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Old 09-13-2015, 04:43 PM   #1
etatoby
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8" eInk reader for manga

I'm in the market for an eInk device specifically for reading manga and occasionally surfing the web.

Given the size of a paperback manga (tankōbon 13x18cm, 8 3/4" diagonal, almost 4:3) I'm considering the recent 8" 250 DPI devices: Onyx Boox i86 (HD ML plus) and PocketBook InkPad.

The main issue with reading manga on a 6" device is the forced scrolling and/or tiny fonts and drawings, which ruin the entire experience. The 8" devices should allow reading a whole page without any scrolling. Here is a size comparison with a standard manga page and with a 6.8" Kobo Aura H2O:



The main pros and cons of these two devices, as far as I could gather, are:
  • The Boox is an Android device, so you can use any of the available manga reading apps; on the InkPad you need to download each series on the PC, convert it into ePub or such, using one of the various tools for the purpose, and then transfer it over to the reader.
  • The Boox has noticeably faster page transitions than the InkPad, both in the stock eBook app and in 3rd party Android apps.
  • Nate at The Digital Reader has been using both for some time and reports that the InkPad's screen and frontlight are of higher quality, while the Boox screen is more muddy and its frontlight seems to be really bad.
  • He also reports that the InkPad looks and feels better in his hands, that is, it has a higher quality case.
  • The InkPad has a narrower frame and is thinner (196x163x7.3mm vs 210x160x9mm)
  • The InkPad seems to have a much more polished and stable OS. KnuX's post (and others) on these forums lament a general lack of quality in the Boox i86's Android OS.
  • The InkPad is currently 20% cheaper (€189 vs €238)

They weigh more or less the same. Both support a MicroSD up to 32GB (with user reports of being able to use larger cards.)

I'm really tempted by the supposed ease of reading manga on the Boox: just fire up your favorite Android manga app and choose your title. Also, faster page transitions are always good. But the InkPad seems to be of better overall quality, both in hardware and software, while also being cheaper.

Which one would you recommend?

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Last edited by etatoby; 09-14-2015 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 09-13-2015, 05:27 PM   #2
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The Inkpad is using the old Pearl screen instead of the new Carta screen. Do you want a screen with lower contrast?
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Old 09-13-2015, 05:35 PM   #3
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Honestly, I think there is very little difference between a pearl and carta screen.

I would suggest the Onyx. It runs Android. I don't think the other one does. Having Android will allow you to choose from a plethora of software to read manga with.
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Old 09-14-2015, 02:31 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Rizla View Post
Honestly, I think there is very little difference between a pearl and carta screen.
Carta has 50% better contrast than Pearl (eInk's figures). Personally I find the difference between the two to be very noticeable. The Carta screen has much blacker blacks than the Pearl.
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Old 09-14-2015, 08:01 AM   #5
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Are you suggesting that the Boox i86 has a Carta screen? AFAIK it has the same Pearl model as the Inkpad, albeit with a different touch layer.
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Old 09-14-2015, 08:26 AM   #6
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I don't believe eInk currently make an 8" Carta screen. If they do, it's not listed on their website.
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Old 09-14-2015, 08:50 AM   #7
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I found "Available screen sizes: 1.44 to 13.3 in" on the Carta datasheet.

Are there any products with Carta displays between 8" and 10"? Otherwise, the choice remains between these two, because a 6" will not do, as I explained above.

Yes, the Boox has Android, but the InkPad seems to be of higher quality overall, and people are already using it to read manga with Koreader. Hence the dilemma!
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Old 09-14-2015, 09:57 AM   #8
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I've not heard of any device with a Carta screen larger than 6.8".
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Old 09-14-2015, 10:09 AM   #9
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I've owned Carta (I took it back) and Pearl screens. The Carta upgrade was no big deal, no matter what the advertising specs say about improved contrast. But I will say the carta screen was on a lighted screen, which tend to be less constrastful than non-lighted screen.

But for manga, or doing anything else other than reading straight normal books, software is the key. You can have a great peice of hardware, but if the software is inflexible / limited, you are limited in terms of what you can do with it.

Re: Koreader, yeah, I see your dilemma. Look, I have a Kobo Aura HD. I tried Koreader and Coolreader on it. They're okay, but they will never compare to the flexibility of software Android offers. Ever. They are attempts by a few part-time coders to increase functionality on linux-based units. They're noble efforts can never compare to the incredible array of professional software to be found under Android. Forget it. No comparison. But remember, Android software designed for a phone or tablet might (and often doesnt) not work well on e-ink. You need to check with Onyx users what will work.

I think you need to do some research. Look at how well Koreader works with manga, especially on the boox. Ask in the sub-forums about other people reading manga on the big Onyx. If you're going to go with Koreader, make damn sure it will work for you, because it might be you're only option on the boox.

Nuff said.

Last edited by Rizla; 09-14-2015 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 09-14-2015, 10:24 AM   #10
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Old 09-14-2015, 11:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etatoby View Post
I found "Available screen sizes: 1.44 to 13.3 in" on the Carta datasheet.

Are there any products with Carta displays between 8" and 10"? Otherwise, the choice remains between these two, because a 6" will not do, as I explained above.

Yes, the Boox has Android, but the InkPad seems to be of higher quality overall, and people are already using it to read manga with Koreader. Hence the dilemma!
You can get a Kobo Aura H2O at 6.8" that has a Carta screen. It has a resolution of 1430 x 1080. There is a version of Koreader for Kobo but IMHO, you don't need it and can use plain old ePub for your manga. RMDSK (ADE) is what Kobo uses for ePub.

I've used Readers with Pearl screens and my H2O screen does have noticeably more contrast.

Last edited by JSWolf; 09-14-2015 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 09-14-2015, 11:21 AM   #12
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I've used Readers with Pearl screens and my H2O screen does have noticeably more contrast.
Yes. It's not that the background is whiter, but rather that blacks are distinctly blacker. Comparing my Kindle PW1 (Pearl) and PW2 (Carta) side-by-side, the text on the PW1 was grey compared to black on the PW2.
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Old 09-14-2015, 12:21 PM   #13
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Yes. It's not that the background is whiter, but rather that blacks are distinctly blacker. Comparing my Kindle PW1 (Pearl) and PW2 (Carta) side-by-side, the text on the PW1 was grey compared to black on the PW2.
The background is lighter as well.
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Old 09-14-2015, 12:30 PM   #14
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The background is lighter as well.
Hmmm. Not that I noticed doing a side-by-side comparison of my PW1 and PW2, although individual eInk panels do of course vary considerably one from another.
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Old 09-14-2015, 12:32 PM   #15
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Hmmm. Not that I noticed doing a side-by-side comparison of my PW1 and PW2, although individual eInk panels do of course vary considerably one from another.
The screen of my H2O is lighter than the screens of my 650/T1/nook STR.
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