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Old 01-11-2010, 10:07 PM   #1
Acreo Aeneas
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Still Undecided...$200 to Spend on a Reader...

I've posted here about a year and a half ago asking for advice on a ereader device and had originally settled on the Kindle 2. In the end, I held off purchasing it for many reasons including little new science fiction novels, money spent elsewhere, new products, etc.

I'm now back again to ask for advice and this time I might actually end up purchasing a device mostly to use as a ebook reader.

Background

Right now, I only have about a dozen ebooks purchased from Lulu.com and Mobipocket's e-store (PDF and MOBI formats). My current bound collection is almost all science fiction and thriller/mystery novels. About half is Star Trek and the rest are from other universes. I'm hoping to purchase any future books in as ebooks rather than fill my small bedroom's shelf with more printed volumes.

What I'm Looking For

I would like the price to stay in the $150 - $200 range. The most I'll pay is $260. So far, the only readers I've seen for that price range is: Sony PRS-300, BeBook Mini/Astak Pocket Pro, SmartQ 5, SmartQ 7, and SmartQ V5. Other considerations: Kindle 2 and Nook. I'm wavering between the Sony PRS-300, BeBook Mini/Astak Pocket Pro, and the SmartQ 5. I'm leaning towards the SmartQ 5.

I'll definitely need to be able to read PDFs as two particular series I'm following is only available in print and PDF. MOBI's also needed. I assume the current ebooks I have are protected, but don't know for sure. I assume future ebooks I purchase will likely also be protected/DRM'ed.

Concerns/Questions

For the dedicated ebook readers, I don't like how the PRS-300 can't be expanded via a SD card. While the Mini can. As I already own a netbook and a touchscreen PMP, I know how portable the ereaders can be. What about durability of the screens? Are they easily scratched? What about dropping them and the screen cracking?

NewEgg states that the PRS-300 supports ePUB DRM and PDF DRM. Is this true? If I blow the text size up, does the PDF reflow well? What about page numbers? Does the page numbers change depending on text size or does it stay the same like on a real hardcopy novel?

The SmartQ 5 seems really appealing to me right since for the price of a low-end ereader, I can also read graphic novels/comics, surf the web, type up some notes, store the books on a SD card, color screen, etc. The drawbacks are mainly battery life, size, and weight. I see this fulfilling my want for a portable internet device that I can lug with me when I don't need the computing of my netbook but don't want to be stuck on a 3-inch screen of some overpriced phone (or iPod). Even though I'll spend most of the time reading on the device, having WiFi on the go without having to open up my netbook is appealing.

I've read and heard that the default ARM-version of Ubuntu lags and isn't completely translated to English. I know others have put on other distros ranging from Mer to Android. Which OSes run smoothly on the Q5? Can I use a USB mouse with it? What about a USB keyboard? Is host USB functionality available (being able to use a USB keyboard for example on a cold start)? How easy is it to load a new OS on the device (mainly USB booting)?

I assume I won't be able to read any of my current ebook novels using FBReader? How about using Calibre? If still no, then what will read them?

I don't know if I missed any other questions, but I put down all the ones floating around my head for the last few days. Tell me if something above isn't clear and I'll try to make it clear.

Last edited by Acreo Aeneas; 01-11-2010 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:32 PM   #2
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Welcome to MobileRead, Acreo Aeneas

Good luck with your choice, and enjoy the journey!
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:13 PM   #3
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another possibility within your budget

Hello, Acreo Aeneas.
I'm in a similar situation --trying to decide where to spend my money. . . and not be sorry because I didn't do enough research. So, I've been doing a lot of research!

For me, the front runner so far is the Onyx Boox, but that's more expensive than your budget allows. I like the looks of the PocketBook 302. . . but it isn't for sale in the USA yet. The PocketBook 301 is nice, but a little over your top figure.

You still might want to check out PocketBooks, though: their model 360 is a 5" screen, very portable, and within your budget. It has plenty of quality features. Check it out on their website, and compare to what you already have in mind:
http://www.pocketbookreader.com/
Here's a video of the device in action. The audio track is in Russian, but you can see the good, clear video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4fPM...eature=related

This is in English, but not as well lit:
http://techvideoblog.com/ifa/5-pocke...-e-ink-reader/

Last: a review on this website:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=61908

The drawbacks: no wireless, no audio.

--SilverBear
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:19 PM   #4
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I'm fond of my PRS-300. I've only had it one day, but I've already gone through an entire book on it and am working through another. I only load ePub books to my Sony - most of which I converted to that format using Calibre. Calibre's ability to convert pretty much any format makes the question of format support on the device end moot, IMHO. All my ebooks were converted for the PRS-300, but I've been able to read them on my Omnia II smartphone and my latpop without any strange issues.

Perhaps you may want to look into how the particular device fits your wants/needs, and just take care of file formats on the software side?
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:57 PM   #5
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I'm in the same boat as well.. I want to keep costs down on one of these but I keep going back to the Sony PRS 300. I went and played with them today. I only had the PRS 300 and 600 to compare but I found the screen of the 300 to be much easier on the eyes. Overall I like it and may break down by Thursday and pick one up.

I really wanted one to use for acadamic texts and PDF files as well as casual reading. I keep thinking I should wait until Apple releases the beast. But even if the beast is real it's likely to be another new device I cant afford. Im not Apple rich!

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Old 01-12-2010, 09:34 AM   #6
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And now I'm back to wavering at the PRS-300 and SmartQ. The Astak Pocket Pro is looking more tempting than the Mini right now since it includes a charger and a (felt?/cloth?) carrying case. Guess it boils down to: weight + wifi vs. battery life + screen size.

@desertgrandma,

Thanks for the warm welcome.

@SilverBear

The 360 definitely looks interesting with the built-in cover. Though at $240, it's going to hurt my wallet bad after shipping.

@Shemmy, P.X. Fort

Do either of you know if the PRS-300 can withstand a shoulder-high (say 5 foot) drop onto concrete? Would the screen crack if it hits a corner?

Is there maybe someone here who knows enough about the SmartQs to answer my questions? I'm hoping their not too technical.

Last edited by Acreo Aeneas; 01-12-2010 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acreo Aeneas View Post
Do either of you know if the PRS-300 can withstand a shoulder-high (say 5 foot) drop onto concrete? Would the screen crack if it hits a corner?
I can tell you that every unit has a chance to break with a 5ft drop on it's corner onto concrete.

PDF's are fine on the 300 in the text form and flow nicely. I have a couple of books that I have left in pdf and not converted. I set the font to medium and it reads fine. The memory on the 300 is fine for me as I only read text based books and i can put hundreds on the internal memory which is more that I need. But a comic I found in PDF form was 120mb, which takes a huge chunk of the memory. I'm not sure of the file sizes of what you plan on putting on your reader. If you are looking at large PDF's you will probably need a reader with expandable memory.

I was looking for a no nonsense ebook reader that does it's job and does it well, and the 300 fit this perfectly. I did not need annotation, hilight or dictionary and have no issue putting books onto it via usb instead of wireless. I put a few books on that I want to read, then I read them. Find a few more, dlete the old ones and start again. Easy peezy lemon squeezy

Last edited by RonF; 01-12-2010 at 03:13 PM. Reason: Forgot 3 letters :p
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acreo Aeneas View Post
Do either of you know if the PRS-300 can withstand a shoulder-high (say 5 foot) drop onto concrete? Would the screen crack if it hits a corner?
If you provide me with a PRS-300 to drop, I'll test it out for you I really don't know of much that would survive that kind of drop unless it was packed in an Otterbox Defender or was Mil. Spec.
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I did need annotation, hilight or dictionary and have no issue putting books onto it via usb instead of wireless. I put a few books on that I want to read, then I read them. Find a few more, dlete the old ones and start again. Easy peezy lemon squeezy
So I can annotate on the 300? Or did you mean you did not need annotation?

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Old 01-12-2010, 01:42 PM   #10
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You cannot annotate on the 300.
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:59 PM   #11
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5 feet is not a standard drop test for consumer devices-closer to 2.5' to 3 feet (i.e. being knocked off a desk or table-or being held around waist high, not shoulder high)
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:11 PM   #12
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Just read about the Copia lineup of ebook readers on Gizmodo ($200 for a 6" eInk device with WiFi!). Looks like the smart thing to do is to wait another 6 months to a year. At the same time, I'm about to tear my hair out with indecision and sheer hunger for a ebook reader. I really like the hackability of the SmartQ, but at the same time I can't find the Q7 for sale anywhere online for $200 or less (JT Shop no longer has any in stock). I'm kind of leaning away from the Q5 now as the 4.3" screen really isn't all that big and I tend to read for many hours so the LCD screen might not be very ideal. So top on my list is the Astak Pocket Pro for several main reasons: 1) SD card expansion, 2) $200 price tag, 3) supports ePUB DRM and PDF DRM, and 4) comes with a leather cover case (whereas the Mini does not).
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:29 PM   #13
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Acreo, for years to come, there will always be something better in the pipeline.

There is nothing that says that your next eBook reader has to be the last one you will ever get.
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Old 01-12-2010, 09:21 PM   #14
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If you purchased books from mobipocket then I can almost guarantee that they are DRM protected, which means that if you want to use your mobi files then you will have to strip the DRM off of them because the Astak can not read DRM protected mobi files and the Sony can not read mobi files at all.

I have a Sony which I bought after starting out with mobipocket on my smart phone. I love my Sony and after I took care of the DRM issue and converted the files I was quite happy with the way the mobi books converted. I think that either device would be a good choice, it really just depends on which one you like the look and feel of better.
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:38 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the help. I still couldn't get any answers to my question about the SmartQ, so I'll just get the Astak reader instead. I'll push off the SmartQ to some other purchase down the line. Going to place the order now.

Last edited by Acreo Aeneas; 01-15-2010 at 02:37 AM.
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