Sunday, 21 September 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Morning Coffee – 22 September 2014

Posted: 21 Sep 2014 08:04 PM PDT

The reading list is short this morning, and it leans heavily towards responses to Authors United.

The post The Morning Coffee – 22 September 2014 appeared first on The Digital Reader.

First Impressions: The Pocketbook 640 Ultra is a Prime Candidate for Worst eReader of 2014

Posted: 21 Sep 2014 02:34 PM PDT

620_pocketbook-ultra[1]When the Pocketbook Ultra leaked earlier this year I was thrilled to  see a device maker exploring the idea of combining an ereader with an E-ink screen with a camera which could convert images  to text. Finally, I thought, there was a ereader which could not only add notes to a file but create them from scratch – just like a tablet or smartphone.

Alas, the actual device does not come even close to meeting the expectations engendered by its price tag, nor is it capable of fulfilling all of the features listed on the product page. I’ve only had mine out of the box for a couple days now, and I deeply regret spending so much on a device that can do so little.

So what’s wrong with it?

To start, there’s the screen and frontlight. If you look at the product page you’ll see that the Pocketbook Ultra has a Carta E-ink screen with a capacitive touchscreen and frontlight.

That sounds nice, but what the product page won’t tell you is that the screen is noticeably more gray than the Carta E-ink screen on the 2013 Kindle Paperwhite. And to give you an idea of just how bad this screen is, I can also tell you that it is grayer than the 6.8″ Pearl E-ink screen on my Kobo Aura HD.

I’m not sure it’s visible in the image, but it is obvious to the naked eye. What’s more, I am not the only one to think so. I was warned about the screen, among other issues, by Chalid of (He helped me buy it after trying to talk me out of the purchase.)

pocketbook ultra 640 screen 3

It truly is bad, and that’s not the only issue. The frontlight is also a fail. it’s noticeably dimmer and fuzzier than the frontlight on either the KPW2 or the Aura HD. The consistency of the light is also noticeably uneven when compared to the white frontlights on the older ereaders.

Folks, I paid $240 for this device, and it has a screen which comes in a distant second to the screen on a $120 ereader released last year. This is simply not acceptable.

pocketbook ultra 640 frontlight 2

And then there is the software. I can’t cover all of the issues without turning this into a multi-thousand word post, so I will merely discuss the single biggest deficiency.

The Pocketbook Ultra’s most vaunted feature, its ability to take an image of text and convert it to actual text, simply does not work. Oh, it has a 5MP camera with flash, and it can take a passable image. But it cannot actually convert that image to a text file.

Here is are a couple images I took with the Pocketbook Ultra. They’re not great but if you zoom in they are legible. (If I had used the Flash they would have been somewhat more legible, but the reflection of the Flash would have been caught in the image.)

two one

And here is the what I got out when I converted similar images  to text:

-, I cud :.'.’-:.- uh «\ pl –lurm.Uu|h’uni-'-.
?u–n;h -.’.a 0| 2| n Izuu Mutlnd hum

72- imnhlll .l|- mu .0-1″-un||?|'|\ v r–ugh!
4' 7- in I'. Ir n .' .\u-v, uh! ?nk luv" 'Id Lu
~ ' kw! ~-un:u- -n'm,.' '. 'Id!–Iht
' W14! — v-'I .n -‘- .*grJ'y [uh . an as

y’?|PI’I u’- -r-.- 611- my sins: MI' um!

, 7 N ' az?buul cI:l”;?-
J. I Lhgudnul hid 'I|ll”|lIM'b§ . . _

I swear to Cthulhu that is what the Ultra gave me when I was done.

Folks, I am only beginning my review of the Pocketbook Ultra, and I can tell you that the hardware design, screen quality, and software features all disappoint, leading this blogger to nominate the Pocketbook Ultra 640 for the title of Worst New ebook reader of the year.

I strongly urge you to buy something else. This ereader might be priced higher than its premium-priced competitors, but it does not even come close to matching their quality or abilities.

The post First Impressions: The Pocketbook 640 Ultra is a Prime Candidate for Worst eReader of 2014 appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Kindle Voyage Back-Ordered, Now Ships on 21 November

Posted: 21 Sep 2014 09:37 AM PDT

Kindle-VoyageWhen I first reported the launch of the Kindle Voyage last week I said that the $199 price tag was more than I was willing to pay for a 6″ ebook reader, sight unseen, but now it would seem I am in the minority.

A quick check of the Kindle Voyage page on Amazon this morning has revealed that several of the Kindle Voyage models have been delayed as late as the second week of December. While the 3G+ads model is still scheduled to ship in October, the other three options have been pushed back at least a month (there’s also a quota of two per customer).

It’s only been 4 days since Amazon since Amazon launched this ereader, which was originally scheduled to ship on 21 October. But thanks to either short supply or high demand, Amazon has pushed back the ship date on new orders of the $199 Wifi+ads model to 21 November, and they have also bumped the ship date for the ad-free models (both 3G and Wifi) all the way back to 7 December.

Amazon says at 7.6 mm thick, the new Voyage is their thinnest ereader yet. It sports a 300dpi screen, page turn buttons, and 4GB internal storage.

kindle fire hd 6 7 2014It’s not clear just how many Kindle Voyages Amazon has sold, but we do know that the new tablets aren’t similarly blessed with a demand that exceeds supply. Both the new 6″ and 7″ Kindle Fire HD tablets are still scheduled to ship either on 2 October (black) or 16 October Citron, Magenta,White, or Cobalt). And of coursethe updated Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is still scheduled to ship on 21 October.

Similarly, the new basic Kindle is still on for 2 October. That model is more of a revived Kindle Touch (minus the audio) than a new edition of the old basic Kindle, and with its launch Amazon reduced their development costs considerably.  Now they can maintain one version of the Kindle OS, and customize it for 3 screen resolutions, instead of supporting different versions of the OS which ran on disticly different hardware.

So did you order a Kindle Voyage?

The post Kindle Voyage Back-Ordered, Now Ships on 21 November appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Pocketboook InkPad 840 Delayed Until the End of September (At Least)

Posted: 20 Sep 2014 10:52 PM PDT

pocketbook 840 inkpad handsonPocketbook’s new 8″ ebook reader was expected to ship earlier this week in Europe, but sadly it has experienced another delay. reported that the InkPad, which was scheduled to ship out on Monday, has been delayed for at least a couple weeks.

The InkPad has drawn a lot of attention since it was announced earlier this year. With an 8″ E-ink display and a screen resolution of 1,600 x 1,200, the InkPad sports a screen that is larger than and nearly as sharp as the screen on the  T68 Lynx or the Aura HD.

Alas, early reports tell us that it’s not nearly as well built as either of those ereaders. Initially released in Russia in August, was the subject of a lot of criticism from early buyers. There were numerous complaints on its build quality, screen, software, and well, pretty much everything except the cardboard box.

Several owners noted that the shell literally fell apart, and that the screen looked looked grayer and had worse contrast than Vizplex, E-ink’s second gen screen tech (which was initially released in 2008).

662-thickbox_default[1]The vast number of unhappy customers in Russia led Pocketbook to delay the European launch until mid-September, and now it has been delayed yet again.

And that includes my review unit, darnit. I pre-ordered my unit earlier this month from Pocketbook’s official website in France, hoping that it would be shipped this week. Clearly that was too optimistic.

At this point we still don’t know for sure when the InkPad will ship or if it will be up to snuff. And that’s a shame, because the 8″ ereader category has been a ghost town for several years now. A couple 8″ ereader models were released in 2012, but they weren’t on the market all that long. And while Bookeen has been planning to release an 8″ model called the Ocean, they had originally intended to release it last year (and it’s still not out).

Until I know more about the actual status of the InkPad, here is a hands on video which teases us with visions of a device which I may never get to put my hands on:

The post Pocketboook InkPad 840 Delayed Until the End of September (At Least) appeared first on The Digital Reader.

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