Thursday, 18 February 2010

I Have Been Converted!

Yes, I have said bad things about eInk displays.

Yes, I made Ectaco JetBook to look as my choice of eBook reader.

No, I am not ashamed to admit I was wrong... partly, at least.

So... What happened?

Well, I tried an eInk reader for a few days (Sony Pocket Reader PRS-300, pictured), and I must admit, this particular one, for me, is better than the JetBook by leaps an bounds.

What's different then, you will surely ask. Here goes...

I must admit that, in terms of visual design of consumer electronics, Sony is so superior, in my eyes, that there really is no competition. But is that enough? It surely isn't, and I must add that Sony reader is noticeably heavier than the JetBook. It also lacks the slider on the left that made turning pages on JetBook so pleasurable. Which is not to say that, at least with my hand size, it is not easy to turn pages on a Sony Pocket reader. It is. It's just it's concentrated on one button, where JetBook has two, at two different places.

But, unfortunately for JetBook, this is not enough.

For my poor, middle aged, eyes, the contrast eInk provides is indeed so much better than, otherwise excellent, JetBook LCD. Then, there's the shape and size. Sony is smaller, and so much easier to hold. Yes, it is heavier, but I found that weight to be easier to bear than the smaller one of JetBook. It has to do with the shape.

And then come the accessories...

Yes, they do cost you more money. But they also have the potential of making your gadget (and yes, both are gadgets) so much better. JetBook has a few, and I looked at them very carefully, ready to spend hard earned cash on enhancing it. But alas, none seemed worth the bother, let alone the price. Sony Pocket Reader, on the other hand, offers one (unfortunately, at this time, just one) must-have accessory. This is the leather cover with light. Now, I could do with it not being genuine leather (ant thus presumably cheaper), but the built in light is just brilliant! It could only be beaten if JetBook had a backlit LCD and it doesn't. So you have to read with the light on, or with one of the horrible book lights. On the other hand, the Sony cover has the light hidden when you don't need it, and unobtrusive when you do. It is overpriced, but it is at the same time worth the money, if you know what I mean.

Oh, there's also this thing which I didn't believe before, and that's the fact that eInk does really strain your eyes much less than an LCD, backlit or not. It is really better in so many ways, and in at least as many angles the sun can fall on it.

Therefore, I have been converted, and have given up on the JetBook (and by implication on LCD, non-backlit readers), and have embraced eInk. Yes, I still need to blink or look away as the page turns, but other features are really worth the bother (not least the battery life, which is an order of magnitude better for eInk).

However, I will continue to look for better readers, and will throw away the eInk one in a blink (which is still quicker than it turns pages) for something overall better. When it comes...