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Summary:

The e-book space has never been hotter with a new electronic reader seemingly announced every day. Amazon certainly has made the e-book game popular and everybody seems to be interested in it currently. I have been reading e-books since the early PDA days, and it is […]

The e-book space has never been hotter with a new electronic reader seemingly announced every day. Amazon certainly has made the e-book game popular and everybody seems to be interested in it currently. I have been reading e-books since the early PDA days, and it is still common to see me sitting somewhere with a gadget in my hand, engrossed in the e-book of the day.

I read e-books on many different gadgets, from phones to UMPCs, and folks often ask me what gadget I prefer for reading. That is another one of those questions for which there is no easy answer, as there are many factors that enter into the equation. The size of the gadget is the most important, as it usually determines what particular one I am likely to have with me when an opportunity to read presents itself. The size also determines the quality of the reading experience, as screen size equates to page size in the e-book world.

Dedicated e-book reading gadgets can vary in screen size from 5 inches all the way to around 10 inches. The bigger the page, the more text, and it comes down to a trade-off for portability. I am fortunate that I have so many gadgets laying around Mobile Tech Manor, as it means I can try different scenarios. This experimentation has seen me settle currently on three different devices for reading e-books, depending on where I am and what I can carry with me. The three gadgets are the iPhone 3G, Viliv S5 UMPC and the Viliv X70 UMPC — the X70 is an evaulation model sent from Viliv.

The iPhone is always with me, so it’s often used when I am out and about. I pull it out of my pocket when I have some free time and read to my heart’s content. The S5 has a 5-inch screen so it provides a better reading experience due to the larger pages. It is still small enough that it is highly portable so it’s often in my bag for other purposes. The X70 has a 7-inch screen and it is awesome for reading books. It can display almost as much text on a page as a paperback book and the reading experience is great. It’s hard to describe so here are some photos of my three e-book readers:

 
  1. I’ve found that my Q1-UP is also a great ebook reader, and if I want a really big screen, I use my Motion LE1600, it’s thin, light weight, and offers the best experience I’ve had with reading ebooks on eReader or digital magazines from Zinio.

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  2. For ebook reading i prefer devcies with 4-6 inches as they provide the best weight/text display balance for long reading sessions. I have tried reading in my touch pro and find the screen size and resolution to be too much of a strain.

    To develop furhter on the point of reading, we should consider mangas or comic books. I been trying to read mangas since I first got my Tapwave Zodiac, yet the continue scrolling due to the screen resolution, made it less than ideal for such task. It wasnt until the samsung q1 and more recently my nokia N810, that i found the best suitable resolution/screen size for manga reading. The 800X480 resolution makes it the best compromise.

    My question to James would be: can you read the mangas of onemanga.com comfortably in the viliv S5? maybe post some pictures, if its not too much to ask. Thank you in davanced and keep up the good work.

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  3. borax99 (AlainC.) Thursday, August 27, 2009

    Thank you for using shots of the three devices with the exact same book open – provides for an excellent comparison. I’m a bit of an ebook fiend, I use:

    - Sony 505 – for longer books, my eyes appreciate it
    - Viliv S5 – quick n dirty read-anywhere
    - P1610 – read Sony, ereader, or mobi books, mostly at home. (I primarily use a landscape, two-page view with this one, as opposed to portrait on the others)

    I’m considering the X70, but may wait until it (or hopefully a successor device from Viliv) ships with Windows 7…

    Great post !

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  4. So James you prefer multi-purpose devices for reading vs a dedicated e-book reader like the Kindle or Sony? I prefer the kindle or reading on my Fujitsu T4220, although I’ve used both my palm centro and OQO to read books. Anything smaller then the kindle is far to small to enjoy the experience. Still the kindle fits best, battery that lasts for days, e-ink screen that I can read in any light, although a backlight or built-in LED lamp would be nice for night reading.

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    1. It would be more correctly stated that I prefer to read on devices I have with me. I have the original Kindle but don’t use it much at all as it’s never with me. At least one of these gadgets are with me at a given moment and that’s what I use.

      I read a lot in low light conditions and the Kindle fails miserably at that.

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  5. iPhone is a great e-reader if proper apps are used. Most iPhone reader apps have small fonts and whenever you zoom in you have to scroll horizontally to read lines. However, apps like Kindle for iPhone are really great. I’ve read a 700 pages novel on iPhone Kindle without any eye strain and I should admit that the reading experience was somehow better than a real kindle. BTW, which app have you used in this example? Doesn’t look like Kindle app.

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    1. The app displayed is eReader on all three devices. I use it a lot in addition to the Kindle for iPhone app you mentioned. eReader is much more configurable in regards to the display font, colors, etc. than most apps.

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  6. I spent alot of time with my LE1600 as a Microsoft Reader device but the thing was so heavy it strained my wrists and they were always sore after a couple months. Then I got my Sony Librie and life was instantly MUCH better.

    The hotness in the Sony space has me a bit peeved though. My PRS-700 should be capable of the same annotations as the PRS-600. But so far all Sony has had to say is that they’re discontinuing the PRS-700. No word on if we get a firmware update before it goes off to the junk heap. A $400 dedicated ebook reader that is dead and unsupported after a life span in the market of Nov 2008 until Aug 2009? Whoosh!

    I know I didn’t get my $400 worth out of mine before they killed it.

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  7. Thanks for the comparison… I hadn’t really thought of the ultraportables as an ereader but that is good way to kill 2 birds w/ 1 stone on my tech toy budget. :D

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    1. Yup, my Nokia N810 tablet running FBReader does a fine job — so much that I’ve not even tried an ebook app on the iPod Touch lying around in my house.

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  8. Yep, I was considering the kindledx, but then did a 3-way compare of it along with the viliv x70 and the asus t91…

    ended up with the viliv and think it is the best blended device. I can remotely manage my servers AND read.

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  9. …forgot to mention how AWFUL all the eReader apps are in terms of actual TOUCH control, however! For now, I am using mobipocket…

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  10. I use FoxIt reader for pdf’s on my WinMobile phone, as I’m able to reflow the pdf’s and make the font as large as I need.

    I have a Fujitsu u810 5 3/4″(?) screen mini tablet pc.
    This works great as an ebook reader, becasue I can read abut any format because it runss regular Win XP and is in colour. It gets 3 1/2 – 4 hours battery time for just reading. By that time I’m too tired to read for that long of period. It also doubles as a very mobile computer.

    A small adjustable screen tablet to fit in your pocket would be nice, but colour and backlight.

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