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Old 05-03-2009, 12:10 AM   #1
Nate the great
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Foxit eSlick Hands-Off Review

I would love to do a hands on review, but Foxit has not followed through on their promise to send me one. I was told at least 3 different times that the unit would ship shortly. I seriously doubt that Foxit has shipped _any_ review units. The only review I have found is by Gear Diary, who had the good sense to buy one rather than wait for a review unit.

The eSlick is selling for $259+shipping, and includes an SD card, case, and a suite of Foxit software. It has no support for a DRM ebook format, although eReader support is promised in a future firmware. The delete function doesn't work.

When the eSlick was first announced, I thought that it could be a great device. At its price point it was a serious competitor in the ebook market. But, the market has changed since then. Ectaco's Jetbook has added support for 2 new ebook file formats, and can be had for under $200. A new firmware was recently announced for the Bookeen Cybook. And the price for the Sony 505 has continued to drop; it can now be bought for the same price as the eSlick.

And then there are the many problems that have been reported on Foxit's forum. There is a problem with the battery draining itself while off. There is a problem with the file history; the eSlick cannot remember your current location for more than 10 books, nor is the information saved if the eSlick reset. The delete function does not work. And then there is the fact that the eSlick doesn't have any bookmark functions. Considering it's an ebook reader, this last is mind boggling.

But there is light on the horizon. A firmware update is promised for Monday. It's supposed to fix most of the existing problems. Given Foxit's track record, I'll believe it when I see it.

My opinion: Keep looking. The eSlick can't compete on price, features, or reliability. I wouldn't get one until Foxit fixes at least 2 of them.

Last edited by Nate the great; 05-03-2009 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 05-03-2009, 02:29 AM   #2
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Thank you for the update on the device.

Back when the eSlick was first announced I had a few questions based on what information had been released and wrote an e-mail to the company. The answer I finally received was poorly written and provided no new information or clarification. Not even a "we don't know yet" or "can't release that yet". It was even rather rude. At the time I copied into a thread that was going about the device. Foxit's pdf softare and other products may be excellent, but I was very under-impressed with their e-book reader division even then. I'm glad I didn't waste any more time with it. I'll keep waiting for Robert B and Astak - he/they may not always be getting it right or fast, but I feel that there is a honest effort being put forth and that counts for quite a bit with me. There were no warm fuzzies from Foxit at all.
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Old 05-03-2009, 11:44 AM   #3
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The one and only advantage of the Foxit eSlick was supposedly its superior PDF reading capability. I have been looking into it a little, but so far I haven't seen anything worthwhile.

The Foxit team just showed some picture/videos of their eSlick reading rather simple PDF, we are already very correctly supported on Sony's devices. I would like to see how the eSlick handle double-column PDF with images for example.
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Old 05-03-2009, 02:49 PM   #4
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Foxit was one of my top contenders when I was looking, until I got here and y'all showed me what else was available. I'm now glad I went with my EZ Reader.
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Old 05-04-2009, 07:56 PM   #5
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I received the update today. I got my eslick last week and haven't had a chance to do anything with it yet. The software on the CDs doesn't work with Vista 64bit. Hopefully this week I will either find the needed drivers, call Foxit, or move to an older PC.

Ellen
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Old 05-07-2009, 01:06 PM   #6
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Hello Nate,

I feel compelled to answer you yet again. This is Erik Bryant, Director of Sales and Service for Foxit.

I'm not sure if you know, but we've had a special media price available and you can contact me for that. We shipped many review units to people including individuals and companies.

It's really a shame that you bad mouth Foxit at every chance you get(you actually apologized for it the last time). And also, giving your opinion without using the device is unprofessional. We had hoped that people who write reviews and opinions would actually use the device first.

-Erik Bryant
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Old 05-07-2009, 01:42 PM   #7
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I did some q&d looking back just before I decided to up and buy a PRS-505, it's a netronix model reader, but I forget the exact model that it looked to identically match up to. Very odd that the foxit firmware removed functionality that the netronix firmware had already, and I had seen forum posts about the battery problem, but thought that had been fixed or would have been shortly.

Anyways between the above and the lack of a decent deal on the Astak Hanlin rebadge(as Fry's was NOT shipping those) it was overall cheaper or very nearly the same price for a Sony reader from a local store. (Almost went for the 700 with the touch screen, but didn't like the glare that it added so I went for the 505... I had really wanted to get the Astak and try openinkpot, but I considered it foolish to pay the same price as a Sony minus all the features that the Sony also brought with it, esp. considering I planned on dropping the shipped fw as well, but OTOH that was also a feature as openinkpot will hopefully continue in development for quite some time... just a dilemma all around.)

[EDIT]
Oooo... aggressive marketroid... winning friends and customers all ovar teh intarwebz! Almost up there with the drunk guy from Astak...
[/EDIT]

Last edited by cutterjohn42; 05-07-2009 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 05-07-2009, 02:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erik_b View Post
Hello Nate,

I feel compelled to answer you yet again. This is Erik Bryant, Director of Sales and Service for Foxit.

I'm not sure if you know, but we've had a special media price available and you can contact me for that. We shipped many review units to people including individuals and companies.

It's really a shame that you bad mouth Foxit at every chance you get(you actually apologized for it the last time). And also, giving your opinion without using the device is unprofessional. We had hoped that people who write reviews and opinions would actually use the device first.

-Erik Bryant
Sales and Service. Definitely not PR or Marketing. Those people know a little diplomacy, it is to be hoped.


A good example of how *not* to defend your product against a bad review
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Old 05-07-2009, 02:14 PM   #9
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Sales and Service. Definitely not PR or Marketing. Those people know a little diplomacy, it is to be hoped.


A good example of how *not* to defend your product against a bad review
Well he is actually defending against a non-review and attack. This is different from a bad review. If he really wants a non-biased review he could send me one of those units and I will review it.

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Old 05-07-2009, 02:33 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by erik_b View Post
Hello Nate,

I feel compelled to answer you yet again. This is Erik Bryant, Director of Sales and Service for Foxit.

I'm not sure if you know, but we've had a special media price available and you can contact me for that. We shipped many review units to people including individuals and companies.

It's really a shame that you bad mouth Foxit at every chance you get(you actually apologized for it the last time). And also, giving your opinion without using the device is unprofessional. We had hoped that people who write reviews and opinions would actually use the device first.

-Erik Bryant
Let's try rewriting that. Something like:

Hello Nate,

I'm very sorry that our publicity and marketing department has not sent your review unit yet. Though we are still setting up, we like to think we generally keep better track of our customers than this. We are very sorry that our delay in shipping out this unit meant that time constraints forced your first review to be made in the absence of real experience with the device--not least because we realize this is probably not the way you prefer to do business, and we understand the frustration it must have caused to have a deadline approaching and no device in hand.

However I am happy to say that I personally saw your review unit packed and in the mail this morning; its UPS tracking number is 1234567890. In view of the unfortunate misunderstanding, we are not requesting the return of the device when your review period is over; we hope you will accept it as our gift.

We value your opinion and would be happy to hear any suggestions you might have as a result of your hands-on experience with the device. While the Foxit is no longer the cheapest unit on the market, we feel its superior build quality and user interface are worth the modest extra cost. We have taken steps to improve quality control with our batteries, and believe we have licked the battery-draining episodes. We are aware of the problem with deleting files from the device itself and are working on a firmware update to provide that capability. We hope to have eReader DRM working with the same firmware update. We tentatively expect to have this ready by the end of June, but if any problems turn up it may be longer; we will let you know as soon as possible what the "firm" firmware update-date is, so to speak.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to the opportunity to read your second review.

Yours--
---------------------------------
Yes, that looks more like a letter that might get the Foxit 1) a thorough try and 2) a second, hands-on review. At least, to me.
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Old 05-07-2009, 02:42 PM   #11
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It seems like Nate has not explained the situation.

And we love non-biased reviews. We have had a lot of good and bad reviews and feedback and that helps us to make enhancements.

If you want to write a review and want a review unit, send an e-mail to the sales team and they'll get me to set you up with a special review unit price.

The battery issue was firmware and has been fixed, as well as many other things. See here: http://www.foxitsoftware.com/ebook/update.html
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Old 05-07-2009, 05:18 PM   #12
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I suppose that I should also mention now that I think of it, the reason that i found out that it was anetronix model was because of openinkpot which is looking to add support for it, or at least that was my impression from about 3 or 4w ago. As I mentioned in the actual foxit forums, IMO it'd be a good idea to give some support to openinkpot but preferably via the ODM netronix, as openinkpot has the potential to be a HUGE value add IMO especially since I also think that these various mfgs may as well standardize on one "distro" and spend their own time on their value added application portions rather than each one trying to do everything, forking(or seemingly so) left, right, and center even on the same base hw platform(i.e. most of the hanlin re-sellers), etc.

@khalleron
In cheap companies sales & service tends to be about the same thing as marketing as they typically don't really have that many staff. Even large companies rely on sales & service for pitching products as well, as they usually end up doing a better job at it anyways.
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:25 PM   #13
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@khalleron
In cheap companies sales & service tends to be about the same thing as marketing as they typically don't really have that many staff. Even large companies rely on sales & service for pitching products as well, as they usually end up doing a better job at it anyways.

I know that, but if this is Sales, what must Customer Service be like? If Mr. B wants a fair review, let him send Nate his oft-promised device. All he's done is offer to sell him one. And attack him personally, which is what got my goat.
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:36 PM   #14
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I want to make it clear that it is Nate that still has not followed through on this media priced unit. I am not sure what promise he is talking about.
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Old 05-07-2009, 07:54 PM   #15
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Since you want to make this public, Eric. Here are the 3 email in which I discuss a review unit with Rexx Kilgore, the Marketing director at Foxit.

Me, in an email dated 21 January:
Quote:
Hi, Rexx-

So, will I be getting a review unit?

Nathaniel
Rexx:, on 21 January:
Quote:
Hello Nathaniel,

Yes you are very high on the list. We will start to ship out eSlick demo units starting in mid-February we have not confirmed a date, but they will be sent out soon.

Rexx
Me, on 3 March:
Quote:
Rexx,

It's the beginning of March. What's the status of the eSlick?

Nathaniel
Rexx, on 4 March:
Quote:
Hello Nathaniel,

We will begin to ship out the demo units in the next couple of weeks, I will update you on when they will be making over to ya. With the demand being so high for these demo units we are allowing people that are on our list to purchase 1 unit at $199.99. I just wanted to let you know.
Me, on 30 March:
Quote:
Rexx,

So. Those demo units will be shipping when, exactly?

Nathaniel
Rexx, on 30 March:
Quote:
Hello Nathaniel,

We are still waiting for the demo units to arrive at our CA office, once they do we will begin to ship out demo units. We are trying to take care of the customers that purchased the units first. I'll try to get you one ASAP.
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