealed in just a couple of weeks.

It's really the case that there's not a solid device for a reasonable price out their for most people--so I'm more apt to suggest people to wait than I am with small readers for novels where current readers get the job done.


Quote:
You have to look at what you want, what you have to spend (not what you want to spend, but what is your actual budget), and then do a cost/benefit analysis. Don't forget to include things like the ability to take all your textbooks to the cafe to study with.

Yep, everyone just has to match their needs and budget with a device that fits them.

For me, for a large screen device, it has to come damn close to paper printouts of PDFs in terms of ease of highlighting and jotting notes in the margins, ease of flipping through to find sections when writing articles and needing to cite something etc.

So e-ink is completely out of the question due to how slow and laggy it is for note taking, flipping through documents etc. And tablet/slate PCs are too big, bulky and expensive. So I'm stuck waiting for some thinner, lighter tablet designed for reading mainly with PDA and web etc. tacked on that can over come those short comings by not needing so much power for other functions.

For others, maybe they just need to read PDFs and don't care about flipping through them, marking them up etc. And for them a Kindle DX may fit their needs.

So it's definitely to each, their own. But I definitely at least say wait until early January for details on the Que and anything else announced at CES before taking the plunge since that's just right around the corner.

You may find that the DR1000 is what you want. You may also find that it's too expensive and a netbook will do the job just fine, and couple that with a less expensive e-reader for occasional jaunts.
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Old 12-23-2009, 03:08 PM   #11
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If €500 is your price limit, I'd suggest getting a netbook.
I would agree with this.

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I say just wait. Netbooks and laptops are awkward to read on. And lack the ability to mark up with a stylus if you want that like I do.
you must be thinking about first gen netbooks. There 2nd gen and the new 3rd gen devices that are convertible and the screen folds down to make the device into a tablet like form. Also they have touch screens which you can use with finger or stylus.

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I have also tried the netbook route - I have not found anything a netbook does well - they are on the whole slow, cramped and underpowered. 3 hours is the most you will get out of most of them also,
Once again... the 3rd gen netbooks have 6 to 8 hour batter life, have the more powerful Atom chips, some with dual core. Of course, how much power do you need in a net book to display a PDF file with FoxIt reader? Underpowered is relative to what you try to run on it. For example... a Linux based OS will probably be much faster on a netbook than Windows every could be.

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Old 12-23-2009, 03:48 PM   #12
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Here's my two cents
I am sort of in the same boat as you, and am in the market for a large screen reader with stylus note taking ability. I have a 6 inch reader (Sony prs 505) which I bought mostly for reading fiction, but I have found that I actually read a lot of pdf textbooks on it as well as journal articles. The reflow works great, as most of the articles I read are text based pdfs. I have been pleasantly surprised to find that some scanned texts (if they are scanned with character recognition) can reflow as well. Mind you, the journal articles I read aren't very graph or picture heavy articles. I would still like a large-screen reader, but for now I am very pleased with my 6 inch reader. At any rate, if and when I do get a larger reader, the 6 inch will still be the one that I carry around with me, and I'm pretty sure that I'll still use it to read journal articles / textbooks.

I hope I didn't make it harder for you to decide... if you can hold out a bit, I'm pretty sure that you will find a more affordable, larger reader on the market in 6 months or so. Pocketbook announced that it will be coming up with a 9.7 inch reader next year, that might be worth checking out as well.

If you are concerned about how a particular article will reflow on a 6 inch device, you can attach it on here and I can try it out on my reader, and hopefully put up some pictures if you like.
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Old 12-23-2009, 03:59 PM   #13
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I would agree with this.



you must be thinking about first gen netbooks. There 2nd gen and the new 3rd gen devices that are convertible and the screen folds down to make the device into a tablet like form. Also they have touch screens which you can use with finger or stylus.



Once again... the 3rd gen netbooks have 6 to 8 hour batter life, have the more powerful Atom chips, some with dual core. Of course, how much power do you need in a net book to display a PDF file with FoxIt reader? Underpowered is relative to what you try to run on it. For example... a Linux based OS will probably be much faster on a netbook than Windows every could be.

BOb
I have been testing netbooks for work (great fun by the way) - I have 4 of the latest one including the newer Asus 30a which is advertised as having 12 hours of battery life - running a battery voltage program and running on a balanced plan the HP, Lenovo and Dell all died at about the 3.5 hour mark. The Asus (with a core 2 ) was the fastest of the bunch and run for 4.3 hours; better but still does nto float my boat. I want to be able to take a device to the beach, park or library etc and read as long as I want not as long as it will let me
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Old 12-23-2009, 04:02 PM   #14
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The Asus (with a core 2 ) was the fastest of the bunch and run for 4.3 hours; better but still does nto float my boat. I want to be able to take a device to the beach, park or library etc and read as long as I want not as long as it will let me
Yea, I understand where you are coming from. But, its a trade off. If you want nicely displayed PDF then a 6inch ereader will never cut it... but you will be able to be frustrated for days... there is that.

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Old 12-23-2009, 04:05 PM   #15
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I would not agree - If the Kindle DX is available in your area it works very well with PDF's - yes it does not do TOC's but it renders almost every pdf I have thrown at it with ease - i have 20 law books scans that range from 30 meg to well over 200 meg and it read them all with aplomb. With the recent update i dont even have to crop them becuase in landscape mode it automatically crops the white space on pdf's now. and for $489 US it is a pretty good value. In my opinion the DX1000, while a very good pdf reader is simply not worth twice the price; plus with the DX you will have access to a huge library of books from Amazon. (insert negative comments here from Amazon haters and DRM blah blah blah )
The OP is in Europe, so the DX isn't much of an option at the moment

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Like most consumers (check out Apple and Itunes) most people dont care about being tied to a single store; although your can load all the pdf's and open mobi books you want on your kindle, as long as they can easily get what they want at a price they want. Ease + Selection + Moderate Price = market dominance. Its a model that has proven itself over and over again. In my mind Amazon is the only one with the full equation, with the Nook being the only other real player to offer a complete vision.
A lot of the time that's because most people don't know that they're locked in until something happens. Why do you think Apple dropped DRM? Why are so many people starting to jailbreak their iPhones? People don't care until they run into a limitation, then they start looking for workarounds. How many people on these boards are Kindle users and wondering how they can load onto their Kindle that nifty new ebook they just bought or downloaded online? What happens when they find out they have to format shift from ePub and can't because of the DRM?

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Sony has its Daily reader coming out with wireless,and while I absolutely love thier 550, the new ones with the touch layer; I risk a jihad here, seem to me a wrong direction for sony. Also the Sony book library is smaller and on the whole more expensive than Amazon
Currently the Sony hardware is more open that the Kindle and the Sony store is pretty much matching the Amazon pricing for most of the books I've looked at. By more open I mean that you can load books purchased from other vendors in ePub format, even with DRM (except B&Ns DRM until it's adopted more broadly).

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I ditched my DR1000 because it felt to much like a niche product and without a viable consumable market (ie books) i can not see how Irex will sustain anything but a tiny and highly specialized market share.
There are many great devices that are niche products and you never know, as the limitations on Kindle and other readers affect more and more people, iRex and other open readers may become much more popular. I can read books from multiple vendors on my DR1000 and Iliad. Kindle users can't. For me, that's a benefit. For others, it may not be

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I have also tried the netbook route - I have not found anything a netbook does well - they are on the whole slow, cramped and underpowered. 3 hours is the most you will get out of most of them also, so unless you intend to stay tethered to power they seem very impactible to me - maybe if some come out with the Qpixel screen and take on more of a teblet form factor will I think they would be decent book readers
A netbook isn't a full power PC, it's something small and portable and it's designed for the 80% of people that only do e-mail, browsing, play some music, look at some pictures, update their twitter/facebook/whatever pages. I have one and I've started to use it more than my laptop because 80% of the time I'm just doing e-mail, browsing, logging into the servers remotely and it does exactly what I want it to do. I also do some reading on it and it does that fine. In fact, many people are using their smart phones in place of their PCs because most of what they want to do, the smart phone does!

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I do agree with the the thread though that reading full size pdf's other than casually is an excercise in futility on most 6 inch readers
See... it all comes down to what the individual wants and will use their device for. I don't like the fact that the Kindle is tied so tightly to Amazon so I go with a different reader. You like that fact, so you go with the Kindle. Different strokes folks and all that.

The OP needs to decide what he/she wants to do and then find the reader in their budget that does that. The fact that a device is tied to or works best with a particular vendor/retailer is part of the equation. There are plenty of people who like their Kindle/iPhone/iPod device because of the tight integration, and plenty of people who don't like them for that integration. Where the problems most occur is that each side thinks their way is the best way and the other is deluded.

I don't hate Amazon, but I don't like the Kindle because it limits what I can do to what Amazon says I can and I don't like DRM because it limits what I can do with my legally purchase (purchased, mind, not licensed) media. Why shouldn't I be able to read that ebook on whatever device I want? When companies treat users/customers like criminals, those users start to feel like they can act that way (I'm not saying that's morally right, just that it happens). When you treat the user/customer as an adult and with respect, they'll return that respect (granted, not always, but there are never any absolutes ). Look at Baen books. They sell ebooks with no DRM and in multiple formats. I'm sure they've lost a couple sales to copied grabbed off the net, but they make it really easy to by a reasonably priced, DRM free product and their sales are pretty good.

Anyway, back to the readers, it all depends on what a user wants. If the OP wants a device now that handles large format PDFs and live in the EU, their choices are really limited. If they can wait 6-8 months, then they'll likely have multiple options at better prices.

I hope this long winded ramble helps a bit and didn't tick off too many readers

Last edited by animedude01; 12-23-2009 at 04:20 PM. Reason: Spelling
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