[EN] What’s the best device to read manga on-the-go? Is Kindle the definitive manga reader? Is Kindle better then tablets for manga reading purpose?

What’s the best device to read manga on-the-go?

I have searched the answer to this question for years, because I have always been an avid manga reader and collector, and the idea to read manga in digital format on-the-go has always thrilled me. I started in 2009-2010 modding two netbooks for this purpose (Asus eeePC 701, Samsung N145 Plus) and they worked quite well actually, bulkyness apart. The Samsung one had a ultra-nice 10′ screen that was able to display every kind of comics format (american, italian, french…), not just mangas, so I abused of it for months. They were both heavy of course (900 gr and 1.1 kg respectively), but their “book shape” made them somewhat comfortable to use (lot of space for your hands).

Believing that it was time to upgrade, I decided to go slimmer, and I tested a pair of tablets (Samsung Galaxy Tab 7′ in 2011 and Nexus 7 in 2012-2013, both first generation models): their screens were excellent for the manga reading purpose, but they used to weight just too much to be comfortable.

Yes, tablets are heavy, and not comfortable at all for reading. The whole experience was so frustrating that I didn’t use them more than 30 minutes for day, because my wrists were unable to handle that weight much more (beware the carpal syndrome!). Another problem with tablets is that they are not designed to be just readers, but to be multi-purpose devices of course, so I realized that I was spending more time setting the brightness of the screen and switching off the screen rotation / wifi everytime, than actually reading manga on them.

So I sold my Nexus 7 and I bought a Kindle 5th Generation (aka Kindle 5) for 79 € on Amazon.it.

I’m testing it since some weeks and it’s just fabolous! It’s so lightweight (170 gr vs Nexus 7′s 330 gr) that you can use it for a whole day and your wrists will not even notice it. For manga (and books of course) is a must-buy. The interface is minimalistic and you can start reading in a bunch of seconds, no fusses no worries.

There are more detailed reviews about this device online (like this), so I will not be wordy this time, just some quick pros and cons under a manga reader point of view :)

Device: Kindle 5 (September 2012)
Firmware: v 4.1.1

Pros:
- Lightweight! (170 gr)
- Long lasting battery (2 months!)
- Robust and durable
- Side buttons to turn pages
- Awesome e-ink screen
- It reads natively .CBZ and .ZIP files

People think they are cons, but they aren’t:
- Just 1.25 gigabyte of non-expandable memory available for the user (it’s quite enough to bring with you dozens of chapters of your favourite manga series)
- 6′ screen (if you cut the white space from manga scans, it’s just perfect for the purpose!)
- No backlight (I personally read on bed, in the station or on the train to work, so I don’t really need it – There is the Kindle Paperwhite for that if you really need it, but take in consideration that costs 50$ more and it’s also heavier)
- Ghosting, slow page turns (these problems are still present of course, because part of the e-ink technlogy, but personally I think that things are a LOT better than the first Kindle models, barely noticeable and not annoying at all)

Cons:
- You have to disable / enable full screen mode for every chapter you load, actual firmware doesn’t save this preference. It’s a bit annoying, so it would be awesome if Amazon could fix this in the future. More info here.
- You cannot set side buttons to go to the next or to the previous chapter / volume. That would be a great addition as well!
- You cannot view the name of the image you are displaying (ex. 001.jpg / 020.jpg), so there is now way to check at what “page” of the manga you are at the moment. Very annoying.

So, if you are searching for the definitive manga reading device, join the Kindle family and you will enjoy it! But if you need to read american comics, graphic novels and other big comics formats as well, than Kindle is not for you, the screen is just too small for everything bigger than a manga. Just wait or go for a 10′ tablet with a high resolution screen ;)

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10 risposte a [EN] What’s the best device to read manga on-the-go? Is Kindle the definitive manga reader? Is Kindle better then tablets for manga reading purpose?

  1. AcidWeb scrive:

    Hi,

    In your movie you using build-in image viewer. But Kindle already can read manga in MOBI format. You just need prepare file in proper way. It looks and works much better.

    Here you have tool do to it: http://kcc.vulturis.eu/

    • eldino scrive:

      @AcidWeb
      Thank you for your reply :) Yep, I know KCC and it’s a nice project, but it makes no sense to me since Kindles started reading .CBZ natively :) Too many clicks and manual work needed, and a huge waste of space on your hard drive as well, because for every manga you need to keep both CBZ (to read stuff on your computer/smartphone and as backup) and Mobi, totally nonsense :)

      My solution is faster and better ;)

      • AcidWeb scrive:

        No. Is not :-P Sorry. You will not convince me that CBZ > MOBI.

        First of all CBZ support is dead. Kindles not started reading CBZ – they stopping to do that. Starting from Kindle 3 every new generation have more simpler image viewer. K5 viewer is already working much worse than K3 one. Paperwhite one is not longer usable – It don’t even save on what page you stopped reading!

        Considering that now KF8 MOBI have manga mode it quite possible that next Kindle will not have CBZ support at all.

        Additionally ALL problems that you described in “Cons” are non-existent when using MOBI files.

        KCC can convert CBZ directly to MOBI format so i don’t see where you have “Too many clicks and manual work”. Yes – If CBZ file is too big you have two click more.

        Problems with space? Remove MOBI after uploading it on Kindle. You can re-create it quite fast.

        I will not even mention a fact that KCC doing much more than only remove white space from images. There are few additional tricks that improve image quality. And ofc – Panel View. Fast, reliable zoom if needed.

      • eldino scrive:

        @AcidWeb
        I don’t know about Kindle 3, I don’t have enough experience with Kindles to confirm or deny what you are telling :)
        But Kindle 5 image viewer works quite ok in my modest opinion :) Once DomDomSoft Manga Downloader has already
        the “trim whitespace + adjust” feature built-in, you just:

        1. double click to download the whole manga serie you want from the list;
        2. copy the resultant (and already optimized!) .CBZ to Kindle
        3. read

        Done :) I will post tomorrow a nice post about this method :)
        Using KCC instead you have to:

        1. download the manga in CBZ format;
        2. convert it to MOBI via KCC (some clicks involved);
        3. copy the MOBI files to Kindle
        4. read

        Until Kindles read .CBZ files (or .ZIP), Mangle-like software are no more fundamental like in the past :)
        The “Cons” part alone is not enough to make me spending my time converting stuff manually to Mobi as in Preistorik Ages :)
        Download, copy and read :)

        Note: don’t misunderstand me, I know your software since months and I respect your work on it :)

  2. AcidWeb scrive:

    OK. If you want decrease quality – Your choice :-)

    But before I leave I need straighten some facts.
    1. KCC support also bare directories. So you can use DomDom output without making CBZ.
    2. Yes. DomDom have some optimizations – but that is not all. KCC doing some things more.

    • eldino scrive:

      @AcidWeb
      1. Why would my method decrease quality? The only optimization I checked in DomDom is “Trim whitespaces” and “Height=800px”, as you can see in this picture: http://eldino.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/kindle5_manga_04.jpg :) I absolutely don’t see any quality problem, and I already read 4 Gb of stuff on it :)
      2. Directory and batch conversion support apart, using DomDom + KCC means in every case one step more to obtain the same result, and after 10 hours in the office working hard, trust me, you don’t really want to waste time, but you just want to select a manga, download it, read and have some relax on the bed before sleeping ;)
      3. “More” like what?

      In the tutorial that will appear in some hours, yep, I wrote what kindle/firmware I’m using :)
      If I will ever upgrade to the Kindle Paperwhite, probably I will switch to KCC, but for the moment (and for the price) Kindle 5 makes me happy :)

      • AcidWeb scrive:

        1. DomDom don’t decrease quality – I’m just saying that it might be higher.
        2. I will not comment time needed to prepare MOBI as I have fully automated system. I just enable WIFI on my Kindle Keyboard and new chapters are automatically converted and uploaded on Kindle. :->
        3. Mostly messing with color palettes and gamma correction to make it look better on e-ink display.

      • eldino scrive:

        @AcidWeb
        Ah ok :)

  3. AcidWeb scrive:

    And if you will be making a post about your method – please don’t remember to write it don’t work on Paperwhite. Let’s don’t confuse people :-)

  4. […] I wrote here, I recently bought a Kindle 5 mostly to read manga on it (and some literature books of course, but […]

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