E-reader Fever

Never have I had as much reading to do as in the first two weeks of my grad school career. Research papers, research papers everywhere!!!

Well, not physical copies, per se, but PDFs. Which brings me to my point – all week, I’ve been pondering the impending release of several promising 13-ish-inch ereaders (one from Onyx, one from Good e-Reader).

The tech nerd / book geek in me (er, that’s all of me…) is shouting “hoorah!” at just the thought of these devices breaking onto the market soon,but the practical side of me wonders whether their arrival will attract even a small portion of the potential iPad Pro / Surface Pro crowd.

Part of the beauty of tablets is that they provide all the desired bells and whistles of document annotation (highlighting, commenting) and handwriting while retaining the benefits of a traditional laptop –  most especially the ability to quickly switch between applications. Whereas on a tablet I can rapidly stick a PDF in my Google Drive or send it off to a colleague via email, I don’t speculate I could do the same on a 13 inch e-reader (thanks, e-ink low refresh rate).

On the other hand, those of us who plan to read 100+ pages of PDF material per week might appreciate staring at a more, well, paper-like device. As Lifehacker noted awhile back, eyestrain for e-ink vs. LCDs is still debated, scientifically. Personally, having spoken with friends about the issue, eye fatigue seems all too real (though there are plenty of other factors in play, like glare, checking email an obsessive amount of times per day, or coding until the early hours of the morning).

Until these giant devices debut, it seems none of us will know whether we really do need the equivalent of an iPod for research papers. But when they do, I’ll likely find a bunch of product reviews and geek out over them too. Yay technology.

And so approaches week 3 of grad school. Happy Friday, all.

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