Mobileread
7"+ upgrade from Kindle PW3, but what?
#1  sniglom 07-05-2020, 08:48 AM
Hello, I'm new here

I've been using a Kindle Paperwhite 3 for a couple of years now and I'm thinking about upgrading it.

I'm satisfied with the contrast, sharpness and uniformity of the display of the PW3. I also think the material is easy to hold and the build quality is good enough. A worse display or build quality would be annoying.

What I want in a new device:
A bigger display. Perhaps 7-8", I don't have anything to compare to.
Nice to have: physical buttons and/or warm backlight.

How I use the Kindle:
*I sideload epub/mobi/azw3 books using calibre and have no issues with converting. No PDFs, no manga, no audiobooks. Plain reading.

* I like that the interface is uncluttered when I read. Only thing I use is "time left in chapter"

*I read in landscape mode, but this is probably because I like to have longer rows on a small device, rather than using a very small font.

*Customization wise, I don't do much. Reduced line spacing and margins.

*The email functionality in the kindle is nice, but I have no problem with connecting it to my computer.


What device to choose?
The new paperwhite is too similar at 6", bluish backlight and no buttons.

The Kindle Oasis is a bit pricy at 300 euros, but if it's awesome, maybe it's the right device.

Thus, I looked at a few alternatives;
Kobo Libra H2O, 7", €140
PocketBook InkPad 3, 7.8", €180
Kobo Forma, 8", €245
Maybe there's something more I should check out?

I have no idea how these compare quality wise. Since I don't use much functionality, I care about that the screen quality is good, the backlight is uniform and that the device feels somewhat quick.

The pocketbook seems to be good value, at least for its screen size. The white Kobo has a nice look and the case with a builtin stand seems nice. But I have no idea whether Kobo or Pocketbook is to prefer in hardware quality or software quality.
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#2  Quoth 07-06-2020, 08:31 AM
I find the Libra OK. I've used the Original H2O, Kindle PW2, PW3, Basic, PW4, Keyboard and DXG.
I've found no need to patch/customise. I did jailbreak the DXG so as to add sleep covers. I tried the JB system font, which is nicer than stock, but reverted it as I check old Mobi on it.
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#3  JSWolf 07-06-2020, 08:41 AM
Go for the Kobo Libra H2O. I think you will really like it.
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#4  sniglom 07-08-2020, 07:35 PM
So I bought the Libra and the Forma from two different companies with good return policies.
What I think about the devices? Sadly, I'm not very impressed.

Kobo Libra:

* Uniformity of the backlight is good. I like that you can switch between warm and cool light.

* 7" wasn't enough of an upgrade from 6", especially since the Libra isn't very nice to hold in landscape mode. Thus I have longer line lenght on my old PW3. At this size I appreciate line length over page length.

* The hard plastic material isn't as nice to hold as the rubbery surface on my PW3.

* The two front buttons feel a bit different and sound different as well. Both of them are too loud and clicky for my taste.

* The placement of the sleep button is a bit weird, since it's hard to reach depending on how you hold the device.

* Why can't I configure the buttons so that UP means next in portrait mode and right means next in landscape mode? Annoying.

* Why can't I override the line spacing of a book if it's predefined in the epub? Annoying.

* The touch is generally worse. Both in sensitivity and speed. Marking words is clunkier and I often manage to accidentally switch page. Trying to press a footnote was so bad that I had to check on my kindle that the footnote actually was a link before going back and try a few more times. Yes, it was that bad. I managed to switch page, mark the asterisk of the footnote but not click it. Using the slider for changing brightness is also finicky and often switches page instead.
I'm not a novice at using touch devices. I don't have these or similar issues when using my PW3. Nor have I similar issues of accidental inputs using my smartphone or laptop touchpad.

* The dictionary is clearly worse. I noticed this already for the first 5 words I needed to lookup.

* Wake/Sleep is slower. On my first try to wake the device, I thought the click didn't register and pressed again, just to see the device wake up and go back to sleep again. This has never happened to me for the 5 years with the PW3.

* Overall the interface feels a bit less polished. A good example is the small brightness slider, that is slower, harder to use due to size and seems to have a less than optimal mapping between percentage and actual light flow.

Kobo Forma
* 8" is a really nice step up from 6". This size is great, for the first time I enjoy reading in portrait mode.

* The front has a nice rubbery feel, but the back still has this hard plastic.

* The front buttons has the same issues as the Libra. Different sound/feel and too loud clicks.

* The sleep button has a better placement on this unit. But mine isn't tactile. I can't feel whether it's been pressed or not. I don't know wether this is an issue with quality control or bad design, but I don't like it.

* My screen has issues. Using the white leds, it's a bluish line along the same edge as where the buttons are. I guess I lost the panel lottery:
https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=312149

*The corners on that edge have issues producing blacks. Looking at the device from just the slightest angle, the corners glow white when they should be black. This screen should not have passed quality control. Turning on the yellow light makes uniformity and corner issues better, but not good.

Verdict?
I'm sad to say this, but I don't think the Libra is much of an upgrade to the reading experience of my PW3.

The Forma has a really nice screen size, but I have to return the unit due to the quality issues with mine. It's just too noticeable on this unit.

I now know that there's no point for me in going for a Kindle Oasis. 7" isn't enough of an upgrade to spend that money.

I will try the pocketbook inkpad 3 as well, but I don't hold my hopes high.
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#5  sniglom 07-08-2020, 07:56 PM
Couldn't edit my post, but I had much less issues clicking footnotes with the Forma. Although, I find the footnote interface worse on the Kobos than the Kindle.
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#6  haydnfan 07-09-2020, 08:04 AM
Why aren't you considering the Oasis 3? It has superior light uniformity to what you were looking at and is a 7 inch ereader.

FYI you needed more time with the Kobo devices before you made a judgment. You CAN change the button layout. Changing the light level is easy and responsive, you just swipe up/down on the left (no need to bring up a menu) until it is just right. I've had no problems using either one.
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#7  JSWolf 07-09-2020, 09:23 AM
@sniglom, the power button placement is irrelevant as is the feel of the plastic because you should be used a sleep cover which then eliminates these issues and the sleep cover makes the Libra much nicer to hold.

Also, the larger screen (even 7") is nicer then a 6" screen. I'm using a Kobo Aura H2O and it's a 6.8" screen and there is no way I would go back to reading with a 6" screen full time.

As for ePub, if it has DRM, remove the DRM. Load the ePub in the editor and search/replace out line-height and problem solved.
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#8  ps67 07-09-2020, 12:48 PM
@sniglom; You ask: * Why can't I override the line spacing of a book if it's predefined in the epub? Annoying.

Yes it is annoying but there is a patch for that.

But, of course, if You are not confortable with a Kobo nobody can say to You what You should do.

I bought a KP3 in february 2017 and in July 2018 I bought a Kobo Aura One. I wanted a larger screen and KA1 was the best option. I took some time to be used with Kobo but now I prefer it respect to a Kindle. But the KP3 is more reactive, it is true. Again: preferences are pretty personal.
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#9  JSWolf 07-09-2020, 06:22 PM
Quote ps67
@sniglom; You ask: * Why can't I override the line spacing of a book if it's predefined in the epub? Annoying.

Yes it is annoying but there is a patch for that.

But, of course, if You are not confortable with a Kobo nobody can say to You what You should do.

I bought a KP3 in february 2017 and in July 2018 I bought a Kobo Aura One. I wanted a larger screen and KA1 was the best option. I took some time to be used with Kobo but now I prefer it respect to a Kindle. But the KP3 is more reactive, it is true. Again: preferences are pretty personal.
Just a quick note. The abbreviation for the Paperwhite 3 is PW3. Took me some time to get what you meant by KP3.
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#10  sniglom 07-09-2020, 07:15 PM
Quote haydnfan
Why aren't you considering the Oasis 3? It has superior light uniformity to what you were looking at and is a 7 inch ereader.
As stated in the first post. The main reason to look at other devices was the price of the Oasis. Where I live (Sweden) it's about 300 euros, while the Libra goes for 140 and the Forma for 245.

That said, I have no light uniformity issues with the 7" Libra, only the 8" Forma.

Quote haydnfan
FYI you needed more time with the Kobo devices before you made a judgment.
Don't think so, I covered your points in my post. I read the manual as well.

Quote haydnfan
You CAN change the button layout.
I DID change the layout. What annoys me is that the invert toggle for the buttons changes for all orientations.
Default: down = next page / right = next page.
Invert: Up = next page / left = next page.

I want up = next page / right = next page. But you can't do that.
If you can, I didn't find it in the manual or in the settings.

Quote haydnfan
Changing the light level is easy and responsive, you just swipe up/down on the left (no need to bring up a menu) until it is just right. I've had no problems using either one.
I addressed both of these issues and the issues I have with both of them.

Sliding on the screen:
The touch sensitivity isn't very good on my device. Whether it's this device in particular or every Libra, I don't know. If I had to guess, I would say it's a combination of higher input lag, worse implementation of touch driver and perhaps not proper touch calibration.

Anyway, sliding along the edge to set brightness tend to give accidental inputs, thus switching the page. The issues I have with touch on this device not limited to the brightness slider, but also when trying to click footnotes or selecting text. For reference I tried clicking a footnote on the Forma and that worked without issues, so maybe it's just a matter of quality control.

Change the brightness from settings.
The issues I have with the slider in the settings was just an example of why I find the software on the Kobo worse overall. The brightness slider is a common option, thus it should be implemented in a good manner, but it isn't. Like most things I found with the Kobo, it's not that it's unusable, it's that it isn't polished.

I do software development and electronics both for work and as a hobby. I care about making interfaces great and properly mapping audio volume to sliders, light flow to sliders and so on. I care about the studies on human computer interaction, such as Fitt's law, when designing interfaces. So when I use the Kobo, I get annoyed. If you don't get annoyed with all the small things, that's good for you. More devices to like and choose from.

Quote JSWolf
@sniglom, the power button placement is irrelevant as is the feel of the plastic because you should be used a sleep cover which then eliminates these issues and the sleep cover makes the Libra much nicer to hold.
No, my preferences and opinions are not irrelevant for me. They are highly relevant, since it's me using the product.

I usually don't like covers and prefer to use a protective sleeve when the device isn't in use. That said, I actually bought the sleep cover for the Libra, just to try it. I think it makes it worse to hold. I mean, it's nice that it can be used as a stand and that it wakes/sleeps the device, but I prefer to hold the device without it. I didn't write about it, since it's optional to purchase and not a part of the device itself.

Quote JSWolf
Also, the larger screen (even 7") is nicer then a 6" screen. I'm using a Kobo Aura H2O and it's a 6.8" screen and there is no way I would go back to reading with a 6" screen full time.
If you use the devices with the same orientation, there's no argument here. 7" is better than 6".

As I wrote in my first post, I prefer to read in landscape mode on the kindle. I find it nicer to hold that way and at 6", line length is more important to me than page length.

The Libra's shape makes me want to hold it in portrait mode. Doing so gives a bit shorter lines, but of course much longer pages.

So what I realized is this; I want 8" for portrait mode to make sense. For a 7" device to make sense for me, it should be really nice to hold in portrait mode.


Quote JSWolf
As for ePub, if it has DRM, remove the DRM. Load the ePub in the editor and search/replace out line-height and problem solved.
I don't think there is any DRM in my epub files? Anyway, the issue isn't that it can't be fixed, which I pointed out that I know how to do. It's not that it in itself is a dealbreaker. It's just another annoyance with the software. Something that should be working out of the box, but isn't.

I mean, even if I was a publisher that really cared about line spacing, that's no excuse for the interface to not tell you about what is going on. Why can I move a slider that doesn't do anything? Why won't the software tell me what is going on? It's not like this is the first beta release from Kobo. It's not like this is some obscure setting that 99% of users won't touch.

Again, if you don't get annoyed by what I find to be sloppy software, good for you. It's not like I want to be annoyed by these devices. It's not helping me.

I wanted the "upgrade" from a five year old Kindle to feel like a step forward software wise, but it feels like a regression.
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