On Tue, 20 Jun 2023, Tomasz Rola wrote:
On Tue, Jun 20, 2023 at 11:02:33AM -0500, Michael
responding to an old thread got behind on my list-mail
reading, but I wanted to share my $.02.
Someone else mentioned an e-book reader app, and I second that,
mostly...Moon+ Reader on Android is the e-book reader I've been using
for a while and it does a good job with standard e-book formats
as well as PDF files, IF the PDF is a PDF of formatted text. It
even has a mode where it will do a pretty decent job of on-the-fly
converting/reformatting the text of the PDF to something that can
actually be read on a small (phone) screen. However, if the PDF is just
a bunch of 1 image per page wrapped in a PDF container, you're out of
luck and back to zoom/pan around the page.
For most of my digtal book reading these days, I use a Boox e-ink
reader. It runs Android, so, I can use the same e-book reader I used
on my phone. It can even sync where you're at in the book/document via
dropbox and you can move between multiple devices if needed.
If I want to mark-up the PDF, the built-in stuff on the Boox handles
that nicely. If I'm on my phone, I use an app called Xodo.
I am not challenging your choices (to each his/her own), but to add
some alternative, my own preferences go toward:
a. have sd card slot in a reader (I mean hardware with e-ink, not some
app on a phone). This means a card can be slipped into the box without
opening it. This means the box is not water-proof. However, I had a
look inside and I suspect it can still be water-prooved with duct
tape, if someone wants it so much.
(For the record, the "device" I'm discussing is my Boox Nova Air 7.8"
E Ink tablet, Amazon product B09FQ14Z6N.)
What are you wanting/needing an SD card for? Extra storage?
File-transfer? For what I use this device for, the built-in storage
(32GB) has been more than enough to hold the books & notes I need it to.
For file transfer, the USB Type-C port on it goes both ways, you can
connect it to a computer and move files that way, or you can get a
Type-C SD card reader. Plus there's wifi for network transfers.
I store my e-books in Calibre on my Linux desktop, which has a
web-server that the software on the device knows how to talk to, or I
can connect the device and my Linux box together over USB and Calibre
recognizes it as an e-reader device and can push/pull books via its
This device does not advertise any water-proofing at all.
b. so far I was rather happy with Linux custom made by
but not an Android - I am yet to try Android based ebook reader (but
maybe not too fast). Phones with A* are rather lousy at keeping their
batteries loaded, I wonder how eink devices fare - do they, too, need
to be recharged every day? My reader is recharged every 2-3 weeks,
when batt drops to about 70%, while I keep using it at least every
second day for few hours at a time.
Out of the box, this device has very aggressive power-saving modes. If
the screen is left off for more than something like 10 minutes, it would
do a full shutdown, which means the next time you hit the power button,
it does a full boot. To be fair, it boots much faster than my phone,
about 15 seconds from hitting the power button to asking me to unlock
the screen. Default settings also turn off the wifi & bluetooth when
the screen is off. In this mode, yeah, it will last a few weeks.
I disabled the shutdown bits, I want to have that "instant on"
experience. Well, as instant as things get with E-Ink. From what I've
noticed, the biggest battery drain seems to be if I use the backlight or
not. I mostly don't, but it's there when other light isn't available.
With my usage patterns and device settings, I probably charge it up to
full once or twice a week, but that's plugging it in when it gets to
about 50% battery. If I left the wifi off, I could probably extend it
To be completely honest, I've not worried too much about how long things
keep a charge, as long as it can stay charged long enough for me to use
it for what I want to do with it. I have lots of USB chargers spread
around my house, which means that I can tend to have something charging
and still be nearby.
The exception to this is my watch. I have a Fossil Hybrid smart-watch.
It's an analog watch with an e-ink background that can show me
alerts/info from my phone. It only needs to be charged about once every
10 days or so. I don't want a watch that I'd have to recharge daily.
I had once (many years go, when I was to buy my first
dream of browsing web pages with it. However, built in browser in
non-A* reader proved to be lousy, equally lousy to browser in A*
phones that I have tried. So, my current ereader was never connected
to the net because I see no point. Of course each model nowadays
comes with wi-fi, it just does not add anything useful so no need
to even configure it on home router etc. Nowadays, I would rather
convert whatever to pdf or epub and upload to the reader. Reading
wikipedia pages printed to pdf saved me plenty of grief, as opposed to
trying them in a (builtin) browser. I suspect elinks could look much
better, but trying this requires some free time (compiling/porting,
I don't do a lot of web browsing on the device, but when I do, it's
using firefox, not the vendor-provided browser. I'm all-in on the FF
ecosystem, have an FF account, all my systems have their browsers logged
into my FF account, I can send tabs between devices/desktops/laptops
easily, etc. I'm sure the same can be done with Chrome. Firefox on
Android also has a "Desktop site" slider that will re-render the page
like a desktop browser would instead of a mobile one. This is nice on
bigger screen Android devices.
That being said. The latest update to the firmware on this device has
added per-app E-ink refresh settings. So, for reading books in the
book-reader app, I have it set on one of the higher-quality, but slower
refresh modes. I read my books like books, page at a time, generally
little to no scrolling. This is harder to do when browsing the web, so,
I have Firefox set to the lower-quality but faster refresh mode. Yeah,
there is a little ghosting after the scrolling stops, but it's more like
the faint bleed-through you get when reading a newspaper.
As a side note, I have observed that some pdfs do not
render too well
on my reader - it seems that they make this software "too new" to be
solid & fast nowadays. Same pdfs converted to djvu read like a dream,
however. Having more than few supported book formats is nice.
I mostly only deal with epub, mobi, and PDF. The blurb on Amazon says
that it handles "PDF(reflowable), PPT, EPUB, TXT, DJVU, HTML, RTF, FB2,
DOC, MOBI, CHM..."
My reader also comes with BT, possibly meant to
connect headphones but
perhaps usable for BT keyboard. Might be a thing to try in a future
(or not), I mention it to let others know there may be such an option
in case they care about it (I really do not, but I do not make those
things so what can I do...).
Yup, this device has BT as well, since being an Android device, you can
listen to MP3s, or stream from Pandora/Spotify/etc. I've never set that
up on here, I have other devices that can already do that. The only
BT I've hooked up is a keyboard, and that was mostly for a bit of fun.
I installed an ssh-client on there and spent a few hours logged into
my Linux box reading email. I still kinda want a laptop with an e-ink
The other thing I use this device for is for hand-written notes and
sketches. Writing on the screen with the stylus feels a lot like
writing with a pencil on paper. I'm not an artist by any stretch, but
sometimes writing things out and using boxes, circles, helps sort things
out in my head, or sometimes I'll sketch things out while working on a
design I eventually want to 3d print. All stuff I'd historically done in
a paper notebook, but now I have similarly-sized electronic notepad
where I can erase mistakes, have layers to my drawings (like
photoshop/gimp/etc), zoom in/out, etc.
The notepad app is also linked to my DropBox account, so when I'm done
with whatever doodles/notes/sketches, I can then load them up on one
of my other systems as PDFs. I've even toyed with the idea of writing
letters out in long-hand in the notepad and then emailing the resulting
PDFs to people, since the practice of hand-written letters has gone by
the wayside, I thought this would be an entertaining way to bring that
If what you're looking for is an E-reader that can also do the
note-taking (Or a note-taking device that also functions as an
e-reader), and not really much else, I've heard good things about the
Remarkable tablets. One of the things they advertise is it being a
distraction-free device, no alerts from the socials medias, emails, etc,
since the device flat doesn't do those things. I've never used one, but
I've seen people at my $DAYJOB say they really like theirs.
I'm not saying this is the perfect device, or that it will fill the
needs of anyone else. It doesn't solve every need I have either, which
is why I have multiple devices (phone, this e-reader tablet, personal
laptop, work laptop, personal desktop, scattered Raspberry Pis, etc).