iRex Iliad

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We’re looking at eBook readers at the moment, the first one we’ve received in the post (this took one day to arrive via Germany) is the iRex Iliad. There are a few reviews available on the net, so this isn’t an exhaustive review, but a review from the point of view of a librarian.

There are a number of things to like about the iRex:

  • The display is fantastic; it’s big and based on Electronic Paper – there are a few remnants from previously displayed pages, but nothing to bad
  • The simple file transfer mechanism; the Iliad appears as a mass storage device on your computer
  • Character set support
  • Multiple eBook formats are supported
  • Note-taking feature

On the other hand, there are a number of things that I’m not keen on:

  • It’s a slow device and somewhat unresponsive device, boot time is long, as are load times for books
  • It has wireless and wired support, but it doesn’t allow you to access eBooks on the Internet directly
  • The user interface isn’t prefect
  • No OCR on note taking

On the whole, I don’t think that this device isn’t going to cut it for libraries; for a start, a lot of the content we subscribe to is unsupported by this device; any of the content delivered by eBrary, NetLibrary or Dawson Era will not be available (unless you turn it into a PDF a few pages at a time!), and you can’t browse these pages as webpages from the device anyway because it doesn’t allow you to surf the net. A combination of internet connection and relevant plugins would make this very device interesting, but without them, it’s just a consumer toy. As such, it might be the toy I’d buy.

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