A brief review of the WikiReader

This was released back on October, so it's a little late for a review. But I pulled it out again today so I could look something up, and I realized how much I use it. Also, there are a number of background details that I have yet to tell. The WikiReader is 4" by 4" , weighs about 5 oz, and has only 4 buttons and a touch screen. The screen is black & white, not grayscale. But since the screen doesn't have a high enough resolution for pictures to be worthwhile, that doesn't matter. It has the nearly entire text content of Wikipedia on a 8GB microSD card.

The WkiReader is most useful when you don't have ready access to the Web. Mine is usually setting next to my to be read pile of paper books. Once you get used to the screen, it's easy to look up something. Often times it's difficult to stop reading articles.

The other reason I keep the WikiReader handy is so my middle schooler can have ready access to Wikipedia.  For various reasons, he's only allowed limited Web access. Having the WikiReader at hand lessens the negative impact of that rule.

The WkiReader has one shortcoming: you can't readily create your own content. I looked into this when I first got my unit. Much to my dismay I learned that you have to have on hand all of the content you're using before you can create the wiki files. It can't be done incrementally. This puts making your own content for the WikiReader outside the reach of almost everyone.

It also means that I'm stuck with the formatting errors in the original content. There are a number of errors in the wiki articles including the pronunciation guides are missing, some accented characters are displayed funny, and some articles are missing chunks of text.

All in all, I'm happy with the performance but not entirely convinced that it was worth the cost.

About Nate Hoffelder (11479 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

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