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Old 04-14-2010, 03:35 PM   #1
jswinden
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Full circle, or my return to the Daily Edition

A couple of months ago I bought a Sony Daily Edition (PRS900). I really liked it for the most part, though the screen is never going to compare to the Pocket Edition (PRS300) or the older 505. I've owned the 505, 300, 600, and 900, as well as the Kindle2. Although the 900 seems to my eyes to have a better screen than the 600, I thought it was just a bit difficult to read with the Sony default fonts. So I decided to return my 900 to Best Buy and try a few other Readers, devices, and MIDs (Media Internet Tablets) in hopes of finding the perfect device for reading eBooks.

Well I didn't find the perfect reading device because one doesn't exist, but here is what I found in my quest.

The best solution I found for viewing PDFs and for reading via a backlit screen is my Asus T91MT netbook tablet. At 2.1 lbs it is slightly heavier than the iPad and definitely thicker because it has a keyboard built in. For luggable viewing of eBooks, Internet exploring, and Office apps it is really good. Unlike the iPad, the T91MT is a real computer with multiple/usable ports and the muscle to get whatever task therein related accomplished. But it is expensive at $500 and it is luggable rather than being truly portable. Its heft and size mean it requires a two handed approach that will soon leave my arms tired if I don't balance it on my tummy.

I thought about the iPad until it was released and quickly ruled it out. The specs are not up to my requirements, Apple is too controlling, and like the T91MT even though it would make a great eBook reader it has to be considered another two handed, luggable. In the luggable category the T91MT wins hands down over the lackluster iPad.

I had a Kindle2 for a while. But I did not like the form factor or the cheap build quality. I definitely did not like the Amazon formats either and found that ePubs are easier to deDRM and work with. So the K2 went to an eBay bidder.

I then tried a couple of MIDs. The first was the Archos 5IT purportedly running Android. The size was just about perfect for single handed operation with a 5 inch backlit screen. Unfortunately the Archos 5IT has a mix of Android and Archos OSes making it a difficult little MID to use. It did function fairly well as a reader, but just. It certainly doesn't compare to a Windows 7 PC when it comes to reader software. I then tried the SmartQ V7 because it was advertised as having three OSes preinstalled: Android, Linux, and WinCE. This device had a 7 inch backlit screen. Unfortunately the reader software for those three OSes don't compare to Windows 7 reader software. Also the SmartQ V7 was more Chinese than English and simply served to prove to me that Android sucks as an OS. Neither of these devices are for for the casual, non-techie type of user. Only techies could love them, and people like me hate them.

As I mentioned earlier, I owned a PRS300. I really love it for its portability and non-glare screen. But it is a bit difficult to read in low light when using the Sony default fonts. I decided to try another 5 inch reader, the Aluratek Libre. This was a pretty good little reader and at $140 a very good deal. On the plus side it came with a SD card slot, which the PRS300 doesn't have. The SD card slot makes it quick and easy to transfer ebooks without using a server like Calibre or Sony's software. The Libre has a reflective, grayscale TFT LCD screen. Though a little easier to read in low light than the PRS300, I found that I missed the software functionality of the PRS300, namely the table of contents function which was missing from the Libre. I could go to a page number, and I could do searches for words, but the Libre was not good at finding a particular chapter. In the end I decided I liked my PRS300 much better and returned the Libre.

Along the way to trying out different devices I learned some neat tricks to use with Sony readers. Namely I learned how to add fonts to Sony readers and how to use CSS via calibre to select a better font and make it bold. The readability level of my PRS300 shot way up, especially in low light situations. Then it dawned on me that using these font tricks I could greatly improve the readability of PRS900 too.

And that is what I did. So after trying a lot of devices I found myself returning to the PRS900 and being happy that I did. I still like the portability of the PRS300 as well as its non-glare screen, but 90% of my reading is on the PRS900. The functionality, power (speed), and form factor is the best I've tried. And I love being able to quickly and easily copy files to the SD card rather than using a sluggish and cumbersome server like that of Calibre or the Sony Reader Library. From all the devices I've tried, including a Kindle2, the Sony Daily Edition (PRS900) works the best for my reading habits.

Last edited by jswinden; 04-14-2010 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 04-14-2010, 04:52 PM   #2
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Nice write-up.
I also have a 900.

I started out with K2. I personally think the K2's screen is superior to the 900 as far as the glare issue goes. On the other hand, Sony's ability to read epub is what sold me. The whole azw/topaz file format thing was getting old with the Kindle.

I'm curious about how you add fonts to your 900?
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Old 04-14-2010, 06:21 PM   #3
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Jack,

Interesting you say that. I liked my 900 too, but I returned it because of the price. I have the 300 still and its great... It actually is what I am using now. I just couldn't justify 2 of them and one had to go back. If the 900 had the 300 screen, then to me it would be the absolute perfect reader for sure! Maybe that will happen next go around. I love the feature on the 900. Beats the hell out of the Nook in my world and I don't feel as tied down to something as the Kindle. The 900 is a great reader for sure!
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Old 04-14-2010, 07:46 PM   #4
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Jack,

Interesting you say that. I liked my 900 too, but I returned it because of the price. I have the 300 still and its great... It actually is what I am using now. I just couldn't justify 2 of them and one had to go back. If the 900 had the 300 screen, then to me it would be the absolute perfect reader for sure! Maybe that will happen next go around. I love the feature on the 900. Beats the hell out of the Nook in my world and I don't feel as tied down to something as the Kindle. The 900 is a great reader for sure!
The K2 and Nook both have better screens just like the PRS300 because they chose to use alternate methods to make screen selections (highlighting, dictionary lookup, searches, etc.) than Sony did with the PRS900. I owned the K2 but was put out by the Amazon formats. I went and played with a Nook, but it was sluggish and certainly not ready for release. I love the screen on my PRS300, but it really has almost no bells and whistles.

At $400 the PRS900 is rather pricey. But to me it was worth it as it actually comes with a cover that I like, an AC charger, and a really nice Case Logic zippered case to provide extra protection when taveling. I do wish Sony would either improve the touch screen so that it does not add glare or in any way degrade the text, or that they would develop another mechanism for selecting and entering text.
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:31 PM   #5
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Gee, if the 900 is 400 dollars and the IPAD is 499 , there is NO WAY I would buy the 900 at 400 dollars. No way.
I have the 505 and it has good screen, SD slot, folders, long battery life, and with prs+ gives me extra features and FUTURE features (fonts).
I think the best combo for ME, would be 505 and IPAD. I did buy my 505 for 150 dollars a year ago and I probably will buy the IPAD within the next year. My netbook and notebook are ok for reading books but the IPAD just seems faster/easier with page swipes and zoom pinch for my PDF'S. And the 505 for pleasure reading.
I really enjoyed your adventure in finding the right ebook for you , and we each have different needs and requirements in finding the right one for each of us.
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Old 04-15-2010, 11:54 AM   #6
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This has been a funny and instructive reading
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Old 04-15-2010, 02:11 PM   #7
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Gee, if the 900 is 400 dollars and the IPAD is 499 , there is NO WAY I would buy the 900 at 400 dollars. No way....
If someone wants a reader for serious reading, which is what I want, then a toy like the iPad, flashy and tempting as it might be, is not for them. I'm willing to pay a higher price for a really good dedicated reader in order to spend hours per day reading in comfort. My suspicion is that most people who buy an iPad might spend a few hours per week reading whereas folks like me spend several hours per day reading. Therefore a good dedicated reader is a must to me. Anything the iPad can do, my Windows 7 netbook tablet can do better, but neither can give me the hours per day of quality reading experience I get and demand from a dedicated reader, nor the portability, nor the battery life. Bottomline is I bought my Sony Daily Edition for reading three or more books a week. It was specifically designed for that purpose--reading. If I was more into surfing the internet, playing games, social networking, reading comic books, watching videos, etc., then I would have bought an iPad or just used my T91MT.

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Old 04-15-2010, 03:05 PM   #8
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Obviously you are looking for the right one for you and you have tried a number of them, so go for the best one at any price that gives you the reading experience RIGHT for you.
I was just commenting on the price difference between the 2 devices, that's all. The sony 900 for 400 or the IPAD for 499, almost the same as the KINDLE DX for 450 or the IPAD. In my mind, gee, in 6 months from now when all types of apps come out for the IPAD from scanner apps (police bands) and ham operator stuff from all over the world, to really fancy stuff that is simple and easy compared to laptop or your 449 tablet, you will be kicking yourself. I know I would. I don't see that much difference between 505 and 900 from screen point of view.
I'm just speaking to you as I would to a friend, I'm not trying to put you down at all. We both have an itouch, so you know all the apps for it, but with small screen it's not as enjoyable experience as with bigger screen.
Good luck with your 900 and I'm sure you will enjoy it, just like I enjoy my 505. It's like chalk on the board for me, sony 900 for 400 or IPAD for 499, and someone would pick the 900. I better stop!
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Old 04-16-2010, 05:16 AM   #9
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I realize that anything I buy or own today is going to be superseded by a device that is more powerful or less expensive in 2011. Yet, those who own either the Sony PRS-900 or iPad today shouldn't feel any regrets about their purchase(s). I get a lot of use out of both. For me, the killer device would be a large tablet pdf reader that fully implemented the software features of Adobe Reader. Nothing on the market even comes close.
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Old 04-16-2010, 12:32 PM   #10
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I realize that anything I buy or own today is going to be superseded by a device that is more powerful or less expensive in 2011. Yet, those who own either the Sony PRS-900 or iPad today shouldn't feel any regrets about their purchase(s). I get a lot of use out of both. For me, the killer device would be a large tablet pdf reader that fully implemented the software features of Adobe Reader. Nothing on the market even comes close.
It often seems that as soon as you walk out of the store with your new item a newer version gets released within a short time! But the way I look at it, you can use your device for a year then sell it to supplement the cost of a newer device. You can chalk up the difference in what you paid for it and what you get when you sell it as the fee incurred for using it for a year. There is always someone willing to buy last year's model because they cannot afford this year's model.
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Old 04-16-2010, 07:25 PM   #11
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I have to second jswinden's conclusions. Then like him all I am looking for is a mobile device that is really made for reading books. I have a cell phone, but it is only for keeping in the car for emergencies, and so that is all it need be; a cell phone. I don't need a hand held device for surfing the web, checking e-mail, playing music, playing games, scheduling my activities (for me notes jotted on a wall calendar with a pencil still do just fine), taking pictures or recording videos; any of the things a tablet computer may be able to do. As far as reading for more than 15 minutes or so straight I find backlit monitors torture.

He's right about how to upgrade. After about a year to year and a half of using my Sony 505 I was able to sell it for enough to cover most of the cost of my new Daily Edition. The upgrade was worth it for the larger screen, ability to highlight and take notes, and more control of display options.
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Old 04-30-2010, 06:25 PM   #12
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Having trouble with my PRS900 dictionary lookup

Has anyone else had trouble with the dictionary lookup feature on the PRS900? I am reading a book I purchased through the Sony bookstore, and when I double tap a word, I just get a circle with a bar in it. I am looking up SIMPLE words just to test it. No go! The lookup doesn't even work in the NYTimes. Any ideas or has anyone else experience this problem?
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Old 04-30-2010, 07:14 PM   #13
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Has anyone else had trouble with the dictionary lookup feature on the PRS900? I am reading a book I purchased through the Sony bookstore, and when I double tap a word, I just get a circle with a bar in it. I am looking up SIMPLE words just to test it. No go! The lookup doesn't even work in the NYTimes. Any ideas or has anyone else experience this problem?
Is it an lrf or epub?
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Old 04-30-2010, 09:10 PM   #14
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Is it an lrf or epub?
Epub purchased from Sony Reader Store... also, I can't look up words in the NYTimes which I subscribe to through the Reader Store. It seems to be an intermitent problem... sometimes it will bring up a definition, most times not.
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Old 04-30-2010, 09:17 PM   #15
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I wonder if it is book specific. I've never heard of a dictionary problem.
Does it do this with other books?

Try using a different dictionary see if it does the same thing.
settings - advanced settings - dictionary

Might try setting back to the defaults see if that helps.
settings - restore defaults
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