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Old 03-05-2009, 05:04 PM   #1
Olli
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Frankfurt
Device: iRex DR1000S
My first impressions

Hi!

After a long time I decided to buy a DR1000S. I wanted the 1000SW, but it surely won't be available for quite some time. These are my first impressions on the device and I plan to keep you updated on how my relationship with this device develops ;-)


I'll start with a little list:

- contrast of the screen is great

- casing seems a little bit cheap

- PDF display speed is acceptable

- Scribble merge is a mess -> I use a Mac and tried the two alternativ ways to merge scribbles (the python tool, which creates large files and the irex tool, which tell me there is nothing to merge) and I tried the official way with the companion software: One Scribble was OK, but the one I did on Blank.pdf had extremely think lines and was unusable

- the handling with the buttons and the pen is not very well thought out. More than one time I hit the "Menu"-middle button instead of one of the two others. Then using the stylus I often touched one of the buttons unintentionally and changed pages

- goto is only available when using the pen, and the onscreen keypad is very small

- why can't the device remember the document I read before it shut down automatically? Reopening the document manually is really annoying

- why can't the reader keep the current page on screen, even when it is turned off?

- the toolbar icons are really small and when changing between pen and eraser you sometimes miss the right button (I added the eraser twice to make it easier to select, before I often created a bookmark unintentionally)

- placing of the sensor buttons could not be worse: They should be either higher or lower on the device, the place in the middle is exactly the place I want to hold the device

- the reader constantly makes a high pitched noise, which is very annoying over time, when reading in a quiet place

- the blinking LEDs on the sensor buttons and on the top look cheap

In short:
The e-ink display is great, but one should but it in a iPod like casing and develop a decent software. I did not expect a perfect product, but what I bought for 699 Euro could be called a beta-product (even with v1.5). It's a Gumstix-SOC-board, a great e-ink screen + wacom, a cheap plastic case, some sensor buttons, a li-ion battery and a modified version of Poky Linux with a PDF reading software.

I don't know if the other large screen readers announced by Netronix and so on will do much better. The Plastic Logic reader seems to be the most promising product, but it is still a year away.

iRex fail to enable professional use, despite the great big screen, as the handling of documents and looking things up things in them is to cumbersome. The provided interface may be ok, when reading linear literature, but not when you have to jump between sections.
The scribble feature which makes the DR1000 more like real paper is not very well programmed. Sad to see so much potential wasted.

At the current pace of iRex software releases the DR1000S will never reach it's full potential.
I see a brighter future in taking the e-ink screen out of the device and build my own reader with a WLAN enabled Gumstix-board... but this would take much time ;-)

What do you think?

Last edited by Olli; 03-05-2009 at 05:38 PM.
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Old 03-05-2009, 05:47 PM   #2
PhishStyx
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Device: Kindle 1 & DR 1000s
I think that if your DR is making a noise, you should open a Trouble Ticket on the iRex website because something is wrong with your device. Mine makes no noise at all unless I press a button in which case it makes a single quiet beep.

I do wish Table of Contents support was a bit better, but the simple fact is that the problem is just as much the fault of publishers as it may be iRex's.

I've used the iRex companion software to transfer my Scribblings to my PC a few times and had pretty good results, especially given that my handwriting isn't that great anyway. I use Adam B.'s Lined Paper Template from this thread: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30872 and have had good results.
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