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Old 06-15-2010, 06:37 AM   #1
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PRS-505 v Kobo v Aluratek Libre

Okay, so after exploring options for a long time, I think I've narrowed it down to these three.

Sony Reader PRS-505
I'm considering buying this from a user on these forums.

Pros: By all accounts, a terrific device that is near unanimously praised, so helps in giving me the piece of mind that I'm buying something that's really good. And the PRS+ patch apparently makes it even better. Also, it comes with a decent cover.

Cons: I will be buying a used piece. Also, the model is a little old, and apparently not as fast as some of the newer ones. Also, it will cost me a little more than the other two. Not prohibitively so, but still...

Kobo eReader
Available on Borders.com, who do seem to take international orders plus shipping. At least, it looks like it. I created an account and proceeded with the ordering through the steps just short of actually paying, and at no point did it say "Sorry, we won't ship to your neck of the woods". If anyone knows different, please do share.

Pros: A brand new reader; looks quite good; comes with enough internal memory that I'll probably never need to bother with an SD card. Also, I like the bookshelf feature they have. Not very useful, exactly, but looks kinda cool.

Cons: It is brand new, and like many new devices there might be some teething issues. A possibly significant concern for me; since I don't live in US, it won't be easy for me to send the device back in for repairs or replacement if something goes wrong (assuming they even have international warranty to begin with). Also, it is a bit bare-bones, and lacks some of the features that the others have. For instance, the 505 (with the PRS+) has a dictionary.

Aluratek Libre
Also available on Borders.com, for an impressively low $120.

Pros: Seems to support every format under the sun; price is great; uses an LCD so page turns are instantaneous.

Cons: 5" display might be a tad too small; pretty small internal memory (the one at Borders doesn't seem to come with the 2GB SD card that Aluratek themselves include); I'm not sure about the reliability, as it seems some people here have reported problems with the device, which brings up my 'sending in for repairs' concern again; again, no dictionary.

Any one have any advice?

Last edited by afa; 06-15-2010 at 06:39 AM.
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:00 AM   #2
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This is my own personal opinion only. I own a Libre and I have handled a 505 at the store. The 505 does look more "solid" as the shell is more metallic, while the Libre is hard plastic. Not being used to the eink "flash", it does bother me at first. Plus it has no SD card slot as you know.

I have had no problems with my Libre so far (four months), never had to reset it, nothing. Then again, one of the big things I use it for is to download library books due to its DRM handling. Don't know if you can do this where you live, and if not, if you would not choose a larger screen instead. SD card slot allows you to load music also though the file handling is not great, just dumps it all into one directory.

Haven't seen or handled a Kobo. I really wanted to buy one when it came out, then the forums started mentioning the problem with not being able to change font sizes on certain types of epubs. Also a smattering of problems about battery life, though compared to the Libre it must get similar battery life length.

Too bad the Mentor did not work for you, I think the 6 inch screen would have been a plus if you don't plan to bring it around too much.
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:24 AM   #3
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Have you considered putting PRS+ onto your 505 as this seems to add dictionary support?

I have a 505 but I'll admit to being a bit frightened of trying PRS+ out (+ I'm not that concerned about the added features)
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:55 AM   #4
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Too bad the Mentor did not work for you, I think the 6 inch screen would have been a plus if you don't plan to bring it around too much.
Yeah, I know. We Middle Easterners always have a harder time getting hold of gadgets. Even when they're available, they're significantly more expensive than you guys pay in US. Case in point: buying the iPhone here (even with the contract) will set you back $700+.

The Mentor looked good as it had the wide format support of the Libre/JBL, but with a larger screen. Oh, well...

By the way, the 505 does have an SD card slot.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:13 AM   #5
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I had/owned all of these devices at some point. Of the three, I like the Libre best.

1) Can download right to memory card and into folders, so no need to muck around with software, tagging for collections on 505 or managing unwieldy list of books on the Kobo

2) By far the fastest. Also, small and light and pocket-sized. And it comes with a wall charger, which the others lack.

3) Cons are it's ugly, has few accessories and sometimes the battery indicator is not the most accurate. But it is a joy to read on and handles all formats.

The 505 is good too, but the Libre is a bit easier to load up and to work with since the Sony needs to be plugged into the computer and worked with via software of some kind and the Libre has the folders right there.

I don't recommend a Kobo right now. Too buggy, and some issues like how you can't group the books, which is a problem since it comes with 100 pre-loaded titles you can't get rid of.
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:39 AM   #6
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Ah, someone who's owned all three devices! I must say, you're exactly the kind of person I was hoping to hear from. So, thanks for your reply.

A couple of questions:

- Have you ever had any issues with your Libre? Crashes, hang-ups, having to reset or reload firmware for some reason, etc.?

- How different is it to read books on a 5" screen, versus the 6" of the Sony/Kobo? Does it make a noticeable difference, or is it negligible?

- Apparently, the Libre accepts the firmware for the jetBook. Have you tried loading that onto it? I was curious mainly because the JB has a dictionary that, while not absolutely essential, is a nice feature to have.
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:15 AM   #7
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1) Other than the battery indicator not always being accurate (it will show two bars then suddenly a low battery warning will come up) then no, no issues or crashes or hangups.

2) Not much different. I have a Kindle where I do most of my reading, and an iPad if I want big-screen PDFs. The Libre is mostly for fanfic, personal content, magazine articles and things like that. I was hoping to funnel it to my dad at some point, but he wanted the Kobo, against my advice, because it's pretty...

3) Haven't tried. I only use a dictionary when I read in French (which is one of two reasons I upgraded my Sony to a Kindle) so I was not interested in this feature on the Libre.
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:01 PM   #8
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Thanks again for the reply, ficbot. You've been a big help.

I think I'm very close to deciding in favour of the Libre. A little more mulling over ought to do it.
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:05 PM   #9
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- Have you ever had any issues with your Libre? Crashes, hang-ups, having to reset or reload firmware for some reason, etc.?
I have had a Libre for about a week now, and so far the biggest problem I have had with it is that it seems to freeze up when I plug it into my Mac. Or more accurately, when I try to unplug it. I have had to "force eject" the device, the Libre freezes and I've had to reset it every time.

Other than that, it's been OK. I haven't really put it through it's paces, though. I'm reading a library book now while I decide if I want to take it back or not.
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:09 PM   #10
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I forgot to add that while reading I keep wishing it had a little more surface area for holding it, or for clipping a light on it. But that would make it less small.
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:55 PM   #11
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One other thing to keep in mind, it is a little bottom-heavy too. Not always most comfortable if you plan to read one-handed. Of the three, the Kobo is best for that (if you are right-handed). But the Kobo has so many other issues right now, I really can't recommend it given the other two choices you mention. My mom, who just wants to read, will only read one book at a time, and is not into gadgets, is enjoying the Kobo. I am not saying it is a bad device. I am just saying that its demographic is very entry-level bare bones, and if you want any sort of file organization, better format support, dictionaries, customization etc. it is not a great device for you. Of the three, my ideal choice would be the Kobo but with the Aluratek innards so I could have folders and multiformat support.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:12 PM   #12
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I've had my Libre for a week now and am pretty satisfied. I've read, I think, about five novels from the public library and I've played with it some loading my own writing in different formats. I like epub because I can have my own fonts, but epub for some reason does not allow the 'find' function. I figure if I need to read something (non-DRM) that requires me to use the 'find' function, I'll just load it in that format -- so the versatility of formats is appealing. I've tried PDFs and the result is a mixed bag -- it works best if I create my own PDF's at 3x3.3.78 inches. I tried out music playing but I don't think I'll use the reader to listen to music... when reading I prefer my music a bit further away from my ears, and if I really just want to listen to music I have a player for that. The battery charge feels reasonable -- the low battery alert came on after I'd read about two or three novels, in the midst of a really fat one -- and I was able to finish it without having to recharge. I had to use the reset button only in the first few days, and I think it might have been because I wasn't fully sure what I was doing -- also, at that point I only had the internal memory but after getting an SD card and loading my books there, I have not had to use the reset button even once. I took my Libre to the laundromat yesterday and I was thrilled to read books in the bright sunlight (the sun was out after days of cloud and rain) and inside.

I don't know about the 505 or the Kobe, but the Libre works for my needs.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:17 PM   #13
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The 505 is good too, but the Libre is a bit easier to load up and to work with since the Sony needs to be plugged into the computer and worked with via software of some kind and the Libre has the folders right there.
Other than creating collections, you don't need to use any special software with the PRS-505. And with the PRS+ firmware (a quick and easy install), you also get folder support.
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:00 PM   #14
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I have had a Libre for about a week now, and so far the biggest problem I have had with it is that it seems to freeze up when I plug it into my Mac. Or more accurately, when I try to unplug it. I have had to "force eject" the device, the Libre freezes and I've had to reset it every time.
Hmmm... now that's interesting. As it so happens, I have a Mac, too. Is this a common occurrence when using the Libre with Macs? Any one else here have a Mac and Libre who can shed some light?
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Old 06-15-2010, 05:21 PM   #15
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I have a Mac and Libre and have had no problems, but I have never plugged it in. Calibre does not seem to recognize it, so I just download directly to the memory card via a card reader and then plug it into the wall to charge.
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