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My Search For The Best PDF Ebook Reader Is Over

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BREAKING NEWS:

Check Out The Best Reader – JUST RELEASED – CLICK HERE

Finally, you get everything you want and need in an e-reader, including E-Ink so your eyes do not get strained and the ability to read your PDF library.  Super light weight, and amazing battery life

It’s smaller,  lighter, faster and has 50% better contrast with built in WiFi

LOWEST PRICE EVER

It is the BRAND NEW KINDLE – See It in Action Here

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When I began searching for a good ebook reader I was shocked by what I found.  Not all ebook readers are created equal, as you will soon see…  and just because it is more expensive, doesn’t mean that it is better.

Amazon Kindle Ebook Reader

The Amazon Kindle was my first choice for an ebook reader.

I have heard a lot of praise about the Amazon Kindle, from friends, readers of this site and even Oprah.  In fact, I had heard so much hype about this device, I expected to purchase one without a second thought.

BOY WAS I WRONG!

I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea, the Kindle is an amazing product.  It can download ebooks, magazines and newspapers in minutes, and it doesn’t rely on wifi “hot spots” to do it.  It uses a technology similar to a cell phone, only without the monthly fees and service agreements.

The display is the closest thing to paper to hit the market.  Once the words appear, it does not take any juice for them to remain on teh sreen until the page is turned, so the battery life is incredible.

It feels good in your hands.  It’s the size of a thin book and very light weight.  The page turning on the right and left is intuitive and similar to flipping forward and backward in a real book.  I really like the way it bookmarks a page by making a “dog ear” in it, like we all have done to a paper book at one time.

You can check out this video for an excellent overview of the Amazon Kindle Ebook Reader.

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Discover More About The Kindle on Amazon

But the Kindle is NOT the ebook reader for me for one HUGE reason and a couple of smaller ones too.

The main reason I am not buying a Kindle for my ebook reader is because 90% of all the ebooks that I already own, and I own hundreds of them, are in PDF format, and the Kindle does not read PDF ebooks.

I just couldn’t believe that!  An ebook reader that does not read the vast majority of ebook’s on the market!

I can forgive the lack of color…  Yes, I would expect to see full color for the price of the unit, but I could learn to live without it.  After all, the screen is supposed to be eye-strain free and resemble ink on paper, but I guess they have not mastered color ink yet.

I read that Amazon will convert word documents so they can be read on the kindle, and that you have to email the .doc to your kindle.  They charge you a small fee for this, which I also find unacceptable.

#1 The Kindle Ebook Reader should have a port of some kind (USB?) that allows me to connect my PC directly to it and download all of the ebooks that I already own.

#2 It would take a long time to email each ebook I own, one at a time, to be “converted”.

#3 I should not have to pay to be able to read an ebook that I already bought on a device that I already paid for.

So, despite the incredible technology I had to rule the Kindle out.

I took a quick look at Sony’s ebook reader, which had a lot in common with the Kindle, and even though it did have a lower price, it still had the same problems as the Kindle.

Still in shock that these “ebook readers” could not read my ebooks, I moved on to a most unusual device.  Most people would not consider a PSP  (Play Station Portable) when looking for an ebook reader.  I know I never would have thought of it before, but I bought my son a PSP for Christmas so I decided to give it a shot.

There are several options for viewing ebooks on a PSP, and yes there are converters for PDF ebooks.  I tested a few of them but in the end I found it very unreliable.  The load times could be very long (like 15 seconds per page) and some books did not display correctly while others simply would not work at all.

My son was very excited at the idea of using the PSP to view ebooks, because he knew I would then buy one for myself and he hoped that we could play games together.  Unfortunately the PSP would not work for me.

So at this point I was beginning to think that I was out of luck.  I just want to be able to view my ebooks away from my computer.  I don’t want to print out every single book I purchase.

I do own a laptop, and I could use that for reading ebooks, but it is a bit bulky even though it is fairly new.  It has a 15.8″ wide-screen, making it too bulky to carry around in one hand and certainly too large to hold like a book.

That’s when I finally hit on what I needed.   The perfect Ebook reader, which can also play MP3 audio books and even play videos.  With a large enough screen to view an ebook comfortably and yet small enough to hold in one hand.  Best of all, it has 100% compatibility.

It is called a “NETBOOK”.

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ASUS Eee PC 900HA 8.9-Inch Netbook (1.6 GHz Intel ATOM N270 Processor, 1 GB RAM, 160 GB Hard Drive, XP Home) Black

Finally I have found the the perfect ebook reader!

I have done a good deal of research online and I can not find anything but praise for this device.  I can’t believe I had never heard of it before.

The unit is about the size of a mousepad, and yet has all the power of a complete PC with a 1 gig of ram (upgradable to 2 gigs).  I never have to worry about compatibility because it runs windows XP and is upgradable to Vista.  It comes with a 160GB hard drive, which can be easily upgraded as well.

You can watch movies on it too, which is handy for any video courses you may have.  I can load that hard drive up with my MP3 audio books too!  I don’t need the webcam built in or the build in microphone, but since it does have WIFI Internet built in, I could use it to make free Skype calls around the world with video.

With the USB ports you can plug anything up to it that you could your home PC.  It has a 5 hour battery time (estimated 3 – 4 hours of video playing) which is more than enough for my needs, but you can buy stronger 6 cell batteries I am told which can last 8 hours or more.

I just wanted an ebook reader, but I can see myself doing so much more with this mini computer.  Because it has a memory reader built in, I can foresee using this on our next family vacation and unloading the pictures from our cameras onto this net-book.   Then you can shoot as many photos as you want because you’ll have a 160GB device you can move them onto.  Much less bulky than a laptop.

I can’t believe I can get all the power of a PC into a little mini-PC NetBook for less than the price of the one color Ebook reader Amazon Kindle.

I should point out that there are even cheaper netbooks without hard drives inside, which you can see here.  I think it is worth it to get the large storage space for a few dollars more.

There are all sorts of these Netbooks on Amazon

My research has led me to choose between Acer and Asus, and I think I am going to go with the ASUS listed here.  I am going to see if I can find it locally tomorrow and if not I will order it online.

I also found free software for this Asus netbook called EeeRotate (eee is the product line for ASUS’s netbooks).  It makes it more easy to read E-books on the Asus netbook by rotating your screen so you can hold it in your hand like an open book.  It also rotates the touch pad also, so it will scroll correctly while rotated.

I am pretty excited to get my hands on this.

I sure wish I could find the 900ha in white though.  Asus says they make it in black, white and grey, but so far everywhere I look I can only find it in black.

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As always, I love to hear what you think, so if you have any ideas or comments… leave a comment below this post!

– John Derrick

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Update

Since the writing of this article Apple has released their Ipad.   (Best Prices On Ipad’s Here)

Granted, the Ipad is a sexy machine, but it still has some drawbacks that keep it from being perfect.

What I like About The Ipad:   I love the touch screen.  Apple makes the best touchscreens period.  I like the design, and the software that runs it.  I can use Apples ebook store and install the Kindle software all on one device.  and Yes, I can view most PDF files too!  (Hooray)

But the list of what I do NOT like, is much longer.

#1 – No expandability.  A simple SD card slot would allow for unlimited storage, but Apple locks you out of this so they can charge you hundreds more for a “higher model” with 16GB more storage.

#2 PRICE.  A 64GB Ipad is going to set you back over $800.  Every expert will agree that this is ridiculously over priced, but hey if people are willing to pay that much why lower the price?

#3 No user serviceable or removable battery.  This means you can’t swap it out and have a few spares like a netbook can.

#4 No upgrade path.  You can’t add a hard drive or add more ram.  You are stuck with exactly what you bought.  The only upgrade route is to buy a newer (even more expensive) model.

#5 Itunes.   I’m sorry but Itunes is bloatware, which means it will slow your computer down just be installing it.  You have to have Itunes installed on your PC or MAC just to get things on and off from your Ipad.

#6 No Flash.   It’s such a shame that if you want to browse the web with your $800 3G device you can’t see most of the webpages correctly because the only browser for the device does not support FLASH support.

#7 I just don’t like the way that Apple locks everything down and makes all software for the device be sold through their store.  They recently turned away Sony’s e-book reading software because they want all the books to be sold through their store.  I like choices and an open and free market.

#8 No E-ink.  This is the same problem that netbooks have, if you consider this a problem.  In the traditional sense the Ipad is not a true ebook reader because the screen does not use E-ink or a similar technology.  This means glare in the sun and possible eye strain.  If you read a lot of books this may or may not be a problem for you.   It is NOT a problem for me, any more than reading on my LCD monitors in my home office.

So there you have it.  The Kindle is a true E-reader with E-ink, but it doesn’t have much else it can do.  It is a truly dedicated device.  Sony has a slew of new E-readers just released and they are very impressive.  (See Here)   The Ipad is sexy and fun to use, but expensive and is locked tight by Apple.  The Netbook that I bought years ago is still working very good for my PDF reading, and video watching, and occasional net surfing.  For everything work related I use my Laptop when away and desktop computer with dual monitors when I am at home.

I love reading all your comments, so please continue to let me know what you think by leaving your comment below.

– John Derrick

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SUPER UPDATE:  4 – 21 – 2011

The Newest Kindle is in pre-release on Amazon, and it looks amazing.

If you think the Ipad 2 is thin, you haven’t seen anything!  The new Kindle is thinner than an Ipad, Ipad 2…  heck it is even thinner than an Iphone.  No kidding.

It looks like Amazon finally listened to what people wanted and they improved in the Kindle in the following ways:

#1 – Lower Price.  The price is a LOT LOWER now.

#2 – 50% better contrast with the latest E-Ink Pearl technology.

#3 – The never really had glare, but the new screens are completely reflective and can be read in ANY lighting, included bright direct sunlight (Do that with an Ipad 2 and you’ll go blind!)

#4 – New & Improved Fonts are crisper and darker.  They look to be more smooth too.

#5 – SMALLER!  Yes, the new design is 21% smaller without shrinking the screen (where you read the books)

#6 LIGHTER – Now it is only 8.5 Ounces in weight!  An Ipad 2 is a whopping 1.3 pounds (more than twice the weight)

#7 Double the Storage?  I am not able to verify how much storage this new model has, but it now holds up to 3,500 books.  That’s a lot!

#8 BETTER BATTERY!  –  A single charge lasts for a full month, unless of course you use the wireless often.

#9 20% Faster Page Turns – Ummm….  I didn’t know it even needed this, but okay.  That’s good I suppose.

#10  PDF READER!  Yeah baby!  An enhanced PDF Reader, with dictionary lookups, ability to make notes, and highlight text.

#11 – Web Browser? – I didn’t expect that, but I applaud Amazon for putting it in.  Why not, you have WI-FI, so why not browse the web.  Of course keep in the mind that the fabulous E-ink may be better than sliced bread for reading books, it still means you have to surf the web in black and white.

Check out the new Kindle for yourself – Click Here

They even have a new version with “special offers” which is $25 less than the already super-low price.  (See It Here)

 

Conclusion:  I still have my Netbook and still love it for everything it can do, but I think the Kindle is finally to a point where I am going to purchase one to be my exclusive e-book reader.  I can take it anywhere and read it indoors or outdoors, it is small enough to fit in my jacket and the price is so low that it is pretty much a no-brainer for me.

Like my netbook, The Ipad 2 and the Xoom are both great devices and have a much wider range of usefulness, but if you are looking for a dedicated device solely to read ebooks, then you need to take a serious look at the new Kindle.

December 30, 2008 This post was written by Categories: John Derrick - Personal Tagged with:
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