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Last post Author Topic: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading  (Read 15975 times)

mouser

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2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« on: November 24, 2014, 09:51:29 PM »
Back in 2010 we had a discussion about large format ebook readers..  Around then I picked up the since-discontinued Kindle DX which has a 9.7 screen.

It's almost 2015 and I think it's time to revisit the issue.  The easy-on-the-eyes e-ink approach seems to have lost out to the more general purpose led screens.

While the e-ink displays are easier on the eyes, the reality is simply that e-ink is dead for now.

The great news is that it looks like there are some non-name full page sized android tablets available for a couple hundred bucks if one is willing to give up cutting edge performance, etc..

I still find it a strugle to transition from physical books to ebooks, but every few years i try to do it again because of the numerous advantages of ebooks.

So, what I'm thinking of now is an android tablet that has a screen size of at least 13.3 inches (which is about a full size 8.5x11 page).

Several of these exist for a couple hundred dollars, and seem worthy candidates and affordable enough to be dedicated ebook readers.

The one issue that seems lacking in these 13.3 tablets that I've seen is that the only ones i can find are relatively low resolution (1200x800) which i think is a deal breaker.

Ideally I'd love to see a cheap 13.3 android tablet with a 1600x1080 resolution, or higher.

Any thoughts?  Anyone else looking forward to making the full switch to full-size ebook reading?
« Last Edit: November 24, 2014, 09:59:56 PM by mouser »

mouser

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2014, 10:03:55 PM »
This 13.3 android tablet, Azpen 1320, and can be had for $170:

http://www.amazon.co...9_simh_gw_p147_d0_i4

The only downside is, as I mentioned before, the low-resolution (1200x800).

Target

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2014, 10:04:16 PM »
is the low resolution an issue for a book?

for text (and probably line drawings and illustrations) I wouldn't have thought it was that big a deal

mouser

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2014, 10:26:18 PM »
well i think it's a quality of life issue -- if you are trying to replace physical books, you don't want to be seeing jagged pixels in your fonts.

Target

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2014, 10:58:08 PM »
granted, but is this significant?  I'd understand if we were talking 640x480, but 1200 x 800 is comparable to my work laptop (1366x780) and I can't say I have any real issues (though I'm getting pretty blind in my old age)

Not arguing with you here, I've struggled with the e-book concept for a while now so I'm interested in the outcome

mouser

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2014, 11:12:37 PM »
Well, in fairness, it's a very good question -- i suppose it partly depends on the person -- some people are more sensitive to such things.
It's a good question about whether 1200x800 on a 13.3 inch screen held 12-15 inches from the eye will be unpleasantly pixely...
At that price point it may indeed be acceptable.

Target

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2014, 11:38:32 PM »
as you say it's likely to be highly subjective, especially in a world where gigapixel displays are considered baseline.

It's probably also reasonable to expect that low end tablets are more likely to be a compromise than e-readers because they naturally incorporate greater complexity/functionality...

hmmmmm...

4wd

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2014, 03:32:29 AM »
For interests sake:

2014_11_25_20.25.42.png2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading

1440x900 7" Android tablet, using FBReader - I could zoom out two or three more times and it would still be perfectly readable to me at 300-600mm distance.

ewemoa

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2014, 04:27:12 AM »
Weight is a concern around here -- the Azpen appears to be 2.5 pounds (at least according to the Amazon page I see here).

For comparison, I've found the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 weight (1.2 - 1.3 pounds) to be just about right for the size.  When considering tablets, I often use this 10.1 inch tablet as a sort of base measure.  Granted the screen size differs, but in this case I wonder about the trade-off being made.  The Azpen appears to be about twice the weight...

On a side note, I was surprised to find being concerned by slimness after experiences with the 10.1 and the earlier Nexus 7 model -- though rounding of edges seems to help a bit.

I don't imagine it's practical, but IMHO it'd be nice to get some physical time with an actual device before deciding on a purchase...perhaps returns are possible?

xtabber

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2014, 10:31:19 AM »
The Nexus 7 (2012) is 1280x800 and works just fine for reading epub ebooks because text fonts scale to be readable on the small screen, so you don't notice the jaggies much.

The Nexus 7 (2013) has the same size screen, but the higher resolution (1920x1080) makes it noticeably better for reading pdf documents, which scale as an image rather than as flowed text.  Although some readers allow you to flow text in text based pdf files, all formatting is lost and I find it almost unreadable.

The Nexus 10 has 2560x1600 resolution on a 10 inch screen and I find it much easier to read most pdf documents on it.  But it weighs more than twice as much as the Nexus 7 (21.3 oz. vs. 10.5 oz.) which gets tiring after a while if you are holding it up while reading.  I tend to use the Nexus 7 to read epub books most  of the time.

I personally find higher resolution to be more important than screen size, but YMMV.  I just don't think that 1280x800 on a large screen would be a very pleasant experience.
 

wraith808

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2014, 11:46:10 AM »
I just purchased a Nook to replace the one that my e-ink screen went out on- Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook.  The price was good.. it reads standard epubs and comes with something that reads PDFs.  It's apparently (from a co-worker taking a look) pretty standard android with a few widgets for the homescreen, and a change of the lower right button to activate the nook app.

I'm pretty happy with it... though some reviews say that the processor is laggy, I've never noticed it.  They have a 10" one also, but that's a bit larger for me.

It's 7" LCD Display, 1280x800, 216 ppi - from http://www.barnesand...pare-NOOKs/379003181

I'd recommend it from my use.

mouser

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2014, 04:34:36 PM »
Wraith reminds me that I forgot to state a very important aspect here.

I shouldn't just say that I'm looking for a tablet for e-book reading.  What I should say is that I'm looking for a tablet to read full-page-at-a-time textbooks and 8.x5x11 pdf journal articles.

If one is reading a novel, the size of the screen is not very significant -- it doesn't matter how much info fits on a page and it's not important for the physical book pages correspond to ebook pages.

But I am interested in a device for reading pdf papers which can show and let you comfortably read a page at a time from a pdf article, without scrolling.

wraith808

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2014, 05:58:19 PM »
Ah.. that does change the landscape.  I use my iPad for things like that... so I can't be of help, unfortunately.

mouser

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2014, 09:26:20 AM »
So I was recently gifted a 10 inch tablet (samsung galaxy tab 4 10.1 nook model), and i think it is big enough for pretty comfortable reading of letter page sized pdfs.  The 13" tablets would be even better of course, but the high-quality 10" screen does seem to be a reasonable solution, and good enough to perhaps try to move completely away from paper books.  Especially in light of ewemoa's valid point about weight being a concern -- you might not think you will care but if you're trying to walk around and read it on the go you soon will care about weight.

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2014, 11:16:09 AM »
One interesting factor which most people would never think about, but has a great influence on the experience IMO, is aspect ratio. The iPad's slightly wider aspect ratio is a lot better for reading. When you're dealing with smaller tablets, there are at least 1 or 2  decent Android options with the same size and shape as the iPad Mini. However, I'm not aware of any larger tablets comparable to the regular iPad.

It creates quite a dilemma for someone like me who won't even consider buying an iPad, but there's no doubt in my mind that the size and shape combination of the iPad is as close to ideal for reading, including web pages, as there is on the market.
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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2014, 04:23:49 PM »
One interesting factor which most people would never think about, but has a great influence on the experience IMO, is aspect ratio. The iPad's slightly wider aspect ratio is a lot better for reading.

I don't know about that. I've tried reading on tablets with a 4:3 aspect ratio and find them to be unwieldy. Novels, magazines, comic books, graphic novels,etc. are not 4:3 so you're either going to have edges cut off or wasted space on the screen.

Quote
When you're dealing with smaller tablets, there are at least 1 or 2  decent Android options with the same size and shape as the iPad Mini. However, I'm not aware of any larger tablets comparable to the regular iPad.

There are tons of Android tablets with a 4:3 aspect ratio. You need look no farther than the Nexus 9 and if it's too expensive there are countless no-name Android tablets sporting that aspect ratio.

For me, though, 16:10 is best...of course what's best for me is not necessarily what's best for you. At least with Android you have the choice to buy the tablet with the specs you wish.

For those who are of the same mind as me, I'd recommend looking at the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro line of tablets. 16:10 aspect ratio in your choice of 8.4", 10.1", and 12" sizes. All three sport a 2,560x1,600 resolution with an IPS screen. 2.3 GHz SnapDragon Processor.

If one is looking for something smaller, there's the Kindle Fire HDX 7 with a 1,920x1,200 resolution, IPS screen, and 2.2 GHz SnapDragon CPU but it's locked down pretty hard by Amazon. For someone wanting a more Android-like experience I'm really impressed with the 7" Asus ME572C same resolution and screen as the HDX 7, but with a 1.83 GHz Intel Moorefield CPU. Some say it's what the next Nexus 7 would have been if Google had continued that direction. Comparing the Kindle and the ME572C, color seems to be a bit more rich and vibrant on the Asus.

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2014, 07:39:42 PM »
I shouldn't just say that I'm looking for a tablet for e-book reading.  What I should say is that I'm looking for a tablet to read full-page-at-a-time textbooks and 8.x5x11 pdf journal articles.

But I am interested in a device for reading pdf papers which can show and let you comfortably read a page at a time from a pdf article, without scrolling.

For your stated purpose, the Lenovo Tab 2 Pro is probably the best device available at this time, although for some of the reasons in this review, it would not be my ideal general purpose Android tablet.

Innuendo

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2014, 07:58:48 PM »
For your stated purpose, the Lenovo Tab 2 Pro is probably the best device available at this time, although for some of the reasons in this review, it would not be my ideal general purpose Android tablet.

You were complaining about your Nexus 10 weighing twice as much as your Nexus 7. This Lenovo device weighs three times as much. At over two pounds I don't think a person will want to hold it for lengthy periods of time.

I'd like to see them release a version of this without the projector and sound system. That would shave off some weight.

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2014, 08:52:30 PM »
As I said, this would not be my ideal general purpose Android tablet, but for the stated purpose, you won't find anything that provides more bang for the buck, at least as of this writing.  And at two pounds, it still weighs less than most textbooks.

BTW, for $100 more, you can get a Windows version of this tablet which is slightly heavier but has better battery life, and an HDMI out instead of the built-in projector.  If you are going to be using it mostly for working with pdf files, that might be an even better choice.

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2015, 02:16:14 AM »
Well I have to take exception to your statement that e-ink is dead!

It is not dead and is not even unwell, not even a headache. I think maybe you confuse the sheer number of tablets around now with the number of e-ink devices? Besides that, e-ink devices do one thing really well and that is provide a light weight platform for reading books.

Tablets by comparison can read books but also do everything that any laptop can do (pretty much) so from a design and usability perspective e-ink devices focus 100% of their design and usability on reading books compared to a tablet where book reading is maybe 5% of their design and usability.

Ask anyone who reads regularly on devices how comfortable it is to read on an iPad or similar? They are heavy when compared to a Kindle or Kobo (I have an iPad, a Kindle and a Kobo so I know what I am talking about). Tablet screens produce glare when compared to said e-ink devices and are not good for the eyes when used at the distance most people read at.

I could go on but I think I have made my point. Ask on any of the book reading forums like Goodreads or Booklikes about which devices are preferred and I do not think you will find that tablets outrank Kindles?
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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2015, 07:26:19 AM »
Perhaps he was a bit aggressive in using the word dead, but the improvements and features are going towards non-e-ink devices, I think that's pretty clear.  For the longest time, I was stuck on the fact that e-ink was better to read... but after using a non-e-ink reading device, I haven't gone back, realizing that the bias has shifted.  Reading on one of the newer screens isn't that much different in my eyes, and there are many devices that are tailored to read on.

It's a matter of preference, and all three types of reading media (and more hopefully) will be around for a while.  It really doesn't matter how you read, as much as it matters that you read.  And for mouser's use, e-ink hasn't been well developed, I can say from my own experiences.

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2015, 09:10:40 AM »
I remember that thread, mouser.  I'm with you, for journals and magazines, the letter size is pretty ideal.  I've been reading on 4" androids, ipads, asus transformer, and the surface pro.  The one I like the best is the surface pro.  Now, for journals and magazines, it's still too small.  Most people will say I'm crazy, but it is.  It's a big screen, great resolution, great everything, but for that kind of stuff it is still too small.  You really need 8.5x11 viewable.
For comic books, it's a little better, since comic books are shorter and narrower...however, even comic books feel just a tad scrunched.

Sounds like the issue is that if you make the tablet any bigger, it's not going to be comfortable to carry and use for other things.  I don't know.  If the new surface was letter size, I would jump on that.

Innuendo

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2015, 04:33:00 PM »
Tablets by comparison can read books but also do everything that any laptop can do (pretty much) so from a design and usability perspective e-ink devices focus 100% of their design and usability on reading books compared to a tablet where book reading is maybe 5% of their design and usability.

You definitely have a point, but I think people are moving to general purpose tablets from e-ink readers much like people moved from flip-phones, PDAs, and MP3 players to smartphones. People want one device with one power cable that they can pack around with them that does everything 'pretty well' rather than a few devices that each do one task 'excellently'.


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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #23 on: March 15, 2015, 02:20:19 AM »
Surface Pro 3 is a good option. But if I was about to buy something new for ebook reading I'd wait for Surface Pro 4 which I'd bet will be released together with Windows 10.

Another cool device, though too expensive, is the Sony Digital Paper.
http://goodereader.c...digital-paper-review

mouser

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Re: 2014-2015: Best tablet specs for ebook reading
« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2015, 07:45:10 AM »
Nice find Nod5, that Sony Digital Paper looks very close to ideal for reading academic pdfs.. Too bad the price is so insane ($1000).