Showing posts with label larger e-reader. Show all posts
Showing posts with label larger e-reader. Show all posts

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Icarus Illumina XL HD released

Icarus released a re-vamped Boyue T-80 - the Illumina XL HD - with an E-Ink Carta screen and 300 dpi (I reviewed the previous generation here). The RAM and storage are also upgraded to 1 GB and 16 GB. With the expanded storage - the largest I've seen on an e-reader - there is the removal of the SD Card slot.  It is not clear if the front-light has been improved or, more importantly, if Boyue revamped its poor stock firmware. I expect Midia to similarly update the inkBOOK 8 with the same upgraded T-80 device.

The release of the Kobo Aura One likely led to Onyx and Boyue to re-think their hardware strategy, as many third party vendors that order large batches of their e-readers will find it difficult to sell re-branded Boyue and Onyx e-readers that come with out-dated E-Ink screens (Onyx recently updated their 9.7 inch e-readers with the Onyx Boox e-Note 10.3 - a device that comes with a 227 dpi E-Ink Carta screen). It makes little sense, for third-party vendors, to release another underwhelming device with an E-Ink Pearl display and a similar dpi to the entry-level Kindle and still price the device similar to the Aura One. On paper the updated T-80's hardware is superior to the Aura One but I would still choose Kobo, with its quality high contrast screens and better after-sale support.

Monday, 5 September 2016

What is the right e-reader size for PDF files?

The release of the 7.8 inch Kobo Aura One raises the question on what makes the right size to read PDF files. The answer depends on use-case scenarios. For example, many humanities books come in an A5 size and the 8 inch form factor is ideal for these books. On the other hand, science books and complicated PDF files, with a two column layout, require closer to 10 inches to be comfortably read. Similarly complex magazine pages are better suited to larger colour tablets.

Personally, I find the eight to nine inch e-reader to be the right size. At this size there is the right compromise between size for comfortable reading and portability. It is not too small, e.g. six to seven inches, but not too big for one-handed reading. The portability and convenience of a smaller form factor makes a big difference for long reading sessions, especially outdoors or in tight spaces on public transport.  I prefer to read in portrait but can switch to landscape, if half a book page is viewable and text size is legible. With six inch e-readers the landscape view often gives you snippets or small text and it is easier to lose your place within a larger book.

Another important factor to consider, especially with the eight inch e-reader, is the right software to optimise reading with an eight inch screen. With KOReader, for example, it is possible to set reading to scroll mode and alter PDF page margins. Accordingly, many PDF files can be comfortably viewed and navigated, considering the restrictions of a smaller eight inch screen, in portrait mode.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Kobo Aura One details & why Amazon may not respond with a larger e-reader

The Kobo Aura One's details are leaked and it confirms a 7.8 inch e-reader. The Aura One is an e-reader with premium specifications - it comes with water proofing, 512 MB RAM, 8GB internal storage and a 300 ppi E-Ink Carta front-lit display. Importantly, the listing states the price at 229 Euros - in comparison the six inch Kindle Oasis is priced at 290 Euros. I don't think Amazon will respond with a larger e-reader. Amazon didn't respond when Kobo released the 6.8 inch Kobo Aura HD in 2013. For Amazon, size doesn't seem an issue and its near complete dominance of the e-book market means it can set its own agenda. At the moment, it aims to gradually improve the range of six inch e-readers, offering choice at that size, but there is no indication it is interested in offering a larger e-reader. However, I could be wrong.

On the other hand, it is the niche vendors that might need to revise their devices and pricing. Since the near uniformity of the six inch e-reader, alternative vendors set-out to meet the demand for larger e-readers. Overall, the quality of these devices are sub-standard, with out-dated hardware and often poor software. Further, as larger vendors neglected the larger e-reader, the price of these devices are inflated. Eight inch e-readers (e.g. Icarus Illumina XL, Pocketbook Inkpad 2 and Onyx Boox i86) retail at a similar price to the Kobo Aura One but with inferior hardware and software (PDF support is poor on Kobo e-readers but there is the option to install KOReader). Unless Amazon releases a larger e-reader or alternative vendors seriously re-consider their offerings then Kobo Aura One is the stand-out and only serious option, at the moment, if Android is a non-issue for the end-user.