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Katrina Lehto (@LitheraPrime) said on March 13th, 2012 at 11:16 am

Obviously I’m biased, but I read more with my Kindle than I did before and that was not a small number of books. I can’t really sell a Kindle better than the detail page for it does but I can say that the interface really does vanish when you’re using it or the Nook, though I find that less so when you’re using a color version since, well, most of my books aren’t in color and aren’t backlit.

If you have more questions, you know where to find me.

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I know someone who is a fan of the Sony Daily Reader (7″ display). The best thing about ereaders vs, say, the iPad, is the weight. Unless you’re always resting the iPad on something, it will get uncomfortable holding it for a long time. Other large ones:

http://www.ereaderguide.info/ereader_table_large.htm

Another bonus of ereaders: you won’t get distracted by all the other stuff you can do on it. And obviously extremely long battery life.

I don’t think any ereader touch screen will feel as responsive as an iPad/good smartphone, could be wrong…

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Mike Kozlowski said on March 13th, 2012 at 11:23 am

No, the store ones are not bad. Kindles and other eink readers are wonderful for prose fiction, but for PDFs they will be 100% awful and virtually unusable.

For Android tablets, the best one right now is the Asus Transformer Prime, which is in very high demand and hard to find. The announced-but-not-released Transformer Infinity is basically identical, but with a 1920×1200 screen instead of 1280×800, and will probably be $100 more when it comes out in a few months.

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I have been incredibly happy with my iPad for document viewing; the Kindle app for…well, all things Kindle, the Goodreader app for PDF support, and ComicZeal for comics. The screen’s big, and the battery life is great (I fly a lot, so that aspect is pretty important to me).

For pure text e-reading, the Kindle is a superior device. But for PDF viewing, you want a tablet (and I find the Kindle Fire screen to be too small for good PDF viewing).

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I have had two Android tablets.
Tablet the first was a 10″ Viewsonic G-tablet, purchased at Tiger Direct. It ran Android 2.2 with ‘TapnTap” as the shell. Hated TapnTap, so I installed a few utilities, Upgraded to 3.0, and was quite happy with it – finally ran into an physical hardware breakage that made it unusable, so I replaced it with a Lenovo K1. I use it as an E-reader for fiction and non-fiction (Thank you Baen Free Library), have installed Adobe Acrobat Reader and use it for game books in that format. Battery life is about 8 hours in full use, it has a 10″ screen, 32 Gb of storage and Nvidia Tegra processor, and while it might be a bit on the heavy side (750 g compared to the 650-700 g of competing tablets), It’s also one of the less expensive models (~$300)

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I think tablets and e-readers are for very different things, and one of the factors you might consider is for how long you’ll be viewing the screen during any one session.

PDFs throws things. None of the current-generation e-readers are really going to be very good for that. PDFs are generally used to prepare something for print publication, and as such their format is best as-is. Because most e-readers have six-inch screens, they’re not going to be able to view many PDFs as-is (they might scale, though), which means you’ll have to zoom in on certain parts. The only exception would probably be the Kindle DX’s larger screen, but that’s an older-generation device (which doesn’t matter much, in terms of speed/power).

So far as tablets, especially in the context of reading, you probably don’t need the new iPad. An iPad 2 is more than adequate for pretty much any task besides next-generation iOS games. So if you can see yourself wanting to play the flight simulator or Infinity Blade, the new model might be necessary, but otherwise the 2 would probably suit you.

The touch screens on e-ink readers are often pretty clunky and non-responsive. It’s because of the IR tech they use (as opposed to the iPad’s/tablets’ capacitive screen). Amazon’s Kindle or Kindle Keyboard are terrific e-ink reading devices, and their screens are perfect for long-session reading. I just read Stephen King’s most recent novel on my Kindle, and it was fine.

On the other hand, I don’t know how the Kindle Touch’s touch interface handles PDFs.

But that brings up: why are you tied to PDFs? Oh! And almost forgot: I think either Calibre or MobiPocket Creator can convert PDFs to the ePub or Mobi files e-readers use. I think you lose headers and page numbers, but you gain font scaling and other features e-book formats allow.

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But that brings up: why are you tied to PDFs?

It’s the most convenient way to read caselaw.

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Are they DRMed PDFs? I’d recommend trying conversion to see what happens and what the result looks like. You can also find programs that will view the results on your computer before you commit to anything.

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It’s the most convenient way to read caselaw.

Yes, and then again, no. I know you’re in Canada, but I’m starting to see pay-research providers offering send-to-kindle and free case law sources in HTML (which renders beautifully on kindle). Kindle is bad for PDF but fantastic for non-wysiwyg marked-up text (basically anything with reflow-friendly markup).

Supposedly the DX is good for full-size PDF, but I suspect there’s a refresh or something coming soon for it.

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A lot of the color ereaders mimic tablets now with access to app downloads, and they are sometimes cheaper than the tablets. I’d suggest getting the Nook if only because I have estories on PubIt I wanna sell ya. :-)

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I suggest steering away from any of the Android tablets. It’s probably because I’ve been spoiled on iPads, but Apple nails so many details just right (smoothness when moving around, that little bounce you get when you scroll to the bottom of a list) that it’s jarring to see this not be the case on Android. And now with Retina Displays on iPads, there’s just no comparison, especially if you’re a book reader or comic book reader. To my eye, Android apps are uglier, too.

But before you make a decision and dismiss this as Apple fanboy-ism, try out the new iPad at an Apple Store to see what I mean so you’ll have a base to compare to.

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Cookie McCool said on March 13th, 2012 at 12:55 pm

You can load your iPad up with all cookery things Martha Stewart, if that’s a thing.

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Good points on PDFs. The high resolution screen on the iPad 3 might actually be very nice for PDFs.

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I have one of the new(ish) Sony e-readers (called the wifi, I think?) and I use it mostly for pdfs (journal articles, mostly) and I get by fine with it. Sure it’s not perfect, but by cropping you can usually read a standard pdf fine in portrait mode, and if that doesn’t work for you it’s pretty simple to flip it around to landscape. Now, if you were to throw in columns there might be some problems, but there are settings on it that are supposed to deal with that. I haven’t tried them out yet, but maybe worth a shot.

And aside from weight and functionality, I think cost is a bit separator when it comes to e-readers v tablets. At least it was for me.

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Cookie McCool said on March 13th, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Does the prospect of vlogging (I can’t believe you used that as if it were a legitimate word) mean that there will be live-action El Tyrano Magnifico reeanactments?

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I have a Nook Simple Touch. It’s a newish model but has no bells and whistles except for wi-fi – I deliberately went for few bells and whistles, because it’s just for reading, it’s not going to replace my computer or phone. I already have a desktop computer for gaming and watching videos and arguing on the Internet, I already have a smartphone for looking things up or mindlessly wasting time playing simple games while on the go, I don’t need to pay extra for an e-book reader with those features, especially not when it would never be quite as good for them as the other options anyway.

So how do I like it? It’s fine for what I wanted. Very user-friendly. As easy on the eyes as paper.

There are only three problems I’ve had with it. First of all, the screen is too small to show full-page imagines. Second, I haven’t yet figured out how to get the covers of old e-books to display on it. I have a bunch of e-books from a previous reader, and I’ve copied them onto the Nook via my computer and an Adobe program and I can read them fine, but I haven’t figured out how to get the covers, it just shows the Nook’s blank default cover for them. (This is a minor, trivial problem, but it’s technically a problem.) And third, I haven’t yet figured out how to get books from the Nook onto my computer. Haven’t tried too hard, haven’t called tech support yet, but it’s definitely more complicated than just dragging the file from one folder to another, so that’s a problem too.

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I’ll put in a 2nd plug for a Transformer as a good Android Tablet, a bunch of us at my office have them, and really like them.

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I’ve been using my newly acquired Kindle Touch to read lots of pdfs, you just need to convert them for it to work well. As long as you’re dealing with primarily text, it works well.

Tables don’t work so well.

Someone sends me some pdf files, I forward that to my kindle email with subject line “convert” and a a little later there they are, able to be highlighted and annotated.

I looked at tablets, but with a beefy smartphone I just don’t see the need for so much feature replication. I’d rather have one device that’s really good the one thing I want it for: reading.

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The Kindle I have is pretty terrific for prose but I have had exactly zero luck with getting pdfs to do anything but suck on it. There may be a way to get them on there efficiently and effectively but I have not yet had the energy to figure out how.

My girlfriend is in a similar situation as you (with medical texts substituted for caselaw) and recommends the ipad highly. But only if you’re willing to drop an extra five dollars on a pdf-reader app that’s better than the one it comes with.

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ladypeyton said on March 13th, 2012 at 7:56 pm

I’ve got a Nook Tablet and I’m very fond of it. I had a Nook Color, but my husband took it over and when I went to replace it with a standard Nook I caved and went with the Tablet because I couldn’t stand the way the standard Nook’s pages turned. The Tablet has almost twice the battery life than the Color, and I can read PDFs on it and they’re lovely, and it’s roughly half the price of an iPad or Android Tablet PC.

The only thing I was unhappy with was that all but 1 gig of memory was reserved for Barnes & Noble material, but as of yesterday I could take my Tablet into my local store to have it repartitioned so that sideloaded material now has 8 gigs of memory.

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I absolutely love my Kindle. It’s particularly useful for me as a Philosophy student as a lot of old philosophy texts are available for free.

PDFs, however, are not great on the Kindle. I mean, they’re readable and they might be better on the new kindle’s larger screen, but it’s not ideal.

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Have you considered a BlackBerry PlayBook?

I’m being serious, here. It’s a manageable size, has a great screen, it’s extremely responsive, and has wonderful touch input.

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I’m perfectly aware that I’m doing it wrong, but I use my 4th-gen iPod as my e-reader/tablet. I use the paid app GoodReader for pdf reading, markup, and file management, and Safari for everything else. I’m an engineering student, so I download a lot of pdf assignments/papers/documents. It also doesn’t hurt that I’m on campus wifi for most of the day; I’m sure it would be more limiting for other people.

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I’ve iPad2. With the Kindle free app, the Dropbox and Adobe Reader it seems to cover what you want quite nicely. As for vloging, it depends on your home machine how well it works; it saves them in QT’s MOV format so you might or might not want to convert them.

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+1 for the Transformer. I have a TF101, I’d have gotten the Prime, but I thought its release was farther out and I needed to get something I could use for my work right away. Definitely get the keyboard dock for whichever model you do get.

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I forgot: the included e-reader (MyLibrary) seems to handle PDF’s pretty well. I’ve got several RPG books on my TF101 and haven’t have any problems. I’ve got Adobe Reader as well, so I’ve had no troubles. Polaris Office is included as well and works quite well for me. YMMV.

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Christian said on March 14th, 2012 at 11:26 am

I’m a pretty big fan of my Toshiba Thrive. I primarily use my tablet as an e-reader (with Kindle app), an email tool, and something to putter around with when I don’t have a laptop in easy range.

It’s not 3G enabled, but I pretty much always have access to wi-fi, and when I don’t I can hotspot with my phone.

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Viktor Haag said on March 14th, 2012 at 3:53 pm

+JohnnyCanuck The PlayBook is quite useful for a lot of things, but reading PDFs that are meant to be 8.5×11 paper, or larger, is not really one of them. The first generation PlayBooks’ Acrobat software was exceedingly primitive, so navigating around large PDFs is a pain (this may have improved); also, the screen aspect ratio of the device is too long and narrow to make re-sized pages that are US Letter ratio really all that readable (the squarish “magazine” ratio pages have a similar problem).

11×17 pages with a large font-size in the original might be better.

With the PlayBook, if your primary use-case is going to be document reading, I strongly recommend a test-drive before purchase.

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Well you have a good selection of the pros and cons of tablet vs e-reader.

I ahve an iPad 1. I use the built in iBooks app for basic PDF’s, like magazine scans, but I have Good Reader and Zen Reader (both gotten on sale for $.99) for heavier duty PDF’s like RPG manuals and tech books. (iBooks also supports the open ePub format and there’s nook and kindle apps for free)

I’ve heard good things about the Transformer Prime, but never used or seen one. However, let’s face it, you never know when it’s going to take off to fight the Decepticons, leaving you without reading material.

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Sgaile-beairt said on March 14th, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Nook Color with a dual-boot CM7-off-SD setup. On the Android side I’m still trying out different PDF readers and don’t have one standout yet, but the screen displays text and graphics very well in any mode.

In addition to being able to load a ton of books and audio files of all different varieties onto the SD card, the Nook just has a really nice, rugged-plus-comfortable form factor with the rounded edges and recessed glass panel. It’s not as cool as an iPad but it’s a lot cheaper and more portable.

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Sgaile-beairt said on March 14th, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Also the NC’s pinch-to-zoom and reorient page by rotating the device is very handy when reading larger pages with graphics or text boxes of different sizes.

Or, um, webcomics…

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Just another plug here for the Transformer Prime, with or without the keyboard dock. I bought one for the wife and we both love it. And, if you’re already a Galaxy Nexus user, you’ll be completely familiar with it.

If you were impressed by the higher screen resolution of the new iPad (which is the only thing impressive about it), just wait a few months for all the 1080p Android tablets to come out. I know the iPad(3) is higher than 1080p, but… really?… you’re still talking about an actual screen size that is smaller than other 10.1 tablets on the market.

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Matthew Moddrelle said on March 15th, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I’ve been very happy with my standard e-ink Nook from Barnes and Noble. You can hack it to read PDFs with no difficulty and the price is under $100.

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As many have pointed out, B&N makes a variety of good devices, but I think one thing readers should consider before buying any is B&N itself–last April, they attempted to find a buyer for the company itself but couldn’t. This past winter, Nook device sales ensured they only lost several million dollars less than they had before, and prompted B&N to reveal it’s currently considering spinning off and selling off the Nook line.

I just worry about device support when that occurs. Plus, in terms of ebooks offered, I think Amazon offers a lot more books than Nook.

All that said, between PDFs and your other requirements, it sounds like the iPad would be the way to go.

Your update: the Canon Elph 300HS looks awesome. If my iPhone didn’t ensure I no longer need a dedicated camera, I think that’s the one I’d go for. Good picture quality, good video performance, and good price.

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Putting in my vote for the Transformer. It’s got a good screen and good battery life. I use it to read ebooks as well, and find the screen clear enough that I don’t have any problems with it.

For a straight ebook reader I have a Kobo, which I really liked but haven’t used since I got my Transformer tablet.

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On cameras:

It’s a little on the expensive side (although you can get a good deal on a used one) but the Panasonic Lumix GF1 does excellent video. The interchangeable lenses give you a lot of flexibility for filming. If you’re not doing much with changing focus lengths, the 20mm pancake lens will be perfect; fast, sharp and works great in low light.

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I just recently got myself a Transformer Prime*, and I’m hugely happy with it. Nice, responsive and no issues as yet.

(I’m using the free Aldiko as my e-reading software, which seemed to be the highest regarded after a brief search of the market.)

(*) I would also suggest if you are going to get a Transformer, get the keyboard dock as well, ’cause it not only gives you much more battery life and extra input options, but the physical KB makes a world of difference to me. Of course, I still us my G1 android phone after 3 years, ’cause the whole typing on a touchscreen thing drives me nuts.

Of course, I didn’t have much in the way of mobile tech prior to this. I do have a no-name 7″ android tablet which I found fine for reading ebooks but not much else due to lack of grunt/decent input options.

I also prefer a tablet over an e-reader due to the backlit screen thing. Some people hate backlit, some love it. Really depends on when and where you feel you are likely to be reading, I guess.

And the ability to carry many books/computing with you nearly everywhere is just plain awesome.

So, there’s my 5c on the topic. Hope you find something that suits your needs.

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