Which E-Book Reader is most natural at highlighting books and documents?
November 30, 2009 2:37 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for the best E-Book Reader that will easily highlight the text. I'm in grad school and am an inveterate highlighter. I can't seem to find a review discussing which reader is best at this feature - Amazon Kindle, Sony Daily, or B&N nook?
posted by roundrock to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I keep reading really nice things about the Sony's highlighting. For the few that have gotten their hands on a nook, apparently it is slick for highlighting too but only on books you buy/get fro B&N.
posted by bearwife at 3:05 PM on November 30, 2009

I can't speak to the Nook or the Sony, but I hate hate HATE the way that highlighting works on the Kindle. If you want something that's good to highlight and take notes on, the Kindle isn't even close.
posted by jacobian at 3:18 PM on November 30, 2009

I don't mind the way the kindle highlights stuff, but add that on the kindle DX, in native PDFs, you can't highlight at all.
posted by nomisxid at 3:19 PM on November 30, 2009

I hear the iLiad was apparently designed for markup & notes, but their technology might have fallen behind Sony by now.

I'm not so sure you'll get your books on either kindle or nook. Graduate level texts are often only available electronically via pirate sites like gigapedia and gigle.ws. So you care about reading scanned pdfs and djvu files. So I research who has the best pdf support and has a good djvu reader too. I'd bet the Amazon and B&N readers will fail this test.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:21 PM on November 30, 2009 [4 favorites]

I imagine that you'll care abut native pdfs for numerous other reasons, like course notes, journal articles, etc. even if your disciplines graduate text are generally available from Amazon or B&N
posted by jeffburdges at 3:29 PM on November 30, 2009

I am looking at getting the Sony eReader touch screen thingy (PRS600, or perhaps the coming out in Dec PRS900-BR) because not only does it do highlighting, but you can take notes freehand on it, which neither the Nook nor the Kindle can do. Plus, the Kindle doesn't do pdfs natively, Sony and the Nook do, but the Sony also uses word document formats (doc, rtf, etc).
posted by katers890 at 3:38 PM on November 30, 2009

The Illiad (and its successor the DRS Reader) both do pdfs really well and because they have wacom support built in, do markup relatively well of pdfs (you more underline than highlight) and you can export those markups.

Both are expensive compared to other things on offer and what will come out in the future; and aren't what I would say are completely finished products. Given the price of its products, Irex's technical and customer support, and its list of features "to be implemented" leave much to be desired.

see the forums at mobileread.com for more info on all readers.
posted by stratastar at 4:35 PM on November 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

I played with the Sony touch eReader the other day in a sony experience kiosk in Natick, MA. I ended up buying the Sony Pocket Reader (prs-300). I found the Touch was a bit shoddy at fingertip recognition, and while it comes with a stylus... it seems insane to use technology from the mid-90s to use a next gen device.

Wait for the Nook, and then go to the store and see what you think. Worth the drive to find out if its a true love-match.
posted by Draccy at 5:22 PM on November 30, 2009

I'm a fairly obsessive gadget guy, so I've played with all three Kindles and three of the Sony readers (PRS-500/700/600). Neither I nor anyone I really trust has actually played with a Nook hands-on yet. The problem is that all of the readers have some negatives in terms of your stated objectives. Most graduate level texts will be available as PDFs (if at all), so the device support for PDFs is the most critical feature. The Kindle DX is the best in that regard because its larger screen resolution allows display of the full page in native layout without zooming and scrolling. Contrary to what katers890 said the DX and now the Kindle 2 support PDF reading natively. The Kindle 2 just added that feature within the past few weeks. The Sony 700 is the next best reader because it allows a much smoother zoom function (the Kindle 2 handles big pages awkwardly, in my opinion), but it is a big step down from the DX which can typically display the full page without any zoom at all.

However, in terms of the feature you asked for first, highlighting is much easier and simpler on the Sony, due to its easy to use touch screen functionality. Highlighting on the original Kindle was quite poor, due to the awkward controls, but the Kindle 2 and DX are decent enough owing to the new joystick controller, but a bit slower and less intuitive than the Sony. Having said that, I find the Sony touchscreen to be a bit kludgy and I ultimately didn't buy one (whereas I've bought three Kindles).

It appears that the Nook will be similar to the Sony -- it has a touchscreen, so highlighting should be easier than the Kindle, but it has a smaller screen size so it will be less capable at displaying complex page layouts than the DX. The Kindle DX also has a longer battery life than the Nook or the Sony. Of course, the DX is also $200 more.
posted by Lame_username at 10:32 AM on December 1, 2009

I've been testing the Kindle DX for school for the past semester, and I am seriously not impressed with the highlight feature. Yes, you can highlight. But it doesn't help you study and the way the highlights are made available to you are worse than useless--it saves the "locations" of the highlights to a text file that you have to access on your computer to edit or review. And if you're using a PDF, you can't use the highlight function anyway.

I will consider buying the DX at the end of the semester IF AND ONLY IF it's cheaper than any other option currently available on the market (I use it for work more than anything, for which it's fine since I don't care about highlighting). But that would mean at least a 50% discount, so I'll probably be going with the Sony Touch. I haven't played with the Daily or the Nook so I can't offer any words of wisdom there. The fact that you can write freehand notes on the Touch almost sells itself.

I'd really like to hold out for the second generation of whatever e-reader Apple's going to come up with, but I've got a taste of e-ink now and I want more.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 2:45 PM on December 1, 2009

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