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Old 09-29-2022, 05:04 AM   #1
Giss Serke
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Post ereader for highlighting pdfs?

Hello!
I've been thinking about buying an ereader for a while. The perfect opportunity arrived now that I'm starting my master degree with lots of reading material facing me (besides my typical books). My first options were Kindle paperwhite or Kobo Libra 2. Buuut I read somewhere that Kindle isn't great for converting 2+ columns pdf to their native format and that it isn't possible to highlight if the pages are scanned images, and that in Kobo you can't highlight pdfs.

I need some ereader that allow me to read pdfs and highlight them because that is the default format in which my teachers upload the readings, and some of them are just photos of the books. I know there might be a way to convert them, but it would be a hassle to do it every day for every article, chapter or report.

Another subject is that in my country is difficult to buy ereaders from the lesser well-known brands. I’m stuck with the ones that I can find on amazon, walmart and similar stores. Tablets are easier to find but my eyes don't really like that painful option. I also have a bit of a grudge against them because when I started college, I invested in an ipad for my readings which is now completely useless.

So, my dear e-readers sages I will appreciate deeply any advice and information you want to give me. Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-29-2022, 07:23 AM   #2
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You need a 10" or larger tablet or eink for PDFs. There is no 100% reliable way to convert all PDFs. Many would need OCR and proofed. A lot of work.

The 10.3" Kobo Elipsa can highlight scanned PDFs. Probably all large eink can. Some can do notes with Handwriting recognition, but not on the PDFs. Usually you can "write" on the PDFs with any larger eink or Tablet (10" or more) that has a true digitiser stylus/pen/pencil, but often not if the PDF is locked by DRM. If you can "export" the Annotated PDF at all, you just have a PDF that looks like a scan of a paper document written on with a ballpoint pen. Usually no text export of annotations, that mostly only works with real ebooks (epub and proper reflowable Kindle formats).

PDF ultimately is a read-only fixed layout format intended to preview print, source for print or WYSIWG fixed size/layout to read only on screens large enough for the defined "paper" size.

Last edited by Quoth; 09-29-2022 at 07:26 AM.
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Old 09-29-2022, 07:26 AM   #3
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There's loads of options now...

Just get one of the bigger 10"+ equipped models that support pen input. With that screen size it's big enough for most people to read a two column PDF without zooming. You can highlight or annotate with the pen. There's loads of choice now, Amazon just announced the 10" Kindle Scribe, Kobo has the Elipsa and Boox has models like the Note Air 2, Note 5 and Max Lumi that would work well for your use case. Amazon has some of the Boox models and Boox probably will ship it to you direct from their website although you may need to pay import duties.

I have a Boox Note Air 1 and I find it's good for reading PDFs. If your eyesight is good with small text you MIGHT be able to get away with a 300 PPI 7.8" reader like the Boox Nova line but I wouldn't go smaller than that.
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Old 09-29-2022, 09:23 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by salamanderjuice View Post
There's loads of options now...

If your eyesight is good with small text you MIGHT be able to get away with a 300 PPI 7.8" reader like the Boox Nova line but I wouldn't go smaller than that.
No to 300 dpi 7.8"!
I have a 300 dpi Boyue Mars, 7.8", and an 8" 300 dpi Sage. It's not just eye sight. The Boyue Likebook Mars (meebook P78 is current version) has also one of the best PDF readers, with brightness, crop, contrast, zoom etc. Rubbish ebook reader so I use KOReader for that, but it's mainly for Bolinda Borrow Box library ebooks as it's a pain to use other than that Android App with the Irish Libraries.

Only A5 original size or smaller PDFs are useable on those. The 10" is a minimum size and even then it's too small for three column Letter size magazines.
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Old 09-30-2022, 11:56 AM   #5
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No to 300 dpi 7.8"!
I have a 300 dpi Boyue Mars, 7.8", and an 8" 300 dpi Sage. It's not just eye sight. The Boyue Likebook Mars (meebook P78 is current version) has also one of the best PDF readers, with brightness, crop, contrast, zoom etc. Rubbish ebook reader so I use KOReader for that, but it's mainly for Bolinda Borrow Box library ebooks as it's a pain to use other than that Android App with the Irish Libraries.

Only A5 original size or smaller PDFs are useable on those. The 10" is a minimum size and even then it's too small for three column Letter size magazines.
It's entirely eyesight. The 300 PPI 7.8" readers have exactly the same resolution as the 226PPI 10" ones. Everything clear enough to distinguish on one is clear enough to distinguish on the other just smaller.

Are 10" and 13" devices more comfortable to read on? Yes, absolutely. But if you can read tiny text it is doable. I have read a number of A4/letter sized PDFs on my 7.8" Nova 2 especially before I got my Note Air.

Last edited by salamanderjuice; 09-30-2022 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 09-30-2022, 03:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giss Serke View Post
I also have a bit of a grudge against them because when I started college, I invested in an ipad for my readings which is now completely useless.
Can I ask why it's useless?
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Old 09-30-2022, 06:09 PM   #7
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Cool

My first recommendation to you would be the 11-inch iPad Pro or a 10-inch iPad Air, or even an ordinary 10-inch iPad, and to highlight your PDF files there. Or a 10-inch Samsung S8 tablet. (Each of these is neither too big, nor too small.)

The best PDF app to do that, unfortunately, would likely be Adobe Acrobat. Yes, it's dumb corporate software, but other options turned out to be unreliable for me. GoodReader for iOS is great, but messes up syncing with Dropbox. (And you really should back up your annotations all the time, because they can disappear from a PDF file any minute!) Another good iOS PDF app is PDF Expert.

And yes, many teachers are dumb as well, unfortunately, especially when it comes to using today's technology. Many teachers still mentally live somewhere in the 1970s. (And you can believe me, because a large school has been among my clients for the last 21 years; I can see that some folks' computer skills in that school today are the same as they were back in 2001, which is to say: pretty much non-existent.)

Nowhere does the failure of our education system present itself more clearly than in this: that many teachers and scientists, even as late as in 2022, believe PDF to be the primary format of distribution of digital literature, although, as correctly observed by our fellow posters above, PDFs should ideally be used for printing and nothing else (while printing itself should ideally never be used).

The folks who are supposed to lead us to enlightened tomorrows (teachers and scientists) are frequently the dumbest of all people in certain aspects. Oh my! Where is our civilization headed!

Since you seem to be rejecting traditional tablets, my second recommendation to you would be the 10-inch e-ink Onyx Boox Air 2 Plus. (Beware: Air 2 Plus is the current model with a larger battery, not just Air 2.) The cost is around 500 dollars/euros, comparable to a similar-sized iPad Air. Preferably, buy this via Amazon, not directly through Onyx (because depending on your location, you might have additional import taxes and duties to pay).

PS: I disagree you need at least a 10-inch screen to read/highlight PDF files. I've been doing that for many years on the 8-inch iPad minis, for example, with no problem whatsoever. It's not comfortable, but then, a rigid format like PDF is never comfortable. Only an EPUB file is a true e-(text)book – if only our teachers and scientists had any idea! In emergency situations, I've even been able to read and highlight PDF files on my 6-inch Samsung Note phone, too – again, with no bigger issues or consequences for my eyesight.

Also, I've never ever used a stylus for anything – never even bother to pull out Samsung's S Pen from its receptacle inside my phones; I agree with Steve Jobs on this if not on much else: that you don't need a stylus because you already carry 10 styluses around with you at all times on your hands.

Last edited by Faterson; 09-30-2022 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 10-05-2022, 04:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by salamanderjuice View Post
It's entirely eyesight. The 300 PPI 7.8" readers have exactly the same resolution as the 226PPI 10" ones. Everything clear enough to distinguish on one is clear enough to distinguish on the other just smaller.

Are 10" and 13" devices more comfortable to read on? Yes, absolutely. But if you can read tiny text it is doable. I have read a number of A4/letter sized PDFs on my 7.8" Nova 2 especially before I got my Note Air.
Technically eyesight, but only if you are not human or have much sharper than average acuity.

I compared a regular Penguin paperback (about US pocket-book size) and same PDF of a letter size page on the Elipsa 10.3" and Sage 8". The PDF was a scan of a letter size manual from the 1980s.
The paperbacks have as small text as practicable to save paper costs. The 10.3" (I think 227 dpi) was perfectly readable. The 8" 300 dpi perhaps has more dots and technically you can make it out, but the text size is half that of the paperback novel. So, yes you could use the 8" for one or two pages of a manual or datasheet but the vast majority of humans could not read an entire scanned magazine or scanned book with larger pages.

Also many older people or long-sighted younger people even with ideal reading glasses find the small size paperbacks have too small a print and that's why they have a 6" to 8" eink ereader and may even buy an ebook version of a paperback they still have.

I have the 8" Sage and 10.3" Elipsa. I do read on the Sage where possible because it's so much lighter. I only use the Elipsa for PDFs and I agree many more PDFs are usable on the 300 dpi Sage than a 6" Paperwhite or 7" (I have an original Libra and gen9 /2nd Oasis). I also have the 6.8" 300 dpi Mars I only use for Irish Library books (Borrowbox Android app).
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Old 10-06-2022, 05:29 AM   #9
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Obviously even 7" 300 dpi ereaders are better than the ghastly 9.7" Kindle DX and DXG which is maybe 167 dpi. Similarly the 5" Sony PRS-350 or Kobo Mini may be more pleasant than the older 6" Kindle Basic models (and other old 6" eink) for ebooks at the same size text, though they have the same number of dots, because 167 dpi is too low. That's why laptops/Monitors use subpixel addressing and specially designed fonts as most are only 90 to 140 dpi. Fortunately for Latin-Roman fonts as in Western languages the horizontal resolution is more important so on a 120 dpi LCD screen you have a sort of 360 x 120 dpi resolution for text. It means the horizontal edges are blue or red, but our colour eyesight is much lower resolution than mono. Also CRT or LCD on computer usually has 254 levels of grey rather than 14 on eink, so anti-aliased diagonals are better. The best colour eink is only about 4000 shades/hues/levels compared to about 65,000 for 16 bit LCD or gfx cards or about 16,000,000 for 24 bit "True Color" (not actually true colour).

Last edited by Quoth; 10-06-2022 at 05:30 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 10-14-2022, 02:00 PM   #10
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I’m in a similar boat. I’d like an eink solution for viewing PDF’s and, ideally, taking notes on them and sharing the notes. The PDF’s I work with are math and compsci docs with subscripts, superscripts, and other small text. And my eyes are 56 years old but very near sighted, so I’m good holding a reader up close.

For taking notes, and doing homework I use GoodNotes on the iPad/Mac. I can do homework with an apple pencil, the annotated PDF is shared through the cloud with a Mac client, I can export on the Mac, and upload to school.

As I said, I want an eink solution. The Kindles have a smart zoom so that the text on my 7 inch Oasis is the same size as text on my 8 inch B&N Glowlight Plus with dumb zooming. I can live with this for reading but it’s tiny and I can’t take notes.

So I’m thinking very seriously about the Elipsa and the Scribe. But I need to be able to export and share.
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