ViewSonic's PDF-Loving E-Readers with Orientation Sensors Debut

Available in the UK at rather uncompetitive prices

By on April 12th, 2010 08:18 GMT
In a market where all newcomers struggle to stand out in whatever way possible, whether through widgets, aesthetic perks, performance upsides or content availability, VewSonic has launched a pair of devices that seem to go for the “standing out through being suspiciously common-looking” approach. The company has introduced a pair of e-book readers, known as the VEB620 and VEB625, which appear to have altogether avoided any thoughts of installing extra functionality (besides doubling as a music player), focusing, instead, on doing what they are supposed to: display e-book content.

The official product pages of both members, which are really the same gadget with or without WiFi, describe the e-reader as “a thin, light and versatile device measuring less than 11mm thin and weighting less than 0.26kg, that can be held comfortably in the palm of your hand.” Secondly, they employ E-Ink screens, which have “the authentic look and feel of traditional paper” and bring the benefit of sunlight-readability, which means the two should be pleasantly usable outdoors. Furthermore, they have 2GB internal storage (upgradeable via SD slot), measure 188 (L) X 126 (W) x 10.9 (H), have 15.2cm/6" E-Ink panels with 16-level grayscale and a resolution of 800 x 600.

The VEB620 and VEB625 only distinguish themselves from each other through the fact that the latter supports WiFi, whereas the former does not. That being said, both can handle ePub, RTF and plain text files, as well as PDF and HTML and even support MP3 audio files, which best serve for listening to music (through the 0.5W Speaker) while reading . Finally, the e-readers' feature sets include such things as a book library, bookmarking, text search, go to page, music mode font size (S/M/L/XL/XXL) and the ability to delete content.

Unfortunately, from an objective standpoint, there are some areas where the new products lose to the competition. When inevitably compared with the e-reader market “representative” (Amazon's Kindle), the VEB620 and VEB625 win in terms of weight (about .26kg lighter) but are 2mm thicker. WiFi is also a factor, and only the VEB625 can take on the Kindle in this regard. Not only that, but the two also lose when it comes to pricing, having tags of £205 ($315) and £175 ($269), respectively, for the WiFi-enabled and non-WiFi device. Nevertheless, they do have an advantage of their own, in the form of an orientation sensor, which automatically rotates the content depending on how users hold the gadget.

Consumers can see the VEB620 and VEB625 in detail on their maker's official website.

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