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Old 09-23-2009, 05:24 PM   #1
MsAstoria
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IREX DR 800SG with 3G wireless

IREX is currently, right this very second, taking the wraps off its big new splash in the ebook space, the new DR 800SG. The 8.1-inch unit has wireless connectivity courtesy of Verizon in the US and Qualcomm's Gobi multi-mode 3G for switching it up in the rest of the world. There's also 2GB of built-in storage, memory card expansion and stylus input ("true finger touch" is coming in Q2 2010 to a future product, right now you can only use the stylus, and a color reader is in the works as well for 2011), and IREX claims to have the fastest page refreshes in the biz. Perhaps most notable is that the reader is Barnes & Noble's first big play in the space, with support for the B&N eBookstore -- though the whole thing is an "open platform" with support from content from Newspaper Direct and LibreDigital stores as well, and format support of PDF, EPUB, Newspaper Direct, Fictionwise, eReader and TXT. Quite the mouthful, and IREX promises to follow wherever the market leads when it comes to DRM. The $399 device includes a leather cover and stylus in the box, and will be available this October in "select" Best Buy stores and will hit Europe in the first half of 2010. No wireless contract is required.
from Engadget url: http://www.engadget.com/2009/09/23/i...ouchscreen-te/
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Old 09-23-2009, 05:30 PM   #2
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opps, sorry, this is posted on another thread. :-)
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:00 PM   #3
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It's ok, the "other thread" seems closed and I can't reply.
So we can hang around in here for the new IREX DR 800SG with 3G wireless.

Here are some more photos and a video clip ship showing more of the device.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10359583-1.html

$399 is quite a price and a blow to Sony's new wireless model the PRS-900.

I would be very tempted to get this over the SONY.
It is looking very close to the plastic logic reader.
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Old 09-23-2009, 08:45 PM   #4
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Well, that video helps answer the question about the light staying on. Some were saying how it would drive them crazy to have it on all the time, but it just flashes when working.

I want!! And Verizon is the only wireless service we get in my area. YEAH!
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Old 09-23-2009, 11:20 PM   #5
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Dear [anybody considering buying iRex’s new offering],

I have a serious love/hate relationship with my iRex DR1000S, and I suggest anyone considering this new model to review the iRex Digital Reader forum. Also, to wait and see how much of iRex’s touting is just talk, and how many of the ‘features’ are just window dressing. I do love/hate my DR, but I would not recommend anyone buying one.

Specific complaints on request.

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Old 09-24-2009, 09:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrscoach View Post
Well, that video helps answer the question about the light staying on. Some were saying how it would drive them crazy to have it on all the time, but it just flashes when working.
The only thing that I can't see from the video is if the light flashes when turning the page. It would be quite distracting, but perhaps it's to distract you from seeing the refresh of the page? If I were in public, I would feel self-conscious of the bright light. They better have a setting to disable the light.
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:48 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by 300com View Post
$399 is quite a price and a blow to Sony's new wireless model the PRS-900.
If the PRS-900 comes out at the same price ($399), then I would think people will get the more popular brand... Heck, people will probably pay more for the brand they know.
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kent Walters View Post
I have a serious love/hate relationship with my iRex DR1000S, and I suggest anyone considering this new model to review the iRex Digital Reader forum. Also, to wait and see how much of iRex’s touting is just talk, and how many of the ‘features’ are just window dressing. I do love/hate my DR, but I would not recommend anyone buying one.
Could much of the stability issues of irex's products be related to PDFs? Every time I view a PDF in my browser, there is a chance the PDF software will crash and take the browser with it. After so many years, so many hardware upgrades, and now that Adobe Reader is up to version 9, PDF viewing is still not rock solid. Now that irex is suppose to be using Adobe's code for PDF rendering, things may get worse. It probably won't help if the cheaper 800sg has similar internal hardware to the iliad (400MHz cpu / 64MB ram vs different cpu / 128MB ram in the 1000s)... not that it matters if PDFs can crash my 2GHz 2GB PC.

Perhaps irex needs to adopt a more stable format of choice.

UPDATE: ok, reading some of your other posts, I think your main concern is the hardware quality. One can always patch software but hardware is either good or bad. This device looks like an updated iliad that is for some reason, $300 cheaper, so maybe we should be very afraid. I wouldn't be surprised if the internals are from a 2007 iliad.

Last edited by badbob001; 09-24-2009 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 09-24-2009, 10:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badbob001 View Post
UPDATE: ok, reading some of your other posts, I think your main concern is the hardware quality. One can always patch software but hardware is either good or bad. This device looks like an updated iliad that is for some reason, $300 cheaper, so maybe we should be very afraid. I wouldn't be surprised if the internals are from a 2007 iliad.
I'm pretty sure the internals are closer to the DR1000 than the iLiad.
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Old 09-24-2009, 12:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badbob001 View Post
The only thing that I can't see from the video is if the light flashes when turning the page. It would be quite distracting, but perhaps it's to distract you from seeing the refresh of the page? If I were in public, I would feel self-conscious of the bright light. They better have a setting to disable the light.
From this video: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10359583-1.html , it look like the led flashes green when turning pages. It doesn't flash for all actions, like navigating some of the menus, but it does sometimes. I'm guessing it's the 'please wait / busy' indicator.

In the video, you can see one part where the user is jabbing the stylus a few times when she wasn't sure if the click registered. Do irex products have an option to generate a click sound when clicking with the stylus? That may make it less likely for impatient people to stab at their device.

Last edited by badbob001; 09-24-2009 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 09-24-2009, 07:08 PM   #11
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I do love/hate my DR, but I would not recommend anyone buying one.

Specific complaints on request.

Kent Walters
Could you tell us what are your complaints? I am considering the DR800 while before Irex was never an option because of the price.

I already read some posts on the Irex forums, but there are so many posts, a summary of the common problems and issue with the previous Irex devices would be nice.

Last edited by Faenad; 09-24-2009 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 09-24-2009, 08:15 PM   #12
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I am trying to figure out how I can get hold of this model immediately after the US launch despite being in Europe.


Some pics



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Old 09-25-2009, 12:30 AM   #13
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Exclamation Some specific complaints

Faenad,

My major complaint about my DR1000S is the battery life; both it’s use time, and it’s inability to hold a charge when not being used. I believe that the battery type that iRex chose (lithium-ion-poly) was the best choice for the application, but they chose one that is too small (in amp-hours), and it is even smaller than what they’ve told us (and that’s the one they based their use time calculations on).

Related to the battery issue is the decision to use the capacitive (finger) sensing (cap sense) switches, which are annoying in use (you must keep your fingers clear of them while using the DR, and you must direct your attention to them when you do want to use one--distracting), and their behavior is (seemingly) inconsistent at times (more on that later). The cap sense switches must draw power in order to work, and, as iRex did not include a mechanical battery on/off switch, draw power while the DR is ‘off,’ waiting to be turned ‘on.’ I think the cap sense switches are an unnecessary power drain on a battery operated device, and were only added to add High-Tech-Gizmo appeal to prospective buyers. Even without the power draining aspect, they are more trouble than they are worth, and offer no benefit over mechanical switches (oh, but they are cool!).

I think that the problem with delays (inconstant behavior) with the pen and cap sense switches is related to clock timing, where iRex has chosen a slower clock cycle in order to conserve the power. If you touch on the wrong end of a clock cycle, there will be an apparent delay. This couldn't be helped by an audio indicator, because that would be running on the same clock. This might be sped up, but it would add to an already high power drain. It's just an annoying compromise, that should perhaps be user changeable in setup.

When I can, I leave it charging while I use it, and having the USB plug a the bottom is annoying. I would have preferred a captive cable, and I have never thought using circuit boards as strain relief was a good idea, anyway; several people have dislodged or broken the USB ports, and iRex charges €300 for the repair--and a do-it-yourself repair voids the warranty.
See: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=57109

The case seems far too flexible, and seems to gain much of it’s strength from the screen itself. BAD design. A new screen is €400...
see: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=55774

Battery and USB issues were common on the iLiad, too.

I could go on about hardware...

Before I bought my DR, I looked at iRex’s site, was intrigued by the promise of ‘Open Architecture’ (as they are touting with their new offering), and interpreted that to include (at least some) hardware--Like the ability to expand the DR’s functionality through what the User Manual called a ‘Function Extension Slot.’ In their forum, iRex said that the plug for this slot was the same as for the iLiad, but that plugging the iLiad’s Travel Hub to the DR would damage the DR. (This is BAD engineering! Imagine if Apple, when they brought out the iPhone, had said that about using iPod cables?) Anyway, after I bought, inquired of iRex about getting a pinout and specs for the ‘Function Extension Slot,’ and asked if a USB Host port might be located there. After several exchanges of email, I was told, “Yes, there is USB Host there, but [that] the ‘Function Extension Slot’ specifications [were] for sale, and intended for corporate buyers.”

I know this is philosophical--having to do with my sense of right and wrong--but I wouldn’t feel cheated if the port had been covered, and not mentioned in the User’s Manual; the Function Extension Slot was sold to me as a part of a great new “Open Architecture” device. IF the 800SG uses the same ‘Function Extension Slot’ plug, and IF interchanging won’t damage anything, and IF iRex, or some corporation, actually makes something that uses the ‘Function Extension Slot,’ Then...

Well. maybe...

Let me say this; When Hanlin comes out with their new larger screen ‘Read Only’ reader, I will replace my little 6 inch one (I love it, just too many page turns--I tried reading slower; it doesn’t work, and that’s my failing). When my DR fails me, I don’t currently expect to replace it with anything from iRex--for Hype and Lies, the News is waaaay cheaper. My advice is wait before buying the new model; see what the first suckers--er, excuse me, buyers--have to say.

badbob001,

I don’t have any trouble with PDFs; I make my own, and often reformat others that I get, to fit my screens, and my eyes (for ePaper, I prefer a serif font (Times), and use 14 point on the DR, and 12 point on the Hanlin--my eyes are getting old). I think some of the trouble people are having with PDFs on the DR is related to font substitution--I always embed fonts. You seem not too fond of Adobe; I love Acrobat, and I wish the DR supported more of what a PDF can do. I would bet that Shaggy is right about the innards; the iLiad is older, and iRex is learning as they go.

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Old 09-26-2009, 12:10 PM   #14
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Thanks for this very instructive post!
I was not aware that the switches on the previous Irex were finger sensing.

I hate theses kinds of switches, I had a Samsung LCD that used finger sensing switches for the menu and it was annoying as hell to set it up, I would not want to have the same user experience every time I read a book.

I always wait for some reviews and feedback before buying any devices, as just returning the devices if I don't like it is difficult as I have to order internationally.
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Old 09-27-2009, 09:47 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badbob001 View Post
Could much of the stability issues of irex's products be related to PDFs? Every time I view a PDF in my browser, there is a chance the PDF software will crash and take the browser with it. After so many years, so many hardware upgrades, and now that Adobe Reader is up to version 9, PDF viewing is still not rock solid.
That's not my experience. The Linux version of the standalone Adobe Acrobat Reader has been rock solid for a long time (at least version 5, but proably even before).

I agree that the browser plugin is less stable (it has improved, though), but that's a problem of the plugin interface.

Since any version of Acroread will run ouside of a browser, I'm looking forward to it on the DR1k.
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