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Old 04-15-2012, 12:16 AM   #1
bobj is on a distinguished road
Posts: 25
Karma: 67
Join Date: May 2008
Device: iRex iLiad
Device for browsing references (e-ink? tablet?)

Hi everyone,

I'm looking for a device that will allow me to avoid my current procedure of printing out papers to read. I feel very conflicted about how to proceed, so I'm hoping people might be able to suggest some ideas and perspectives to help me out.

I study math, and I need to read the following:
  • PDFs from various online journals
  • PDFs from the arXiv
  • Occasional Google / Wikipedia searches
  • Old notebooks scanned to djvu
It's very important that I can efficiently flip between various sources. Also I need to be able to work both online and offline.

In 2008, I purchased an iRex iLliad. I found it impossibly slow and unresponsive. Rather than reading, I spent way more time trying to hack it to do what I wanted. It was not that stable, and it would choke whenever I tried to load a djvu. Consequently, I sold it.

Recently, a visiting colleague was raving about how much he likes the iPad 2 for reading documents. This got me thinking about searching out another e-reader.

I have been checking out both the Onyx Boox M92, and the iPad 3. I have serious reservations about each.

M92: The e-ink is very appealing. I also greatly appreciate that it runs Linux. However, I'm very concerned about responsiveness. The refresh lag is annoying, and I worry that it would hinder my ability to read nonlinearly. I'm worried about a repeat of my experiences with the iLiad. Also, I would love to take this outdoors on a sunny day, but I'm troubled by the first guideline I read in the manual:
Do not leave the product in direct sunlight for long periods of time and do not use in extreme high or low temperature environments...
I thought this was supposed to be the strong suit of e-ink.

iPad3: 2048x1536!!! This resolution would be incredible for me. I'm fortunate to have excellent eyesight, so I really appreciate such a high-res display. (I want the largest possible resolution in the smallest possible display.) Also, from what I have seen, the interface is extraordinarily responsive. On the other hand, I can't imagine buying an Apple product. For example: no SD card slot??? Do I really want to be captive to their ecosystem?

What should I do? Perhaps I should hold out for the impending slew of 1920x1200 Android tablets. I love my Nexus S, and find it very easy to download and read articles. But I want higher resolution, and I don't want a glossy mirror. Maybe I'm exaggerating the difficulties of browsing the web for scholarly articles on the M92. But in all the demo videos I've seen, users struggle to achieve response to their input. What do you think? Any other possibilities I'm overlooking?

Thanks so much for reading my wall of text.
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