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Old 08-26-2006, 02:17 PM   #1
fireater
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Lightbulb Palm T|X (TX) or other Handhelds for reading ebooks!

Hello ebook lovers!
Like all of us here, united in the quest for reading ebooks on a reader-friendly device, I am also on the look out for the dream e-book reader nirvana.

While the Hanlin, Sony ereader and iRex Iliad promise to be exceptional readers based on e-ink technology, all three of them are either out of budget/costly, hard to get or like the sony, not yet out in the market.

As a Physician, I need to read a lot of literature. Much of the standard texts are now available in the Isilo format and many doctors/surgeons have adapted the Palm platform as the device of choice.

Now, one question this community should answer is:
While we wait for (1) the price of the Iliad to go down to affordable range cheaper than a notebook, (2) wait for the Hanlin devices to be available widely in english with tech support (3) wait for the Sony to release their 'perfected' ereader,

Why not go for a UMPC or a Handheld?

I have been waiting for the e-ink devices to become mainstream and cheaper, but the trend so far has been far from encouraging. So, I have decided to fall back on my plan B - to get myself a Palm TX for the moment - I can also do other stuff with it and even with its pathetic 3 hr battery backup, I can still try to get some reading done...

What do you people think?

Do you have any other gadget as a stop-gap measure? Are you planning to roll back your e-ink device for the time being and wait for it to stabilise in all terms? If yes, what is your current gadget you use to read ebooks or what do you plan to buy before you get yourself an e-ink device?

NOTE: I perfectely know the advantages of a dedicated ebook reader like most of us here, so telling me/us all over again about the palm/handhelds vs ebook readers is like preaching to the choir - yet there are other stuff that affect the decision to buy a ebook reader like price and availablity - this thread discusses that exactly and the possible solutions.

Thank you for your suggestions, points of views.
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Old 08-26-2006, 02:30 PM   #2
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I love to read e-books on my Treo (an even smaller screen than most PalmOS devices!) I do it frequently, and for me it's actually less stenuous on my eyes than paperbacks. But it's not always so good for reference works with pictures, or books in which you need to see a lot of territory at once. For me, it's awesome because it's always with me, so I can read for 5-10 mins when I'm waiting on something.

I've also been thinking about a UMPC or small tablet convertible. I think it would be great for e-book reading and give you a lot more flexibility with formats. Pdfs would be a lot easier also because of the bigger screen. Still very portable.

Some people have complained about eye strain with any backlit screen, however. And some UMPCs don't have as much resolution as you might want. (But I still think it's pretty good, and must surely beat the screen on a pda.)

My Treo would probably let me read for more than 5hrs if that's all I was doing on it. Great battery life. UMPCs not so good, but they have some extended batteries showing up that might just do the trick to get you to the 5hr range for simple unconnected book reading.

It will be very interesting to hear what everyone has to say about this. Nice topic!
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Old 08-26-2006, 03:58 PM   #3
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Hi all.

I read a lot in my Tungsten T3, with ereader and more recently with mobireader. And I don't notice any eye strain, using a black background with a white foreground. I adjust the contrast depending on the illumination conditions... in bed (lights off) almost to the minimum.

I suppose that many people try to read in a PDA with white background... for me that's impossible. In ten minutes I have to leave it.

Recently I bought my wife an Acer N311 (priced around 300€). It has the same screen that the Dell Axim X51v (VGA resolution) and the reading is much better. In the Tungsten you can notice some rugged borders in the characters while in the Acer you can't. Now I'm going to buy another Acer for me, basically for reading. I haven't seen any e-ink screen yet, but it had to impress me strongly to change my mind.

The battery life of the Tungsten is terrible (no more than 3 hours, just reading) and in the Acer is better (more or less 8 hours, just reading). There is a high capacity battery for the Acer that (they say) doubles the battery life.

The only weak point of the Acer is that, if you rotate the screen, there is a loss of quality.

So.. my reading device? A PDA with a big screen (the Acer is 3.7 inches) and VGA resolution.

L.
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Old 08-26-2006, 04:11 PM   #4
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TX has been a delight for the last 10 1/2 months. Superb battery life, reading is a joy in landscape autoscroll (eReader and Plucker), 2GB cards work great (no more swapping), WiFi sync and rapid trickle charging means I can keep the charger and sync cable separate from the computer if I want secondary and tertiary charging locations.

What next? Not sure, depends on what is available when I am ready to make the move. Will need to fit in a pocket (and what passes for women's pockets these days barely hold a postage stamp).
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Old 08-26-2006, 08:34 PM   #5
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Palm T3 is my present "reader" (I use eReader because I can mark up my own RTF texts with a Word macro). I do find the screen bothers my eyes after awhile, the white text on black does seem to be easier on them, though. I probably get closer to ~4 hours.

I do like the fact that I pretty much always have it with me so I can pull it out and read when I find myself with a few minutes on my hands. The small screen size isn't nearly so much of an issue for me as glare (reflections) and washout are. I have noted that the brightest setting on a T|X is a good bit less bright than the brightest setting on the T3, so those last two issues would likely be worse in it in a lot of situations.

Personally, I'd far rather have a dedicated e-ink reader.
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Old 08-27-2006, 07:29 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NatCh
I do find the screen bothers my eyes after awhile, the white text on black does seem to be easier on them, though. I probably get closer to ~4 hours.
Four hours? NatCh, you don't have children, do you?

I have a two years old boy and a girl is coming in a few weeks. I am afraid that I will not have four hours for reading in years!!

I suppose eye strain from reading in a PDA is not probable if you have children. Legs strain, arms strain, mind strain, nerves strain ... may be
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Old 08-27-2006, 10:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leandroide
Four hours? NatCh, you don't have children, do you?
No, no children, only (little) dogs for the time being -- my wife is finishing her Ph.D. in English Lit., and there will be no two-legged critters until I have to call her "Doctor."

BTW, I didn't say the 4 hours was all at once....
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Old 08-27-2006, 11:51 AM   #8
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I have an ipaq 4155 that my older brother gave to me after he moved onto a Treo, and my main use for it is reading ebooks. It's very handy for situations where I don't have room for a book, or the light to read one. I've also found that it's a little bit more socially acceptable to pull out a PDA and start reading in many situations where pulling out a book or a handheld gaming device would be frowned upon(like a graduation, for example).

I don't really notice much eye strain, but I do know it can't be all that good for me either. Still, I can't afford a dedicated reader and none of them are as tiny and discrete as a pda anyway. I also have a convertible tablet pc, but it's not small enough to tote around. It's for reading on the couch or in bed.
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Old 08-27-2006, 09:34 PM   #9
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I've been using a Sony UX-50 with MobiPocket Reader for nearly 4 years now and have read quite a number of books on it. I read about 1/2-1hr per day practically every day. I've found the battery life to be adequate (about 3 hours these days, though a good bit longer when the battery was new) for normal use. I rarely reach the limit between chances to return it to the charge. It's only the occasional day of jury duty or when we loose power during a hurricane (stay away Ernesto!) that battery life becomes an issue. I then resort to paper books and, in the evenings, audiobooks in my Creative MuVo (12hrs+ per AAA battery) when I can't charge the UX-50. Screen size has never been an issue. The fact that it is pocketable makes it far more usefull to me than anything with a larger screen.
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Old 08-28-2006, 02:59 PM   #10
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I am still sold on my Nokia 770 with FB Reader. Extremely sharp screen, with adjustable fonts, etc. No eyestrain for me. There is of course much previous discussion on the forum regarding the Nokia, which you might want to take a look at.
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Old 12-14-2006, 12:04 AM   #11
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TRGpro in China

I enjoy this thread, so I registered here. I am in China where I cannot buy new English books. I rely on downloads and my old TRGpro. Sadly, my screen has become flaky. I can restore it by squeezing the case, so I am limping along with it. I have contacted Handera hoping to arrange for a refurbished unit.

Why don't I just by a new T|X? I am greatly tempted, especially by the WiFi. I could sit in local cafes and browse the web. But the TRGpro has certain advantages I am unwilling to relinquish. The first is battery convenience. If I read a lot a pair of AAA batteries will last me about 2 weeks. The monochrome screen is very easy on power. I can carry AAAs or buy them when needed.

The T|X has that wonderful large screen. But the TRGpro is good enough. Maybe the next time I am back in the new world, I will succumb to the temptation. I am, after all, a gadget lover.
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Old 12-14-2006, 06:22 AM   #12
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Glad to have you here Mogui!

Many people prefer older gadgets. The trick is to use one that is affordable, and that you enjoy using. If it meets your needs, why upgrade? (Of course, many people say that about paper - why "upgrade" to an e-book reader?!)
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Old 12-22-2006, 05:44 AM   #13
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Why upgrade from paper?

Well Bob, I still love paper. But in China I cannot buy many English books. And those that are available are reprints of classics which are all available as ebooks. There are a few new novels here, but only at import prices.

One of my great pleasures when I am back in the "west" is to sit down with a real paper book. Just like old times! I am a regular library patron there too.

Now I have a problem. My TRGpro is having an intermittent problem that signals its impending demise. Handera is sounding iffy about their ability to repair it. I don't know why. They built it. They do not seem to have refurbished units. So I am looking for a replacement -- another TRGpro. Ebay has none at the moment.

I am tempted by the new Palm TX, but it appears the power adapter will not work here.
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Old 12-23-2006, 02:02 PM   #14
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I did some checking because I travel internationally and am planning to buy one to replace a much older vintage Palm.

Two thoughts, though. First, it will charge through a USB port. Second, the device almost certainly has the same DC input regardless of the AC power supplied. So order the power cable from their international site and have it delivered that way (you might need to work this through their customer service if the power supply is being delivered to the 'wrong' region).
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Old 12-23-2006, 06:59 PM   #15
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Charge TX via USB

Thanks VillageReader! I had wondered if USB charging would be possible. That resolves my doubts.

Now I have managed to find an older Palm to buy and have shipped to me in China. The screen is a hair smaller than the TRGpro, but not significantly so. It is a stopgap measure.

I will be coming back to Canada in a few months for a visit. Then I will get something modern. E-ink sounds great! So does a Palm TX. The Nokia 770 is about to undergo an upgrade, so used 770s might be a bargain.

Having a WiFi enabled device on my home network could be ideal for both reading and browsing. I have long wished for a bathroom browser
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