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Old 01-09-2024, 02:59 AM   #1
1414ettam
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Text book pdf reader for study

Hey guys, i did a search but couldn't find the exact answers i was looking for and was hoping to get some help.

I am currently studying and have PDF textbooks to cut down on costs, however having to use my laptop is irritating at best. I am therefor looking into an e-reader as I can see the potential in them. While i was looking into it i noticed these dual readers, remarkable 2 and kindle scribe, which could be handy.

As I stated earlier I am currently studying and am going the digital text book to save money so i don't have the money to be able to just buy and try a tablet without being able to test it out first. This is hopefully were you guys can help and offer some advice.

The things I feel are must have:
-PDF reading and good navigation
-Custom book marks in the PDF's so i can easily navigate to equations, formulas and definitions within chapters/subchapters. Would be great to have a bookmark that takes me directly to a page in the book that has my notes connected to it
-Easy reading screen to reduce eye strain.

The things i feel could be useful but potentially not neccessary:
-Writing over the pdf and note taking (depending how well it works, I still use paper and pen for my notes)
-Handwriting to text (I study physics so i don't see me getting much use of this feature unless it can convert equations)

Perhaps if there are things that i haven't considered that you guys feel are important. Or if some of my wants are not possible.

At the moment the only tech i have is a laptop and a phone so i am fully open to the best suit to my needs. Budget I am looking at is max going up to a Remarkable 2 or kindle scribe (price comparison should work for all countries) but would prefer to only pay for the things that i feel are 100%neccesary.

Thanks in advance
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Old 01-09-2024, 05:33 AM   #2
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Comparison
reMarkable / Scribe
1. 227 dpi / 300 dpi
2. USB networking / USB MTP
3. 8G (part used) / 32G or 64G
4. No Calibre / Calibre connects
5. No Meta data library, just file browser / True metadata library
6. Native PDF only / Multiple formats (but no epub)

No onboard conversion of handwriting on reMarkable (unless they added it lately it used the so called "Cloud"). Not sure about Scribe.

Both need Internet for full functionality.

Both use Wacom EMR (powered from the tablet).

Kindle Scribe crippled without Amazon registration / account.

The PDF viewer on the reMarkable is better than than on Kindles I have, but I haven't the Scribe. I gave away my reMarkable because having only the USB Networking or WiFi, PDF only and no Metadata based library made it useless for large numbers of PDFs or PC based management (calibre or file manager).

Other options are Pocketbook, Onyx Boox and Kobo Elipsa

The Elipsa is the same 10.3″ panel as the reMarkable (227 dpi) so the Kobo Sage 8″ (also Pen & Notebooks) has more pixels. Both are 32 G byte vs about 6.5G free on reMarkable and 32 or 64 G on Scribe. Microsoft used the Wacom EMR for Surface 1 & 2, but NTrig since Surface 3 and bought the company. Kobo Pen is the same as 3rd party MS pens without the OneNote BT button. Battery is over 6 months life. I've used Wacom original, Wacom EMR, Kobo/MSP pen, Apple Pencil. I find the NTrig/MSP Pen and Apple Pencil (only works on Apple) better than either Wacom, but the Pencil uses a small rechargeable cell so has about 1/20th run/shelf time of the AAAA alkaline cell.

The reMarkable 2 is cost reduced original reMarkable and their only product. Very hyped. I think Pocketbook, Boox, (both various models and only some do notes) Kindle Scribe, original Elipsa (I have) and Elipsa 2 are all far better than the reMarkable which seems like a poor copy of Sony DPT or Fujitsu Digital Paper Tablet models.

There is support here for Pocketbook, Onyx, Kindle, Kobo and Calibre (management). Onyx allows Android Apps. The Kindle and reMarkable are locked down though earlier FW could be jailbroken. The Kobo Elipsa is "open".
I don't know much about Pocketbook or Onyx models, but others here have them.
The only thing worse than a reMarkable 2 is any 9.7″ eink model.

If buying DRM protected textbooks (most are), the Kindle Scribe works perfectly with Amazon. The Kobo Elipsa 2 supports Adobe registration for DRM and Overdrive in some countries.

Last edited by Quoth; 01-09-2024 at 05:35 AM.
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Old 01-09-2024, 07:59 AM   #3
1414ettam
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Wow thanks for your detailed reply.

In regards to navigation within the PDF is it possible to create custom bookmarks within? Perhaps i don't understand enough about how the systems run but i am taking that the kobo allows log in to an adobe subscription in which one would have full access to adobe tools? Where as kindle and remarkable are locked to whatever operating systems they have to use.

The note taking ability seems like a cool idea but if there are better options that will allow me to navigate and create bookmarks to specific pages in pdf's but lack the note taking functionality that is something i can live with.
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Old 01-09-2024, 08:26 AM   #4
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I forget what the feature, if any, on reMarkable PDF bookmarks.
Kindle Scribe and Kobo Elipsa and Kobo Sage (8″ but more pixels than 10.3″ Elipsa) certainly do bookmarks (per page and list per book) and can export them. Separately creatable highlights with annotations only work well on "real" ebooks, azw3/FXX on Kindle or kepub/epub on Kobo. PDFs are not ebooks. They are paper replicas in electronic format, thus fixed size page by designer. The "real" ebooks are reflowable (mobi, lrf, azw, azw3, kfx, epub), though there are PDF like fixed page size /layout documents related to the ebook formats to facilitate Amazon DRM or use ebook retailers etc.

Current Elipsa & Sage FW allow crop per PDF of margins. They allow writing on the PDF with the pen and that's an extra layer when copied elsewhere. The Scribe needs PDFs to be sent & retrieved from Amazon when they become fixed layout KFX so you can write on them. That probably fails with DRMed PDFs.

Adobe:
There are many different Adobe tools. The Kobo supports ADE on Windows or Mac to authorise DRM infested ebooks. ADE is free. There is also ADE viewer for Android and one built in on Kobo, it's for epubs, not PDFs.

I stopped using Adobe PDF tools years ago, using 3rd party ones. Less buggy. I'd not use Photoshop or InDesign either.

Also Adobe's subscription model is very expensive.

Last edited by Quoth; 01-09-2024 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 03-09-2024, 05:27 AM   #5
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to piggyback off this, 13.3" boox tab x or super note a4x 13.3" for PDF reading + note taking?

is it worth $$ for a dedicated notetaker, or is it better to spend $$$ for all in one features to get money's worth (backlight, sideloading, etc...)
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Old 03-09-2024, 06:15 AM   #6
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I'd wait a week or month or two for the Nxtpaper 14

I find the Nxtpaper 11 (forum thread) far better than the 10.3″ Kobo Elipsa even for mono text.
No eye strain at all if you set brightness properly.

Nebo and Xodo are best for PDF annotation in different ways. Pocketbook app best for simple reading of epub or pdf (two page up in landscape mode) Gboard handwriting conversion and Jota plain text editor is fast for simple notes and Nebo is good for mixed format notes with docx export.

I'll be getting a Nxtpaper 14 as complement to my 8″ Sage, 10.9″ Nxtpaper 11 and laptop when it's available in Ireland.

The bigger eink are too limited and too low a resolution for only 16 level display.

[Edit: The pro version of the Nextpaper 14 seems to have very high end spec like a Win 11 gaming laptop, though only Android.]

Last edited by Quoth; 03-09-2024 at 06:21 AM.
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Old 03-09-2024, 07:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quoth View Post
I'd wait a week or month or two for the Nxtpaper 14
You don't mind if devices shine directly into your eyes - but that kind of thing gives me conjunctival problems and is certainly not healthy for others
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Old 03-09-2024, 09:56 AM   #8
Quoth
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Originally Posted by ottischwenk View Post
You don't mind if devices shine directly into your eyes - but that kind of thing gives me conjunctival problems and is certainly not healthy for others
You've said this nonsense before. Front light on eink is no difference, as indeed is any light of the same brightness with no front light on.
Quote:
that kind of thing gives me conjunctival problems and is certainly not healthy for others
No, see a different consultant, because that doesn't cause conjunctivitis. It's simply a lie that a screen at normal brightness causes any health issue.

You can get headaches from using a screen to read if either you need glasses, or there are reflections from objects a metre away or more. Medical facts, not opinions. A sheet of polished glass in front of a paper book in a brightly lit area with people moving around will give a headache.

Quote:
Conjunctivitis (red or pink eye) is an eye condition caused by infection or allergies.
You usually do not need treatment if you're an adult. But your child might need to see a GP or have urgent treatment. If your baby is less than 4 weeks old, contact your GP.
Some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can cause conjunctivitis. This type takes longer to clear up.
https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/conjunctivitis/

Quote:
Pink eye is most often caused by a viral infection. It also can be caused by a bacterial infection, an allergic reaction or — in babies — an incompletely opened tear duct.
Though pink eye can be irritating, it rarely affects your vision. Treatments can help ease the discomfort of pink eye. Because pink eye can be contagious, getting an early diagnosis and taking certain precautions can help limit its spread.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-...s/syc-20376355

There is also no medical difference between using a projector and a same size TV screen at the same brightness, arranged that there are no reflections off the screen.

Scaremongering with no scientific basis is not friendly.

Last edited by Quoth; 03-09-2024 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 03-09-2024, 10:40 AM   #9
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I am a huge fan of reading novels on 8″ or smaller dedicated ereaders with eink with ambient light only, no front light. The reasons are:
  • Low shine / lack of reflections (though this is really nothing to do with eink, just how they make most. Some are shiny and a failure).
  • Metadata browsing library interface with search
  • No need to adjust screen brightness as ambient light changes
  • Very long charge life (even the maligned Kobo Sage and Amazon Kindle Oasis-2 is good enough)
  • Good contrast (for over 10 years)
  • Decent sharpness (any models with more than 227 ppi and ideally 300 ppi).
  • No stupid nagging notifications or updates.
  • No change to screen with viewing angle
Some eink based models don't meet the criteria above.

Historically LCD screen using devices had shiny screens (simply because it's cheaper), poor range of view angle, poor contrast (originally only mono with no shades! IPS and later screens solve viewing angle and contrast), poor control of brightness, short run time per charge, poor user interface and lack of resolution.

There are still plenty of substandard screens (even Apple who only concentrated on resolution) and devices, but there are also good desktop monitors though few decent tablets because shiny glass is cheap and a fashion. You can't go by brand.

A 6″ to 8″ mono eink for novels is better now than a paper experience and still has the edge over any other display for that purpose. Also dedicated ereaders with USB Mass Storage and a metadata library interface beat everything else if managed by Calibre for 1000s of books. A file browser is too clunky for that. So Kobo with support for series, collection and subtitle as well as author and title beats everything else for novels.

However as soon as you need PDFs, colour, comics, documents more complex than a novel with a few inline illustrations that can be ignored, and content creation you need a decent tablet, laptop or workstation (screen). The eink copes with simple typed notes and an annotation highlight for proofing novels or similar. The 8″ is better than 10.3″ for notes unless on a desk stand. But a decent tablet with a digitiser blows the Kobo Sage or Elipsa out of the water. The iPad is too shiny, as are the similar spec and price big name Android tablets. There are now 10″+ size tablets with similar run time per charge to some eink, certainly good enough.

Last edited by Quoth; 03-09-2024 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 03-09-2024, 12:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1414ettam View Post

As I stated earlier I am currently studying and am going the digital text book to save money so i don't have the money to be able to just buy and try a tablet without being able to test it out first. This is hopefully were you guys can help and offer some advice.
You're going to need to take a long hard look at the relevant textbook providers, both now and in the future of your course, and their DRM situation and compatible systems. In general you are going to find an Android or iOS tablet much more flexible in that regard (as well as providing a colour display, which is important in many textbooks). You also usually get a bit more bang for your buck with tablets, especially if you shop trailing-edge and refurbs.

As far as "easy read" goes, just turn down the brightness to a comfortable reading level instead of having it blare at you.
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