5 Replies Latest reply on Apr 4, 2016 2:50 PM by roustabout
      • Re: Best Android E Ink eBook Readers?

        I'm thinking Kindle Paperwhite...

          • Re: Best Android E Ink eBook Readers?

            Did you read the article?  It's about e-ink devices that work more like tablets than readers.  It's a subject I'm following because I have books with Nook, Kindle, Kobo, and a few random ones.  I would like an e-ink device that I could read all of my ebooks on, but the way things are now, I have to use a tablet.  My Kindle Paperwhite is my preferred reading device now, but I have hundreds of Nook books and a handful of Kobo books.  I also get free books sometimes through Google Play and Book Shout, but they require yet more apps.  Right now, my Nook HD has SIX reading apps on it in addition to the Nook app.  They take up a lot of space, so I don't have much internal storage for downloaded books.  It's also really hard to read on the LED screen.  (I had the same issue with the Nook HD.)  I always have to use my reading glasses for my Galaxy Tab Nook, but I can often read my Paperwhite without them. 


            I really, really want an e-ink device that will let me read any ebook obtained from anywhere.

              • Re: Best Android E Ink eBook Readers?

                I just ordered an Onyx Boox t68.  I'll post my impressions once it arrives.


                I wanted to want the h2o, but I have no way to add magazines easily to it, so I couldn't quite bring myself to get it.


                I found the onyx costs about 200.00 ordered from the manufacturer.  it has a 6.8" screen, a light, an SD card slot, and physical buttons.  it has a big wheel on the front bezel that I don't like, but other than that it seems to have all of the features I want, unlike any of the competition.

                  • Re: Best Android E Ink eBook Readers?

                    So, I received the "Onyx Boox T68" via UPS in about 6 days - not bad at all, given that it shipped from Poland.


                    It did not do what I'd hoped it would, remotely.  It's a nice device, though, nice enough that now that I have a way to recover it and reflash it, I'm getting tempted to take a run at just blowing the Nook Touch firmware onto it, and restoring if need be.


                    So, the good, the bad, good first:


                    The display is almost 7 inches, and very crisp.  I can read much, much smaller fonts on it than I could on the NST/NSTG devices, so I'm turning pages less often.  The case material is soft enough to be grippy, but not soft enough to be sticky.  The light illuminates the display very evenly - much better than the old NSTG and better than the current NST.  The device has a microsd card slot and a lot of buttons.  The  screen is touch sensitive (not stylus driven) and reasonably responsive.


                    There are two alternate firmware stacks available - one from a German outfit, I think called the e-readerstore.de, and one from Artatech, the Polish vendor who sells the device.  The support from the folks at e-readerstore is pretty awesome, they release firmware updates regularly and have a useful tool for reformatting the device and installing an OS, which lets you convert from the Artatech to the Ereader store version and back again.  The device is flexible enough that you can use the boot.img from the German branch with the rest of the software from Artatech, which gives a notable improvement in graphics speed to the Artatech software.  The Artatech stuff feels faster to execute commands than the E-reader stack does, although the e-readerstore.de software looks nicer.


                    The play store is a live option.  You can install anything you like, including the Nook app and Kindle app.  I wanted this, because I wanted an e-ink device I could have my magazine subscriptions on, which had a better display than the Nook e-ink devices do, physical buttons, and expandable storage.


                    The device is easy to root and easy to recover.  The device has bluetooth and a headphone jack.  I have not tried either but I think the BT probably works or the Mobileread people would be up in arms.


                    The bad:


                    The nook app in the play store is the one intended for tablets.  It's not a good app for reading magazines on a fast color tablet.  It's a disastrous app for reading magazines on e-ink.  Simply and utterly unusable.


                    The epub software on the device is okay at level best.  There are several choices - at least two, perhaps three, variants of the Onyx reader, and fbreader code is used extensively in those, and it's listed as one of the choices as an epub reader.


                    Unfortunately, that means that installing the full featured fbreader is not possible.  The variant on the device is gimped, and missing some navigation features that the real one has.


                    Once you're actually reading a book, yes, it's a very nice reader.  But getting there!  I started off by loading the device with what I thought was a small selection of books - fewer than 100.  Using a USB cable it looked as if it would take as much as 45 minutes.  I stopped that and installed Calibre Companion, and that took about 20 minutes to load those files.


                    Once they're on the device, the only decent book browser is Calibre Companion.


                    The onboard library takes ages to build an index and does not show all of your titles, or at least did not for me.  Perhaps there's a database I could dig out and reset?  CC did OK.


                    I wound up installing the ReLaunch launcher that one of the XDA folks put together for the NST and Sony readers.  It's a launcher intended to be used on e-ink devices, and it's very, very good on this device.  (not the Relaunch that's in the Play store - this one's only available on Github.)  It warns you about the device not being one of the preferred devices, but then it goes ahead and works quite well.


                    The backlight does not dim sufficiently for lights-out use.  In a completely dark room, it's too bright;  last night I went through about 8 different screen filter apps looking for one that would do what I wanted.  Unfortunately, at low light levels, the screen filters make everything more monochrome than simply dimming the onboard light could do, in principle.


                    There are many, many buttons on the device - but none of them are Home buttons by default!


                    There is a major white-on-white-is-invisible issue with fonts on the system.


                    The readers do not remember which fonts or margins you used in one book and apply that to the next thing you open by default.  It's not clear to me that the readers always remember that setting for the same book!


                    Some readers let you adjust margins, some let you adjust line spacing, I don't think any let you adjust both.


                    All that said:  all the e-ink readers I've used have been frustrating to navigate the library in.


                    This one is much worse than most, but with Relaunch installed as the home app, I'm able to find my stuff reasonably well.  If I could get my mitts on a Kobo H2O to demo, I'd be interested to see it.


                    But, as I say, I'm also going to take a run at using the format and install tool to get NSTG firmware on this device, with some mix-and-match of drivers and hardware libraries.

                      • Re: Best Android E Ink eBook Readers?

                        I dusted off the T68 recently, and discovered that there was an update to the firmware available.. 


                        Once I finally got over trying to use it for anything but ebooks, it's actually pretty good as a reader.


                        I still don't like the onboard reader choices, or the fact that the fbreader integration is so deep that normal fbreader cannot be installed or updated.


                        I am finding that Moon+ works very well on this device - it's the fastest at getting a page turned of all the apps I've tried on this device.  It also does much better at font and margin consistency.


                        The T68 has a headphone jack, which is very nice.  Installing Bubble let me access my music library at the house while reading, and copy files I want to listen to to store on the device, so I don't need to have wifi going.


                        My unhappiness with the lack of home button, I realize in retrospect, was actually a complaint about the ergonomics of waking the device.  The only button that will wake it is flush with the lower bezel, and super annoying to find much of the time.


                        But, I found a nice workaround, a homemade inverse smart cover.  I read that the Lynxes have the capacity to have smart covers, covers that wake them when opened, by means of moving a magnet away from the device.  The problem for me with this arrangement is that the appeal of the device is that it's so lightweight, and can do without a cover when in use.  I have a folio cover to put it into, but didn't see a reason to keep it in there all the time.


                        Over on mobilereads, someone posted enough of a teardown that I was able to make some guesses about where the magnetic sensor should be, and found it in the thick lowest bezel, a bit in from the level of the power button and a bit below the Dpad.  I was able to get sleep/wake triggering by opening the folio once I attached magnets, but needed to keep the device in the case.


                        Over the weekend, I opened the cover, put it all the way behind the device while I read - and the little guy went to sleep a couple of times.


                        D'oh - the magnets can work from under the device to put it to sleep, too.  By the end of the day Saturday, I'd glued magnets to the case below where I rest the device.  When I put it in the case, it sleeps.  When I take it out, it wakes.  If I want to use it in the case, I can rotate it 180 degrees and read with it in the case, too.


                        The improvement in battery life with the firmware update, combined with the ease of waking it in to use, have made me much happier with it, as has uninstalling tablet apps like the RSS reader - things that really do need a better display to work at all well.


                        It would be nice if magazine subscriptions worked automatically on it.  The problem is that for those to work, I would need a copy of the Kindle or Nook apps on the device, but these apps do not know if you are using a color or an eink screen.  So they download the bloated color versions of magazines, and the screen refresh rates are abysmal.


                        Net result, BN doesn't have an updated credit card for me and is no longer getting that revenue stream from my account.  If I decide to buy books from them in the future, I'll need to get them a current credit card.  But for now, the standalone Nook app isn't interesting enough to keep me reading magazines using it (and the magazines I was reading are very hard to read on tablets.  I really dislike the formatting for tablets;  the fonts are painfully tiny, even in the slightly zoomed in views.)