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Old 03-09-2016, 10:51 PM   #1
anarcat
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replacement (or repair?) for Sony PRS-T2?

My faithful PRS-T2 finally died during my last vacation. I believe it broke when it fell from about 1 meter up, flat on a solid surface. It is still recognized by the computer and i can transfer files to it (so the touch screen works too), but the display is all garbled and of course is unreadable. I have little hope of being able to fix it - but of course any advice on how to fix that would be welcome.

Which bring me to consider buying a new e-reader. My needs are...

Must have

* e-ink technology (*not* a tablet)
* fast and responsive
* comparable battery life (~1-2 months!)

nice to have

* physical flip page buttons
* good PDF support (the Sony's was impressive)
* as lightweight or lighter
* flashable, hackable (i always missed adding new dictionnaries or wikipedia on the Sony)
* reasonably usable web browser (for quickly browsing and storing web pages without my main computer)
* sync articles with Wallabag (or Pocket in the worst case)

A friend has a fairly recent Kobo Aura (~1 year old?) which I was able to test for a while. I was not that impressed. For sure, the resolution is better, but it was already pretty good for my taste on the Sony. The main problems I saw with the Kobo were:

* trouble following footnotes: sometimes, i need to tap repeatedly on a link so that it's actually recognized, particularly hard for "star" ("*") notes that are too small to tap. never was a problem on the sony
* touch screen less responsive, generally feels more sluggish
* table of contents shows up "flat" even though titles are actually in a hierarchy
* used to have a chess program, was replaced by a sudoku one and the chess program is gone!

i like the backlighting, but it does take up more power, so it's not a real requirement for me. i also like the idea of a waterproof one that came out some time ago, but it's a little heavier and a bit on the bulky side.

i have a strong prejudice *against* Amazon and their e-reader, partly because of the 1984 fiasco, partly because I dislike Amazon's corporate employment and privacy policies, but may be convinced to buy a Kindle if it can be shown that I can hack it to satisfaction.

note that I am free software enthousiast, so any device that favors free software, either by using it (e.g. android, linux etc) or allows me to program it will be at a huge advantage.

thanks for any advice!
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Old 03-13-2016, 08:08 PM   #2
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[...] A friend has a fairly recent Kobo Aura (~1 year old?) which I was able to test for a while. I was not that impressed. For sure, the resolution is better, but it was already pretty good for my taste on the Sony. The main problems I saw with the Kobo were:

* trouble following footnotes: sometimes, i need to tap repeatedly on a link so that it's actually recognized, particularly hard for "star" ("*") notes that are too small to tap. never was a problem on the sony
[...]

i like the backlighting, but it does take up more power, so it's not a real requirement for me. i also like the idea of a waterproof one that came out some time ago, but it's a little heavier and a bit on the bulky side.
Just to address a handful of points:
- you have broken the glass substrate on your Sony. I doubt that repairing it would be a cost-effective thing to try to do.
- LED frontlighting uses very little power, and makes a big difference to contrast.
- To make it easier to tap on footnotes it's a fairly simple matter of reading kepubs not epubs (either buy/download the book direct from Kobo, or convert with Calibre using the Extended driver).
- The Kobo Aura H2O is larger and heavier because it has a significantly larger screen. This is a big advantage if you're reading PDFs without reflow. To reflow them, you can install Koreader.

For buttons without a Kindle, you might look at some of the Android eink readers. I believe there's a big tradeoff in battery life, however.
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Old 03-13-2016, 09:16 PM   #3
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Just to address a handful of points:
- you have broken the glass substrate on your Sony. I doubt that repairing it would be a cost-effective thing to try to do.
I was hoping the thing was just unplugged or misplugged... Also, I am not sure what the glass substrate *is*. There doesn't appear to be any crack or anything. The display is just weird.

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- LED frontlighting uses very little power, and makes a big difference to contrast.
- To make it easier to tap on footnotes it's a fairly simple matter of reading kepubs not epubs (either buy/download the book direct from Kobo, or convert with Calibre using the Extended driver).
- The Kobo Aura H2O is larger and heavier because it has a significantly larger screen. This is a big advantage if you're reading PDFs without reflow. To reflow them, you can install Koreader.
All good points, and great info. How easily flashable are the kobos anyways?

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For buttons without a Kindle, you might look at some of the Android eink readers. I believe there's a big tradeoff in battery life, however.
Hmm... i thought kobo and others *were* android readers... which readers are you refering to in particular?
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Old 03-13-2016, 09:47 PM   #4
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I was hoping the thing was just unplugged or misplugged... Also, I am not sure what the glass substrate *is*. There doesn't appear to be any crack or anything. The display is just weird.
The substrate is a thin layer of glass on the underside of the screen.
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Old 03-13-2016, 10:05 PM   #5
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I was hoping the thing was just unplugged or misplugged... Also, I am not sure what the glass substrate *is*. There doesn't appear to be any crack or anything. The display is just weird.
The substrate is an extremely thin pane of glass which forms the back of the e-ink display. The surface is intact, so you don't feel a crack. If you post a photo (check the forum guidelines first) we can confirm, but what you're describing is exactly what a substrate break looks like. The substrate can break with impact, flexion or torsion of the device, or with temperature extremes.

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Hmm... i thought kobo and others *were* android readers... which readers are you refering to in particular?
My understanding is that the Kobo OS is based on Linux. There are a variety of tweaks and hacks for it - check the Kobo Developer's Forum here. By Android readers I'm referring to readers like Onyx, Boyue etc. But since you seem to be pretty twitchy about battery life, I'd suggest proceeding with caution if you're going to be away from electricity for many days at a time. Or you could get a solar USB charger...
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:28 AM   #6
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The substrate is an extremely thin pane of glass which forms the back of the e-ink display. The surface is intact, so you don't feel a crack. If you post a photo (check the forum guidelines first) we can confirm, but what you're describing is exactly what a substrate break looks like. The substrate can break with impact, flexion or torsion of the device, or with temperature extremes.
So obviously, what was bound to happen here was for me to get the camera out, and for the screen to just go totally blank when i plugged it in. So yeah, I can't really show you what's going on, the screen is basically blank now. But before that, it was blank on the left half, and the right half was somehow stripped grey. Before that, I had all sorts of stripes and lines from top to bottom of the screen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by meeera View Post
My understanding is that the Kobo OS is based on Linux. There are a variety of tweaks and hacks for it - check the Kobo Developer's Forum here. By Android readers I'm referring to readers like Onyx, Boyue etc. But since you seem to be pretty twitchy about battery life, I'd suggest proceeding with caution if you're going to be away from electricity for many days at a time. Or you could get a solar USB charger...
Yeah, it's the main reason why I love those things: to be able to travel easily with thousands of pages of books without carrying many kilos of books. Otherwise I would just read paper books, mostly.

Thanks for the advice!
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:51 AM   #7
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temperatures

oh and btw, what is a "temperature extreme"? here we can get -20°C outside fairly easily every winter, and i *did* carry the thing through an extensive 2 week skiing trip where it certainly reached that temperature...

i understand -20°C can be considered extreme by some, but the device was sleeping and in a backpack. plus, luggage can go through similar extremes in airports in some flights and some places... (no?)

what *is* the operating temperature of e-ink readers anyways? according to this, it says storage is fine all the way down to -27°C:

https://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-paper#Environmental

... which i *may* have actually reached during that trip, with the wind factor. However, wind chill mostly concerns human skin, i don't think it affects hardware so much, because they do not radiate heat.
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:17 AM   #8
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In no order:

1) Kobo. The Kobo is open and you can install Koreader for PDFs.
2) An open Android e-reader. Onyx or Boyue, or whatever it's rebranded as. You can find resellers on Amazon.
3) The new Nook. It's Android and can be rooted, but I'm not sure how well it works rooted.
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Old 03-14-2016, 01:36 PM   #9
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what *is* the operating temperature of e-ink readers anyways? according to this, it says storage is fine all the way down to -27°C:
According to eink themselves:

Operating temperature: 0 to 35C
Storage temperature: -10 to 45C
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Old 03-14-2016, 04:33 PM   #10
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oh and btw, what is a "temperature extreme"?
Quoting from the small print from my Kobo GloHD:
Quote:
Avoid storing your device in temperatures lower than -10deg C and higher than 60deg C. Operation of the device should occur in temperatures between 0 and 45deg C. Dramatic changes in temperature or humidity may affect the functioning of the device due to formation of condensation.
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Old 03-14-2016, 07:31 PM   #11
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Ebay is always a good source for used Sonys. However, you're taking a chance on battery life. I've had good luck, buying both a T1 and T3 within the last year. Just do your research on your seller but it's still a roll of the dice at this point.
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:09 PM   #12
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so i ended up buying a Kobo. i'll look at both the h20 and the glo to compare sizes and weights and report back here if useful.

thanks for all the advice!

oh, and PS: the sony now shows half the page white and the other half grey/black, vertically. this is after plugging it in and mounting it to get some notes off of it. really odd.
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:09 PM   #13
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so i ended up buying a Kobo. i'll look at both the h20 and the glo to compare sizes and weights and report back here if useful.

thanks for all the advice!

oh, and PS: the sony now shows half the page white and the other half grey/black, vertically. this is after plugging it in and mounting it to get some notes off of it. really odd.
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Old 03-16-2016, 03:32 AM   #14
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so i ended up buying a Kobo. i'll look at both the h20 and the glo to compare sizes and weights and report back here if useful.

thanks for all the advice!

oh, and PS: the sony now shows half the page white and the other half grey/black, vertically. this is after plugging it in and mounting it to get some notes off of it. really odd.
Photo? If all of the lines are perfectly straight and vertical, it could be a screen controller issue rather than a substrate break.
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Old 03-16-2016, 08:51 PM   #15
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here's what it looks like now.

i really wonder if it wouldn't be possible to just fiddle with the screen connector...

but now i got two new babies on my hands (kobo glo hd and h20 so the sony looks really old and broken.
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