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Old 05-16-2010, 01:37 AM   #1
superpig10000
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Looking for a no-frills, versatile ereader

Hi guys,

I'm on the market for my first e-reader. I will be mostly using it overseas so I really just want something that lets me transfer books over from my laptop and is versatile in terms of book formats. I don't need fancy stuff like web browser, 3G or wifi. I'm looking for something that let me read free ebooks as well as ebooks purchased from a variety of online vendor.

I've been looking at the Nook and while it has some features that I won't need, it is not as proprietary as the Kindle 2 (I don't want to be stuck with just one book vendor). The Kobo, if it performs well in the speed department, is basically what I need. My main concern is that, like the Nook, it might take a while for the Kobo to be perfected.

Is there something like the Kobo (cheap, non-propriety book formats) currently on the market right now?

Thanks!
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Old 05-16-2010, 01:40 AM   #2
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Maybe the Astak Pocket Pro (Hanlin v5/BeBook Mini) or the Sony Pocket Edition (PRS 300)?
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Old 05-16-2010, 01:54 AM   #3
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Hi Anemic, thanks for the response. I notice that they are both 5". Is there a noticeable difference between 5" and 6"?
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Old 05-16-2010, 02:08 AM   #4
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It really depends on the person. I don't notice that much difference, but for some it's a big difference.

For 6" there's the Kobo, possibly the Astak EZ Reader (BeBook, Hanlin v3). Everything else starts getting more expensive and/or adding more features. If you live somewhere that the Sony's are sold in stores you might be able to compare a PRS 600 to the PRS 300 to get an idea of the difference for yourself.

This might be of help...
http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-book_Reader_Matrix

Basically it sounds like what you want is something that supports Adobe DRM'd ePub files, the matrix above includes what DRM each supports.
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Old 05-16-2010, 02:34 AM   #5
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Thank you for the help. Looks like Kobo is the one for me.
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Old 05-16-2010, 04:16 AM   #6
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The most versatile in terms of format is the Astak. It reads more formats than any other reader.

That said, if you use a program like Calibre to convert your ebooks, that's a lot less of an issue and your purchase should then refocus a bit on pure readability.
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Old 05-16-2010, 04:47 AM   #7
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The Pocketbook 360 (5'') could be of interest to you. It's quite convenient because it swallows many, many formats like the Astak (I'm not sure if even more, check the Ebook matrix), it performs specially well with free ebooks thanks to its improved FBReader software and it has a fancy snap-on cover included which will spare you the need to buy one. The main drawback is its price, 240 USD, the most expensive of the 5 inch family.
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Old 05-16-2010, 07:06 AM   #8
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You should also look at the Cybook Gen3.
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Old 05-16-2010, 09:39 AM   #9
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Consider the Aluratek Libre or Jetbook Lite. I recently scored a Libre at Costco for $80.
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Old 05-16-2010, 12:20 PM   #10
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Kobo sucks at bookmarking, though I believe they're working on it to improve.
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Old 05-16-2010, 12:34 PM   #11
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Kobo's getting good press. For a no bells-and-whistles, ebook-exclusive, plain ol' workhorse of a reader that can handle pretty well anything, though, I reckon you can't go wrong with the Sony 505. Out of productions now (for some unfathomable reason) but still very much in demand. You'll find new, refurbished and second hand in the MR flea market, eBay, etc. They hold their value, so don't expact bargain basement prices. Good to have your company, SuperPig. Best of luck with your eventual choice. Cheers. Neil
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Old 05-16-2010, 05:52 PM   #12
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It looks like Sony has the PRS600 on sale for 200$ incl. tax/shipping and the student discount. It's only $30 more expensive than the Kobo and I get it now + reassurance that it has been tested. Any thought?
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Old 05-17-2010, 02:10 AM   #13
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Isn't the Kobo going to be selling for $149 when it comes out in the U.S. next month? (I'm assuming you are in the U.S.) So if that extra $20 on top of the $30 makes a difference. Then again, you may not want to wait a whole month.

Also, if you don't care about a Touch screen (some people actually hate them), you could downgrade from the Sony Touch Edition to the Pocket Edition. That seems to be selling for about $30 less directly from Sony and $50 less elsewhere.

For example, Buy.com has it right this second for $149, including free shipping:

http://www.buy.com/prod/sony-prs300s...211584611.html

Ah, wait. That one is silver. If you prefer blue?:

http://www.buy.com/prod/sony-prs300b...211960207.html

Heck, Buy.com is never a place I'd normally look. They also have the Aluratek Libre on sale, for $129 shipped (I mean if unlike PodPeople you can't luck into one at Costco for $80).

http://www.buy.com/prod/aluratek-lib...211986386.html

Last edited by Spiffy; 05-17-2010 at 02:20 AM.
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Old 05-17-2010, 02:59 AM   #14
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Our household has a variety of readers so I'll tell you my experience. I had the Sony 500 until I sent it to get the firmware upgrade and they ruined the battery life along with other problems. Happily the service center replaced it with a brand-new Sony 600, a much more expensive model.

I like it quite a bit. It's much faster at loading books and changing font sizes than the 500 and page turns are really fast, too. In direct sunlight I have to turn the reader away from the sun before turning pages or the text is washed out and sometimes illegible. Since I read a lot outdoors that means I need to always remember to do this which is a minor bother. This is a known defect with some e-ink displays and if I'd paid for the 600 I would complain but since it was free I will probably just deal with it. The 6" touchscreen and interface are really good and it takes SD and memory stick media. Neither the 300 or 600 come with an AC adapter but a universal AC/DC is a cheap solution.

My son has a Nook and I've played with that a bit. It's similar to the 600 but has the little LCD screen which he likes. For me it takes up too much space and is something I'd rarely use. I think the footprint of my 600 is superior. His screen does not seem to wash out in direct sunlight which is a plus and the speed is similar. It supports a few formats the Sony doesn't but not RTF. Formats can be easily changed so that's not a big issue.

His wife has a Sony 300. The smaller screen makes it more portable which is why it's called the Pocket Edition and it weighs less, too. I find it a little harder to read on this than the Nook, 500 or 600 but it's otherwise about the same. It's cheaper and just as fast as the others but lacks any memory card slots.

I still read on LCD devices, too and don't mind it at all. The main drawbacks are battery life and some people seem to get eyestrain from reading from that type of screen for long periods. The trade-off is you have a device that may let you watch videos or surf the net. The Nook can do this to some extent and if it's hacked that supposedly works even better. Battery life is much shorter with wifi and/or 3G turned on.

I hope I didn't make this still more complicated but an LCD may make sense if you want to do more than read and don't want to carry two devices. I don't mind reading on my iPod Touch in landscape mode and it's nice to be able to read light-colored text on a dark background in some situations. That's not an option with e-ink devices.
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Old 05-17-2010, 03:29 AM   #15
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First - be aware that you'll probably run into trouble buying ebooks from overseas, no matter what format you're buying. Not a problem if you're happy to buy before you go only, of course

I just bought a 2nd-hand PRS-300 - my only issue with it is the lack of SD card extensibility, which (to be fair) I knew before buying. But this MIGHT be an issue for you if you're travelling for a long time and don't want to store ebooks on your laptop. Otherwise, 450mb can take a LOT of ebooks, unless they're heavily illustrated or absolutely huge.

Hope that helps
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