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Old 02-01-2012, 06:32 PM   #1
LuBiB
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jetBook Color Hand-On Review

So, I’ve finally received my jetBook Color (even though my mom and sisters got it before me!) and am glad that I can be the first to do a quick review of it as I haven’t seen anyone do it yet. I’ll go through everything from the main screen to the sections themselves and have corresponding pictures to each. If anyone has questions just shoot and I’ll answer them with pics or videos. Enjoy!!

Casing and Main Screen

The case for the jetBook Color is hard enough to protect it against falls and soft enough to make it feel pleasant to the touch. It also has a unique rigged (almost Louis Vuitton checkered) design instead of a lame matte finish with a strap that flips over and holds the case together. You can stand it up by pulling out a strap inside the case, and even fold it sideways for a panoramic view (I’ll show in later pictures).

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You can navigate using the buttons on the lower part of the device, or using the stylus that comes with it. Sometimes you have to double tap to get into a section, I usually click on the section to highlight it and then click the “OK” center key to access it – kinda like that way better. Sometimes the touch lags but it’s negligible.

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The main menu has 6 features: My Library, Recent Readings, Classwork and Homework, Oxford Reading Support, Language and Games, Science and Math, Audio Books and Music, Settings.

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My Library

This is where you store your books. A great feature is that you can create folders to keep track of where you put your literature. I’ve loaded my professor’s PDF to this already and they look awesome, I know my mom loaded her documents for work as well.

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There is a 50 State Reading list programmed to mine which has about 70 books which is a nice addition.

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Highlighting: You hold the stylus to the start point, drag it to the end point, and then select “Menu” when it pops up. Here you’ll have the options to: Explain with Oxford, Translate in Dictionary, Translate (in their text translator – set to Spanish right now), and Mark for Summary (this is cool bc you can save the text you highlighted for later in a separate section – which you can then click the “Menu” key and access.)

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The “Menu” key when inside a book will bring up the following menu: Go to Page number, Go to Table of Contents, Text Search, Bookmarks, Show Summary, Change Font Size, Encoding, Book Language, Full Screen, and Help. There would be too many screenshots to have all of them shown here but if everyone wants I can definitely load them up.

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Recent Readings

Self-explanatory

Classwork and Homework

This section is blocked. I called Ectaco about it and they told me it’s only available to schools right now. No biggie, makes the main screen look nice though.

Oxford Reading Support

This is the first section with subsections. I’ll go through each one separately below:

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Oxford English Dictionary – Here you can look up individual words and it will give you the definitions, parts of speech, examples, etc. You can also have the word pronounced fluently which is great.

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Talking Oxford English<->Spanish Dictionary – Similar design to the previous section but here you can additionally translate from English to Spanish and vice versa. Fluent pronunciation for both languages.

SAT Preparation Course – This is insane. If I had this when I was in high school I would have killed it on the SAT! But since I have to be very neutral with this review I’ll write more about the functionality. It’s split into 6 sections ranging between Words, Critical Reading/Sentence Completion, Writing/Grammar, Writing/Vocabulary, Math/Problem Solving, and Essay Hints. You basically take an endless amount of tests, it tracks your performance so you can see how much better you do on each test, and gives you tips for each section. The letters A, B, and D were missing from my option choices (lol) but they still worked when selected, prob a small bug.

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***Looks like I can't upload anymore pics right now so I will post a continued review below***PLEASE DON'T INTERRUPT THE POST BY POSTING YET!!!!
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:40 PM   #2
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English Grammar in English / English Grammar in Spanish / Spanish Grammar in English – These sections are exactly what they mean – they go through different sub sections including 1) Parts of Speech 2) Verbs and 3) Sentences – to teach you everything there is to know about grammar….believe me I had no idea there were so many rules and these section are VERY thorough.

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Irregular Verbs / Idioms – These go through English and Spanish Irregular Verbs + Idioms. You can have them pronounced fluently in English or Spanish by pressing the “OK” button or accessing the menu by pressing “Menu” and choosing what you want to do.

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English <-> Spanish Text Translator – Here you can type anything in English and Spanish and translate it. You can also translate anything you’ve highlighted while reading, transfer it here by selecting the “Translate” option and it will translate it for you.

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Language and Games

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Phonetic Language Teacher – Here is a language learning course that teaches you English or Spanish through 4 sections: Alphabet, Words, Phrases, and Dialogues. This is actually how I discovered this unit has speech recognition. In the picture I took (words section) I listen to how the word is pronounced and hold the microphone button (round mic key with the stylus), say the word, let go of the mic key, and it shows how I said it and lets me know how I should correctly say it.

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U-Learn – This is like the Language Teacher but without any pictures, it just talks to you and you don’t have to press anything. It asks you questions and you reply using words and phrases it teaches you. This is truly amazing, I saw on their site that’s it’s primarily oriented towards learning a language while driving to work but you can do this at your desk, at home, while cooking, literally anything. It felt weird since it’s all human voiced and feels like you’re talking to someone. This definitely wasn’t a Forever Alone moment lol.

Audio Phrasebook – This is one of their signature sections on the translator line they have on their site. Here you can say a phrase and the device translates it for you. You just have to select a category. This section will have the speech recognition function and the fluent voice output activated so it’s great for communicating, or testing your pronunciation.

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Pictured Dictionary / 180 Language Cross Translator – The Pictured Dictionary will be a translator/dictionary, only now with colorful pictures. The 180 language cross translator will let you do just that – cross translate; but between 180 languages. I’ve looked at the list you can choose from and there are literally tons of languages I have never heard of. You can select which one will be your “Source” and which one will be your “Target” and translate between them. You select them by pressing the “Menu” key.

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Linguistic Crosswords – Here’s another of Ectaco’s language features that teach you a language through games. When you click on a part of the puzzle it will tell you the translated word (which you can pronounce) and then pulls up an in-screen keyboard for you to type the correct translated word in.

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Linguistic Flashcards / Pockets / Translation Test / Spell It Right – These are other language learning games you can play. You can add you own words, create words, and make lists for you to remember words and translations.


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Old 02-01-2012, 06:52 PM   #3
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Science and Math

This section has a bunch of programs oriented towards…guess what…Science and Math! They have heavy duty reference textbooks pre-loaded here so you can search the text (aka “Search Text” function) to find anything alongside a few other features.

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Graphing Calculator / Scientific Calculator / Accounting Calculator – An eclectic collection of calculators for all topics. You can input functions and have them graphed alongside literally figuring out mortgage payments on a loan. They’ve really outdone themselves with the color coating here as it looks very enticing in every section. I’ve only taken a picture of the Graphing version but if you guys want the rest I can take pics of those as well.

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Geography References – Here you select a country (A-Z) and it will tell you everything about it. I’ve attached a photo about the people in Gibraltar.

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Math References – Split between Algebra, Calculus, Geometry and Trigonometry, these reference guides will go through each section separately. Attached is a pic of the Angular Measure section in Trig.

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Chemistry References – There are 4 subsections here to choose from: Chemistry Reference Tables, General Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry. Again, the info is very thorough and goes through everything.

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Physics References – 2 sections: General Reference Data and Physics reference Tables.

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Earth Science – By far the biggest textbook on the device at over 1000 pages. I’m pretty sure there is nothing missing here lol

Biology References – The second 1000+ page book on the device. Attached a pic of Newton from one of the first pages.

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Table of Elements – Point and click on any of the elements and it will give you its rundown. I clicked Nitrogen and it highlights the element and shows me a bunch of info ranging from atomic weight to the person who discovered it.

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Metric Conversion – Here you can select any conversion topic ranging from Area to Acceleration and have it converted.

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Music Notes – Now this is something that I didn’t expect. Here are actual scores from Beethoven Mendelssohn and Mozart. I’ve taken a close up pic to show the intricate detail.

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Objects of Art – This is a picture viewer that’s included which contains a few pics from Ectaco to show off the color functionality. I haven’t been through all of them but they do look pretty cool. You can load your own into the “My Library” section since it supports JPG and JPEG.

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Audio Books and Music

I haven’t loaded my own MP3’s to this yet but I know on the old jetBooks you could read and have music playing in the background. The pre-loaded tunes include Beethoven and Mozart and you select the play modes and adjust volume by tapping on the screen.

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Settings

Here is a basic Settings section which includes Languages (change the interface language – right now it’s English and Spanish but they say they plan on adding more like they’ve done in the past with other jetBooks through updates), Date and Time, Volume, Fonts, Auto Power, Audio Instructions, Device Info, Restore Defaults, Deauthorize Device. Looks like basic settings menu anyone can get through.

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Final Thoughts:
I’ve had this for almost 2 days and am very pleased that I don’t have to carry around my professor’s Eva Hesse sculpture pictures in a huge folder – much more convenient to have it on this device. There are a lot of features that I haven’t tried out like the Text to Speech and other speech recognition features, along with fully using all the programs they have on here. The text looks great, and the color makes it much better. I found that the more light you have (real ambient light) the better the quality of the color, but it still looks good at night too. There was a sticker on the box to update the device on March 1st and April 1st so I’m sure they still want to add more stuff. There was one bug that I found with the microSD card – when you want to load books to the jetBook Color via the card, you have to name the Folder “My Books” and then it will show up, otherwise the files are invisible. It was minor so I just made the folder and then tossed all the files on the card into it. Hope you guys enjoyed this small review and if you want to see/hear more on the device let me know and I’ll post it….PS….I really like this device
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:53 PM   #4
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and that's my first look on the jetbook color --- hope you guys like it!!
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:20 PM   #5
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There has been a lot of discussion here about the pixel resolution for "black" plain text. Is it closer to 1200 x 1600 or to 600 x 800?
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
There has been a lot of discussion here about the pixel resolution for "black" plain text. Is it closer to 1200 x 1600 or to 600 x 800?
If this was anywhere close to 800x600 i wouldn't take the time to praise it.

This truly is a beautiful piece of technology and right on for the 1600x1200 res.
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:53 PM   #7
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Just to add on to this, i tried to take as hi-res pics as i could so check them out for reference.
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:00 PM   #8
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Thank you for your detailed review, LuBib! I'm still waiting my jetBook Color and hope to get it this week. Did you try to use it with Overdrive library?

P.S. I think you can change the signature **JETBOOK COLOR ON THE WAY!** now
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:34 PM   #9
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So nice review, thank you!!
I have one question.
If you see A4(210 × 297 mm) or US Letter size pdf, what does it look?
is it nice? or what?
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuBiB View Post
If this was anywhere close to 800x600 i wouldn't take the time to praise it.

This truly is a beautiful piece of technology and right on for the 1600x1200 res.
If possible, could you test a couple of PDFs for me and post photos of them? I can send you some academic journal articles that I have problems reading on my Entourage Edge.
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuBiB View Post
If this was anywhere close to 800x600 i wouldn't take the time to praise it.

This truly is a beautiful piece of technology and right on for the 1600x1200 res.
That's impossible! Look at the images, the font size is always big and pixelated, e.g. here.
As soilwork I would like to see some small font PDFs on the device.
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:31 AM   #12
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I've just got a FedEx tracking number for mine, so when I get it I'll try and take some photos of a4 technical PDFs. I must say I'm relieved having seen this review - it looks like I havent wasted my money after all.

By the way, forgot to say a big thanks to LuBiB for the great photos. I can't wait to get mine now.

Andrew

Last edited by andyh2000; 02-02-2012 at 05:08 AM. Reason: Thanks to LuBiB
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:51 AM   #13
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Hi,

I've just skimmed through my PDF collection, trying to find the most challenging PDF files in my system (filled with text, formula's, as well as some showing GIF and JPG variants).

Here are the direct link to 11 of the most challenging print screens I could find for displaying on the jetbook..
Some of them have a JPG and GIF variant, just out of curiousity on how the screen would display the gif pixelation.

If these will pass as readable, 99,9% of PDF's will pass.

If anyone could save them to the jetbook (just rightclick and save) and take some pics on how they look on the jetbook?

Thanks!

GIF 256 colors pixelated:


GIF 256 colors non pixelated:


JPG +16M colors


Univ book, dual page with formula's:


A page with lots of text:


A lousy scanned document, dual page:


Musical annotation, scan:


JPG VS GIF on text:
GIF:

JPG:


A regular Univ. Book:


Univ book dual page (tons of info on the screen):



If the Jetbook Color can actually display the last pic in readable format, it has surpassed my expectations of the device, as I'll most likely never read 2 pages full screen!
One thing is sure,
Most of the dual pagers won't be readable on an 800x600 resolution!

Last edited by ProDigit; 02-02-2012 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:03 AM   #14
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Quite the professional review, i have to say i didn't read it all but i did look at the pictures I like the extent of the features, seems like something that can be used by your average reader or student.
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:35 PM   #15
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@ProDigit: Your list looks complete, but it's missing pdf files with formulas/sheet music etc. The device will have a significantly better chance to handle text/note rendering in the way that fits best to the screen, if the information comes in pdf format.

But please: Can't you just post _links_ to the pictures? This breaks the whole layout of the thread for me

@LuBiB: I like your review very much. I'm wondering why not more people are enthusiastic about this possibility to learn more about Ectaco's milestone on the ereader market. I would love to see some highres pictures of the screen showing pdfs with different content (sheet music, formulas, graphs, two column text...). But ProDigit's test pics would be cool, as well.

Last edited by tuxor; 02-02-2012 at 12:40 PM.
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