By Chris Scott Barr
Every time I see a new ebook reader, I think that they’re maybe two steps away from being ready for me to buy. I love the concept of being able to read books, comics or anything from just a little pad. If you’ve ever tried to read a book that contains the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, you’ll understand why I want an e-reader. Well the latest one from Irex is another step in the right direction.
The new Irex DR800SD e-reader has an 8.1-inch display, making it one of the larger readers on the market. Unlike the Kindle family, the screen takes up almost the entire face of the device, making it a much sleeker design. Since there are no buttons on the front, they’ve opted for a touch screen. Don’t get too excited here, unlike Sony’s latest reader it isn’t a capacitive screen. You’re still going to need a stylus to work it. They chose this route because the current capacitive screens actually make the text less readable due to the extra layer of glass that needs to be used.
Other notable features include free 3G service from Verizon for downloading e-books and periodicals, an SD card slot (2GB card is included) and a user-replaceable battery. As for document support, it currently works with Adobe PDF, EPUB, Newspaper Direct, Fictionwise, eReader and TXT. They’ve also partnered with Barnes & Noble and NewspaperDirect for content.
The biggest issue I have with the Irex is the price. $399 is still a lot of money to pay for a device that lets you read books. Sure, when you stack it up against the competition, the price seems rather reasonable for what you’re getting. I’m more suggesting that the prices for e-readers in general still need to come down before they really become mainstream. Look for it to hit stores at the end of October.