For many years, I was looking for a good and affordable e-book reader. I read a lot on the computer, as many text I read are not available in a printed form. Some of them would be even obsolete before I could print them But being environmentally cautious, I try to avoid printing anyway whenever it is possible. Reading from the screen has many disadvantages: it’s not so friendly to the eyes and also one can easily be disturbed by incoming e-mail, instant messages, etc. But this Christmas finally brought me an e-book reader!
As usual I love specialized, polished products. These are usually not mainstream, and go the way of the dodo soon. This was also the case when I started to look for an e-book reader. Here are a couple of examples:
Irex had a high resolution paper like e-ink screen, capable of displaying A4 PDF files. It was running on Linux, which could even be extended. Also, it was “made in EU”, which I consider a huge advantage. There was one single reason I did not buy it: price.
Entourage Edge was another very interesting concept: a combined tablet and e-book reader. It had an even better screen resolution, and could display not only texts, but videos, etc. It was an Android based device, but stuck at version 1.6 with a promise of 2.X coming soon. I was waiting for that “soon” to happen, and checked back regularly. Once the domain name did not resolve…
Next on my list was KNO. It was a device targeted at US higher education students and was planned to replace textbooks. The device was based on a dual core ARM CPU and had two 14” high resolution touch screens. It had its own Linux based OS, a pen for on-screen note taking and access to a huge library of e-textbooks and multimedia content. Soon after the first devices reached students, Intel joined the business, so the ARM based hardware was kicked off, and only the e-textbook collection and a software to display remained…
If I’m a bit less impatient, and wait until January, I could have bought a reader with an above average screen resolution, the iRiver Story HD. But at the beginning of December the Hungarian reseller still did not know when it will be available.
At the end I bought a device from Prestigio: a PER3162BN. It is the same size as a Kindle, but supports a lot more formats for both books and audio, including FLAC, which I use for my audio collection. It does not have a keyboard or touch interface, so searching and in-document navigation is not so easy, but I don’t really miss these features, as I use the device as a book, not as a computer. It also has an SD card reader, so I can bring most of my audio and book collection with me on a 32GB SD card, not just a few selected items. I also use the bundled leather cover while on the road. As it uses the same USB cable as my mobile, I don’t have to carry two separate cables with me
Of course, as someone interested in QA, I quickly found a few reproducible ways to lock the reader, like pressing the “zoom” button while playing music. But it does not change, that I really like this reader and use it whenever I have a little time. And not only for reading books, but also for reading work related docs, like CEE specification documents, or BSDmag articles.
No, Kindle was not on my list, even if it runs syslog-ng I wanted a device, which supports a lot more file formats without the need to convert files or use wifi. Also, the Kindle storage is not extensible.