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Old 09-10-2010, 01:46 PM   #1
jswinden
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4th Gen iPod touch makes an excellent reader

The Apple 4th Generation iPod touch with the retina display makes an excellent reader. I've previously owned (well actually still own) the 1st Gen and 2nd Gen iPod touches. Although they were okay as ebook readers they were plagued by two shortcomings.

One is the small 3.5 inch diagonal screen. That of course is still a problem with the latest 4th Gen touch. However, the small size and portability has made for a decent ebook reader to take along to doctor offices, etc.

The other shortcoming was the lackluster 480x320 pixel resolution. Most eInk screens in comparison have at least 800x600 pixels. But with Apple's new retina display they have increased the resolution to 960x640 pixels. One thing I always noticed on the older touches, and indeed nearly every LCD screen I've owned, is that my eyes would get tired from reading after an hour or so. Extended reading on prior LCDs was out of the question. However, with the new retina display this eye soreness seems to be greatly decreased. I am able to read for hours on my 4th Generation iPod touch.

I wondered why the difference was so great. So I did what i often do and took out my 12 megapixel camera and took some side by side photos for comparison (attached). I loaded the same page from the same book into Stanza on both my 2nd Gen and 4th Generation iPod touches. In the first photo you can see the 2nd Gen on the left and the 4th Gen on the right. Since the photo was a high resolution 12 megapixels, I cropped and shrunk it down to look good in 800x600 pixels. The next photo is a composite of the two touches taken from the first photo. I cropped a full size 800x300 pixel area from each touch screen and placed the 2nd Gen cropping on top and the 4th Gen on bottom. As I said these are full size and because they were from a 12 MP photo they look enlarged, but they are not enlarged. That is the cool thing about high resolution photography.

It is fairly obvious to me why the 2nd Gen iPod touch made my eyes so tired after an hour of reading. I fully expected to see the same pixelized view in the 4th Gen screen but less pronounced. However, the 4th Gen screen is very near to the clarity of an eInk screen. I was quite amazed. Now if Apple would make a 5" iPod touch with a retina display!

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Old 09-10-2010, 03:53 PM   #2
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I agree. I have both the Sony PRS-300 and PRS-600 and now the new iPod 4. Text on the iPod screen is more clear, sharper and brighter than either of the Sonys under the conditions in which I generally read.

I was surprised that such a small screen could be so easy to read. I very much doubt that eye fatigue will be a problem with this wonderful little gadget. Its clarity more than makes-up for the size of the inferior screens of the Sonys.

Also, it is much easier to get a Gutenberg document onto the iPod and they are formated better than raw Gutenberg epub files.

I would rather have the iPod's clarity and 10 hours of battery capacity than 14 day's capacity and eye strain after two hours.

We are going on vacation for almost two weeks. I had been trying to decide between the 300 and 600. Now I am deciding on whether or not I'll take either of them.

BTW: I have the PRS-300 because my first purchase, the 600, has such a lousy screen! I'll probably buy a PRS-650 because of its improved contrast and my need for the touch screen feature and dictionary.

If Apple were to make a six or seven inch version of the iPod Touch -----.

Joe

Last edited by Joe Minton; 09-11-2010 at 01:58 AM. Reason: fix typo
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Old 09-10-2010, 04:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Joe Minton View Post
I agree. I have both the Sony PRS-300 AND PRS-600 and now the new iPod 4. Text on the iPod screen is more clear, sharper and brighter than either of the Sonys under the conditions in which I generally read.

I was surprised that such a small screen could be so easy to read. I very much doubt that eye fatigue will be a problem with this wonderful little gadget. Its clarity more than makes-up for the size of the inferior screens of the Sonys.

Also, it is much easier to get a Gutenberg document onto the iPod and they are formated better than raw Gutenberg epub files.

I would rather have the iPod's clarity and 10 hours of battery capacity than 14 day's capacity and eye strain after two hours.

We are going on vacation for almost two weeks. I had been trying to decide between the 300 and 600. Now I am deciding on whether or not I'll take either of them.

BTW: I have the PRS-300 because my first purchase, the 600, has such a lousy screen! I'll probably buy a PRS-650 because of its improved contrast and my need for the touch screen feature and dictionary.

If Apple were to make a six or seven inch version of the iPod Touch -----.

Joe
The older Sony Readers and older readers in general had 2nd generation eInk screens. The new Pearl eInk (3rd gen) are really good. I would say they look a lot like the retina display but without the backlighting off course. The Pearl screens are used in the newest Kindles and Sony 350 and 650.

I agree, I wish that Apple would release a 5" to 7" touch with the retina display. The iPad is way too big, and I don't think it has a retina display anyway. The 3.5" touch is okay, but a bigger screen would be great. The ability to have several ebook reader apps is really nice so that we can read different formats and have more choice.

Last edited by jswinden; 09-10-2010 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 09-10-2010, 04:52 PM   #4
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comparing retina display to Pearl eInk

Here are two side by side comparisons of the new Pearl eInk screen in my Kindle WiFi and the retina display from the touch 4th gen. The Pearl is on top and the touch on bottom. I didn't have the same book installed on the Kindle, so this is a different book and probably a different font, but they are close to the same size. Once again this is a composite from full size 12 MP photos. In all fairness the K3 does not have backlighting, nevertheless the retina display is much clearer than the Pearl eInk.

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Old 09-10-2010, 05:02 PM   #5
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Thank you jswinden. Your photos verify my private judgement; the iPod 4 is a remarkable reading instrument. It is superior in every way but size and direct sunlight reading. This screen has 'changed the rules' and many concurrent arguments about screens are going to vanish.

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Old 09-10-2010, 05:49 PM   #6
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The iPod 4 does not have as long a battery life as the iPhone 4. I think it's like 2 hours less roughly.
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Old 09-11-2010, 06:40 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Joe Minton View Post
...

Also, it is much easier to get a Gutenberg document onto the iPod and they are formated better than raw Gutenberg epub files.

...
What format are you using from Gutenberg (that is better then pub)?
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Old 09-11-2010, 11:07 AM   #8
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Here are two side by side comparisons of the new Pearl eInk screen in my Kindle WiFi and the retina display from the touch 4th gen. The Pearl is on top and the touch on bottom. I didn't have the same book installed on the Kindle, so this is a different book and probably a different font, but they are close to the same size. Once again this is a composite from full size 12 MP photos. In all fairness the K3 does not have backlighting, nevertheless the retina display is much clearer than the Pearl eInk.

....
I'm very doubtful of the quality of the Kindle Wifi photo. If you look at these up close photos of the K3, you'll see that the text is much crisper than your photos make it seem.
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Old 09-11-2010, 11:24 AM   #9
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I'm very doubtful of the quality of the Kindle Wifi photo. If you look at these up close photos of the K3, you'll see that the text is much crisper than your photos make it seem.
The photos are genuine and unretouched. You are probably not used to looking at higher resolution photos which basically show the image larger than life--magnified. To the naked eye the K3 is sharp and crisp, and so is the 2G iPod, but when magnified they are not so crisp.

It might be difficult to visualize without a picture, so look at the picture below which compares the size of a 12MP photo (4000px X 3000px) shown in blue with a 20" PC LCD monitor (1600px X 900px) shown in yellow. When you view that large of a photo on your monitor at 100% resolution it looks magnified. The LCD has about 96ppi compared to a printed photo at 600ppi that would be appx. 6.67" x 5" which would be closer to life size of the photographed objects.

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Old 09-12-2010, 12:57 AM   #10
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Just replaced my 2nd gen Touch and the new screen is very impressive. Definitely a nice companion for my nook. Text with both iBooks and the nook app where very pleasing on the eyes.
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Old 09-12-2010, 12:19 PM   #11
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Just replaced my 2nd gen Touch and the new screen is very impressive. Definitely a nice companion for my nook. Text with both iBooks and the nook app where very pleasing on the eyes.
You should try the Stanza app, it is much better than ibooks or Nook apps. It has a lot of format settings you can change to fit your preferences.
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Old 09-12-2010, 12:31 PM   #12
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I have been using my new iPod Touch 4G for several days. It is now my preferred reader. I have no further use for either my Sony 300 or 600 except in in direct sunlight. Even though it is small, the 4G's screen is sharper and easier to read. With a pair of +1.5 reading glasses, I am set!

The impressive utillity of this gadget is going to change expectations or how well eReaders should perform.

The new screen is revolutionary. The human interface is the best in computerdom; it is the most intuitive and capable I have ever used. Apple completely deserves its success.

I have a friend with macular degeneration who reads a lot. She needs large type and acreage to put it on. It is likely that she will buy a Kindle3 and I think she should.

I have need of the features offered by Sony's PRS-650 and shall buy one. I wish that I had not bought the PRS-600; I can't stand to use it since acquiring the Touch 4G.

Joe
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Old 09-12-2010, 01:17 PM   #13
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Just replaced my 2nd gen Touch and the new screen is very impressive. Definitely a nice companion for my nook. Text with both iBooks and the nook app where very pleasing on the eyes.
I am currently looking at replacing my 2nd gen Touch. I do wish they had kept the new model a bit thicker and used the extra space for battery. How does your new one compare to the 2nd gen for battery life?

The Bandit
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:53 PM   #14
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You should try the Stanza app, it is much better than ibooks or Nook apps. It has a lot of format settings you can change to fit your preferences.
Unless of course, you have an ePub that Stanza doesn't work well with.Then no matter the settings, it's going to not look good. Stanza has brain farts way too often.
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:39 PM   #15
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John F:

I kinda misspoke about the Gutenberg files.

I should have said that the reader in iBooks is better than the reader in the Sonys. iBooks offers many formatting choices including selecting from many differing fonts and font size one point-at-a-time. -- It isn't the file that is better, it is the software. I'm sorry to have been misleading.

Joe
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