View Full Version : My Entourage Edge Review


Nate the great
04-14-2010, 06:33 PM
I'm in the middle of writing a review of the Edge, and I wanted to take a moment and ask for feedback. Is there a topic you'd like me to cover, or a feature that you want to hear about? let me know.

I've written 3 posts so far over on my blog (http://www.the-digital-reader.com). The first post (http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2010/04/09/entourage-edge-review-pt-0/) is a basic intro with the type of questions I'm planning to ask.

The second post (http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2010/04/10/the-right-way-to-handle-notes/) covers how the Edge allows you to export pen based annotations.
When using the Edge, you can save the pen based annotations (and the page theyíre on) as a PDF. Youíre also supposed to be able to send that PDF as an email attachment, but that doesnít seem to work yet. (Let me fiddle with that some more.)

Iím also pleased with the quality of the inking. BTW, now I understand why the Edge has a large bezel. It gives me extra space to rest my hand while Iím writing. This helps me a lot, because my penmanship was never very good to start with.

The third post (http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2010/04/14/entourage-edge-review-pt-1/) is the first part of the body of the review. It started as a comparison of the Edge and a netbook, and went sideways from there. I can't give you a snippet from this one. It would make little sense out of context.


Entourage Edge Review, pt 0 (http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2010/04/09/entourage-edge-review-pt-0)
The right way to handle notes (http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2010/04/10/the-right-way-to-handle-notes/)
Entourage Edge Review, pt 1 (http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2010/04/14/entourage-edge-review-pt-1/)


Questions? Thoughts? Mad Ramblings?

wingzofsteel
04-15-2010, 12:06 AM
Nate,
One of the most striking differences with this unit is in it's OneNote -like journal. From an Instructional Technology point of view, and especially in vertical markets such as Higher ED, this becomes a profoundly important difference. The question I would like answered is how responsive the unit is while sharing common resources (processor running browser combined with journal), boot time from off and standby position, battery life for each condition. The list goes on. I can't wait to see your review.
----------
Perry R.
prigginz@gmail.com

beachwanderer
04-15-2010, 02:58 AM
How about sending annotations via e-mail to a collaborating recipient from the device directly? I seem to remember from somewhere (here on MR?) that this is not possible at the present. If that's true, any word from enTourage if or when it will be?

WillAdams
04-15-2010, 07:40 AM
No handwriting recognition? (Their FAQ says they're looking into it). Until it has that, not interesting to me for my needs.

lionel47
04-15-2010, 08:39 AM
Seems a bit overpriced for what it accomplishes. Except for the e-Ink screen, I'm thinking the iPad is a better deal (though I would never buy and iPad). If they could get the price down another $100-$150, I might consider it. Otherwise, you can get a darn good laptop for that amount.

This might be a case where perceived value < the cost of labor+materials+overhead+profit. It will be interesting to see how/if they improve it to change that.

beachwanderer
04-15-2010, 09:48 AM
Ah. Sort of a downer, that. :(
Well, thanks a lot for the answer!

questionfear
04-15-2010, 10:18 AM
A few random questions:

-Does it have a capacitive or resistive screen?
-Can you hook up a USB or BT keyboard to it?
-Is there a skin over Android or is it plain vanilla Android?

Nate the great
04-15-2010, 10:28 AM
A few random questions:

-Does it have a capacitive or resistive screen?
-Can you hook up a USB or BT keyboard to it?
-Is there a skin over Android or is it plain vanilla Android?

The E-ink has a Wacom touchscreen, and the LCD is fingertip friendly (I forget which screen type that is). And no, it's not multi-touch.

Yes to the USB keyboard, I tried it. I'm told it can take a Bluetooth one but I don't have one to text.

It's plain vanilla Android with a few slight changes to the pull-tab menu.

Dellaster
04-15-2010, 10:36 AM
The E-ink has a Wacom touchscreen, and the LCD is fingertip friendly (I forget which screen type that is). And no, it's not multi-touch.

Yes to the USB keyboard, I tried it. I'm told it can take a Bluetooth one but I don't have one to text.

It's plain vanilla Android with a few slight changes to the pull-tab menu.

I haven't received my eDGe yet, but I can answer expand on this a bit more. The LCD side uses a resistive touch screen and although it's Bluetooth-capable, the software isn't up to snuff yet. They say not to use it until the next software update.

And yeah, looks pretty vanilla Android. Version 1.6, which will be upgraded to a newer version eventually (no timetable I could find).

ChrisC333
04-15-2010, 10:40 AM
Hi,

My initial reaction was that it's something of a waste to hook two devices together like that, and thereby reduce some of the advantages that both would have individually. Combining them means that you end up with a heavy e-ink device and a relatively pokey little netbook. It looks like a sort of e-reader three legged race that would hobble both, for no necessarily obvious advantage.

Is building a Horsebicycle really better than having one of each? Is it because building an e-ink device that's more functional in its own right is not feasible yet? Are there enough people who really can't hack reading text on regular screens to want to pay for such a hybrid?

I'd guess that others might also be interested in an explanation of what you see as the point of hooking them together, rather than using two separate devices, or just one. For my money I'd rather see the same cost, weight and size spent on making one or the other more appealing and functional. If the netbook side of it worked well than I'd have no real need to cart round the e-ink side at the same time. But that's just me. However, I think that a lot of other potential buyers might also be interested in discovering the answers before shelling out the money.

:chinscratch:

pricecw
04-15-2010, 12:35 PM
Chris,

If your intention is to read fiction, then I agree, this is not the device for you (although a dual e-ink or mirasol display may be great for that).

I am a heavy tech user of documents, I use datasheets, programming manuals, technical reference manuals, schematics, etc extensively day to day. Generally, I am referencing a few thousand pages at any one time in different documents. This device has shown to fit the niche I am in extremely well, and also works OK for fiction (not tremendous, but not horrible).

Some of the best things, the note taking and export to PDF is extremely useful. The note taking on a book (or marking) and having it show in the table of contents is a life saver (my paper books have book darts to show important, re-used sections). One of my biggest wants/requirements in an e-reader was the Wacom panel.

Two things on the Wacom that I wish was improved, the glass is too slick, I wish it had some texture. I used to use a screen protector with bite on PDAs (from MessagePad on), and am looking for one for this. This turned the experience from like writing on glass to like writing on paper. The other one I really want is the eraser enabled pens to be supported. I use a Wacom tablet for art on my PC at home, and love that you can just flip it over and have a different function. Minor picks on the eDGe, especially since the competition aren't any better.

Now, the edge shines for with dual display. I can have two different docs open on the screens at once, which sometimes is very useful (think schematic and datasheet). I can be reading an article, use the picture tool to grab a section from the pdf/epub (say a table from a magazine article) and it shows up on the LCD. I can then continue the article, and the image stays on the LCD. This is very nice in a lot of articles I read where the tables and figures are on different pages from the text referencing them.

As for the screens, I can read on an LCD, and do frequently, but if I get a choice, I will normally print it. I like the experience better, and a lot of what I read, I like to put notes on as I understand the tech. Further, if I have a choice, LCD or e-ink to read on, I would choose the e-ink 95% of the time (color needs being the other 5%). It really is more comfortable to read off of the e-ink for me.

Funny thing is, I bought this for my personal projects, and it is helping enormously there, but it is also great for work. I was at a Design review the other day, needed an answer from one of my user guides (950+ pages), I don't normally carry those to reviews, but had them all in my eDGe. Did a quick search on the PDF, found what I wanted, and answered the question quickly. It could have been done on my laptop, but I actually hate carrying it to meetings, to big, and to little use normally.

Now for some personal use, I play around with different microcontrollers and use them to teach my boys physics, etc. Currently I have in use boards with ARM Cortex-M0, Cortex-M3, and Cortex-A8, and TI MSP430 (couple of flavors). These are found on a number of different boards, some my custom boards, some bought off the shelf. However, each of the micro controllers have around 2000 pages of frequently accessed and noted documents, usually with graphs, tables, and other data. I am finding the eDGe is better at using these documents than paper or laptop. The ability for notes to show up in the table of contents is a game changer. This device actually changes the use model.

Again, I am a tech user, with a very different reading need than most recreational readers (although I do a lot of recreational reading too). In my opinion, entourage did a great job on this one. A few more improvements, and they will have an excellent platform. I think when the SDK hits, it will grow to be even better.

--Carl

ChrisC333
04-15-2010, 08:17 PM
Hi Carl,

Thanks for taking the time to post such an informative reply. :thumbsup:

For your situation, this seems to be a key point:

It could have been done on my laptop, but I actually hate carrying it to meetings, too big, and too little use normally.

Now that all devices are getting lighter and more powerful it does seem to be coming down to what size you prefer. Looking at the picture, and reading your comment about laptop size, I had wrongly assumed that the Edge was smaller than it actually is - perhaps petite enough to fit into a jacket pocket. But after reading the specs I see itís almost A4 in size - not so pokey after all.

So I can certainly see how useful that would be to have two reasonable sized documents open at the same time, for the work that you do.

I sometimes want extreme portability (i.e something I can slip in a trouser pocket and hardly notice it - because I don't wear jackets). So the iTouch is perfect for that, as it provides music, books for quick reading while I'm waiting somewhere, plus an address book and an app for occasional note jotting. Anything bigger would tend to get left at home. But it's way too small for the jobs you describe.

However, my main uses only require medium portability - i.e. ease of carrying round the house, comfortable weight on lap, and fitting into small briefcase style carry case if needed. So my 12" tablet style computer is perfect for that. It has all the internet surfing ability I want ( at a good size that displays tricky formatting accurately and readably), the screen layout allows several documents to be open at once (although at smaller sizes than the Edgeís two screens would allow), the touch screen has pen and eraser input (with handwriting recognition that can convert to text and insert to a document) and so on. I don't have any eye issues with reading on regular screens (I've been doing it every day for over 20 years) and being able to instal a range of software is a big plus. The annoying format restrictions on most book e-readers are are major turn-off for me.

The main advantages seem to be the size saving for carrying something that gives that much screen coverage (not really much of a drawcard for me at this stage) and the e-ink (which, again, I donít need). It also sounds like it doesnít have quite the software versatility that the Windows based tablets have. However the price looks like a winner.

There seem to be a lot of options being tried at the moment so it will be interesting to see which ones survive the next 5 years. As notebook style devices get lighter and more powerful it does seem to be coming down to a matter of what's your preferred screen size.
Cheers,

Chris

Dellaster
04-15-2010, 11:20 PM
Hi Chris,

That's a fairly good summation, I think.

For what I envision doing (mainly, at least at first) on the eDGe the popular new Asus 10-inch convertible-to-tablet netbook would do the job. It's even the same weight and price. But a) no e-ink, and LCD screen text goes blurry after a few hours of reading for my middle-aged eyes; b) the Asus has half the screen real estate; and c) the eDGe has far better battery life when just using the e-ink half. Granted, the Asus net-tablet is a more powerful computer (Win7 vs Android), but I have my desktop for computing power.

I, too, considered the eDGe an oddity, suitable for (perhaps) only a specialized audience like academics. Then something clicked and I saw how it would work for me.

It's absolutely not for everyone, however. Even I will turn to my iRex DR800 for casual reading instead of the eDGe.

pricecw
04-16-2010, 12:24 AM
Chris,

Your tablet is a good one. I am very happy that the industry puts out so many options, since we are not all alike, having choices and listening to how people use things, and why gives us a chance to buy what works for us.

I spent years (since I got rid of my MessagePad after Jobs killed Newton Inc) trying to find a e-reader/note taker that fit my needs and wants, the eDGe actually does it for me.

Now on to disclosure, I found an issue I have an outstanding request into entourage about today. I tried to save a note today, and it said I was out of space with 2.11GB left. I then tried to export pdf of the note, clicked the internal storage and it tried to go to an SD Card (no sd card had ever been in the system) and said it couldn't save. Added an SD Card, and the eDGe said it had 800+MB available, and it still said it couldn't save since it was full.

Hopefully, I get a good answer from entourage, this is a bug that could really be bad in my use case.

--Carl

pricecw
04-17-2010, 05:31 PM
Just wanted to update on this issue I am seeing, entourage is doing a great job communicating and they are on the problem, I haven't gotten a complete solution, but can again save journal entries. Hopefully it will be solved soon, but I am feeling good about the response I am getting.

--Carl

ChrisC333
04-17-2010, 08:51 PM
Hopefully it will be solved soon, but I am feeling good about the response I am getting.

--Carl

Good to hear that they're making an effort to help. I hope they can get it sorted speedily without too much inconvenience to you.

Good support seems to be quite an important issue now. I've been assembling my own computers for many years now, so moving into the world of sealed iMacs, iTouches, and e-readers feels a bit odd. I'm used to being able to pull things apart and troubleshoot/fix/replace to a much greater degree. Fortunately, I've had a reasonable run so far, but it certainly makes me wary of buying anything online unless there's a well established local support and service network.

I was tempted recently by another reader that seems popular at this site, but when I looked into it, their so-called Australian website was just a portal directing traffic to the US and they had no real presence here at all. They also had a 'bid your own price', ask for a discount, system on the site that they wouldn't honour when I got in touch to find out why it hadn't responded at all to a bid that was close to the listed price. They told me they had no discounts available at all, and that the bid mechanism must be a "bug"! Yeah, right.... :rolleyes: No sale to me there.

It sounds like you're at least getting some genuine assistance. It would be good to know how far they go and how well they fix it. Good luck with it.

Cheers,

Chris

ChrisC333
04-17-2010, 08:59 PM
I, too, considered the eDGe an oddity, suitable for (perhaps) only a specialized audience like academics. Then something clicked and I saw how it would work for me.


That "something clicked" factor always seems to be hard to define, yet it's so important when buying many things. I probably couldn't give a convincing technical explanation for half the things I own, other than "I just fell for it when I saw it" and then came up with the excuses later... :D

It certainly does look rather intriguing, and now that I know a little more about it.... :chinscratch: I shall have to make sure I avoid retail outlets that stock them!!....

pricecw
04-21-2010, 11:04 PM
Another update, entourage is still working on the issue I am seeing, but they haven't seen this before, and can't re-produce it. They asked if I would be willing to RMA the unit so they can see and hopefully fix this problem.

So, the shipping box showed today, and I am boxing up my unit and sending it off. So far, the support staff gets a thumbs up. They are doing very well with this, and although I will miss my eDGe for the time (has become a daily carry item), I also understand debugging this corner cases (kind of wish I wasn't that case though :) ).

Anyway, I will try and keep things updated as they go, but so far, issue is outstanding, but the staff at entourage are doing a great job.

--Carl

whitepaper
04-23-2010, 10:35 PM
I have some questions:
1. Can the e-ink screen show any content that is showing on LCD? That means is the e-ink is a mirror to LCD? I see the article says the e-ink can only be used for e-book reading.
2. Can I install new software?

Thanks.

Nate the great
04-23-2010, 10:40 PM
I have some questions:
1. Can the e-ink screen show any content that is showing on LCD? That means is the e-ink is a mirror to LCD? I see the article says the e-ink can only be used for e-book reading.
2. Can I install new software?

Thanks.

1. The E-ink screen can only display ebooks and the Journal

2. I answered it over here:
http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2010/04/18/apps-for-the-edge/

whitepaper
04-23-2010, 11:19 PM
1. The E-ink screen can only display ebooks and the Journal

2. I answered it over here:
http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2010/04/18/apps-for-the-edge/

Thank you very much.

This make me feel a little disappointed,:blink: so it means even user can install a new reading app, he still have to use LCD showing content? In my imagination, it's a computer, but it has an e-ink screen, so that user can install his favorite app rather to wait firmware update from vendor, and user can choose to use lcd or e-ink doing long time reading. Otherwise I don't know why people need to choose a simply combination of original e-ink and lcd computer while both working in their original limited way.

Dellaster
04-24-2010, 12:40 AM
These videos (http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_uri=%2F&gl=US#/profile?client=mv-google&user=entourageedge) from enTourage explain and demonstrate most of the features unique to the eDGe. They're very well done.

Nate the great
04-25-2010, 06:02 PM
I posted the last 2 sections of the review yesterday.

pt 2 (http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2010/04/24/entourage-edge-review-pt-2/)
pt 3 (http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2010/04/24/entourage-edge-review-pt-3/)

Gunnerp245
04-25-2010, 09:07 PM
This make me feel a little disappointed,:blink:

The developer SDK has not yet been released. When it is most anything is possible.

Might also ask on the eDGe's forum; http://www.entourageedge.com/forums/content.php

Gunner...

pricecw
04-28-2010, 11:34 AM
OK, should be the final update. Got my eDGe back from enTourage, and they got the problem solved. They did this very quickly, I shipped it to them Fri, had it back Tues.

From communication with them, they found an issue they didn't know, and have a solution for it. I think this is a corner case, but it sounds like they have plans to check for this in future releases, and keep it from happening to others, so over all, a very good ending.

The good news is, I have my eDGe back, and can go on using it as I have grown accustomed to!!

--Carl

Gunnerp245
05-01-2010, 12:17 PM
they found an issue they didn't know, and have a solution for it. --Carl

Did they give an explanation?

pricecw
05-07-2010, 08:14 PM
Yep, it was a file system issue. They fixed this and had it back to me very fast. I am very happy with the support I received. From the e-mail I got from entourage support:

We received your enTourage eDGe on April 23 and were able to take a look at it immediately. My engineer was able to tell me there was a file system issue with setting a read write flag properly. He was able to correct for it in this case and in the future we will be including a file system check when the eDGe starts up that will resolve this issue.

We were able to ship the unit out on the same day and I expect it to reach you sometime today.

Thank you,
Tech Support


--Carl

Dellaster
05-07-2010, 09:21 PM
We received your enTourage eDGe on April 23 and were able to take a look at it immediately. My engineer was able to tell me there was a file system issue with setting a read write flag properly. He was able to correct for it in this case and in the future we will be including a file system check when the eDGe starts up that will resolve this issue.l

Ah, so that's why the file system check on boot-up was included in last weekend's patch. Sorry you had to go through all this trouble, pricecw, and thank you for doing it. Because of you there's one less potential bug waiting to bite someone else.

Gunnerp245
05-08-2010, 09:59 AM
Yep, it was a file system issue. They fixed this and had it back to me very fast. I am very happy with the support I received. From the e-mail I got from entourage support--Carl

Excellent. :2thumbsup

pricecw
05-14-2010, 09:07 PM
I didn't notice the update. Guess I should check a little more often :)

Yeah, I always think the thing that makes a good company is how they treat users when things go a little wrong, enTourage did a good job here.

--Carl