I used to own a tablet PC (Toshiba 3505). About 75% of why I bought it was to read graphic novels I had downloaded, the other purpose to replace all of my notebooks while in school. There is a very active community of comic book scanners out there because there are a lot of reasons to download comics, many of which parallel the reasons people download mp3’s, both legally and illegally. For me, it was all about being able to read things not available in America (Marvel/Miracle-man and many Japanese works) and allowing me to read most of what I was interested in without breaking my meager student budget. It was the best of times.
Then someone broke into my home and stole this all away. But that’s a topic for a different post…
Obviously a Tablet PC is overkill for just viewing image files. So that’s why I am desperate for a device dedicated to reading the 13GB-and-growing of comics I have downloaded. Unlike many other people, I have no problem with reading comics or books on my computer screen (in fact the #1 argument against this is usually something about reading on screens being hard, but these same people spend hours on websites…big disconnect there). However, I don’t like having to sit at my desk to do it.
With so many comics being scanned and traded online, I’m not the only one either. You can find podcasts, blog posts and many forums with very active discussions on what device currently available is best for this. So far I have discovered many different types of devices and tested some myself for this purpose:
- PMP’s (like the Archos AV700 and 604)
- the Sony PSP
- ‘slate’ Tablet PC’s (as opposed to the convertible notebooks)
- UMPC’s (including Sony’s UX series and the Samsung Q1b)
- Portable DVD players (the tablet-style ones)
- Digital photo frames
- Sony eBook Reader (PR500)
- …and pretty much anything else with an LCD that has an image viewer
The conclusion after my initial testing was that many devices had either screens that were too small, were way too expensive, had too low of a resolution, or loaded images very slowly. In the case of the new Sony Reader, some are reading manga with it but with mixed results. Plus it’s only b&w.
The device pictured above is called the Pepper Pad 3. Although I am having trouble finding people who’ve read comics on it successfully it *almost* meets my criteria, as outlined below (price is a tad high).
Some people have started creating their wishlists for a dream product to fulfill this need, myself included, however mine is more modest as to keep prices low, ideally in the realm of iPod prices. Here is what I’m seeking in a dedicated comic reading gadget:
- Screen size of at least 7″
- Resolution of at least 800 horizontal
- Ability to load, pan and cycle through images relatively quickly
- Capability to install a comic reading app like CDisplay a BIG plus
- Priced $350 or below
If you can think of a device that satisfies even most of the above criteria, I’d love to hear about it. So far it’s between the Pepper Pad 3 (really have to save for a while and verify I can read comics on it) and a used Tablet PC from eBay. Hell, if you know someone who’s looking to unload a Tablet PC of their own for a fair price, lemme know.
BTW-I created that image above so if you re-use it please give appropriate credit since it took me half an hour.