Join Date: Mar 2005
Sportbike: Multistrada 1100S; CBR600RR
Years Riding: Since 2004
How you found us: CRR
Ebook readers generally suck for PDFs, even the Kindle DX which was made just for that. Specifically for PDFs iPad is much better. Having said that, for regular books without many (color) illustrations, good eInk based ebook readers cannot be beat. Reading on a smartphone/ipad/notebook/netbook can't even compare. The main reason is that eInk displays don't have backlight and are much easier on the eyes than LED/LCD displays. They pretty much work like a regular paper... The other big plus is the battery life. 5000-8000 page turns is not unusual. You can read without recharging for a week or longer, depending on how much you read.
I've used Sony readers. The hardware is awesome, especially PRS-505. Thin, classy looking, solid, durable. The software sucks, though. It's slow (when opening a book the first time) and their software for syncing/managing books is a pain in the ass. Poor attempt at copying iTunes which is an abomination in itself. However, there are several open source/free solutions for that. It's not that big of a deal.
The other problem with Sony is that if you want to read books not in English, you need to reflash the reader with appropriate fonts. It's possible for Cyrillic/Russian, I'm not sure about any other languages.
Big plus of Sony is relative openness of formats. The native format was reverse engineered and there are converters for it from epub, fb2 and others. Sony supports epub natively as well now, which is great.
In short, I highly recommend their PRS-505 or comparable new models if you can deal with little software idiosyncrasies. I'm not so sure about the their touchscreen models, though, they seem to make the screens a bit blurry.
The other reader I've tried and absolutely loved is PocketBook 360. It's relatively expensive but the hardware/software is top notch. It's plastic, so not good as Sony's metal case, yet it's solid and definitely good enough. It's also compact and convenient to use. It supports a plethora of languages right out of the box, the UI is intuitive and you don't even need a software on your PC to sync it up - just connect to USB and it appears as a regular USB drive. Drag and drop files with books on to it and you are good to go. Awesome little device. When my almost 3 year old PRS-505 finally dies*, that's what I'm upgrading to.
* Note that my Sony it has been abused quite a lot, traveled with me all over, has seen hot sand on beaches, rain, dirt, survived several drops on concrete floors etc etc. It looks a bit ragged now but still works like a champ.
Thou shalt not disfigure the soul.