Monday, July 4, 2011

Skytex Primer Color, $99 (updated)

Skytex Primer Color, review.

Obviously such a cheap device is limited, but it has some strong points:
The Skytex Primer Color is running a custom built Linux based operating system. The menus are just brimming with features and I was very impressed by the scope of its functionality. The main menu has a ton of options and is intuitively laid out. You can choose between ebooks, music, videos, photos, radio, record, explorer, calender, search, and options.
Navigating the menu systems is VERY snappy and everything loads very fast, which impressed me with a $99 device.

Highly interesting for a color tablet at such a low price! Even though it has no touchscreen, no web browser, and no way to buy content from the device itself. It won't slot into any commercial content ecosystem, such as Kindle's or Apple's, but it's not like there's not a lot of alternatives, including a lot of free content. It just takes a bit more work to find and load, but if you have more time than money like many these days, that might not be so bad!
[Update: wow, right now you can get it even cheaper from Amazon.] [For outside USA, you may need a remailer.]

I got the "Primer" now. It's a fun little machine, can do a lot for the price, and it's fun that it has FM radio. But handling ebooks can be slow, sometimes very slow. For example text size changes; especially for files which are not ePub, I am not sure what format they are ("Walden" for example), they look like scans, but the text size can be changed. But on the other hand getting through just one step of text size with these files can take maybe half a minute! Excruciating. The same goes for opening a file. Fortunately, ordinary page changes are acceptable, maybe half a second, and that's what you'd use most of the time.

I guess slowness in some things are the main price you pay for getting a cheap device; they charge more for newer and faster processors.

The video works fine, plays many formats. Only thing is, I can't find any way of scrolling or skipping in the playing video. I'd call that a strong minus.

The device can show PDF files. And like with the Kindle 3, rotating the display helps when a PDF page has small text (although it should be said that the resolution/size of the screen is a bit on the crude side for really small text). However, I can't figure out how to scroll down the page. All I try results in skipping to the next page. The small manual is no help, so I have mailed the company about it.

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