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Old 02-14-2019, 04:36 PM   #1
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Large reader for academic PDF reading

Hi all,
I guess this is the place to ask this sort of thing… nonetheless, this got a bit long, so I’ve highlighted the key bits:

So I've finally decided I'm going to shell out the big buck for a large E-reader (13”, possibly 10” if there are compelling reasons); I want it mainly for academic work, which means reading a ton of pdfs: Journal articles with or without figures, low quality scans of book chapters, and sometimes digitized versions of historical music theory treatises like this one, etc.
Being able to annotate those pdfs (and to export those annotations) would be a plus, and speed is important (i.e., faster navigation/skimming; and having multiple files open at the same time — since you don’t read these things cover to cover usually). Not sure at the moment whether I need/want a stylus.

What would also be nice is if I could use the thing for basic text entry duties as well (via an external keyboard; the onyx boox max claims it can do that). I am aware that this entails a slow refresh rate, but I imagine I can get used to that if the trade-off is less distraction and eye strain.
(If that stuff could somehow be made to integrate/sync with scrivener, that would be even better).

In terms of memory, I’ll need at least 32GB, or an SD slot (my collection of pdfs is currently about 18GBs… probably not healthy, but whatever). Wireless synchronization (with a Mac) is nice too but I can live with doing that per USB or the SD card.

Lastly, since these large readers are rather expensive and I’m not exactly loaded, I’m a bit worried about what happens if it breaks or stops working – so support/warranty/repairability is also a factor. (I had a Pocketbook 840 that worked for two years and then just stopped, and I have no idea how or where to fix it…).

No need for lights and audio out, or any other applications beyond what I’ve mentioned;
I guess as OS, Android would be useful as I imagine this would leave me with the largest choice of reader engines (?), but also with a larger temptation of installing distracting bullshit apps. I’m also fine with installing a non-factory OS like KSM, should that be necessary.


Models that I’m currently aware of (I’m in Canada/Montreal, btw, and getting the Sony is for some reason less simple than you’d think it would be):

Good e-reader 13”
Sony DPT-CP1
Onyx Boox Max2

---Is that all there is? Any recommendations, warnings, experiences (not necessarily with these same models, but manufacturers, OSs, etc.)?

I wonder what I should look for in the specs of the available models – is RAM or CPU more important for the things I mentioned?

At any rate, thanks! Any input is much appreciated. (I just hate buying expensive things and am really bad at making decisions.)
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Old 02-14-2019, 04:53 PM   #2
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See our wiki E_Ink_Mobius#Screen_features_and_Devices for some devices that may meet your needs. There are also tablets that would be used for eBook readers. See Category:Tablets.
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Old 02-14-2019, 05:11 PM   #3
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I'm in your position: I need to read and annotate a shed-load of academic PDFs. Take my advice and buy a tablet, not an eInk device. PDFs need a fast CPU and lots of RAM. eInk devices are optimised for long battery life and have (compared with decent tablets) slow CPUs and relatively little RAM.

The best solution for reading and annotating PDFs is, to my mind, an iPad with the "GoodReader" app. Superb app - the best PDF reader on any platform, to my mind.
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:13 PM   #4
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The pdf reading / annotating software that comes preinstalled on Onyx devices is excellent. You could probably manage okay with 10" if you're happy to read in landscape. Obviously the faster processor the better. Booxter in Germany is the best supplier when it comes to support and warranies. If you go with An Onyx check the reviews for that model. You would probably want a stylus. Speak to people in the Onyx subforum.

There is also Likebook / Boyue. I can't comment on those.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:35 PM   #5
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Run screaming from anything involving Good-ereader or their device. There are a PILE of early backers of their Indie Go-Go campaign for it that have been stiffed and got nothing. Highly variable (mostly poor) reports from the few lucky enough to at least get a device.
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:15 PM   #6
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Many thanks for your replies so far!

HarryT, I just dislike reading on LCD screens, both for eyestrain and distraction reasons... I have a tablet as well and it doesn't "work for me" the way the e-readers I have do (despite their slowness). Although I don't annotate much currently. (I guess annotation isn't that much of a priority, really; just being able to see one or multiple pages at once rather than just a paragraph).

Also, apart from the screen refresh rate, I can't imagine that it'll be that slow with newer devices such as the onyx max2, which already have 4GBs of ram and 1.6Ghz quad core? That's not much less than my Mac, which does ok with pdfs...

Pajamaman, I googled booxter and did not find a store by that name, just a mac app. Did you maybe mean this "ereader store" in Detmold?
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:43 PM   #7
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I'm just reporting my experience of many years. PDFs really are better on a tablet. Of course my advice is worth what you've paid for it - nothing .
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Old 02-15-2019, 06:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by you sir name View Post
Many thanks for your replies so far!

HarryT, I just dislike reading on LCD screens, both for eyestrain and distraction reasons... I have a tablet as well and it doesn't "work for me" the way the e-readers I have do (despite their slowness). Although I don't annotate much currently. (I guess annotation isn't that much of a priority, really; just being able to see one or multiple pages at once rather than just a paragraph).

Also, apart from the screen refresh rate, I can't imagine that it'll be that slow with newer devices such as the onyx max2, which already have 4GBs of ram and 1.6Ghz quad core? That's not much less than my Mac, which does ok with pdfs...

Pajamaman, I googled booxter and did not find a store by that name, just a mac app. Did you maybe mean this "ereader store" in Detmold?
Yes, that's his site.

Last edited by Pajamaman; 02-15-2019 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 03-29-2019, 05:01 AM   #9
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Don't know if you're still looking but it's the Sony. I am an engineer living of technical PDFs & I bought the first edition Sony and, while not perfect, I could annotate and instantly see results on a PC without issues. After 3-4 years I traded for the Boyue Mimas and that was a mistake. I wanted a backlight to read in dark and reviews were good. While a good notetaker, PDF are unusable on this device. Now I'm waiting for the 3rd edition Sony. Bad thing is the Sony is $$$$.
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Old 03-29-2019, 01:20 PM   #10
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I'm in your position: I need to read and annotate a shed-load of academic PDFs. Take my advice and buy a tablet, not an eInk device. PDFs need a fast CPU and lots of RAM. eInk devices are optimised for long battery life and have (compared with decent tablets) slow CPUs and relatively little RAM.

The best solution for reading and annotating PDFs is, to my mind, an iPad with the "GoodReader" app. Superb app - the best PDF reader on any platform, to my mind.
^This. OP, for your stated uses, a tablet in a mainstream mobile OS is what you need. Real Android, or iOS. Versus an under-powered, overpriced e-ink device that has a clunky, proprietary OS. Unless you are dead set on getting an e-ink device and nothing else will do, I'd go with a modern tablet. And nobody has better tablets (hardware), and touch/tablet-optimized apps, than Apple. I can admit that as an objective reality, even though I strongly prefer the Android OS and devices for other reasons.

BTW, with a quality tablet, you can tweak and adjust the display settings, not to the point of making it e-ink, but definitely to the point of being highly readable and easy on the eyes. I've been able to do this and can read my tablets and phone for hours at a time without eyestrain. Some tablets even have a high resolution grayscale mode that looks excellent for reading--I've loved using this setting on my Nexus 7 (Android). Another side benefit of buying a real tablet is that you'll get more bang for the buck, you can do a lot more with it. If I were you, I'd check out the large Ipad Pro. Spendy, absolutely, but so is the Sony you are considering, if you spend for the higher end e-ink device.
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Old 03-30-2019, 01:18 AM   #11
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Maximus,

Would you mind sharing how you are adjusting your tablet display settings to avoid the eyestrain? I have a 1st ed. iPad Mini and I'd be curious how it looks.

Perhaps ignorantly, I thought this could not be done due to the way the light enters your eyes with a tablet VS eInk.

Thanks,
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Old 03-30-2019, 01:46 AM   #12
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On my Android Nexus 7: there are 2 things I have used.

1. I flip the display into "Reading mode", which is a grayscale for the whole tablet. This however is feature of the custom AICP ROM, so available to Android users only. And of course, do the same in accessibility settings in regular Android. No idea if Apple has something equivalent in OS or via an app. But would be surprised if they don't. This is now what I use regularly on this tablet, because it's so awesome.

2. On Android in general--including my S10 phone, and my Nexus prior to the custom ROM--I'll flip into the night mode settings in daytime, dial down the blue light, then change text and background colors in the reading app I'm in. For my comfort, typically something sepia with black text, and rounded type of font. This combo has really helped avoid irritated eyes during extended reading sessions. And doesn't require flipping the whole device to grayscale.

One last thing to keep in mind. I hesitate almost to mention, as so many folks I've seen are dead solid convinced that only e-ink is easy on their eyes and nothing else will do. But....there are some--and I emphasize some--indications that there's really no measurable difference on your eye health between e-ink and LCD devices. Like the study cited here. It wouldn't surprise if there are also studies on the other side--it seems like there usually are. :-) But particularly if you use good eye health practices (the 20-20 rule, proper distance from screen, blinking regularly, etc) you should be ok while reading regardless of screen type. While I am not an opthalmologist and cannot prove it, based on research like this, I'd suspect that the preference for e-ink by some is mainly that, a preference. That doesn't make it bad, for them, but it also means it isn't about eye health. I've worked in front of varieties of LCD screens for many years and long days of 12+ hours, and not had a problem with eyestrain or other eye health problems provided I followed good eye health practices.

Last edited by maximus83; 03-30-2019 at 01:57 AM.
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Old 03-30-2019, 01:54 AM   #13
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Thanks, I'll try this out tomorrow <:
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Old 03-30-2019, 02:09 AM   #14
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Thanks, I'll try this out tomorrow <:
I'd be interested to hear if you check this out on your Apple devices and find out if they have some equivalent grayscale mode for accessibility, as Android does. I'd be stunned if they don't. Also, there are undoubtedly Apple iOS apps that would deal with the blue light issue and give you the ability to reset reading background colors and text color. Even the basic apps like Kindle should be able to give you those color options.
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Old 03-30-2019, 04:27 AM   #15
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Perhaps ignorantly, I thought this could not be done due to the way the light enters your eyes with a tablet VS eInk.
Light is light. Your eye doesn't care whether the photons come through the screen (as in LCD) or are reflected from it (as in frontlit eInk). I have noticed, though, that many people have the lighting on tablets set way too high. The screen should be bright enough to read clearly, but it should not be visible "shining".
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