I realised that given that I’m in the UK at the moment, I have the access to everything that’s avaliable on eBay UK. I figured that my Psion 5mx got damaged recently and I need a replacement unit for (only) reading ebooks. I’m not that interested in PDA features and I expect I’ll get a Sharp C3000 at some point. However the C3000 doesn’t seem like a good ebook reader. They is no native Linux readers for any of the common commerical ebook formats.
The main features I’ve been considering are:
* Battery Life
* SD or CF expansion port
* Min 320×320 screen
* Ability to be powered by the common AA or AAA batteries
Battery life is important, as I would hate for my reading device to be tied a charging station. I like to be able to pull out the book in whatever odd situation I’m in and being able to use AA batteries makes this easy.
My P800 mobile phone has a 208×320 screen. Using Mobipocket I find this resolution much too small. The Psion with a screen size of 640×240 is very easy to read. Although the form factor is sometimes I little difficult to hold with one hand.
Being able to use either SD or CF expansion cards is vital as reload
After a little research I figured the ebookman looked like the optimal option. However, production of this has stopped, new units are around 150GBP and its difficult to find them on eBay.
After a little research I discovered this thread about Tungsten E battery life and a post by Robert L. Smith, Jr. were he built a PDA charger with a AA Battery Holder . This opens up a whole new set of PDA based eBook reader options.
Even though the new Palms don’t have removable batteries, then seem to have the best general software support. This post suggested a very clever idea. The Palm Tungsten W (1500 mAh) design as a mobile phone has a very large battery. If you turn off the phone features and use it purely as a Palm with a 320×320 screen it gives you a very good base platform. The Palm Tungsten C (1500 mAh) also has had good battery life reports.
Of course the final decision is a balance of avaliablilty on eBay, cost and the specs. The best options now seem to be:
* Palm Zire 71/72
* Palm Tungsten W
* Palm Tungsten C
* Palm Tungsten T3 or T5 – huge 480×320 sized screen
* Palm Tungsten E – Seems to be a popular option for this situation.
* Sony TH55 – battery life reports are good, but it is now EOL and only takes Sony’s MS cards.
One last option is the eBookwise 1150 a rebranded Rocket eBook reader. Unfortunately only avaliable in the USA.