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Good PDF Reader Device With Internet Browsing?

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the all-things-to-one-guy dept.

Books 167

ranjix writes "I need a handheld device which would allow me to read ebooks and/or browse the internet while actively and intensely laying in the hammock (and Yes, I do have a hammock in my mom's basement). I'll try to sum up the basic requirements: (good) PDF reader (and ebooks of whatever sort), WiFi connectivity and Internet browser, screen minimum 4.5", readable in sunlight, etc, fairly responsive, at least 4-5 hours battery. Obviously I looked at the usual suspects: Kindle/Amazon tries to grab one into the proprietary formats and their own network (while other ebook readers don't really browse the internet), laptops/netbooks are pretty hard to hold, and the UMPC arena seems a hodge-podge of 'to be released' (Viliv S5? Aigo whatever?) with 'seriously expensive' (Sony, OQO) or plain 'we recommend you don't buy' (Samsung Q1Ex). Is there anything else I could use in the given circumstances?"

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Your are not the only one looking... (1)

WolphFang (1077109) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583373)

Your are not the only one looking... I have even looked at the older PDA's and such posted on ebay. The biggest drawback so far I found is the e-ink daylight, no backlight desire.

Re:Your are not the only one looking... (3, Informative)

Antidamage (1506489) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583477)

The cheapest option could be a Nokia N770. They're not quite as daylight readable as e-ink surfaces, but still not bad. The bonus is you're getting a mini-linux environment in your hand. I run RDP on mine and connect to a Windows 7 box when I'm around home.

Re:Your are not the only one looking... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583575)

You can get a Nokia 810 for about $180 these days. They have the transreflective screen. FBReader makes a great ebook reader on these things. I don't know if you can get a 770 new any more and the 810 will be worth the extra $ anyway.

Re:Your are not the only one looking... (2, Informative)

Antidamage (1506489) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583977)

When I checked a year ago, the N770 was still around for $170 new, so the 810 would definitely be a tempting prospect. It's a big upgrade.

Re:Your are not the only one looking... (0, Flamebait)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584473)

iPod Touch fulfills all those criterior. Not sure of the exact screen size of the iPod though so it might fall down there.

"Oh noes! That's evil Apple! Can't support them!"

Figured I'd save people firing up the whinertron 5000.

Re:Your are not the only one looking... (1)

Nakor BlueRider (1504491) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584597)

3.5" diagonal display (roughly 3"x2"), 480x320px resolution.

Apple lists it starting from $229 for the 8GB version.

Source []

Re:Your are not the only one looking... (4, Informative)

Holmwood (899130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583647)

The parent is correct in pointing out the fascinating Nokia device. However, the Nokia 770 hasn't been manufactured for at least a year; it was replaced by the Nokia N800. The N810 is an N800 with slideout keyboard, GPS, etc. The N800 is probably the best choice for a very small reading device that also browses the web superbly.

That said, the screen is a slight bit smaller than the OP's requirements; it's ~4.1". But at 800x480, it yields 275 dpi which is very, very nice for an LCD-based device to read text from.

The N800/N810, despite coming from Nokia are not phones. They are essentially powerful desktop computers from the late 1990's reduced to palm size (~8 ounces). 400 MHz ARM processor, 256 MB RAM, up to 64 GB of storage (2 SDHC slots), 4.1" 800x480x16bit screen, runs a loosely Debian-based Linux distribution called Maemo.

It plays Youtube videos, and can play back DVD-quality DivX/Xvid (MPEG 4 pt 2 ASP) video without transcoding. It has a built-in PDF reader, and FBReader is an excellent free reader available for a wide variety of other formats.

Battery life is on the order of 4-5 hours, and unlike Apple devices the batteries are user swappable. I have a spare that gives my N800 close to 10 hours of powered-on life. (In sleep mode, the device sips power; I've had mine sleeping for days without running out of power.)

I find it generally excellent for daytime use, though I agree with the parent that e-ink devices are a little better for text in daylight, but all I've tried (Kindle, Sony) are inferior for PDF's and web browsing.

Re:Your are not the only one looking... (1)

NightLamp (556303) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584027)

I also have an n800 and use it to read .pdf every night (there is a download to let you set the lcd to 1/128 brightness), during the day I read the same book on my Touch Pro but the n800 has a much better screen. I use Evince to read the pdf files, it is one of my favorite pieces of software.

Evince lacks reflow but I can maximize the font by reducing the margins to 0 in Acrobat.

Evince beats the WinMo Acrobat reader because it remembers your page when you re-open the file, this is a feature not to be underestimated. On the other hand WinMo Acro has reflow and zoom which make a book readable on a very small screen. WinMo Acro. though, doesn't remember your settings per book, or at all, which makes it irritating when the device needs to be rebooted ( every 2 to 3 days )

The next evolution for me is probably going to be e-ink in the form of a Foxit eSlick Reader ( I have handled the Sony readers in the Sony store and they are really nice to hold, too expensive but hopefully the eSlick will be as good and cheaper.

atb good luck

Re:Your are not the only one looking... (2, Informative)

denttford (579202) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584201)

Doesnt't it feel like there have been three of the same stories in different form but identical in comments?

Anyway, The N810 is also an N800 with a transflective screen, making it very readable where the N800 is not, and thus fits the requirements better. Yes, I own both (and owned a 770, for good measure).

I would caution against any of the eink devices if you insist on webbrowsing on the same device. The refresh rate and limited web media and browser functions make for a frustrating experience. I carry my Sony 505 with me all the time, but it's for fiction, not random access (i.e. textbook, techincal, or webpage reading) as page flipping is still painful.

Your best bet, if the N810 is too small, is to find a tablet PC with a transflective screen. Motion Computing and Itronix slates can be had fairly cheaply on ebay; Fujitsu P1610/20 and U810/820 convertibles also are options if you can do without a transflective screen. I have a U820 and love it (and its high ppi and long battery life), but if I were you, I suspect the greater utility would be found in a P16x0 series.

Re:Your are not the only one looking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28584827)

That said, the screen is a slight bit smaller than the OP's requirements; it's ~4.1". But at 800x480, it yields 275 dpi which is very, very nice for an LCD-based device to read text from.

The DPI is 225, but still, it's about two times more than your average LCD has. Oh, and the N800/N810 screen is not very readable in direct sunlight - you have to set the backlight at maximum, which makes the device use quite a bit more power. I must say, Youtube in the browser is a little bit slow, but Canola (a very good media player for Maemo which is designed for use with fingers) with the Youtube plugin works great. And one must note - N800 has 2 SDHC slots, but no keyboard and N810 has a keyboard, but only one microSDHC slot.

But the point hold still - Nokia tablets are the best thing you can buy, with these requirements

Re:Your are not the only one looking... (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583999)

I love my Nokia 770. I use VNC to access Windows and Linux desktops elsewhere in the house, and I also use it for LOTS of other things including reading PDFs and e-books, viewing msps offline via Maemo Mapper (and sometimes as a basic GPS), running various Palm programs via Garnet VM, etc.

In fact, right now I'm writing this via Firefox via VNC from my 770. :-)

Re:Your are not the only one looking... (1)

montibbalt (946696) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584083)

I don't even buy textbooks for school anymore if there's a PDF version available, now that I have an n810 and an 8gb card.

Re:Your are not the only one looking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28584865)

Hanlin in Tianjin China shows exactly what you want in their catalog of what they CAN make and distribute. The only question is whether they do it yet or not. Check them out, their V3 reader is available in the US (and is cheaper in the US than here in China where it is made. Actually it looks exactly like a Swindle, it is quite possible that they make the amazon Kindle but they also don't have the vendor lock-in, they use a linux variety for their OS. maybe you can write and see what they can do for you.

Solution: (-1, Flamebait)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583389)

Get a used laptop for 200 bucks and install Foxit on it.

Standalone readers are overpriced DRM and ad-ridden pieces of shit for yuppie bitches.

Or how about this: read the fucking paper book instead!

Re:Solution: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583437)

Fascinating. I want to mod the first part of your post informative, the second offtopic, and the third flamebait.

Re:Solution: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583659)

Love-hate-despise relationships never last. Try for another fish.

Re:Solution: (-1, Offtopic)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583671)

Eh, the mods are bitch-ass cocksuckers anyway. They're best left to wagging their tails and licking peanut butter off of Timothy's Jewish penis. By the way, bitches, today is the birthday of the biggest troll in the world - the USA. If you don't live here, you are sucking us off. Everybody who mods me down is a nullo. I have excellent karma bitches. Fuck religion. Waste your points on me. If you have points then you are FAGGOTS. You sucked enough dicks to earn those doggy bones

Nigger Kike Spic Gook Wop ZIEG HEIL!.

Re:Solution: (1, Offtopic)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583743)

Eh, the mods are bitch-ass cocksuckers anyway.

TRIPLE PLAY! They are very talented.

Re:Solution: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28584401)

LOLZ. I love you, man!

Re:Solution: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28584431)

If I wasn't ashamed to show who I am, and if I wasn't scared for my moderating carma, and if I had mod points, I would mod that funny or insightful!

Re:Solution: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28584513)

Someone please escalate this post to CmdrTaco and get this jerk's karma set to a permanent -1.

mixed up priorities (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583391)

>> ...actively and intensely laying in the hammock (and Yes, I do have a hammock in my mom's basement)
Maybe your biggest problem isn't finding an e-book reader. And does poor Mom have to wash the hammock after you actively and intensely use it?

iRex iLiad (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583395)

It does everything you want. Nothing with an e-ink screen is going to browse the internet "properly", but nothing without really fits the bill either.

Get an iLiad, and keep updating the browser as new versions become available. It runs Linux, and isn't locked-down DRM-addled crap like the Kindle or those shoddy Sony efforts.

Re:iRex iLiad (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583471)

the price of the iliad is a complete joke. $700? May as well buy a tablet pc at that price.

Re:iRex iLiad (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583571)

Ah...but he doesn't want a tablet PC. According to what the original post asked for this seems to be a perfect fit. Cheaper would be nice...if it existed.

Re:iRex iLiad (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583615)

OK, DRM sucks, but seriously, the Kindle DX doesn't force you to use it. It is "DRM-addled crap" in the same way the iPod is. It displays normal PDFs *and* the DRM-shit that Amazon peddles. You decide what you want with your credit card and USB cable.

Re:iRex iLiad (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583643)

Well there is one but it isn't out yet.

Get a crunchpad. The form factor is larger than wanted but everything else fits the bill. The fact is companies keep trying to tie their services to these things to make money but some how fail to do so as the unit is so locked down it never takes off to begin with.

I fully expect the crunch pad to spawn a series of open devices of various sizes. electronic paper, is a joke until it costs the same as paper.

Re:iRex iLiad (3, Informative)

gazita123 (589586) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583783)

I second this. I've got one and use it all the time. It is really excellent for taking your library with you, and it doubles as a notebook (a book to take notes in, not a notebook computer). The wifi works OK, but can be finicky. This is one of the only e-ink devices with a Wacom digitizer for taking notes and annotating documents. The software has been opened up and there is some community development Open Iliad [] , but you will find most of the active discussions and news on the forums.

It is hackable to extend the battery life to several days, and it supports CF flash, SD, and USB memory. The USB port can also be used for running a USB light or hooking up an external keyboard. For updating, it is possible to use SSH to connect to it, and then just rsync or whatever you want.

Since I've gotten this, I've started being able to read many books that are available for free as a CC licensed digital download. Cory Doctorow [] is a good example.

The cost is higher than similar readers due to the digitizer and wifi and *most importantly* the fact that it is a full A5 sized screen (8" diagonal). I've compared this to the smaller Sony reader, and the additional screen space is particularly valuable for reading PDFs since they do not re-flow the text to fit the screen.

Re:iRex iLiad (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583809)

I too have an iLiad and would recommend AGAINST getting one. The hardware for the iLiad is great, the software from iRex is horrible. Just for example, the hardware has (stereo) sound capabilities. That's good. The software doesn't. That's stupid.

Re:iRex iLiad (4, Insightful)

rm999 (775449) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583909)

"It runs Linux, and isn't locked-down DRM-addled crap like the Kindle or those shoddy Sony efforts."

You don't understand the Kindle at all. First, it runs Linux. You are probably repeating complaints that the software isn't open source, but Linux is not a synonym for open source. Second, its DRM does not prevent you from viewing non-DRM material. The Kindle has a very capable PDF converter, and the resulting files have no DRM in them. The Kindle is a superset of a theoretically identical device without any DRM. I have a Kindle and have never used its DRM.

The Kindle is an impressive piece of hardware, but I agree its software licensing leaves something to be desired.

Re:iRex iLiad (4, Interesting)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583939)

Nothing with an e-ink screen is going to browse the internet "properly", but nothing without really fits the bill either.

Maybe not yet, but check out this dual-mode reflective/transmissive LCD screen from Pixel Qi.

It has the best of both worlds - in reflective mode it's like an e-ink display, readable in full sunlight, and in transmisssive mode it's a fast color display suitable for watching movies. [] []

Re:iRex iLiad (2, Interesting)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584075)

Get yourself a computer projector (if you do your research, you can get a very good one for a decent price). Experiment with projecting on the wall (or on the ceiling of your basement). If your basement doesn't have a good spot for projecting on to. Build yourself your own custom projection screen (see the instructables web site to see how it's done right). Hang it from the ceiling, and use some ropes and a couple of mini-pulleys to tilt it to the angle you prefer (assuming you do want it tilted, also if nothing else, this pulley system could be used to fold the screen toward the ceiling if the screen gets in the way when not in use). Also, I suppose you could use some nylon strings and some metal hooks if you don't like the idea of ropes and pulleys.

Now a projector and a projection screen may not be the perfect set up for reading text, especially reading pdfs, but I think it's getting better (although admittedly, I would never read an entire ebook with it). And perhaps, the other slashdoters could suggest ways to optimize such a set up to facilitate reading (I'm hoping).

Now putting that question of readability aside for someone else: once your budget allows, you can start adding accessories to help with the navigation. Wireless mouse. Wireless keyboard. Wireless tablet. The clapper, clap on -- clap off, when you're in bed (currently sold at Walgreens for not too much I think, thought I have no idea how it would affect the projector cutting its power off, and turning it back on, like that). An additional LCD screen. Two or three cheap laser pointers (preferably of different colors), to be used when your friends are coming over (and yes, you may get some friends coming over more frequently because of this), and since only one person is usually in control of the mouse when everybody is looking at the screen (on occasion, it helps to give your friends laser pointers). iPod Touch, a remote control, or an existing smartphone to be used as a wireless remote control (the thing is, a good remote control device doesn't have to be too elaborate to be useful -- since you will be doing most of your reading/browsing on the screen anyway, and using your own cell phone gives you the added benefit to pause the sound/pause the movie whenever you receive an important call, and also possibly get additional caller-id on-the-fly from [] ).

And on the topic of the FoxIt PDF reader, that's an awesome piece of software, but it's been getting bloated and buggier in the past few months (or in the past year?). I'd suggest that if you have an old copy of Foxit, that you hold on to it, back it up, and/or burn it to a disk or something. And lacking an old copy, I'd suggest you try PDF xChange Viewer, that's a good alternative in my opinion.

Now I know that some people have their pdf ebooks read to them by their computers (with different computer voices and at different speeds depending on the ebook) but I've never liked that option and I don't think that option would work for most people (even with the better voice reading technology). May be you should try to have your mom (or your girlfriend -- whichever applies in your case) come down to the basement and read to you what's on the projection screen while you're lying in the Hammock with your eyes closed. That last option sounds kind of nice actually. :-)

Re:iRex iLiad (1)

RMingin (985478) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584629)

Locked-down DRM-addled crap?

I put tons of my own books on my Kindle. I do so drag-and-drop, from an OS of my choosing, via USB mass storage. Kindle reads plain text, MOBI/AZW (mine have no DRM, or the Amazon DRM stripped, pretty easy to do), and the newer ones read PDF unconverted.

If Kindle isn't for you, that's fine, but dismissing it out of hand as 'DRM-addled crap' seems a bit knee-jerk.

I have a Kindle, I bought it second hand. I've bought exactly two paid books via Amazon, and have ZERO issues of any type in reading the hundreds I've added.

A Kindle is vendor-locked far less than an iPod. While an iPod will play your existing songs, you need iTunes to add them. Kindle doesn't require anything but a file manager.

don't get an Iliad (1)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 5 years ago | (#28585069)

I own one and it's horrible: slow screen refreshes, slow and confusing navigation, and it runs out of power at inconvenient times. I don't think the Kindle or Sony are much better, although I have only tried them briefly. Although the Iliad is hobbled by bad software, I think even the best software can't compensate for the limitations of e-ink.

Get some kind of tablet with a touch screen. A tablet-converted Macbook may be a reasonable choice, as may be the new EEE PC T91. In about a year, you can get a laptop with a Pixel Qi screen (the same you can find on an OLPC).

iPhone. (5, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583411)

Ok, someone has to say it. iPhone/iPod Touch.

Choice of several readers. Choice of formats,
and at least 3 different on line stores if you want to buy something to read.

May not be cost effective for the single purpose of PDF reader, but throw in everything else it does and it makes sense.

Re:iPhone. (4, Informative)

Degro (989442) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583517)

The iPhone is not very good if you're talking larger book pdfs (jailbroken may be a different story). The best I've found so far is Air Sharing from the app store, which lets you map your phone via WebDAV. Once the files are on your phone it seems to use the built in display for that file type, the same pdf viewer you get from the mail app in this case. The viewing is good enough for me. I've read several smaller books with it already. The problem lies with trying to open large files. Anything over 10-15mb will likely lock up your phone. Anything over 25mb, forget about it. Sometimes I can't even kill the app when this happens and have to reboot the phone...

Re:iPhone. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583545)

Try PDF+ which is in the App Store. I carry several large IEEE standards in it (largest is 19mb) that work fine. It also adds search and index support which makes it reasonable to use with large documents.

Even with all of that it is a pain compared to reading the same document on a laptop. The screen is small and the controls are limited. But it fits in my pocket which was the goal.

Re:iPhone. (1)

BagOBones (574735) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583785)

- The 3GS has a lot more ram which should solve the large document issue, and there are plenty of different PDF apps on the app store.
- There is the kindle branded app as well that lets you get the same books available on the kindle direct on your iPhone

Other than screen size the iPhone very closely meets his requirments and is great for surfing the web.

Re:iPhone. (3, Informative)

wizzat (964250) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583831)

Sounds to me like you're using the wrong app to read with. I've read many many (many) books on my iphone and really it comes down to the interface on the app you're reading with. I rather highly recommend reading with Bookshelf - and as a double bonus win, it is setup by default to access the Webscription (Baen/Tor) free library.

Re:iPhone. (1)

fluffernutter (1411889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584133)

The problem I've had with bookshelf or any PDF reader on the iPhone is a lack of any kind of search within the document. Even being able to flip to the next chapter would be nice, but a minimum requirement for me is to be able to search on a string, find all instances within the PDF and cycle from instance to instance. Every reader I have tried has failed in this regard.

Re:iPhone.... or Palm TX (1)

Brigadier (12956) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583685)

I I've been using my palm tx now for many years. When I bought it I figured it would be the killer device. All screen touch sensitive, wifi, blue tooth, using Palm OS which has a ton of apps. Add Documents to go and there is your PDF Word, and Excel app. It browses the the net well and allows SD cards which adding a few cards to the case puts you way over the Iphone. I'm not sure if Palm still even sells these but It's an awsome device

Re:iPhone.... or Palm TX (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583797)

I initially loved my Palm TX. Here are my beefs with it:

1. Screen whine. Seriously, this thing (without the "whinehack" application) makes my left ear ring like crazy. I have slight tinnitus in my ear. Palm said this is normal for this device.
2. Power button failed after 3 months of using it. Palm replaced it.
3. Noisy output stage for audio. I can't kick Palm around too much for this - I haven't found a mobile device yet that has as clean an output as my Cowon D2.
4. No SDHC support - although I do recall reading someone coming up with a driver for this?

I don't know Palm's official stance on support on this platform anymore, but I remember that they didn't ever drop prices on this handheld, which is insane given it's age in computergear years.

My thoughts? Purchase a cell phone with a decent screen (iphone, htc winmobile or htc googlephone...) I own an HTC Fuze, and even though it is not the perfect device for me, it does do a good job at being a portable internet platform. This does not meet the submitter's requirement of screen size, however, so in that it's a fail. There is an HTC Touch HD that has a larger touchscreen, but it's not for sale in the US as far as I know....

Re:iPhone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583789)

You'd be better off with an N810 than an IPod due to the screen size and resolution. The iPod is trendy, but it doesn't hold a candle to the N810 for web browsing.

Re:iPhone. (1)

strawberryutopia (1301435) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583871)

I was going to say the exact same thing. I hardly ever use my iPod Touch to listen to music, but I use it all the time for Internet, IM and PDF reading. I use air sharing for my PDF reading. It's quite good.

Re:iPhone. (1)

purpleraison (1042004) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584381)

I agree with the other posts about the iPhone. I have Readdle and Files and while both do smaller pdf's adequately (not great, just adequate), there is nothing I have found that does 80MB pdf's without crashing.

If anyone has a suggestion, I'd love to hear it... because I could surely use one.

Re:iPhone. (1)

wzinc (612701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584705)

iPod touch has more than everything you want, except the 4.5" screen. All other devices will be a disappointment compared to it in terms of ease of use.

HP TC1100 (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583419)

You'll have to get it used but you won't find anything better.

Proud to be an American (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583433)

Happy 4th of July assholes!

Not yet, but in a few months...Pixel Qi screens (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583447)

Netbook with Pixel Qi screen [] (evolution of OLPC XO-1 screen)

If it would be in the form of tablet-convertible there shouldn't be much of a problem holding it.

Re:Not yet, but in a few months...Pixel Qi screens (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583765)

Pixel Qi will have screens ready for manufacturers in a few months. It then takes a few months for the manufacturers to test/implement them. Don't expect to see anything with a Pixel Qi screen until sometime next year (despite what the marketers at Pixel Qi keep saying--remember that they only have a few samples themselves). Chances are a few netbooks/tablets will be announced at CES next January, with ship dates around March or April. Still a little ways off, but if they pull it off it should be what people are looking for.

Another in a list of unreleased products... (1)

Ice Wewe (936718) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583449)

Have you considered the Crunch [] ?

I know, I know, it's billed as being a web-only tablet at this point in time, but I honestly can't see it being released without support for the PDF format, it's just too common to overlook. I know I'll be getting one when it becomes available.

A 9 inch netbook (3, Insightful)

grege1 (1065244) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583461)

An 8.9" netbook is very close in external dimensions to a 7" inch model. All have WiFi. Get a solid state device like the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 running Ubuntu or get an ASUS EeePC 701 for the absolute cheapest. Use any PDF reader and screen rotation, hold netbook sideways. With a big USB Thumb drive (or SD card) and headphones it can also be used as a movie player, or a music player and you can surf the net. This is the sort of use netbooks are good for, better than trying to make them mini notebooks.

I tried to solve this last fall. (2, Interesting)

CoffeePlease (596791) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583485)

I had to attend a workshop which required we have 100 or more white papers on tap and easy to read. I looked at all sorts of devices and settled on an Acer Aspire 1 netbook. None of the ebook readers at the time were good at PDF's. The Acer wasn't even close to perfect, but it did the job for that workshop. It has a fairly wide screen but I would prefer something larger, vanishingly thin, flexible and foldable. Oh, and it should run the application "Papers" by

Re:I tried to solve this last fall. (2, Interesting)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584429)

I googled "tablet netbook". Notable results:

- [] ARM+ Linux, 1024x600 9" LCD, Screen-only tablet $300, $100 keyboard turns it into an almost regular netbook. Just coming out, so no reviews/experience.

- [] Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, NEC and others seem on the verge of introducing touchscreen 9-10" netbooks.

I'm still using a Palm TX for reading fiction. But these toys, or maybe the next generation, may replace it.

I'd love a "tablet netbook" with an e-ink display.

Netbook with polarizer (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583493)

Get a netbook, add a polarizer so its readable in sunlight, buy an expanded battery.

Haven't we already had one CrunchPad story today? (2, Insightful)

ActusReus (1162583) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583513)

I haven't heard that the CrunchPad prototypes support PDF... but if not, I imagine it's sure to be the first new feature added.

Kindle is only mostly proprietary (3, Informative)

magarity (164372) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583521)

The new version Kindle in the large size does PDF - they don't force all the content in their proprietary format (although of course they make that the easiest to get). I think that would be your best bet. Note the smaller size Kindle does not do PDF.

Re:Kindle is only mostly proprietary (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583605)

Really I'd love to have something just like a Kindle but with linux on it and totally open. The hardware is great but I don't want to be tied to Amazon. I can see why people that want it just to read books love it though.

Re:Kindle is only mostly proprietary (4, Informative)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583683)

The hardware is great but I don't want to be tied to Amazon.

Uhh... you aren't. The DX will read PDFs, and every other Kindle can read TXT, PRC, and MOBI, all of which you can produce on your desktop for free.

Re:Kindle is only mostly proprietary (1)

RaymondKurzweil (1506023) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584575)


When the GP talks about being *tied* here, they are clearly talking alluding to the fact that the hardware is closed. I actually don't know if this is completely true for the Kindle (has someone hacked the Kindle yet?). But what the poster was alluding to is obvious.

If I can't install Linux or even Rockbox or my own build of Windows CE on the damn thing (because of some as of yet uncracked/unreversed hardware protection mechanism), then you are "tied to Amazon".

There are varying degrees of openness. All these plug computers and things like BeagleBoard represent the extreme of openness (with a lot of vendor documentation), core PC (PCI/VESA graphics only/BIOS) is completely open, all the core stuff is documented, then you have things like my SanDisk MP3 player that are de facto open and the manufacturer while not offering support doesn't have a problem with the hacking community....
On the extreme end you have things like the Nintendo Wii, and Amazon is probably similarly protective of their Kindle. Those companies have active engagement to protect their platform, with a combination of hardware lockout features, and possible legal/social implementation too.

Thanks for playing.

Re:Kindle is only mostly proprietary (1)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584601)

The new version Kindle in the large size does PDF - they don't force all the content in their proprietary format (although of course they make that the easiest to get). I think that would be your best bet. Note the smaller size Kindle does not do PDF.

Not YET. The Kindle 1 had a firmware update after the Kindle 2 came out that backported the 2's features. I would not be surprised to see the DX's full PDF support backported to the 1 and 2 later, after the people who NEED PDF support get the DX.

Get an old Palm (1)

ReK_42 (1061820) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583559)

Srsly, I have an old Palm Tungsten E (the first one, uses a standard mini-usb port before they did their universal dock connector shit). It's perfect for reading ebooks (Mobipocket Reader) and PDFs (Adobe has a Palm reader), and isn't bad for pictures as well (the screen is only 256 colours though). I use it an average of 2h per day (long commute, and I read paper books at home) and I only have to charge it maybe twice a week. The only thing it doesn't have on your list is internet. I personally don't care, I don't want internet on mine. If it is a big issue though, the Palm T|X, still sold new, has both wifi and bluetooth: [] You may think of trying an SDIO Wireless card on the E or E2. It won't work at all on the E and I've heard very mixed things about using it on the E2, including impossible-to-find drivers and incredibly short battery life when using it.

N810 (3, Informative)

mzechner (1351799) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583567)

a linux based internet tablet with tons of 3rd party apps, everything open source, superb pdf reader, very big screen 800x480, wifi, bluetooth, keyboard, camera, microfon etc. really it's the perfect device for the purposes you mentioned. i couldn't live without mine. forget about the iphone/ipod touch, they are nothing compared to this little beast.

Re:N810 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583661)

The screen size is only 4.1", but I agree with the Nokia recommendation. PDF sucks for e-book reading unless you have a large screen though. I suggest EPub or Mobipocket formats and FBreader. They allow reflowing of the text to fit the screen, instead of trying to preserve the exact page layout. Fortunately there are a couple of good PDF readers if that is the way you want to read E-books.

Re:N810 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583723)

The third, and cheaper Nokia option is the n800. If you don't need a keyboard or GPS (hey, you're in your HAMMOCK) it's also decent.

Re:N810 (3, Informative)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583975)

Agreed, although I used a N800 (same as the n810 but no hardware keyboard - more expandable storage capacity though). The screen is big enough to read books on, the latest version of the OS (Maemo, a modified Debian) has a very nice PDF reader built in, the browser is Gecko-based and even has things like AdBlock Plus available (since it supports Flash, this is a real benefit). Everything is open source, no jailbreaking required (there's a built-in way to get full control over the device, including a root terminal) and you can install whatever you want on it - other PDF, web, or email software, Skype, the freaking GNU build toolchain even. WiFi and Bluetooth are its primary communication methods.

The fit VERY comfortably in one hand, and if you're just reading books the battery will last 7 hours or so. Fantastic little device.

Re:N810 (3, Informative)

delorean (245987) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584241)

Yes, the 810 is an excellent unit. Does lots of things well, lots of things so-so.

PDF and eBook is so-so. Don't get me wrong it is very usable-- that is what I mainly use one for now, that and email.

But I am coveting the Kindle I bought my wife for her birthday. It much much much easier to read a book on the Kindle than the n810. There is more screen and the screen so much easier on the eyes. I love that eInk stuff. Just keep it out of the direct sunlight or you have little evil kindles running all over the place. But the little evil kindles are much better than the Vashta Nerada that come in with our hard copy books.

Tablet anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583589)

I use a 12" Toshiba tablet for reading ebooks. Being able to fold the screen helps. It is still a tad too heavy, but not very bad. I wish there was a netbook with a foldable screen. You can find an old m200 on ebay for about $250. Works fine as a regular laptop too.

BTW I find pdf really bad for ebooks. Increasing the font size throws off the page boundaries from the screen. IMO etext in 2 page mode is best for books without pics.

archos5? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583613)

What about the archos5?

The Viliv S5 is already available. (2, Informative)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583617)

For sale at, and has been for the past month; I don't know how you got the silly idea that it was "To Be Released". It satisfies all of your criteria, which is pretty awesome considering that it weighs less than a pound. Yes, I own one. A 7" screen version goes on sale this week, weighs a bit more than a pound. Both are priced at $599.

EEE pc 1000he (1)

weird talk (1476945) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583713)

I use the 701, but i plan to upgrade. Using either envice or a combo of fbreader and pdf2txt tools it works great. Fbreader will even let you hold the thing sideways and rebind keys. Imo it's the best way to go. (plus the eee pc 1000he has 7+ hr battery life).

The Smart Devices Q7 is a good solution (2, Informative)

Ecks-E-Ar-Oh (744901) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583719)

There are excellent reviews of the device at UMPC Portal here [] , and at Mobileread forums here [] . You can find one online for under $200. It comes with a version of Ubuntu Linux, FBReader and Evince are in the standard install. The Mer Project over at is currently porting Maemo to the device, they have a thread here [] , discussing ports for the Smart Q5 and Q7.

Touch Book from Always Innovating (5, Interesting)

RicRoc (41406) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583753)

I have pre-ordered a Touch Book from Always Innovating for just this kind of thing. []

Runs Linux on:
Texas Instruments OMAP3530 with Micron 256MB (RAM) + 256MB (NAND) Memory
8.9 inches 1024x600 A+ ressure sensitive touch screen
Main storage: 8GB SD card (replaceable!)
USB: internal and external

Should be shipping this month!

Re:Touch Book from Always Innovating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583827)

Very interesting device - especially with "10+" hour battery, but I'll bet the I/O is slow through that SD card...

Re:Touch Book from Always Innovating (3, Interesting)

carlzum (832868) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584251)

Great features and a competitive price, $300 for touch-screen and $400 with keyboard. My only question is, what is an A+ screen? I can't find much information about the display, other than the resolution. The images appear to have a glossy display, that would be a disadvantage in sunlight and for black and white text.

I've heard... (1)

hughdc (1586241) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583915)

I've been *told* a PSP with some extra software can make a great, if basic ebook reader, plus it has many other features. I might be tempted to look at a DS too.

HTC Touch Pro (1)

ksemlerK (610016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28583983)

Not only can you read pdfs and surf the internet, you can easily do the following:

*Connect to networks via VNC
*Stream music with Pandora
*Watch flash content such as YouTube, Hulu, Youku, etc
*Type up office documents
*Print office documents
*Listen to FM radio
*Run a Bittorrent client
*Watch video
*Watch TV
*Play MP3s
*Read and compose email
*Monitor weather
*Expand storage capabilities up to 32GB
*Use as a wireless modem, or WAP
*War driving
*GPS locator
*Play games
*Command prompt
*Cellular network analyser
*Stock monitor

Oh, and you can make phone calls too.

Why limit yoursle to one device that does specifically 1 thing? A touch pro is capable of pretty much anything you could want to do with it, all that can't be done with it is read optical media. The best part is, most of the applications are free.

I know just the thing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28584007)

Is there anything else I could use in the given circumstances?

I've recently discovered something that may prove to be of assistance to you. It's called Google, and you can access it by entering: [] into your Web browser. You can enter search parameters, and then browse the results. Many companies even have Web sites that detail their products' capabilities, and these may well appear as a result of such searches. It's truly remarkable, and I am certain that it will prove to be enormously helpful.

Of course, you will have to read, and, may even have to think about what you are reading, so as to be able to determine whether or not a particular product suits your needs.

Should this prove to be overly burdensome, please feel free to make another Ask Slashdot submission. I'm sure that it, too, will be accepted: After all, there are many here that, like you, need someone else to tell them what is best for them.


But what about for Simple PDF reading?? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28584025)

I don't care about internet browsing, that's what my computer is for. Nor do I care about music playback, that's what my MP3 player is for. I just want a simple device that can read PDF files so that I don't have to read them on an eye-straining monitor.

- Screen without backlight, large and high DPI preferably. e-Ink is fine. I want ot read under a lamp.
- Long battery life. Enough for me to read for 30+ hours.
- Touch screen would be nice.
- Low price, but not too picky

Can anyone suggest any devices that are out on the market now or will be in the near future. Cookies for all non-troll responses!!

Re:But what about for Simple PDF reading?? (1)

fluffernutter (1411889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584163)

I think the problem is that a device's manufacturing costs mainly come from the type of hardware features that it has. A pure PDF reader needs a processor, a good screen, volatile storage, non-volatile storage, a way to transfer the books to the device, battery, human interaction interface, etc etc. In other words it basically needs to be an iPhone or tablet PC 'hardware-wise' but you want it crippled so that it is only a PDF reader. Well no one is ever going to make such a device, because its hardware will force it to be on the same price point as other more capable devices but if it can only read PDFs who is going to buy it?

Nindendo DS $70 (1)

Sam36 (1065410) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584077)

Get a nintendo ds and put dslinux on it. Then you can use any text based pdf viewer and any text based web browser. It is pretty awesome and it can really turn heads

OLPC XO-1 (1, Interesting)

Necronian (602418) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584081)

I bought my xo for exactly the type of thing that you are asking about. It's display is really well suited for reading ebooks, it's sunlight readable and 200dpi. I get around 5 - 6 hours of reading time when I turn everything off and put the display into low power(ebook) mode. The processor in it isn't the beefiest a 433mhz amd geode, but you can browse the web with it. I think they usually go for ~$200 on ebay.

Try this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28584089)

ECTACO jetBook e-Book Reader Graphite JB5Bk-En

try this its at a reasonable price

Touchbook (1)

Nekomusume (956306) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584115)

Not quite out yet, but this seems likely to be your best bet.
It's a laptop, but the keyboard portion is removable (and, infact, optional) turning it unto a tablet. Reportedly 10 or so hours of battery life. []

As a hammock owner Id like to say... (3, Insightful)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584191)

that the only thing you should have in your hand is a beer or a mixed drink.

Re:As a hammock owner Id like to say... (2, Insightful)

dontmakemethink (1186169) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584987)

Agreed. Throw that sentiment in with the fact that a war's going on, the economy is circling the bowl, we're destroying the planet with our excesses, but a laptop is too cumbersome for your precious hammock, so stop the press.

I sympathize with your plight, but please go to a store where they're paid to be insensitive. Pardon my optimism, but this marvel of intercommunication has more potential than an enhanced shopping channel.

Unlock a GPS unit. (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584197)

Get a GPS that can run miopocket. It comes with a PDF reader.

If you get a GPS with wifi, you get internet connectivity. If it's got an SD port, get a wifi SD adapter and you're good to go.

No monthly fees, touch interface, and the battery life on mine is 4-5 hours.

hate to tell you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28584207)

Quote: "while actively and intensely laying in the hammock"

You're doing it wrong.

The upcoming Crunchpad sounds like it.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28584213)

Sub $200, simple with wifi web browsing, runs linux so I am sure (with a minimum amount of hacking) one could stick Adobe reader on it, and it looks eminently portable.

Irex iLiad 2nd Edition (1)

daath93 (1356187) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584299)

Irex iLiad 2nd Edition, WiFi, Wacom Penabled, 12 hour battery life wile reading and writing, supports wireless synchronization, 8.1-inch (diagonal) Electronic Paper Display, 768 x 1024 pixels resolution, 160 DPI. 16 levels of grey-scale. Built-in stereo speakers. File formats supported : PDF / HTML / TXT / JPG / BMP/ PNG / PRC (Mobipocket). []

I hope your hammock... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28584301)

Is made by the pleasant and tech-friendly hippies at

You've looked at an EEEpc? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28584313)

I have an eeepc, they're relatively inexpensive, they're fun to mod, and for a laptop, they're positively tiny. My friends call it an "icecream sandwich".

itouch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28584505)

get an itouch. Then get one of the apps that's lets you treat it like a disk drive and transfer stuff onto it wirelessly. Then get an app that lets you read PDFs. Done. I use it for this purpose everyday. Great battery life, great screen, great interface, great PDF reader. It's not huge, but it's *just* big enough to actually let you read. I like it. A lot.

PDF as movie (2, Interesting)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584551)

You know how newer mp3-players and phones can play movies?
Wouldn't it be possible to convert a PDF into a movie (scrolling the pages) and read it with pause-play?

Re:PDF as movie (1)

daath93 (1356187) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584643)

it would probably be infinitely easier to just save the PDF in jpg and read each page as a picture if you cant find a device that reads pdf.

I'm holding out for the T91 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28584861)

ASUS are about to release a tablet netbook, the Eee PC T91 [] . I have an ordinary tablet PC and have read dozens of books on it but it is far too heavy to satisfy the hammock requirement.

nokia internet tablet (1)

celjabba (413614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28584947)

Nokia 770 or n800

I own a 770, it does an amazing job as handheld web browser/ebook reader.

With fbreader, you can rotate the text and hold the reader vertically in one hand, the thumb right on the pageup/page down switch.

I don't like reading pdf on it, however.
Too slow.

The n800 may have the memory and processor to handle large pdf. I never tried it, however.

Otherwise, an eee is great too.
Way bigger, but i think it could be usable in an hammock,


Obligatory Grammar Nazi-ism (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28585071)

...actively and intensely laying in the hammock...

So, did you really mean "lying", or are you a hen, or will your reading matter be the Kama Sutra and/or Masters and Johnson?

Archos Internet Media Tablets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28585119)

I haven't tried one of these so I can't give you my opinion but you should probably take a look at Archos Internet Media tablets:

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