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Old 03-08-2010, 12:27 PM   #1
Lemurion
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Droid :)

I just got a Droid last weekend, and one of the very first things I did was set it up to read ebooks. While I do have a 505, sometimes it's just a bit too big to carry around, but I always have my phone with me. So what I want to do is not only give my impressions of the Droid as a reader, but also compare it to my Sony.

First, the Droid itself. For those who aren't familiar, it's an Android 2.0 smartphone with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Probably the biggest standout feature is the screen: it's 3.7" with 24-bit color depth at 854x480 resolution (267dpi). It's the best screen I've ever seen on a mobile device.

After reading Nate's review, I downloaded two reading apps: eReader and Aldiko. I'd heard great things about Aldiko, and I wanted eReader because I already have a fair number of eReader format books from Fictionwise.

I started with eReader, and while I really liked some features, I have to say it's a mixed bag. The combination of Fictionwise bookshelf integration and DRM support is handy. (I would prefer DRM ePub support so it could share with my Sony, but eReader gives me access to new fiction which is nice).

Pagination works fairly oddly, as it gives page numbers for the current section, not the book as a whole (I was getting page 2 of 7 in the editorial in an issue of F&SF) but it works. It also switches automatically between portrait and landscape modes depending on how you're holding the phone.

Page animations looked off in landscape mode (you get some garbled text) but on the whole I had no problems.

Next I moved to Aldiko, and was pleasantly surprised. It doesn't do DRM, but I found it feels faster than eReader. I also liked being able to go to Webscriptions on the device and automatically download a book to Aldiko.

Page animations are faster, without the garbled text, but the reading experience was otherwise the same.

In both applications, I found landscape orientation easier to read (unlike the Sony Reader, which is much easier for me in portrait). I also found myself gravitating toward night mode, which is unusual for me, as I normally don't care for light text on a dark background, but it worked better on this device.

In comparison to the Sony, the text is crisper (higher DPI will do that) and page turns are faster. However it is backlit, with all that implies. Thinking about it, it may be that I've grown more sensitive to backlighting since I've had the Sony and that may be why I prefer night mode on the Droid. I think I'm going to be using the Droid more when I'm out, and leaving the Sony at home.

Battery life is good for an LCD based device, though the display sucks power like nobody's business.
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:33 PM   #2
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Be sure to try FBReaderJ; I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:37 PM   #3
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Gaahhh I want a Droid! I keep telling myself when I move back to the U.S. I'll get one but by that time there'll probably be something new out. I love Verizon service as well, I was their customer for many years.

Enjoy it!
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:39 PM   #4
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My wife just picked up a Droid. Although she doesn't plan on doing any e-book reading on it... and I'm refraining from playing with it, not being my phone ... maybe I'll download Aldiko or eReader and see how it looks.
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Old 03-08-2010, 01:42 PM   #5
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I have a Samsung Moment Android phone and use it extensively for reading. I’d like to have a Droid, but I’m no fan of Verizon, so the Moment with a slightly smaller screen will have to do.
I agree with luqmaninbmore, FBReader does not have as fancy a front end, but seems to be much faster loading books. The setup is a little dicey, but once you get it set up (font color, background color, font size etc.) it is a pleasant reading experience.
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Old 03-10-2010, 07:20 PM   #6
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Now that I've tried FBReaderj I thought I would add my impressions of that app.

Sadly, my first impression was not promising. I downloaded and installed the App and then copied one of my Fictionwise Multi-format ePubs (Waterfront Fists by Robert E. Howard) from Aldiko's ebooks directory to the FBReaderj Books directory.

FBReaderj could not and still can't even see the book in its Library.

Next I went to Feedbooks and downloaded a Murray Leinster book (Operation Outer Space) and that loaded perfectly. Reading was similar to the other two apps, and as promised, books did seem to load more quickly (especially in comparison to Aldiko - which feels fast when reading but not so much when loading). One thing I did like was the Feedbooks integration.

The book I downloaded had links to Leinster's other books on Feedbooks, and clicking on the link automatically downloaded and opened them.

That, I thought was cool.

Overall I thought it was a decent app, but getting books in was a bit more work than I wanted.

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Old 03-10-2010, 08:12 PM   #7
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How's the text size on the phones? Is it too small at all?
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireRunner View Post
How's the text size on the phones? Is it too small at all?
The beauty of all of the apps being discussed is that the text size is whatever you want it to be. I read most of my eBooks on my Hero using Aldiko before I bought my Sony PRS-300 and was quite happy with it.
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:30 PM   #9
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I love my Droid,* but I would never attempt to read a book on it. That's just crazy. While its screen is largish for a phone, I find it far too small to read something like a book. Brief reading of webpages is one thing, but a book would be a completely untenable experience.

*I'd rank the Droid as one of my Top 5 favorite computing devices ever.
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:12 PM   #10
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:46 PM   #11
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The beauty of all of the apps being discussed is that the text size is whatever you want it to be. I read most of my eBooks on my Hero using Aldiko before I bought my Sony PRS-300 and was quite happy with it.
Variable font size is great, but on a small screen you can only have it so large until you're only reading 2-3 sentences at a time...right? How many sentences are on the screen at one time?
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Old 03-10-2010, 11:05 PM   #12
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Thanks Lemurion. I had planned on picking up the HTC Droid (That's the flip out keyboard one right?) to replace my aging green envy
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Old 03-10-2010, 11:06 PM   #13
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I got around to downloading Aldiko reader for my wife's Droid, and trying it out. It's easily as comfortable to read on as MobiPocket on my PDA (which is my preferred reading device), and though I'm used to page-flipping with a button, you quickly get used to a thumb-swipe to change pages.

The only thing I had an issue with was the Droid's habit of dimming and brightening its screen after a short period of time... I haven't spent enough time on the Droid to find the override to that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhishStyx View Post
I love my Droid,* but I would never attempt to read a book on it. That's just crazy. While its screen is largish for a phone, I find it far too small to read something like a book. Brief reading of webpages is one thing, but a book would be a completely untenable experience.
I read on my PDA all the time... it's not crazy, it's easy. As I always say, "You get used to... what you want to get used to."

Last edited by Steven Lyle Jordan; 03-10-2010 at 11:08 PM.
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Old 03-10-2010, 11:53 PM   #14
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I use Aldiko mostly for ereading on my Droid. I also downloaded WordPlayer which is a nice ereader app as well.
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Old 03-11-2010, 07:25 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by FireRunner View Post
Variable font size is great, but on a small screen you can only have it so large until you're only reading 2-3 sentences at a time...right? How many sentences are on the screen at one time?
I use the default font size on the Droid, which is pretty small, even though I almost never go below medium on the Sony Reader; and at that level I get about 2-3 paragraphs on a screen.

One thing I want to reiterate is that the Droid has a very high resolution screen for a small device, and that makes small fonts more readable. My Sony has a resolution of 800x600 and 167 dots per inch on a 6" screen, the Droid has a resolution of 854x480 and 267 dots per inch on a 3.7" screen and that makes a world of difference. It's a very crisp display.
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