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Old 12-31-2023, 10:09 AM   #1
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Question Bouncing between the Kobo Sage and various android options

I plan to primarily be using this thing for manga, with around 10-20% reading on the side, so I'm heavily optimizing towards a bit larger of a screen and good blacks.

So, I'm currently deciding between three groups:
- The Kobo Sage, which has the best contrast (afaik), 8 inches which seems like the commonly liked size, has battery issues which apparently just easily get remedied after a few recharges and disabling WiFi, slightly heavier than:
- The Forma, which is the Sage without its cons but with worse contrast. Cheaper for me by about 100$ CAD, but it's 5 years old.
- One of the Likebooks off Aliexpress. I'd have no customer support, however having android is a giant plus - just for Tachiyomi alone, not to mention everything else. Allegedly the battery is fine, I'm not too pressed about the battery being good. They're a lot cheaper, too.

USB-C is a giant plus, which steers me even further toward the Sage, and having the pencil seems pretty fun so I like it for that too.
The main crux of my decision is contrast, which is where I need help:

Does anyone know what the color contrast on the Likebooks is like in comparison to the Sage?
There's a lot of different models I'm seeing, and I'm looking at:
Muses, Mimas, Ares, Mars, P78, and whatever the hell this one is. I'd like to keep my hard limit around 300 CAD, which is the price of the Sage. I tried looking for model numbers for the screen v.s. the Sage, but no dice, even though they're allegedly all by the same company.

Anyone have any advice?
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Old 12-31-2023, 10:24 AM   #2
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Boyue Likebook is orphaned. Meebook Brand replaced them. No support on Likebook and poor on Meebook. Boox seems to do Android OK. AFAIK the Pocketbook models don't work with Playstore, which is the main value of Android. I have the now unsupported Boyue Likebook Mars which I used with Google PlayBooks and Irish local library for a while.

Color contrast / brightness is abysmal compared to any current mono eink and 1/2 the resolution. No doubt why Amazon has the Fire Tablet for color and Kindles are monochrome. Boox, Pocketbook and madly overpriced Bigme are the color eink options and only worthwhile if you mostly read comics.

Kobo:
Good for metadata on series, collection, author & title and browse via those and Calibre integration. Good for text annotation export. Sage has onboard handwriting conversion to text, shapes, maths and checkboxes in the Advanced Notebooks. I have Libra, Libra2, Sage and Elipsa and have used or had: Touch c, Original H2O and Nia. It's best to use touch keyboard for annotating epubs on Sage. The Pen just "sketches" on PDFs (no conversion). The Advanced notebook allows export of docx with mix of converted to text, maths, shapes & checkboxes as well as free hand image based writing and drawing.

Android: Assuming properly supported PlayStore, then most ebook apps and some other apps will work. Some are unsuitable for eink, not just video and animation. Any of the 300 dpi mono Android will be similar screen quality to the Sage. There are a few models with older screens, but none are 300 dpi. Few Android models support the superior metadata based browsing of ebooks that Kobo, old Sony, Nook and Kindle have. Totally painful for 1000s of books.

I've a Sony PRS-350, gave away a good PRS-T2, returned a Sony PRS-T1 due to freeze bug, 3 Kindles (used others). Did have a Nook, reMarkable and iRiver Story Cover.

Last edited by Quoth; 12-31-2023 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 12-31-2023, 10:25 AM   #3
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Correction: The Meebook M7 is something that didn't pop up until I learned they did a name change(?), and it specifies the display (which is the same as the Sage), so it seems to be the best option so far, unless anyone else has anything to throw in the ring. I'm mainly curious as to if you can change what it displays on standby, and what it shows by default.
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Old 12-31-2023, 10:27 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quoth View Post
Boyue Likebook is orphaned.

Color contrast / brightness is abysmal compared to any current mono eink and 1/2 the resolution.

Kobo: Good for metadata on series, collection, author & title and browse via those and Calibre integration. Good for text annotation export. Sage has onboard handwriting conversion to text, shapes, maths and checkboxes in the Advanced Notebooks.

Android: Assuming properly supported PlayStore, then most ebook apps and some other apps will work. Some are unsuitable for eink, not just video and animation. Any of the 300 dpi mono Android will be similar screen quality to the Sage. There are a few models with older screens, but none are 300 dpi.
This popped up after I was done writing, apologies - the Meebook M7 *seems* to be from 2022, so it should be good on the OS front - Android 11. I'm aware of most apps being unsuitable, I plan to literally just use Tachiyomi, an ereader, and maaaaaybe light games like Hoplite and Picross.
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Old 01-02-2024, 06:56 AM   #5
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Final bump: I've decided to settle on the Meebook M7 for now, and if I don't like the screen size for manga (unlikely, i tend to hold my phone pretty close to my face due to intense nearsighting (-7) and I doubt this'll fix that, and this is pretty much only for night reading wherein i won't be wearing my glasses) I'll switch to the Meebook P78 Pro.
I'd actually like to shout out a youtube channel that MASSIVELY helped assuage my fears of bad contrast near the end, Sherry.
Their videos seem to be under good neutral lighting, nicely paced, showing off the features of each device and the screens are well represented unlike some other channels.
Of course, shipping is a concern, but Tachiyomi is just much too big a boon to make any of the other options worth it, since AFAIK Boox don't use Clara 1200 (and they're MUCH more expensive).
I'll probably report back with an actually detailed review somewhere else on the forum later, as details on these things are SCANT besides the above 600 subscriber Youtube channel.
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Old 01-02-2024, 07:01 AM   #6
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Final bump:
Due to a combination of factors, I stayed with my gut and went with the M7.
The P78 Pro was tempting, and I wanted to switch to it, but cancelling aliexpress orders is a pain - and realistically, since I read close to my face without my glasses on due to a -7 prescription, this is probably the best answer - the buttons seem nice for night reading too.
Sage was out of the running (though it was hard to make that choice) as even though they're cheap and nice I need Tachiyomi.
I'll be returning later with a detailed review later, as details on these are SCANT. I'd like to shoutout a particular channel in this regard, for any readers: Sherry.
Around 600 subscribers, they have good neutral lighting and actually show off feature sets and even updates unlike the only alternative - Good E-Reader, who aren't *low* on info, but I prefer this format.
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Old 01-02-2024, 08:07 AM   #7
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From my very own experience, I can only tell you that I think that 7" eink is too small for Manga and I would have recommended an 8" device.
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Old 01-02-2024, 03:25 PM   #8
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I was thinking that, but I've got good eyes (outside of a laughable prescription...) and I tried to mentally compare what it'd look like in either case using screen sizing websites. 8" would be *better*, but I usually read on my phone at around 5" and zoom in to a 6 or 7" equivalent, so it should be fine, but otherwise as said above I can just... return it. I'd rather start small and get bigger if I need to, and save 100$, rather than going big first.
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Old 01-07-2024, 09:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muuyo View Post
I was thinking that, but I've got good eyes (outside of a laughable prescription...) and I tried to mentally compare what it'd look like in either case using screen sizing websites. 8" would be *better*, but I usually read on my phone at around 5" and zoom in to a 6 or 7" equivalent, so it should be fine, but otherwise as said above I can just... return it. I'd rather start small and get bigger if I need to, and save 100$, rather than going big first.

For Manga, I would have gone 8", no doubt about it. Maybe even 10".
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Old 01-15-2024, 09:42 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by muuyo View Post
Final bump:
Due to a combination of factors, I stayed with my gut and went with the M7.
What do you think of the M7? It caught my eye as well, primarily for reading but the android + manga is intriguing. Does it have OSDP support natively (e.g., for calibre-web?) Care to provide a review/pics?
Thanks!
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Old 01-24-2024, 08:48 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by mgrimace View Post
What do you think of the M7? It caught my eye as well, primarily for reading but the android + manga is intriguing. Does it have OSDP support natively (e.g., for calibre-web?) Care to provide a review/pics?
Thanks!
I saw this late, since the site didn't auto-enable email notifications, but better's late than never. It came in quicker than I thought, around ten days, and cost me $220 CAD. Bigger review here:
https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...31#post4392031
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Old 01-24-2024, 09:02 PM   #12
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Larger response to above

Site isn't letting me edit:
I don't exactly know what ODSP is, and it doesn't seem to have calibre (though I could be wrong, I haven't looked much, and don't know much about what it is) but it does have:
- A "Cloud Drive" app that supports Baidu/OneDrive/Google/Dropbox that I can presumably quickly download ebooks from
- A self-hosted webserver where I can send stuff locally over the network
and, it's android, so if it doesn't support Calibre there's almost definitely solutions for that.
If you can give me any more information as to where exactly I might find that, I'd look, but I can't see anything like that from a quick glance.
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Old 01-25-2024, 02:01 PM   #13
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I installed Koreader to my M7 and it does have ability to connect to Calibre via wifi.
Can I ask did you find case for M7? There seem to be very few options.
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Old 01-27-2024, 06:50 AM   #14
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I got the case that came with it (on Aliexpress, pretty much every listing lets you get a case with it for a few bucks) but I haven't ended up using it. I'll probably throw it on when I'm traveling, though.
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Old 01-31-2024, 08:11 PM   #15
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I saw this late, since the site didn't auto-enable email notifications, but better's late than never. It came in quicker than I thought, around ten days, and cost me $220 CAD. Bigger review here:
https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...31#post4392031
Thanks so much for the in-depth review - it’s excellent, clear, and thorough. I didn’t get email notifications either, strange.

I very much appreciate the video and focus on Manga (which would be my other use after reading, and I like that it can do both). Calibre/Calibre-web can ‘stream’ book libraries using OPDS. Koreader has it built in, and I was wondering if the native reader had it too, but it sounds likely not (not a huge deal as other reading apps could do it, mainly just curious). Sometimes it shows up in the same place you’d add an RSS feed. If you self-host manga (e.g. Kavita, Komga, etc. you can stream manga this way to devices too).

Thanks again!
~M
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