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Old 02-19-2011, 12:32 PM   #1
Edge User
pre-sales questions (pocket edge)

Hi everyone! I came across the pocket edge when I was looking for a smart phone and/or e-reader. Right now I have an eeepc 701 as a "satellite" to my business laptop. It also has a 7 inch screen, but it is a bit too limited to read things on it or to actually do some work in my opinion. Plus you need to scroll most webpages, which is not handy.

A smartphone sounds flashy but I don't know if I would actually use it as intended. And I don't want to buy a "throw-away appliance". Any e-book reader by itself is a bit limited, even the Kindle as I live and travel mostly in Europe.

So I have a bunch of questions before I spend 400 euro + case and postage on this...

1. I see a webcam in the design. Does it work? Could one for example make a Skype call with it?

2. How feasible is it to actually type something with the pocket edge? I often need to edit word documents and ppt presentations. Can I do that, or is it mission impossible?

3. What is the problem with pdf's? I have many pdf files to read (mainly text) and it seems they don't all render correctly. Am I right in thinking that, if it doesn't work on the e-ink side, I can just move it to the lcd side, switch the orientation and read it from there?

Likewise, if I want to read a document from word or open office, can I just switch that to the e-ink side?

4. I have read about the machine being underpowered, no 3G, etcetera. Does anyone know if there is a version in the pipeline with update hardware?

5. How does playing a movie in .avi format work? Does it have good enough quality, or does it stutter and shiver?

6. Can I play angry birds on it? That is only half a joke :-).

7. Can I multitask - e.g. play a music file and work normally on the lcd side?

8. And yes, battery life. How good or bad is it with the lcd side switched on and applications open?

Thanks very much in advance for your thoughts. I am not biased towards the full-sized edge, but the price of that would be closer to € 600. That might be a bit too much for a secondary device.
Old 02-19-2011, 12:57 PM   #2
Edge User
1. The webcam works, although the quality is relatively low. The built in camera app works fine with it, but users report that it currently doesn't work well with most other apps. Users have been able to make video chat calls, though (possibly with the Fring app?).

2. You can certainly type, although you're using an on-screen keyboard. Easier than a small smartphone, and useable for a few sentences, but painful for anything more. A compact external keyboard transforms the eDGe into a useable document editor. Of course, the screen is only about 7"...

3. As a rule, the eDGes have no problems rendering PDFs. However, the PE eink screen is only 6", effectively about 1/4 the real estate of an 8.5x11" printed page. Print one of your PDF pages and then use a photo copier to copy it to 33% size, and you'll get a sense of how it will look on the PDF. Both eDGe models currently do not pan & zoom easily (i.e., they're a pain to use). If your PDF is single column text, it will probably work well in PDF Reflow mode (which basically displays the text in a single standard font which displays as much text on the 6" screen as can be displayed, much like an EPUB). If the PDF is not DRM-protected, you're correct you can open it instead on the LCD side, where you can pan & zoom much more easily, and you can also rotate the display 90 degrees to read it in landscape mode. Note that on the PE, PDF annotation is not going to be practical. As for Word/ODF files, those you can only read on the LCD side - you'd have to convert them to PDF or EPUB to read them on the eInk side.

4. No idea. enTourage hasn't whispered in the slightest regarding this nor have there been any Internet rumours/leaks that anyone has reported here. If they're going to release another model, it'll hopefully use newer hardware. They promised 3G on the eDGe last year, and rumours were the PE would have a 3G model (indeed the PE has an actual SIM card slot), but neither 3G model has seen the light of day. Are you familiar with the term "cannibalize sales"? It's a phenomenon that occurs when a company pre-announces a new product and sales of the existing product immediately drop to near zero until the new product hits the shelves. Because of this, enTourage no doubt will try to prevent any leaks until a week or so before the product launches so as to maintain a continuous level of sales. In other words, don't expect to find out about any new product until it actually launches. That being said, I think it's reasonable to expect some new model somewhere in the second half of the year given the PE was launched in November and the EE was launch a year ago in February.

5. In general, 480p video works well enough on the eDGe. Any higher quality either doesn't play at all, or doesn't play well. The rule of thumb I'd suggest is to convert files to "iPod/iPhone" format as these seem to play consistently well.

6. No. I tried.

7. Yes. I do this often. One key thing to "multitasking" on the eDGe (and perhaps any Android device), is to use the Home button to get back to the home screen to launch a second app rather than the Back button, as the Back button in apps sometimes kills the app, whereas the Home button will leave the app running.

8. For the PE with LCD on all the time and wifi, you're looking at about 6 hours battery life. If you cut wifi when you don't need it, and close the eDGe, putting it into Sleep mode, when you don't need to use it, you'll get 8-12 hours, but ultimately still only 6 hours of active use (i.e., spread over 8-12 hours of on/off usage). It charges pretty fast, though, in 1-2 hours.

Regarding EE vs PE, I use the following question: how important is reading and annotating PDFs? The more important the PDF usage, the more you have no choice but the EE.

Last edited by borisb; 02-19-2011 at 01:11 PM.
Old 02-19-2011, 01:12 PM   #3
Edge User
I own the full size edge, and for your uses I doubt the pocket edge will work, especially if the netbook is too small for you.
1. The webcam does not currently do video calls well, and Skype has no Android video chat app for Android.
2. Typing is fairly easy, especially if you add a mini portable keyboard.
3.PDFs on the pocket edge will not be easy unless they all reflow, but yes you can view on the LCD side. You cannot view office docs on the eink though.
4. New hardware is an unknown, it seems likely though - the edge is first generation.
5. Movies run great.
6. No Angry Birds, wrong Android version and maybe not enough CPU
7. Yes music will run as a background.
8. The full size edge battery life for me is about 12 hours with sporadic LCD usage, using the LCD heavily reduces battery life to that of a netbook (which I also own - eeePC 901))
Old 02-19-2011, 01:16 PM   #4
Edge User
Dang Boris, I would have beat you but I went away for coffee, by the time I finished there you were.
Old 02-19-2011, 02:20 PM   #5
Edge User
I also own an eeePC (1005HA), and find reading with and generally using the Pocket Edge to be far more satisfying. My primary use of the PE is to read PDFs and take notes, so I bought a mini keyboard and the irizer to go along with it. I couldn't be more satisfied.

Old 02-19-2011, 02:26 PM   #6
Edge User
Great picture I'm assuming the eInk is showing a PDF in "PDF reflow" mode? I've had PDFs that reflowed okay, other than there being a hard paragraph break at the end of each line of the original PDF, as showing in your picture. So, Steven, this is an example of what you might experience with some PDFs that don't reflow perfectly (note that tables and figures will get really messed up, though, and multi-column won't reflow useably at all).
Old 02-19-2011, 02:32 PM   #7
Edge User
Yeah, reflow isn't perfect vis a vis line breaks, but it's big enough to read and that's what I care most about. I've actually had several articles in which the text reflowed, but for whatever reason a page with tables was left in "image" format--so it was very small, but still laid out correctly. In my line of work, journal articles are rarely formatted in multiple columns, and there are not a lot of tables, equations, or other specialized notation to deal with. Actually, I should check and see how the reader handles Polish text, which has several special characters.
Old 02-19-2011, 04:28 PM   #8
Edge User
:-) That is a fun picture - and thanks everyone for the real feedback from real users!

Most of my documents are research reports about policy and law. That means mainly text, a few tables and a few graphs, but nothing spectacular. And oh yes, footnotes. Most come in document format (all my own materials are archived in .doc), but I guess there must be an app around that allows to transform doc to pdf. Does that reflow work automatically, or does it mean you need to convert documents first?

I regularly am away for a few days for conferences or advisory missions - situations where there is a lot of travel or waiting time and where something like the Edge would offer a good mix of infotainment and hard functionality. And I would love to show it off to my colleagues :-). But with Android 3 coming, I guess I'll wait a bit and see if a new version is in the works. It would be a bit silly to buy one now and then notice it can't evolve further due to hardware limitations. And I can't imagine that the company would just keep this version hanging around for the next year or so...

I expect I'll be spending some time on the fence on this one, eyeballing the forum and being tempted to take the plunge...
Old 02-19-2011, 04:40 PM   #9
Edge User
Originally Posted by Steven View Post
Most of my documents are research reports about policy and law. That means mainly text, a few tables and a few graphs, but nothing spectacular. And oh yes, footnotes
In "PDF Reflow" mode, your tables and footnotes will be garbled to the point of not being able to make sense of them.

Originally Posted by Steven View Post
I guess there must be an app around that allows to transform doc to pdf
The latest Office allows you to save as PDF, and you can also use Adobe Acrobat Standard or a free PDF printer utility like CutePDF. If the documents aren't sensitive, there are public websites where you can upload a file and get a PDF back.

Originally Posted by Steven View Post
Does that reflow work automatically
PDF reflow works automatically. All it does is just displays the text, stripping out all layout information (like fonts, margins, page breaks, tabs, tables, etc.).

Given that you're a professional and PDFs are core to your job, I think the EE is best suited for your use, even if it's several hundred euros more. The larger eDGe is "spacious", and is comfortable to use in situations where you're used to dealing with textbooks, other large books, binders, and piles of file folders. It has all the same features as the smaller PE, just a larger screen that makes web browsing, email, reading, and other apps much more enjoyable. The big bonus of the EE is that you'll be able to easily mark-up your PDFs and email them to people afterwards.

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