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Old 10-16-2018, 11:35 PM   #1
poorconsumer
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Best eReader for reading scanned PDFs and note-taking?

In college I read a lot of not so well scanned PDFs, so I figure a >9 inch reader might be necessary.

I was thinking about the boyue likebook note, but I read somewhere that the note-taking isn't good at all, at least compared to other readers like the onyx boox note or the sony. Annotating PDFs and taking notes are two of the main reasons I'm thinking of getting a larger screen, otherwise I could just use a 7.8 reader in portrait mode.

I know I could just use a tablet instead, but I read papers all day long. Being able to use e-ink would make it a lot less tiring to my eyes. I'm also on a bit of a budget, and I would prefer to pay less than 500 dollars, but if no device under that price range is good enough for what I want (which is honestly, fairly simple) then I could pay more.

Hardware wise, I don't care if it can browse the web well or not, or if it has speakers or headphone jacks. Frontlight isn't necessary either. SD-card would be nice though. I need the specs to be good enough to read PDFs and highlight/take notes, but I don't care if it can run facebook lite or not.
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Old 10-17-2018, 05:39 AM   #2
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I own a Likebook Note but don't use any of it's note taking features.

Unless you try it out yourself you most likely won't be able to know it it fits your purpose.

I'd rather suggest to get an Onyx Boox Note instead because it is much better supported software wise than Boyue's offers.
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Old 10-17-2018, 12:30 PM   #3
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Sadly the truth is that no current model of e-ink device handles PDFs in a way comparable to an iPad or android tablet.

The only device with a large enough screen that doesn't cost more than 500 dollars is the Boox Note S, but its resolution will make it a poor choice for scanned PDFs. Your only options are the DPT series from Sony which lack a lot of features and are probably not worth the price, the Remarkable tablet, and indeed the Boox Note. The Remarkable is probably your best bet since it is designed with the exact purpose you had in mind, but its software is also quite limited otherwise, and it is expensive.

As orebmur mentioned the Likebook note is limited in terms of software compared to the Boox Note. The major difference is that Likebook has Android 4.4.2 which prevents the installation of numerous useful apps (this hinges on your own reading preferences, so you ought to check which reading apps you find indispensable) whereas the Boox Note has Android 6, much better software and a small curated store of e-ink optimized apps IIRC. Note (heh) that there are different iterations. The Note plus is the same device but with a flush glass screen and a grey metallic back, and the lite which lacks stylus support but is otherwise identical and less expensive.
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Old 10-30-2018, 05:47 AM   #4
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Old 10-30-2018, 02:53 PM   #5
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Shopping on ebay may get a you 'NON-USA' BOOX reader. They seem only to be sold outside of the usa. I found 9.7 inch reader just the right size for me with pdf's.
Still tweeking it to get generic epubs to look real books.
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Old 11-12-2018, 04:06 PM   #6
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Note plus is the only option if you can't afford the max2. Anything smaller or cheaper won't work with scanned PDFs. Personally I have one and love it and reading PDFs scanned is no problem.
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Old 11-20-2018, 05:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poorconsumer View Post
In college I read a lot of not so well scanned PDFs, so I figure a >9 inch reader might be necessary.

I was thinking about the boyue likebook note, but I read somewhere that the note-taking isn't good at all, at least compared to other readers like the onyx boox note or the sony. Annotating PDFs and taking notes are two of the main reasons I'm thinking of getting a larger screen, otherwise I could just use a 7.8 reader in portrait mode.

I know I could just use a tablet instead, but I read papers all day long. Being able to use e-ink would make it a lot less tiring to my eyes. I'm also on a bit of a budget, and I would prefer to pay less than 500 dollars, but if no device under that price range is good enough for what I want (which is honestly, fairly simple) then I could pay more.

Hardware wise, I don't care if it can browse the web well or not, or if it has speakers or headphone jacks. Frontlight isn't necessary either. SD-card would be nice though. I need the specs to be good enough to read PDFs and highlight/take notes, but I don't care if it can run facebook lite or not.
You can get a used iPad for that, easily!

I do too read PDFs every day, technical books.

After almost 10 years using electronic devices for reading, I've realized, that even now, there is no good eink device that can handle PDFs without "pain". And trust me... I've tried even the Sony one, which cost me 1k. And the Kindle DX , maybe you don't even heard about it. I finally accepted that as 2018, the iPad or any 10 inches tablet is the only option.
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Old 11-22-2018, 02:54 AM   #8
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I have both the reMarkable and the Onyx Boox Max 2, and I'd say both are quite usable for reading PDFs (even scanned ones), and for note taking.

The reMarkable is smaller (more mobility), so the display will be smaller than the original for most books unless cropping is used (and cropping isn't perfect - on a book with different margins on left and right pages, if you set it on one type of page it won't be suited for the other type). Note taking is really good though - very pleasant to use. The reMarkable developers are also quite active; they don't always work in the direction I'd like (the device is not really intended for academic use, I'd say), but they release updates regularly.

The Boox Max 2 is more flexible, since it runs Android 6.0 and you can install your own apps. It also has a larger display, meaning full-page A4/Letter PDFs will display at very close to native size even without cropping. Note taking isn't quite as pleasant I'd say. Boox has released several updates since I got mine, so they're active; one of the features they added (in "display a document page and a notes page" mode, the possibility of having the notes on the left, very useful for left-handed users) is one I suggested - not sure if I was the reason they worked on it, but I think they do listen to suggestions. It's also more expensive - but no similar device is going to be cheap, I'm afraid.

(If I was still shopping for such a device, I'd really like to have an opportunity to try it out before making my choice - unfortunately, I don't think there are any brick-and-mortar stores selling them, and certainly not any close to me)
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Old 11-22-2018, 03:32 AM   #9
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TBH my best advice is to get a ten inch iPad (used or refurb) and use the brightness and temperature controls to make it easy on the eyes. You will get the best performance and experience that way. Just don't stare at a bright white screen in a dark room.
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Old 11-26-2018, 05:22 AM   #10
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At the moment, I'm really torn between three Onyx devices: Max 2, the Note (either version) or the N96 because of its front light. I just gave my iPad Air 2 to my wife because I really can't stand looking into a light source for hours on end, but I do quite a bit of reading for my work.

I read both scanned and digital born PDF files, and the former present the biggest challenge. Reading isn't the main problem, but a reader needs a certain amount of horsepower to render, for instance, Google Books PDFs with their extreme compression. That appears to rule out the N96 - but correct me if I'm wrong - which leaves the Note or the Max 2, which I haven't seen for less than 750 euros. The Note Plus is around 500 euros with rebates; that's a sizable price hike for three inches. Would you say that's worth it? Spec-wise, they appear to be pretty less similar apart from the screen.
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:34 PM   #11
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I just got a paperwhite 3 and reading pdfs on it isn't a great experience. However, converting it to mobi format via calibre makes it much more readable. I was also emailing pdfs to my kindle before I found out if you type "convert" in the subject it will automatically be sent in a kindle format making it easier to read. So if I was on a budget and needed to read a lot of pdfs I would perhaps use a cheap large screen tablet and a paperwhite to help reduce eye strain when needed. Also, in college I'm sure a lot of research is done online and the send to kindle feature would also be useful to send web pages to your ereader.
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Old 11-27-2018, 03:12 AM   #12
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Old 11-28-2018, 07:24 AM   #13
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That looks great, but it's not for sale anywhere yet, and I can't really wait for another three months.
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Old 12-13-2018, 08:17 PM   #14
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Is there much difference going from a 10.3" to a 13.3" ? Does the larger screen render PDFs better?

If a 10" is the bare minimum, does this size have any drawbacks? Do you still need to zoom at this size?
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Old 12-13-2018, 11:04 PM   #15
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Is there much difference going from a 10.3" to a 13.3" ? Does the larger screen render PDFs better?

If a 10" is the bare minimum, does this size have any drawbacks? Do you still need to zoom at this size?
It depends on your vision, the distance you hold it from your face, and the particular PDF. There's no one answer. I can read A4 PDFs in landscape mode on my iPad mini, even; others might not. Can you visit an Apple store or find a usergroup where you might try them out in person?
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