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Old 05-09-2010, 06:22 AM   #1
afa
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Question jetBook vs. jetBook Lite vs. Aluratek Libre

Okay, so it seems a lot of ereaders go by different names, with almost identical features.

Can anyone tell me what the difference is between the 3 subject readers? They look pretty much the same to me, although the Aluratek website says the Libre uses ePaper rather than the reflective LCD of the Ecatacos.

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Old 05-09-2010, 07:43 AM   #2
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My understanding that the hardware between the Jetbook and the Libre is the same. But the software is different.

Between the Jetbook, and the Jetbook light, JBL has no support for MP3's, uses 4 AA batterys instead of Li-Ion battery pack. There are also some software differences, but Ectaco is working on bringing the Jetbook to the same software.
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:29 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GhostHawk View Post
My understanding that the hardware between the Jetbook and the Libre is the same. But the software is different.
Are you sure? Because this is what the Aluratek website says:

ePAPER Technology:
Utilizing the latest in epaper display technology, the Libre provides a crisp black and white 5” screen with the same appearance and readibility of printed paper. With no backlight, reading on the Libre is like reading a book.


Of course, a little before that it also says, "The “Libre” is soft on the eyes utilizing an exclusive e-paper LCD technology." So I don't know what the hell that means now. Is it LCD or e-Ink?

Quote:
Between the Jetbook, and the Jetbook light, JBL has no support for MP3's, uses 4 AA batterys instead of Li-Ion battery pack. There are also some software differences, but Ectaco is working on bringing the Jetbook to the same software.
Is the battery life affected negatively by the use of standard AA instead of Lithium Ion? Certainly, the ability to change batteries yourself is a good thing, but then you'll constantly be spending money on new batteries...

And the software: is the Libre's s/w superior? I've noticed that it supports DRMed ePub and PDFs in addition to non-DRMed Mobi, whereas the two jetBooks only support non-DRMed formats.
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afa View Post
ePAPER Technology:
Utilizing the latest in epaper display technology, the Libre provides a crisp black and white 5” screen with the same appearance and readibility of printed paper. With no backlight, reading on the Libre is like reading a book.


Of course, a little before that it also says, "The “Libre” is soft on the eyes utilizing an exclusive e-paper LCD technology." So I don't know what the hell that means now. Is it LCD or e-Ink?

It's LCD. Just yesterday I got my wife a Nook for mothers day (couldn't wait til today). I bought myself a Libre after researching about these things and landing on a great deal for one. Definitely LCD, and not exactly like looking at e-ink. I'd say it's more like reading a newspaper than a page from a book.....still a great experience, just a bit more of a gray background. Still a great device, and you don't get the flash between page turns. As for the libre's software - I'm nowhere close to an expert, but yesterday I was able to purchase a book from sony's store (DRM epub I think) and put it on both the nook and the Libre. I also checked out an ADE drm pdf from my library and it looked great on the libre as well. hope that helps. I can't speak to the jetbook
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:42 AM   #5
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Thanks for the super quick reply, hoosier. Here's some karma for you.

Okay, so it's LCD. As long as the contrast is good, and it's not eye-straining, I would actually prefer that over e-Ink. Still wondering why the heck the site keeps saying e-paper, though. I thought the term e-paper was interchangeable with e-ink?
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Old 05-09-2010, 09:41 AM   #6
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The hardware for all three is based on the same reference design and perhaps were
manufactured in the same Chinese factory. The Jetbook Lite (JBL) is "Lite" because
it lacks the hardware for audio/mp3/audiobooks/music. It is also lighter in price
by not including a relatively expensive built-in rechargeable battery pack and
the circuitry to do the recharging.

In terms of product descriptions; "E-Ink" and "E-Paper" are not the same thing.
"E-Ink" describes a particular display technology, while "E-Paper" has been used as
a more general term, in reviews and wiki. The "E-Paper" technology that is used in
the reference design for the e-book readers you listed, is a reflective monochrome
LCD without a backlight. A number of us prefer this display technology over the
"E-Ink" display, but that may be more a matter of personnel preference.

You can not only change the batteries yourself, you can charge the batteries
yourself. Testing in the JBL so far, is showing that you can expect over 20 hours
of actual reading time, from the rechargable AA Batteries. This is about the same as
what the built-in battery pack provides. One big difference being that you can carry
a charged set of the rechargable AAs and easily replace them in the JBL, so that you
don't have to wait for it to recharge an internal battery. Charging "offline" is easy and convenient.

The units are also differentiated by the firmware installed to operate the hardware.
The JBL supports the eReader DRM, the JB supports none of the DRM scams, and you
have more info on the Libre's firmware than I. There are other features of the software
installed on the different devices that may or may not be factors you want to consider.
The JetBooks include translation dictionary support, for instance.

Given your location, you might want to check out the UTF-8 support, to be able to
read Arabic or Farsi ebooks.

Luck;
Ken
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:37 PM   #7
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Thanks for the detailed post, Ken. I was making the mistake of equating the two techs, so thanks for clearing that up. That calls for Karma, I think. And I liked the bit about "DRM scams".

So there is no significant difference between JB and JBL other than lack of audio, right? Considering I don't plan on using the audio playback on an e-reader, anyway, that really doesn't make a difference to me. As long as there are no other limitations, I think the JBL might be at the top of my consideration pile right now, thanks in no small part to the attractive price.

I assume, then, that your experience with the Lite has been positive? Are you happy with the build quality?

Oh, and UTF-8 is not important to me; as it so happens, I speak neither Arabic nor Farsi. I'm originally from Pakistan, so I do speak Urdu (which uses a derivative of the Arabic script), but my primary language -- both spoken and written -- is English. I appreciate the thought, though.

Now, if only someone who is familiar with the Libre would give their two cents...

Last edited by afa; 05-09-2010 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 05-09-2010, 02:50 PM   #8
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There are the other differences, between the JB and the JBL that I mentioned in my
earlier reply, the eReader DRM and the use of AA batteries in the JBL being the most
significant.

I find that the JBL does indeed meet my needs and preferences, it seems to be a
solidly built little device. The one potential point of fragility might be the battery
cover latches, although the cover seems quite solid when it is in place. It could be
damaged if the cover were to be subjected to stress while off the JBL. The composite
compound that the shell is made of seems quite tough and is fit together well.

For me, the overriding factor is the ability to read the stories that interest me. You
might want to make sure that whatever the stories you are interested in, are available
in a format that is supported by the device you choose. Fortunately DRM can often
be overcome, making for a larger choice of purchase and reading options. The JBL is
a good choice in this regard, as well, it supports a good number of the most popular
formats.

The one factor that makes the JBL unique, and provides an advantage over its more
costly competition, IMHO, is that it runs on four AA batteries.

Luck;
Ken
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:01 AM   #9
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Well, the formats would be supported by all three (JB, JBL & Libre). I would mainly be buying from WHSmith's online store, or ebooks.com, so the formats will be mostly ePub, with some Mobi, and the occasional PDF (though I'd try to avoid the latter as much as possible considering the limitations). That's one of the reasons I'm interested in these three as they seem to support all of these formats.

Of course, the ones I buy will have DRM, but from what I've read here, it seems stripping the DRM is not too difficult. I don't really know how to do it, but I suppose I can Google it. It can be done easily on a Mac, too, right? Or is such software only available for Windows?
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:47 AM   #10
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Well I don't have a Libre, so I can't speak to that.

However I do have both a regular Jetbook and a Jetbook Lite.

Currently, i'm using the JBL and saving the Jetbook for backup.

Partially because I'm actually getting more hours of use out of the rechargeable batterys in the Lite that I was in the Li-Ion battery in the Jetbook.

Partially because when the Jetbook runs out of juice I have to park it for 4 hours while it charges. With the JBL I go swap out the old batterys for freshly charged ones, and in 5 min I'm back reading again.

I read quite a bit and my JBL has been averaging a week on a set of battery's.
Once in a while I'll only get 6 days, but I was charging my Jetbook at least every 4 days.

Bring up a picture of the Jetbook and the Libre. The buttons are exactly the same, in the same places. In pictures the screens are identical.
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Old 05-10-2010, 07:42 PM   #11
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Afa,

I have a Libre, but I don't know how much more I can tell you about it that Ken, Ghosthawk and hoosier haven't yet covered. I bought it primarily because I am relatively light (1 hr/d most days) reader so the AA battery was not an issue for me. I too was afraid of ruining a battery cover by opening and closing and I have several remote controls that can attest to my carelessness. However I haven't had any of the AA battery freezeups needing resets that occupies a topic in the JBL forums. Never had freezup, battery meter works just fine, never had to reset (knock on wood). I wish there were some dictionaries for it like the JB, as it would help in learning a foreign language.

I have not wanted to mess with DRM removal so the Libre just works fine with pdf and epub DRM. Plus, a minor point, if you are looking for cases and accessories, the JB or Libre will have more available since they are similar in size with many 5inch readers such as Sony Pocket Edition. The JBL will take some creative tinkering because the battery compartment bulges out at the back.

If there is any feature you would like me to look up, would be happy to.
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