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Old 09-22-2010, 03:44 PM   #1
UbiquitousPhoton
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Help! Kindle 3 vs Sony PRS 650

Hi all,

To introduce myself I am a bit of a longtime lurker, as I have fancied an e-reader for some time (bit of a techie, so its kinda suprising I haven't got one already). I am in the UK, so my choice of e-readers is slightly limited, however I have narrowed it down to two...

Anyway, I came within a hairs breadth of buying a PRS 600 earlier in the year, but seeing the 300 and the 600 side by side, I decided that the 600 screen was just not good enough, and the 300 was too small, annoyingly. Thus I decided that the time for an e-reader had still not come, and to save my pennies.

Therefore, colour me interested when both the Kindle 3 and the Sony PRS650 appear on the scene in quick succession, both with vastly superior screens, and both looking rather attractive.

I was waiting until I had a proper hands on with the 650 before I made a final decision, but basically I have discovered I have an opportunity to pre-order a 650 slightly cheaper, but only in the next couple of days. Bugger.

So, these are my points.

1. I have a number of technical books in pdf format. I know that up till now the Sony readers have had a definate advantage for pdf rendering (in as much as can be done with a screen that small) but apparently the Kindle 3 is a lot better when it comes to pdf render / reflow - is the Sony still the crown holder here?

2. The amazon store ... which is unfortunately the only sensible way to buy e-books in this country, its the cheapest, and has the best range. It would obviously be a complete faff to get books from the amazon store onto the sony reader, but not impossible... but then I also do like the greater flexibility of the Sony when it comes to formats, so no real winner there. Other than the PDFs I am mostly only bothered about the best reading experience for bog standard books, no manga or the suchlike.

3. Battery life - can those lucky people who already got a 650 confirm that the battery life is comparable to the Kindle? The Sony appears to only quote a standby figure of 5 days, which seems somewhat ... short, specially for a device with no wifi / 3g capabilities. I presume this is something to do with the touch screen?

4. Price .... admittedly even with the reduction I have managed to get, the kindle is still a great deal cheaper, although when you include cases etc, things even out a bit more. Wireless is a pull, although I think the touch screen outweighs that - if you can't smear your greasy fingers over a device these days, then its not worth having!

So yeah, can the forum illuminati please help with my rather excruciating decision? (Fanbois need not apply, I know these things are pretty much down to personal preference....)

THANKING YOU....!
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Old 09-22-2010, 05:43 PM   #2
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Hi, I have had the 650 for about a week. Screen is fantastic no screen glare even in full on sun. No fingerprints, lightning fast page swipe. Been using it most days and have not put a dent in the battery bar yet.Wifi not needed for myself I load books easily enough without it. Kobo site for epub books is on par with amazon prices. I went through two Kindle 3 with frozen screen and reboot issues and Amazon could not replace within a month, had refund eventually. The bulid quality on 650 is extremely high, more places out there to buy epub and I think this format is better supported.
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Old 09-22-2010, 06:00 PM   #3
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Welcome to MobileRead, UbiquitousPhoton
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Old 09-22-2010, 06:05 PM   #4
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Why thank'ee ma'am!

Thanks for that Josh, I must admit I am already biased towards the 650, having been completely Kindle before. I'll have a look at Kobo, cheers!
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Old 09-23-2010, 02:01 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by UbiquitousPhoton View Post
2. The amazon store ... which is unfortunately the only sensible way to buy e-books in this country, its the cheapest, and has the best range. It would obviously be a complete faff to get books from the amazon store onto the sony reader, but not impossible... but then I also do like the greater flexibility of the Sony when it comes to formats, so no real winner there. Other than the PDFs I am mostly only bothered about the best reading experience for bog standard books, no manga or the suchlike.
As European publishers go for epub format and not Amazon, I'd say get an epub reader. But, as you're English, and Amazon is in the English language mainly as well, you should have enough choice from Amazon. But you'll have to format-shift everything you buy from other stores.


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3. Battery life - can those lucky people who already got a 650 confirm that the battery life is comparable to the Kindle? The Sony appears to only quote a standby figure of 5 days, which seems somewhat ... short, specially for a device with no wifi / 3g capabilities. I presume this is something to do with the touch screen?
Only 5 days? I can say from experience that that is completely made up. I can't compare it to the Kindle 3 yet, as that one has been available for a longer time (and the Sony only for a week ). I have not turned the Sony off, it's been without recharging since Sunday (when I last put books on it), and it's still showing a full bar.
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Old 09-23-2010, 03:10 AM   #6
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Personally i would go for the 650 because it's more open and better quality. Beisde that i hate having a keyboard at my erader (yes, kindle and all those clones). You may still buy at Amazon (Kindle for PC), remove the drm and copy to 650 for reading.

Well, Kindle 3 is a bit cheaper than 650 and you may buy and read from amazon without stripping drm. But i think that's not enough to go for the K3.
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Old 09-23-2010, 03:51 AM   #7
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Both are very good devices; I'm sure you'd be happy with either.

If you think you'll be buying a lot of commercial eBooks, the Kindle is the clear winner; the ease of buying books for it is unparalleled - just browse the bookstore on the Kindle itself, buy the book, and it's there for you to read within seconds. The free samples that are available in the Kindle bookstore are also a major benefit. Buying books for the Sony is a bit of a pain. You have to install the truly ghastly Sony eBook Library software on your PC or Mac, and transfer books via that.
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Old 09-23-2010, 04:23 AM   #8
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UP - I only read books so I cannot comment on the pdf question.

I have owned two Sonys and don't have a bad word to say against them. They were solid, reliable and did exactly what I wanted - allowed me to read e-books.

When the UK Kindle site went online I worked out how to "re-format" azw files, so I could continue to use my Sony without feeling "ripped off" by having to pay quite a bit more for the epub equivalent of the azw title. (I had already learned how to "re-format epub titles to ensure a degree of future proofing).

However, when my partner's daughter indicated that she would rather like my current Sony 300 I ordered a K3 to test and, as soon I could, also got a look at a sample of the new Sonys.

I am not a lover of touch screens (a personal flaw), so that aspect of the new Sonys did not wow me. They are really light but, perhaps, at the cost of losing some of that quality of construction feeling my old 505 and (to a lesser degree) my 300 had.

When the K3 arrived, I felt "this is nice, but not as sexy as the Sonys". However, in use it is really good. I have no problems with accurately using any of the keys/buttons. It works really well as an e-reader. I have used the wifi a bit, but my main purpose for having an e-reader is to read books.

I then sat back and wondered why I should send the K3 back and get a sexier Sony 650, paying about 80% more (I did not have your special deal on offer) and I could not think of a single reason. I can buy quite a lot of books for that 80% and be as happy reading them on a K3 as on a Sony.

That was my reasoning, anyway.
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Old 09-23-2010, 04:29 AM   #9
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Kobo site for epub books is on par with amazon prices.
They are on a par price-wise, but unfortunately not selection-wise. I buy mainly detective fiction from Amazon UK. I've just checked three of my favourite authors: Colin Dexter, Ian Rankin, and Peter Robinson. None of their books at all are available from Kobo.
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Old 09-23-2010, 04:29 AM   #10
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Yes it is easy just to buy books from Amazon via wifi on Kindle. I f you use 3g however in my experience could be a very slow process and sometimes would not download depending on signal reception etc. Kobo has a fast decent desktop app and mobile phone app making purchase and download simples, then just side load onto reader when you are ready. I can also use my Android phone to continue reading where I left off on my reader when out and about if I left the reader at home.
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Old 09-23-2010, 04:32 AM   #11
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Yes it is easy just to buy books from Amazon via wifi on Kindle. I f you use 3g however in my experience could be a very slow process and sometimes would not download depending on signal reception etc. Kobo has a fast decent desktop app and mobile phone app making purchase and download simples, then just side load onto reader when you are ready. I can also use my Android phone to continue reading where I left off on my reader when out and about if I left the reader at home.
3G on the Kindle works beautifully for me, but I do have a good signal; perhaps it works less well in some areas.

Both Amazon and Kobo have reading apps for iPad/iPhone and Android.
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Old 09-24-2010, 09:19 AM   #12
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In the past week, I have used the 350, 650 and the Kindle 3. I am a formerly stalwart PRS-505 user and really *wanted* to love the new Sony products; I ended up with the Kindle. Here are my thoughts:

Why Sony
- A more attractive, and sturdy shell.
- Better user interface
- Slightly better format support (Calibre is a great leveler)
- I love my PRS-505

Why Did I end up with a Kindle, then?
- The quality of the font (darkness, style) is preferable
- The keyboard area provides a base to grip it without obscuring the screen
- WiFi doesn't hurt
- It's thinner
- Of course, it's also cheaper

So, from one avid Sony reader to others, there you have it.
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Old 09-24-2010, 09:58 AM   #13
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What was your experience with the Kindle?

I have not used a Sony. My brother has one and likes it but is not happy with the level of support provided by Sony or the crappy book store. He has recently stated that he wishes he had picked up a Kindle.

Personally, I love my K1 and DXG. I mainly use the DXG these days, the K1 is used at the beach and similar situations. Amazon's store works for me and the device is perfect for my needs. It sounds like you did not have a great Kindle experience and want to move to something else or is it that you are wishing you had an EPub reader?
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Old 09-24-2010, 10:06 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by doodlydood View Post
In the past week, I have used the 350, 650 and the Kindle 3. I am a formerly stalwart PRS-505 user and really *wanted* to love the new Sony products; I ended up with the Kindle. Here are my thoughts:

Why Sony
- A more attractive, and sturdy shell.
- Better user interface
- Slightly better format support (Calibre is a great leveler)
- I love my PRS-505

Why Did I end up with a Kindle, then?
- The quality of the font (darkness, style) is preferable
- The keyboard area provides a base to grip it without obscuring the screen
- WiFi doesn't hurt
- It's thinner
- Of course, it's also cheaper

So, from one avid Sony reader to others, there you have it.

Just curious... I am using my wife's PRS-505 myself right now while I search for a replacement for my Jetbook and its a pretty thin reader. How does getting any thinner make a reader more desirable?

Also, doesn't Calibre allow you to play with the font somewhat on the Sony?

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Old 09-24-2010, 10:20 AM   #15
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Here are my general thoughts on the issue.

1. Don't get an ebook reader to read PDFs... particularly technical PDFs. If the PDF itself doesn't support reflow, it doesn't matter if the reader does. Maybe a Kindle DX has a screen large enough to get away with it... but I think the best place to read PDFs is on a computer or printed out on paper.

2. If you plan on buying a lot of books, and you don't mind being tied to Amazon, the Kindle is the no brainer here. The only device that even approaches competing with Amazon for ease of buying books and loading them on the reader (Barnes and Noble's Nook) is not available in the UK. Sony's software is generally considered awful. If you do mind being tied to Amazon, then admittedly the Sony becomes a better choice since any book store that sells books with Adobe DRM (Pretty much everyone but Amazon and places like Smashwords that don't do DRM at all) can be used to buy books.

3. Battery Life... its a wash.. or close enough not to really matter. Early reports suggest that the Sony will definitely last more than a week on a single charge.

4. Price is a big issue. I think it comes down to how you value other factors. Sony readers have generally (except for fuzzy touch screens which now appear to have been resolved) been the gold standard of ebook readers from a hardware point of view. My Wife's PRS-505 is a quality piece of equipment and I hope it will serve us for years to come. This is not to trash the Kindle, but I will tell you this, there is definitely a different feel in picking up a metal shelled reader versus a plastic shelled one. On the flip side, Sony appears to have decided it is not worth their time to upgrade the software on older readers. They did update the PRS-505 to allow it to work with ADE, they did not update the PRS-505/300/600/700 to support full justification. In contrast, we know that Amazon does indeed push out firmware upgrades for the Kindle. So pick your poison .

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