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Old 06-10-2010, 04:00 PM   #1
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Battle of the three readers

I currently have three readers under evaluation: the Sony PRS-300, the Sony PRS-600, and the Pocketbook 360. I am going to narrow this down to 2 readers, and possibly even one.

So the background is, I bought the PRS-300 last fall and love it. Truly Ė Iove the size, the screen, the battery life, everything. OK Ė so I could have just stopped there and been happy. But no, I continued to hang out here, and read about amazing deals and other great readers.

One day, it occurred to me that, with the great pricing we now see on the Sonyís, I could potentially buy a second reader to keep in my purse, while leaving my other reader at home. Basically, Iím lazy (tired of running back upstairs to grab my reader on the way out the door), and I was trying to justify the purchase of a new toy.

The PRS-600 deals caught my eye. Who could resist? Although Iíd already seen for myself in store that the readability was nowhere near as good as my beloved PRS-300, I thought this might be overcome by the convenience of a touch screen that would allow me to read the NYT without having to sloooowly scroll down 10 hyperlinks to get to the story I wanted to read.

Then, after the PRS-600 arrived, I somehow (not sure how, now that I think of it) decided that I should try a Pocketbook 360 as well. I guess the thought process there was, ďHmmmÖ I love how speedy the PRS-600 is, but itís a bit big for carrying around everywhere, and the screen really is hard to read sometimes. Maybe I should try the PB360 since it should be faster than the PRS-300 and itís lighter, and itís got that handy-dandy built-in case. Perfect for carrying around.Ē

So now I have all three and as obsessed as I am, even I canít justify having 3 readers at this point. One will need to go.

Here are my thoughts so far:

PRS-300: This is my original love, and going into this whole exercise, I was convinced that the PRS-300 would stay and I would just be deciding between the other two. But this is not so certain anymore.

Likes: I like the size of this reader, and its layout. I find it very easy to hold one-handed and the buttons are quiet and easy to push. I find navigation really quick with the numbered buttons, the home buttons, and the back button. I actually like that there arenít any folders (many people prefer folders, but I only keep 40-50 books on my reader at a time so Iíd rather just see all my books in a flat view), and I like being able to sort by date easily as itís a good reminder to me of what I last added. The clarity of the screen is great, and I am quite happy with the 5Ē screen, finding this a good tradeoff to gain the compact size.

Dislikes: Itís a bit slow. Itís slow to pull up the home menu after being disconnected from a PC, itís somewhat slow opening books and changing font size, itís pretty slow clicking down through a list of hyper links, and itís just a hair sluggish on page turns (I need to push the button several words from the end of the page).

PRS-600: My first reaction was, ďWow, people werenít kidding about this screen. It sucks! This is the loser.Ē However, Iíve spent more time with this reader, and it has really grown on me.

Likes: This thing is so zippy! I love it. Where the PRS-300 is like, ďIs that what you want me to do? Really? Uh, let me think about that for a second. OK, here you go.,Ē the PRS-600 is like, ďYes maíam, here you are, and would you like coffee with that?Ē I also like the 6Ē screen. It may be a tad on the big/heavy side to be my carry-everywhere reader, but as my leave-at-home reader, it is acceptable. So while Iím totally fine with reading off of a 5Ē screen, Iím even happier on a 6Ē screen if Iím cozied up on the couch and am laying the reader on my lap. I do find the touchscreen pretty nifty. Itís great for those long lists of hyperlinks, and itís pretty convenient swiping pages. I would love it even better if Sony updated the firmware and allowed tapping on one or the other side of the screen to change pages rather than doing a full swipe. The dictionary, highlighting, note-taking and search capabilities are nice, but I donít really use them. I also donít care about the expansion slots because, as I mentioned, I donít keep that many books on my reader at a time.

Dislikes: Well, the screen. Yes, itís very reflective. *But* it is quite readable in good lighting situations. So, if you tend to read in your favorite reading chair with a good reading lamp, this should not be an issue. But there are situations where you will really have to work to be able to read this thing (e.g., a semi-dark room with all of the light coming in through the windows, any situation where there is more light falling on your face than the reader). Since this would be my at-home reader, and I do tend to read with a good reading lamp, I may be able to accept this trade-off.

Pocketbook 360: This is a very cool reader. Iíd say itís a very strong contender for remaining in my collection.

Likes: I like how customizable it is. I like being able to map the buttons to the functions that I use most. I like being able to choose my font size (defined by pt size Ė not just 3 or 5 font size choices!), line spacing, margin spacing, etc. etc. Iíve been reading all my epubs in Gentium and find it very enjoyable. I also find the contrast on this screen better than on my 300 (even though I think theyíre supposed to be the same)? The background is lighter, and the Gentium font shows up really crisp and clear. Also, this is the only e-ink device Iíve ever gotten my hands on that does not fade in the sun. I like that itís small and light and I do find the hard case very convenient. Reading docs like the NYT, I can navigate via the table of contents. And while I still have to click down 10 times to get to that interesting story, itís at least faster to do than on the 300. It has games and such, but I donít use those features.

Dislikes: Iím not that fond of the folders (I do realize I could manually arrange the files however I like, but I like having Calibre take care of this for me). Iíd much rather see all my books in a flat view. This could probably be easily added in a firmware upgrade or theme so itís a fixable dislike. I also find that opening books is really really slow. Slower than the 300. Page turn speed is somewhere between the 300 and 600, so itís kind of a neutral. The buttons are Ďclickyí, taking a bit more force to press and being more audible than the Sonyís. Itís pretty pricey. With the Sonyís priced as they are, Iím a bit on the fence regarding whether the likes listed above justify a $70 - $90 upcharge (relative to the 300 full and on-sale price).

So there you go. Iíll keep you all updated on which two are the ultimate winners. At this point, Iím not really sure where Iíll end up. Iím going to give it at least a few more weeks before I make a decision.
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:11 PM   #2
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Thank you for your overview and I'll be very interested in your findings. I'm doing my own battle. I've got three readers on their way via eBay - the 300, a Nook and a Kindle 2. I debated between the 300 and PB360, but the 300 used is going for $100 right now.

I didn't even consider the 600 because it is essentially the same as he 700, which I just sol here because of it's weight/ergonomics. I have small hands and it gave me wrist cramps.

I'm afraid I'll be like you and want to keep 2 or even all three of them!
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:22 AM   #3
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Based on what u wrote, the 300 should go.
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Old 06-13-2010, 06:55 AM   #4
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OMG, I think you have "over-analyze" mode on at the highest setting. Please realize that you can spend forever listing the pros and cons of different e-readers and never come to a conclusion because there is simply no "best" reader. They are all a compromise.

This forum is full of people who obsess about the different "features" of e-readers that don't really make a difference in the long run. I read these posts mostly for the comedy therein contained.

Pick one, any one, move on. The actual point is suppose to be reading.
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Old 06-13-2010, 08:42 AM   #5
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OMG, I think you have "over-analyze" mode on at the highest setting.
That's why I'm here! This is probably the only group of people who could halfway sympathize with my thought process and not toss me out on my ear as a complete nutcase, lol.

I realize there is no perfect or best reader, but out of these three, there is probably a best *for me*. For example, I spent a ton of time yesterday reading on my PB360, and you know what, at the end of it, my hand hurt! I did an awful lot of switching reading orientation, shifting hand positions, etc. that I've never had to do with the 300. That is important to me. And if I were just to pick one without thoroughly testing it, I might end up with something I'm unhappy with in the long run.

So that's why I'm doing all this analysis. And it's fun. And it might be helpful to someone else on this board who is trying to make a decision.

Anyway, today the 300 is my favorite, but like I said, I'm going to take at least a few more weeks to try them all out and make my decision.

simplyparticular -- you'll have fun testing them all out I'll be interested in your thoughts on the 300 because of the ones you ordered, it's the smallest, and, in my opinion, the most ergonomic.
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:09 PM   #6
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Sony PRS-300 : Smaller screen, slower, all around good reader.
Sony PRS-600 : 6-inch, standard screen. Glare is minor and easily corrected by simple tilting the device, and no glare is present outdoors (I read outside a lot) Notetaking is great if you're in a book club or are a student, and it's been invaluable to me. The touch screen is very convenient
Pocketbook 360 : This is a good reader. Essentially, it's the PRS-300 with a higher price tag. Advantages over the PRS-300 are the exapandable memory, and the accelerometer.

I've not used the PB360. I've used both the 300 and 600, and prefer the 600 immensely. That's my 2 (dollars?) cents.
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Old 06-20-2010, 02:18 AM   #7
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I noticed your PB is for sale - just wanted to ask if you would give us an update as to why that one was the first to go & which Sony is in the lead now. Thanks!
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Old 06-20-2010, 07:09 AM   #8
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Hi Bookmonster,

Good point, I need to update this thread

OK -- right now, the PRS-300 is the reigning champion. I recently installed a hack that allows a clock to be shown in the bottom right corner, as well as customizable font, line spacing, etc. for epubs: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=87332

With that change, I now have all of the main features I enjoyed about the PB360 on a PRS-300 package. And ergonomically, although the Sony is heavier, it is somehow easier for me to hold and handle than the PB360.

That said, the PB360 still has several distinct advantages: the crispness of the text display is still better than the Sony, it's faster with pageturns, and it has the dictionary and search, which are both really cool features to have.

So for me, I guess the bottom line came down to ergomonics, but that's a pretty personal consideration, so I'm not sure how helpful it is to others. If nothing else, I'm confirming to myself that the Sony PRS-300 is a great reader. Not only that, but it is super affordable right now. I've seen refurbed 300's with leather covers for just under $100 on eBay.
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Old 06-20-2010, 09:42 AM   #9
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Based on what u wrote, the 300 should go.
i certainly agree with u
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Old 06-24-2010, 09:31 PM   #10
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Ok max, you're killin me!!!! Why is the 300 now for sale & the 360 off the chopping block? Inquiring minds want to know
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Old 06-24-2010, 09:42 PM   #11
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Ok max, you're killin me!!!! Why is the 300 now for sale & the 360 off the chopping block? Inquiring minds want to know
Ha ha! I know, I'm a nut.

Well, I had the 360 listed, and in the meantime, bought an extra 300. Then the 360 didn't sell, so I decided to give it a second chance in my 'battle', but then needed to get rid of the extra 300. I really need to spend less time on these boards!

But I'm still keeping the original 300. It's a great reader!

I threw an Astak Mentor into the mix too (got an amazing deal)... but I think I'm in a good place now: three readers (I know, I'm totally spoiled).

The PRS-300 stays on my nightstand.
The Mentor stays on the main floor.
And the PB360 lives in my purse.

The PRS-600 totally lost the battle due to the screen glare...

ETA: and you know what's really surprising? I think out of the 3 readers I'm currently using, the Mentor is my current favorite. It has the nice 6" screen, is super light and the display is very crisp and clear.

Last edited by maxbookworm; 06-24-2010 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:32 AM   #12
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Nice comparison. I'm still thinking about a P360 and I find every piece of information here useful in some way. I'm agree that ergonomics and weight do matter quite a lot, especially in the long run.
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Old 06-28-2010, 07:36 AM   #13
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Nice comparison. I'm still thinking about a P360 and I find every piece of information here useful in some way. I'm agree that ergonomics and weight do matter quite a lot, especially in the long run.
The PB360 is a really great reader, but if I were forced to choose only one reader at this point, I would go with the Sony PRS-300 (note that I don't use the dictionary, notetaking or accelerometer features on the 360, so that's probably why)
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Old 06-28-2010, 09:43 AM   #14
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The PB360 is a really great reader, but if I were forced to choose only one reader at this point, I would go with the Sony PRS-300 (note that I don't use the dictionary, notetaking or accelerometer features on the 360, so that's probably why)
Did you check out the "turning pages by just slightly moving your wrist" feature on PocketBook 360?
That's why PocketBook 360 quickly became one of my favorites.
Usually, I use a 5" unit, when it's crowded, for example on the train.
Then it's extremely handy, to turn pages single handedly without pressing any buttons.

On the other hand, I don't like the single central button on Sony 300.
Very much for example prefer the side buttons on Cybook Opus or even PocketBook 360 (although I don't like these very much because of their form factor).
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:32 PM   #15
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Call me the queen of backtracking, second guessing, and mind changing, but the PRS-600 has ultimately won out as my favorite reader.

At the end of the day, the 300 was too slow, the PB360 was too clicky (I read the NYT every day and as I'm scrolling down the menu it's click-click-click -- especially annoying on a quiet Sunday morning over tea / coffee), the Mentor was also clicky (but did have a very nice, clear screen).

Here's my ode to the 600: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=96189
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