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Old 12-02-2008, 11:36 AM   #1
vwinstead
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Device: iRex DR1000S
Post DR1000s review: Good device!...but needs some work

OK - I’m a software engineer and a tester at heart so most of the following is complaints against the device and observations about the problems seen so far, but I’m really only trying to supply as much information as possible for devlopers. I just got the device so I’m going to look at the development packages and source code so I can start designing some of my own software add-ons for it! In fact that the software for this device is mainly open source is one of the best things about this device in my opinion. I think this is a very slick device with a lot of potential. It’s a good step UP from the iLiad. If there are enough advancements made on this device maybe in the future we’ll get an even better device. By the sound of things iRex doesn’t have enough software developers in the crew because updates don’t happen very quickly and many “obvious” problems that should have been fixed before deployment of the device to consumers were not addressed. Of course I understand how deadlines come up and shipments need to be made. I’m afraid that the large number of “minor” problems left for the consumer to discover has cast an ugly stain on the young reputation of the DR1000s but I have confidence that these will be all cleaned up within the next year. With that in mind, here are my observations:

-Doesn’t start if battery is too low - only shows the dots circling around above the iRex logo. (seen in software version 1.01 so far - just updated to 1.02)

-Battery dies when the device is turned OFF! (and not plugged into computer) This happens within a day. This must be the result of capacitive touch sensors instead of manual push-buttons. These things need software to be used so even when the DR1000s is turned off it is likely using battery power - though it should drain so little that the device should be fine for weeks. Hopefully an update fixes this. (seen in software version 1.01 so far - just updated to 1.02)

-I think the the idea of the touch sensors was a good idea on paper since they never wear out which will ultimately prolong the life of your DR1000s. However, it is extremely annoying when reading a document - if you even slide your hand over one of these buttons accidentally the sensor will turn the page or bring up a menu. I would have rather had some high quality manual buttons instead.
- The only manual button is the reset button, but with as much use as it gets I think it’s not going to last very long. I use that button almost as much as the touch sensors already.

-The product came with no user documentation of any kind. Even though we’re buying an ebook reader to relieve us of the need for paper copies of books, every product needs to come with some kind of quickstart guide or manual of some kind.

-”companion software” does NOT automatically show up when I plug in the DR1000s and click on “yes” to connect to the PC. I run the update software at D:\System\pc_application\UpdateiRex.exe but this doesn’t update the system. It says: “there is a new software version available for your iRex reader, do you want to install it now?” Click yes then it goes to “downloading device firmware for about 2 seconds. After that an info box pops up saying “Updati…” and an ok button. Press the OK button twice and it says “all checks are done”. Software is not updated to latest version (1.02) About file in the device menu says 1.01 still. Repeated attempts at update result in the same thing every time. Update to version 1.02 worked only after adding files directly to the SD card and restarting.

-whenever the DR1000s is plugged into the computer and the explorer window is open, all the folders keep flickering every second as if the device is pushing a refresh over USB every second for some reason.

-Unintuitive so far. Examples:
-no manual (as mentioned above)
-buttons are not labelled in any way which makes it confusing as to what each sensor is in charge of.
-what if you turn off the stylus input AND lock all the sensors? I’m afraid to try.
-Setting the personal preferences-> lights to “off” setting ->Save&close does nothing. Restart does not fix this problem. Some of the lights are still on. The lights are way too bright for me to ever want them to stay on. They seem to be randomly turned on when you start up the thing. Some times 2 or 3 lights are on.
-Pencil is a true pencil, but the Eraser is NOT a true eraser. Instead of acting like a normal eraser, it deletes sections of lines instead of where the stylus is pointing at the time. This makes it difficult if you’re writing and you want to modify a letter - or if you are drawing something and then erase a little piece that you messed up on.
-There should be a menu section for “commonly used…” for programs or documents instead of requiring the user to navigate to the program or document. It could save a link to the previously used 5 documents for example.
-refresh and response time is too long, but this is a problem with the technology (e-ink paper) more than a problem with the device.

-Manual has lots of errors and typos in it. Software update section mentions something about the myirex.com website, but this site is worthless. There is nothing there! All you can do update your personal information and change your password for the site.

-Sometimes I shut down the device and it doesn’t restart just with the middle bottom button. Holding it should turn it on but it does not. Needed to press the reset button.

-I highly suggest installing FBreader in order to look at more ebook file types.

-my green light on the right middle button stays on….always!

-The manual states: “If the battery runs out, the image will still remain on the screen.” This should really be taken advantage of as a power saving feature. That’s one of the main points of using e-ink, isn’t it? I imagine this is planned for the next update when they say the device will go into a standby mode when it hasn’t been used for a few seconds. Good plan!

-Vincent
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Old 12-02-2008, 02:09 PM   #2
Shaggy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vwinstead View Post
-Battery dies when the device is turned OFF! (and not plugged into computer) This happens within a day. This must be the result of capacitive touch sensors instead of manual push-buttons. These things need software to be used so even when the DR1000s is turned off it is likely using battery power - though it should drain so little that the device should be fine for weeks. Hopefully an update fixes this. (seen in software version 1.01 so far - just updated to 1.02)
This is a bug, and their developer mentioned on their forum that they're troubleshooting it right now. In some situations, the device looks like it shutdown, but it really gets hung during the shutdown process somewhere. So they suspect it's still running internally. I assume once they find the problem it'll be fixed with an update.

Some users have theorized that it might be getting hung while trying to close an open document, and have noted that it doesn't happen to them if they safely remove the SD card before they shutdown. I don't think it's be confirmed that this is the cause though.

Quote:
-Sometimes I shut down the device and it doesn’t restart just with the middle bottom button. Holding it should turn it on but it does not. Needed to press the reset button.
Same bug as above. The previous shutdown got hung, so you have to hit reset before the device will respond.

Quote:
-The manual states: “If the battery runs out, the image will still remain on the screen.” This should really be taken advantage of as a power saving feature. That’s one of the main points of using e-ink, isn’t it? I imagine this is planned for the next update when they say the device will go into a standby mode when it hasn’t been used for a few seconds. Good plan!
Yes, that is planned for the 1.5 update, which is supposed to be out by the end of the year. It'll leave the current image on the screen and go into either a standby or sleep mode, depending on the length of inactivity, to conserve battery.
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