Someone asked me on Twitter yesterday if a Sony Reader PRS-300 would be good for reading books that have been purchased in the PDF format.
Given its slow processor, I can’t imagine it being a good experience. And using text reflow would make it an aesthetically tormenting experience.
I haven’t bought an iPhone. With the word of AT&T’s bad service, I’ve held off — and now there are rumors of it being liberated from AT&T and perhaps landing at Verizon in January, so I’m holding off. I don’t want to lock myself into a two-year contract with rotten cell service.
I’d hoped to get one of the new iPod Touch models, but Apple disappointed me by not including the camera I wanted in it.
All this is preface to explaining that I thought an iPod would be a better reading experience for PDFs than a Sony Reader PRS-300. But I needed to see this for myself, so I stopped at the Apple Store in SOHO this morning to do some tests.
All PDF display is done via Safari. I’m unsure if this requires a persistent wireless connection, however.
That’s Black Silk. In portrait mode, the text was too small for me. Tapped-in and in landscape mode, the text was crisp and readable.
His short story, Least, at this post.
Again, portrait text was too small. But even landscape was too small for me. Zooming in gave me a comfortable size (ie, book-size text) but would require scrolling side-to-side. Cliff could easily fix all that, however.
That’s Success: A Novel.
Google Books PDF was a real pain to use. First, it seemed to require a persistent connection and even at that early hour, the WiFi at the Apple Store was laggy. Second, even with the iPhone 3GS’ powerful CPU, there were delays in moving from page to page. On top of all that, the text was too blurry to be enjoyable. I held up the iPhone screen to the screen of a MacBook right next to it. Weirdly, the Google PDF wasn’t easy to look at on the MacBook screen, either — I was seeing the pixel grid of the screen!
All of this did teach me one important thing, however: Apple really, really needs to do a tablet with at least a 6-inch screen. And, ideally, bundle a PDF reader with it. I think the higher pixel density of such a screen would make it an incredible eBook and PDF reading device. It would top everything out there.