Ereader Buying Guide

Ereader Buying Guide

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Score: 9 Votes: 9
Score: 9 Votes: 9
Deal Lieutenant

Brands Info

There are six prominent brands in the Market today: Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony, Onyx and Pocketbook.

Kindle and Nook: US brands and more popular due to this reason. Notable Products – Kindle Paperwhite, Nook Simple Touch with/without glowlight

Kobo: Canadian brand. Notable Product – Kobo Aura HD

Sony: Japanese brand. Products – T1,T2, and upcoming 13.3 inch ereader.

Onyx: Chinese Brand. Products – M92, i62 with glowlight, and upcoming R65/C65

Pocketbook: Ukrainian Brand. Products – 903, Color Lux (upcoming 8 inch colored ereader) and Lux Touch 2

Onyx, Pocketbook and Sony try to release ereaders with better firmwares.
Nook (Simple Touch and ST with glowlight) and Sony (T1 and T2) can be rooted. They are android 2.1 based ereaders.
Current Onyx and Pocketbook devices are Linux based, Onyx is going to launch first Android 2.3 based Ereader
Kindle and Kobo are closed firmware devices, But Kindle devices get good support/hacks due to their popularity.
Also check out Earl. It is an experimental ereader (not yet launched) with very advanced features. http://meetear…m/
Tolino shine is another ereader which can be rooted. It is a new product available for 99 Euros in Germany.…

About Time for New Updated Ereaders

Kobo came with Aura HD few months back (6.8 inch ereader praised for its high resolution screen with good frontlight). All other brands are going to launch new updated models soon. New models are launched around September Each year.

The most awaited ereaders are
a) Sony 13.3 inch ereader
b) Onyx R65 – 6 inch ereader having android 2.3 OS with full access (no need to root) and No-Refresh mode out of the box.

Further, new screen technologies and other advancements are happening. Read this to know what features next gen ereaders will have –…

Key Upcoming Technologies are:
- Flexible Eink Screens – No need to worry about broken screens nowsmile
- Eink Pearl 2 (Current Generation Pearl Screen successor) – Offers better contrast, whiteness levels.
- Advancements in color screen technology :
(by JDI), and Liquavista is acquired by Amazon from Samsung

Things to Look for When Buying an Ereader:

1) Screen Technology and Size:

Ereaders come in these sizes: 5 inch, 6 inch, 6.8 inch, 9.7 inch and 13.3 inch
6 inch is the most common size. It is preferred due to portability. 6 inch size is not suitable for reading technical documents, but is good for reading general books.
The common resolution for 6 inch screen size is 1024×768 (Known as HD)
Previous Gen ereaders had 800×600 screen resolution

Technical students should prefer 9.7 inch or 13.3 inch screen size. Reading pdf files on 6 inch screen will not be easy even in landscape mode.

Screen Technology

Latest screen technology offers better screen contrast or whiteness levels and less text ghosting.

Black and White Ereaders:
Pearl is the latest tech. Vizplex was last gen technology. Prefer Pearl Ereaders.

Colored Ereaders: Colored Ereaders are not preferred due to low contrast. Colored screens are basically black and white screens with colored mask on top. This decreases the whiteness level which makes it harder to read text. Only people interested in comics should buy these. It will also be useful for medical students who need to look at colored diagrams.

2) FrontLight/ Glowlight Option

It is a very important feature and comes in handy in low light conditions.
Electronic paper screens are opaque, so back-light is not possible. Front-light acts like a table lamp and throws light on the screen from top.

- Purchase that Ereader which allows Front-light to be turned off completely, because we don’t need it in good lightening conditions.
- Also Note that light distributing layer used for front-light purposes decreases screen clarity a bit. Some people prefer ereader without front-light.
- Glowlight is not possible in large ereaders yet, but i hope manufacturers try to introduce it in 9.7 inch screen size

3) Firmware/ Operating System

This is the most important feature to consider.

For Reading Novels and General Books –
If you want to read only Novels and General Books then all devices are perfect for you.
Calibre (freeware developed by Kovid Goyal) allows us to convert one format into another with a single click in most cases. Common eBook formats are epub, mobi and pdf.

Epub and Mobi are formats designed to act as both input and output. They allow text to reflow and they are not fixed layout formats. Hence it is easy to convert books from epub and mobi to any other format. Pdf is an output (fixed layout) format and it is very difficult to convert books from pdf to another format. If you want to read books in pdf format, choose your ereader carefully.

All devices support Epub or mobi file formats. Epub is supported by nook,onyx,pocketbook,kobo and Sony. Mobi is supported by kindle, onyx, pocketbook and rooted nook & Sony. Epub and mobi can be converted into one another by single click. When looking at pdf support – check whether pdf text is allowed to reflow and if landscape mode or screen rotation is allowed.

For Technical Readers/Students
If you wish to annotate your books (i.e. add notes), Highlight text and use your ereader as a tablet to surf websites, read RSS feeds etc, then choose an ereader which is android or Linux based.
Sony T1/T2 and Nook Simple Touch with/wihtout glowlight are android 2.1 ereaders and can be rooted. We can install most common android apps such as aldiko pro, mantano, moon+ pro, ezPDF, and RepliGo.
Onyx devices have the most advanced firmware for pdfs. Their developers have developed firmware specifically for technical students. It allows us to annotate and highlight pdf files.
Also upcoming Sony 13.3 inch will rock. With large screen estate there will be no need to convert/optimize eBooks.

One Big advantage of Android OS is that we can sync our notes and books across different devices and take advantage of many apps. Android will and should become the next standard in ereaders and Onyx is all set to launch Android 2.3 based devices this September.

4) No-Refresh Capability

Electronic paper Screens are chemical screens containing heavy pixels, so they update/refresh slowly. When we turn a page we notice a considerable delay. During refresh, whole screen will go black and new text will appear afterwords. This is very annoying.

Who needs it and who doesn’t?
Users who wish to read only books do not need this feature. These users will technically need it when accessing dictionary but most manufacturers have employed partial screen refresh for dictionary accessing, so they don’t notice full screen refresh.

This feature is useful in these cases:
1) Switching between documents i.e. multitasking
2) making notes and highlights
3) Surfing websites
3) accessing many dictionaries and tools at once
4) using ereader as an android tablet

To see this feature in action check these two videos:
No-Refresh mode on Nook Simple Touch

. Notice how easy it is to surf the website when no-refresh mode is on.
Onyx R65
(skip to 0.37 for fast page turns and 7.31 for angry birds)

(Technical Know How: Current Eink screens have 16 bit depth. In the special mode Pixels have only 1 bit depth. This is the reason why refresh rate is increased. Of course the sharpness and clarity of pixels will decrease in the special mode. So for book reading, traditional mode will be preferred but for all other purposes fast refresh mode is a necessity.)

5) Touch Screen Technology – Infrared, Capacitive or Wacom ?

Infrared screens are costlier and better than Capacitive. Capacitive technology degrades screen clarity.
Wacom tech is needed by students – it is useful for making notes and drawings. Wacom works with stylus only.
Sony 13.3 ereader will have both Wacom and Infra-Red Screen Technologysmile

Prefer Wacom Tech in large screen ereaders and Infrared in small screen ereaders.

6) Micro SD Card slot
- To increase the memory size
- When firmware corrupts, internal memory needs to be flashed. In that case our notes and books will be saved if they are on external card

Note: I have discussed those features which distinguish one ereader from another. Other features such as Wifi, Battery Capacity are common in all products.

In the Market looking for an Ereader? Then buy from among these :-

1) Nook Simple Touch (6 inch)

Available for 32 GBP in UK….
It is a must buy at this price.

- The best rooted ereader. Can be rooted from external micro SD . Better and cheaper than Sony T1/T2
- it lacks frontlight and screen resolution is 800×600 only. But low screen resolution doesn’t matter much on 6 inch screen.
If you need frontlight then buy Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight for 69 GBP – Although I will suggest you to wait for Onyx R65 if you are going to spend this much…….……

2) Onyx R65/C65 models to be launched in September (confirmed) :

Most advanced ereader in terms of firmware. Basic model is already released in Russia.
- Android 2.3 OS
- No-Refresh mode
- R65 is Infrared and C65 is Capacitive touch……
Review of basic model released in Russia:…24

3) Onyx M92 or Kindle DX (9.7 inch)

Onyx is advanced but costlier than Kindle DX. Possible Onyx M92 update will be released in December. Wait for that.

A user installed Obuntu in M92 –…. Check videos to see the performance.
This is the advantage of open firmware. I own M92 and have installed many useful applications developed by community

4) Kobo Aura HD or Kindle Paperwhite

If you want to read just novels and general books and you have no requirement for advance features, then buy these if they are available at decent price. Kobo Aura is praised for its good HD screen. Also remember that new updated model of Kindle will be launched soon.

Pocketbook Lux Touch 2 and Onyx i62 HD with Glowlight have better firmwares than the above two ereaders. But these are costly and don’t offer much advantage. It will be a bad decision to buy them at this point of time.

5) Pocketbook Color Lux (349 $)

- 8 inch colored ereader (Screen Technology – eink triton 2)

6) Sony 13.3 inch to be launched in January next year.

- Flexible 13.3 inch screen
- Contains both Wacom and Infra-Red Touch technologies
- Will be costly…

I am going to buy Onyx R65 and One large screen ereader. If Onyx launches a 9.7 inch ereader with frontlight and Android 2.3 OS , then i will buy that, else i will buy Sony 13.3

11 Dimers

very informative. smile

Deal Lieutenant

u r an expert in these.

Just an hour before I suggested u r name in dostand dimes abt ereader.

Deal Lieutenant

great info.

Deal Cadet

Great info. Thanks biggrin

Deal Cadet

Thanks for this informative guide!

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Deal Colonel

good compilation.


Deal Cadet

I am using kindle dx… I ve installed duakan…. Its a cheaper alernative to onyx m92, i feel….. Especially for reading extensive pdfs like academic txbks…. Hope this helps….smile

Half life 2   gordon freeman
Tech Guru

probably going to go in for the nook glowlight…

My uncle’s friend is coming down from the UK and I can get it via him.
I may be wrong, but is ebay charging just 2.5 pounds to deliver it to India? Atleast when you select the destination as India,it shows only 2.5