Itomic is The Gadget Company That Doesn’t Exist

Last summer I posted about Augen, a gadget maker who was most notable for the way they vanished without a trace. Today I found a second company who seems to have followed in their tracks: Itomic.

On Sunday I posted about an odd Kindle clone I happened across on the Walmart website. If you know me then you know that I’m not one to pass up the chance to get a strange looking gadget, this one was no exception.

I bought it because it looked odd but also because I wanted to make contact with the company and find out about their other devices. I couldn’t find any info online, but that isn’t all that uncommon. Lots of small companies are hard to find.

My unit arrived today, and I’ll include my impressions in a later post. While I was doing my basic prep work I noted the customer service phone number, website, and FCC ID (ZIB-EB1001).  I tried the website and it didn’t even lead to a holding the page. The website is completely down; it’s not being hosted anywhere. I then tried the phone number and it had been disconnected.

So what I have here is a dead company who left behind an ereader and a couple tablets.

Update: I crossed out the rest of this post because a lot of readers disagree with me. I think that your money would be better spent on a slightly more expensive device, but this time it looks like I’m wrong.

I’m focusing this post on that detail because it is the most important. No matter how well these devices perform, they exist under a cloud. There is zero chance that a buyer will get technical support, warranty repair, or anything from Itomic because that company no longer exists. That alone is enough to raise multiple red flags.

In fact, I’m not sure that reviewing this ereader will help anyone at all. I can flatly recommend that you not buy this device because the company is dead. There’s no need to discuss its abilities. But, just to be thorough, I will post a review at some point. It’s an odd duck and I like to have reviews you cannot find elsewhere.

P.S. Even though it only cost $40, it’s a crappy ereader. Don’t buy it.

P.P.S. Yes, I know this isn’t all that unusual of an occurrence; I still find it funny. I also feel I have to document it so others can avoid products from this company.

60 thoughts on “Itomic is The Gadget Company That Doesn’t Exist

  1. Nate, any idea when the device was actually manufactured?

    How do Walmart Purchasing Agents find this stuff…. ;)

    By the way, the image link for ‘ZIB-EB1001′ doesn’t exist as well (404’ed)

    1. Have the instructions.Having same problems. No usb cable came with it. Instructions are very unclear. Enter button is not identified in the diagrams. Where is it? Other buttons are not, clearly, identified, in the diagrams. Send instructions for how to downland music and order videos.

  2. Ahhh. I may be the only user on the planet that does not care for touch screens, I was a little curious about this one. I’ve not seen a reader with an optical mouse, are there any others I’ve never heard of?

  3. Hello Nate, and thanks for writing this article.

    I am the CEO and founder of Itomic…. but *NOT* the gadget company that doesn’t exist! Established in 2000, we’re web design/development/Drupal/hosting specialists, with offices in Perth, Melbourne, and the UK, and our website address is http://www.itomic.com.au.

    We have absolutely ZERO affiliation with the “Itomic” gadget company that doesn’t exist! But we have received a few enquiries from people looking (desperately?) for support for their devices, and we’ve had to politely point out that these are not our devices, although I have to confess that it crossed our mind to buy one for the ‘novelty’ factor!

    Not only have the people behind this device used our name, but even their logo looks vaguely similar to ours, so I dare say our company name (which we love!) and brand might have “inspired” the people who are behind this product – whoever they are!

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/iTomic-IEBR7C-7-eBook-Reader/19887947

    So if anyone is reading this article and is looking for support for their Itomic tablet – sorry, we at http://www.itomic.com.au can’t help.

    All the best,

    Ross

  4. I wish I had read this entry before purchasing the itomic ereader.It would have saved me a considerable amount of aggravation. The ereader completely froze when I attempted to scroll through options. It remains frozen as I am typing this. Purchased the Heartland America, which will be receiving it back post haste.

  5. I bought this e-reader hoping to do some hackery to it. I’m kind of surprised you didn’t delve into the FCC information deeper–if you read it, it’s pretty clear how Augen and Itomic works. Many of these low cost tablets are rebranded to some American-sounding name for the American market by their American distributors–in this case, Wal-mart. As it turns out, if you read through the FCC information, the FCC certification was submitted by a consulting company for “HONGFUTAI E-TECH(SHENZHEN)CO.,LIMITED,” who call themselves “HOTT,” (http://www.hott.net.cn/Product/?isAll=Yes) . If you read deeper, it turns out they are the same manufacturer for Augen (in fact, the photos of the prototype are still branded Augen and there’s a letter saying that it’s the same certification for both brands).

    At the same time, I wouldn’t necessarily blame the manufacturing company itself. Given that they don’t even advertise these ebook readers themselves, I wouldn’t be surprised if they produced these only under manufacturing contract for Wal-Mart, and that they weren’t asked to deal with customer relations (after all, the company seems pretty solidly based in China–they used Chinese consulting firms and a FCC testing company in China). Wal-mart, I’d imagine, figured no one would care about such low end products, and figured people would point fingers at a nonexistent company so that they wouldn’t have to deal with support. HOTT couldn’t give a rat’s ass because it’s not their name and they don’t even usually sell direct to the USA market under their brand anyway.

  6. Sorry to be the ‘lone voice’ here’. But I just bought 1 from Walmart for $30. It is super! For what it is! It does not pretend to be a tablet,. But, reads many ebook formats including Mobi and Adobe epub & pdf. It has adjustable backlight so reads well indoors or outdoors. It had reads text aloud, well. Has 2gb and will take a 32gb SD card. Connects to Internet quickly (although G and not N). Wireless. It has acceptable sound for such a device. Plays mp4 and avi videos as well as mp3 and wma.
    Has actual mini keyboard. Comes with leather case, USB cable, and AC adapter.
    Also has Notepad so I can take notes and import to my PC.

    Bottom-line for $30 I think it’s a bargain. And, how many times do we buy from a company and find out that they will not honor a warranty?

    1. I like my iTomic also, and for the price I can’t complain, too many selfish people want the bells and whistles froun on a high end eReader but want to pay nothing for it. Please grow up, if it’s $29.99 stop complaining. If you paid more ten who’s fault is that?

      1. Were you able to register your DRM? My 10 yeard old daughter recieved an itomic for her birthday and I can’t get it to read any of the books she chooses even though they are all ePub books. Anytime I try to register the DRM it says there was an error. If I click on the book it says its unsupported! I am so confused and she is getting frustrated!

        1. If you haven’t returned it yet, I have a solution for you. :) First, make sure you have Adobe Digital Editions installed on your computer and that you’re registered with Adobe.com. Once you’ve done that, open ADE and connect your reader to your computer. Once ADE authorizes your reader so it can work with it, you should be able to drag and drop or copy your ePub files into the reader’s folder. If a screen comes up on your reader that has a ‘Continue’ button at the bottom, don’t click ‘enter’ until you’re done copying your files over (learned that one the hard way myself).

          I had to “hard reset” my DRM through a set of simple commands before I could do that, though (you may not, but I’m putting this here just in case). On the main menu, press the buttons Z Y J (Alt+) 3 in that order, one after the other (not at the same time, in other words). A screen will come up with a bunch of options – scroll down to “DRM hard reset” and click enter. Enter the code 8 2 9 9 then mouse over to and click ok. Click the back button. Now go through the instructions I gave you above this. You and your daughter should be set. :)

          Best of luck!

          1. I tried to hard reset the DRM, never got to see the OK, just saw a number counter going ever upward. When it was over 400, I closed that page. I tried to DRM register again and got the same error code, E_STREAM_ERROR:CURL returned 6 (6)
            Any ideas? I am ready to give it up!

          2. Susan. I sympathize – it shouldn’t be this hard. Please pardon the redundancy in my response – I tend to copy and paste!

            Installing Adobe Digital Editions on a host PC isn’t necessary if you have WiFi working – all you need is an Adobe account. Here’s how:

            1) If you already have an Adobe ID skip to step 2. Otherwise, use a PC browser to register an email address and password at “www.adobe.com/account/sign-in adobedotcom.html?returnURL#https://www.adobe.com/”

            2) On the iTomic make sure your date and time are set correctly, then confirm your WiFi is turned on and working. Now select “DRM Register” from the main menu and fill in your Adobe login info. Highlight the Register button and ‘ENTER’ – if you’re like me you’ll get an error message similar to “E_STREAM_ERROR – CURL returned 6 (6)”. If instead you successfully get “DRM Registered” skip to step 4.

            3) To hard reset your DRM, go to the main (top-level) menu and hit this sequence of keys:
            z y j r
            – this will shortly invoke the hidden service menu where you can scroll down and select “DRM Hard Reset” (each box will faintly double-outline rather than change color, so look closely). Hit the return/enter key – not the touchpad! – to select and a box will pop up where you can use the touchpad – not the keypad! – to outline calculator-style buttons to enter (via the return/enter key!) the code 8299 (echoed as large dots) to no apparent effect other than the pop-up closing. Ignore the counter and scroll down to “Close” the maintenance menu and repeat step 2 above; I got “DRM Activated” on this second attempt…

            4) Test your DRM by bringing up the iTomic browser and visiting URL http://www.adobe.com/digital-editions/eBook.html and downloading one each (ePub and PDF) of the official samples. The confirmation dialog box will refer to a filename extension of “.acsm” rather than “.pdf” but confirm OK anyway. Nothing will appear to happen for about a minute while the iTomic handshakes with the Adobe host but eventually you”ll see a notice “Downloading whatever.pdf” – which will go to the “Digital Editions” folder instead of “My eBooks”.

            After this you can finally navigate your library’s web site to their Overdrive login (usually your library card number and PIN) to download library books; I was only able to get the PDF versions to work so far… I have a copy of “Freakonomics” sitting in my “Digital Editions” folder right now! (it will expire after the lending period but not erase so it’s just as well that library downloads have their own directory). BTW, if you have an Adobe DRM ebook from another source which you sideload a dialog box will pop up when you try to open it, giving you a chance to enter the ID and password you used when that book was downloaded…

    2. I have had my Itomic ereader for about six months now. I got it because I bought the kindle and returned it because I didn’t like it. I needed something with a back light on it that was cheep. I had no income a the time and just had the money from pawning my Nitendo DS. I stumbled across the Itomic. Back lite and under $50 wasn’t going to pass it up. I love this thing. I have already read about 100 books on it. I am a quilter/crafter and I have a lot of cross stitch and quilt patterns I get online, but ink is so expensive. I am able to put those PDF files on my Itomic and use them, since my computer is on the first floor and my sewing room is on the second, with out any hassle. It sometimes is slow to scroll through the pages and it has froze on me once. The battery doesn’t hold a charge for as long as the Kindle. But for the $40 plus shipping I paid I love it. Not too worried about customer support. To me at this point if it breaks down I have had it long enough that i will just get another one. All my stuff is on an SD card just in case, so I don’t loose anything.

    1. I got my “Itomic” the other day, charged it, hooked it up to my computer, but I can’t get the touch screen to work. Either I got “rooked” or I am doing something wrong. All I want to do is to be able to READ!!

      1. kate there is no touch screen, you have to hit the “enter” button at the bottom of the viewing screen. it’s very small and in between the PREV/LEFT and NEXT/RIGHT buttons also under the viewing screen on the main screen what you want is selected by pushing the NEXT/RIGHT button and the indicating light moves down to what you want then push the middle enter button. when you actually opened to the area you want the enter button, which also works the curser, also allows you to highlight what you want by putting your finger on the enter button and moving the curser around,

        1. There is no touch screen, there is what they call a “TOUCH PAD” BUTTON located between the forward and back button located just below the screen. This “TOUCH PAD BUTTON” may also be used as an enter button. Use it to navigate up, down, left and right in the screen menus selection areas and is the same button/touch pad that you use to navigate the cursor when in the browser screen, etc. Think of the “TOUCH PAD BUTTON” like a mini touch pad on a very small laptop.
          Don’t feel bad about not figuring it out, it took me a while to get it, just when I was about to give up and thinking my screen had frozen up I figured it out. Hope this info helps folks out there decide to keep the product which in my opinion is very much worth the low price paid for it for such versatility.

      2. The touch screen is VERY sensitive and the cursor is tiny so it probably works but you have to move the cursur VERY VERY nslow in order to follow it.

      3. Have been unable to hook it up to my pc. It tells me I have low power? A friend connected the itomic to his laptop and he couldn’t put any books on it . What cursor???? Help!!! It looks so snazzy and I really think it would be great for what I need,(reading) but getting over the first hurdle is stressing me out. Do I need to call my server to get a “code” number ? Following that step didn’t help me either. Do I need a router? I didn’t buy one because I don’t have a laptop or other devices to hook up.

  7. i bought one of these eReaders from Walmart for $31 including tax and shipping. i don’t hate it. the only real problem is that i’m new to all this technology and can’t figure out how to use most of what’s available on this eReader. i was able to download their books fine, but can’t figure out how to download free library books, which is why i bought the thing. if anyone can help me (in simple terms) i would really appreciate it.

    1. My local library has specific instructions on their website for connecting to them and downloading epub format books. Log onto your local library site and look for the instructions, or ask your friendly librarian for the link to the instructions. Good Luck!

  8. I got one of these as well. The thing to keep in mind is that it is a $30 device. For that $30 you are getting a color back-lit e-reader that also player video and music. I got this one strictly to be able to read on a larger screen than my iPhone and I cannot afford an iPad yet. Yes, it is a little slow. Yes, it has some wierd quirky issues. But overall, for simply reading books, or watching an occasional video, it performs its function. If you are looking for a Kindle fire, Tablet, iPad etc experience then you will be disappointed. But take it for what it is, a low end e-reader, and don’t expect the moon for $30. I rather like mine, and when I finally get my iPad it will be something that the kids will get to use.

  9. I am on my 2nd one, as the first one was returned to Wal-Mart not functioning. My second one at least connects to wifi and via usb, and you can even download via usb. However, the Library tab leads to a full selection of non-working links. You cannot go forward or backward, thereby being unable to actually use the reader. I have already wasted more than a month trying to obtain a working model. I will return this one and hope the 3rd time is the charm. If not, it may be time to contact some authorities!

    1. You have to use the Enter button (small square button in the middle) – it is a micro-touchpad. Slide your finger up and down and you see the cursor moving inside the Library. It took me a while to figure that out.

    2. Try using the “TOUCH PAD BUTTON” between the Prev/Left and Next/Right buttons like a mini laptop touch pad and gently slide your finger across it to move / highlight the forward, back, up and down options and then push it to enter your selection and you should be able to navigate to access those items you mentioned.
      I realize this is a frustration and daunting experience self learning this device, I just opened mine yesterday and have finally figured out how to navigate most of the things on it, which are many. I just keep telling myself $30, $30, $30. :)
      Good luck.

  10. I bought one just to read stuff, and it works just fine for that. For $30 with free shipping to the store it is worth my money as a simple reader. It is NOT an iPad or even a Tablet, not upgradeable, and you can’t load any apps to it, but it does read and play music and the WiFi will connect to my home router when I put in the WPA2 password so the browser can do its browing thing.

    So far I’ve read ePubs, PDFs, HTML, RTF, and Text. It doesn’t seem to like .MHT files.

    When reading, you can adjust the font or style with the Menu button on the bottom right. I set the Style with left and right margins for 10, the top and bottom for 5, the line spacing for 1.3, and the last entry to Justify (other options are Left, Right, and Center). This condenses the type enough so you can have more on a page but still read it without a magnifier or microscope. :-) You’ll have to do this for each ebook as you open it. Font will let you select several different font styles (proportional, fixed, serif, sans serif) and sizes (microsocpic to banner-sized ;- ) ).

    The Menu Button is also the location of the Go To Page and Bookmark tools, among other things.

    The free e-books that come are from Gutenburg.org, and you can download more. The first thing I did after charging it and testing it was to hook it to my PC via USB and organize the Library so I didn’t have to scroll through all of the numerous files in the free ebooks folder. When you hook up the reader to your PC you can use your PC to make folders on the reader and drag files into them (the PC sees the reader as two different USB drives). I sorted the ebooks into folders (Medicine, Science, English Lit, American Lit, Science Fiction, folders for certain authors, etc.). You’ll have to open some to see what they are. When you are done updating the reader, press the square button to Complete and disconnect from the PC.

    All the free ebooks are out of copyright, so they are mostly older (early 1900s and earlier!), but there are a couple of SciFi books from the 1930s (with more available from Gutenburg). There are classic authors there as well as some things you’ve never heard of (even books on Manners, Child Rearing, and Eugenics!). While I was at it I was able to read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series at night with no lights on during the recent widespread power outage that hit when the Derecho storm hit the East Coast on the Fridaynight before teh 4th of July. “A Study In Scarlet” is its own book and several short stories are collected in “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.” I finished up with some 1930s SciFi stories from out-of-copyright pulps like IF and Astounding, which were included with the reader.

    I’ve also loaded some free SciFi from Baen Books (Baen.com). Not all their books are free but they have a good assortment of free ones (including the likes of Bujold, Pournelle, Moon, and Niven), and they are not digitally protected, so you can pass those ones around (it’s called “advertising”). Older books seem to run under $10, newer ones under $20.

    For night reading I found you can use the Menu button to adjust the brightness, and it stays that way. I have it adjusted so it’s bright enough to read at night without burning your eyeballs out but still be readable during the day, when the backgroud appears grey with black type. This extends the battery life, and was mentioned in the instruction book. Extended battery life is a good thing.

    When reading you can put it to sleep by tapping the power button. Tapping it again will bring you back to where you were reading. Holding it in will power it off completely and the Continue Reading button may or may not bring you back to the same place.

    The keyboard is laid out the same as my Blackberry Torch, including a SYM key for symbols; only one key is different, and I can’t remember which one it is at the moment. The “Touch Pad” is the square button between the Left and Right navigation keys on the top row. It appears to be the same as the button on the BB Torch that replaced the scroll ball on the earlier Crackberries. It is touch-sensitive, so you can wipe your finger across the button to move the pointer or turn a page, but mine is a bit insensitive on thick skin like my tips of my thumbs or fingertips. You push is to use it as an enter key or use the enter key on the keypad.

    Finally, the Alt Key has to be held down to access the numbers and special symbols on the top of each key. That’s the main drawback to the keyboard that I find, although the keys are a bit stiff. That makes it hard to use the notepad feature while holding it. Other than those two problems, it’s just a keyboard.

    I had trouble with the SD card it first. I’d push it in and it would spring back and never register. I finally pushed it in with the end of pen and it finally locked in place.

    When you connect to a PC it shows up as two drives, a U: drive with is the internal memory and another drive which is the SD card. You can drag to either one. I find the SD card a bit slower to load, but it will store so much more, up to 32GB I believe. I have an 8GB so I don’t forsee running out of room anytime soon.

    You can remove the reader from the leather cover so it’s lighter to hold, or fold the flaps back behind the reader. I find that folding the small (right-hand) flap back first and the the larger flap back on top if it to work out best.

  11. After about 4 hours of messing with this thing, I think I finally figured it out and I too like it for the price. Thank you guys sooo much for explaining about the mini touch pad, don’t know if I would have figured out that one without you. The wi-fi is terrible and don’t plan on using it, especially to download books. But I was able to buy a book on ebook.com on my PC, download the epub file to my PC using Adobe Digital Editions and then transferring the file to my Itomic using the mini-usb and it worked! Thanks again for all your comments, don’t think I would have figured out the puzzle that is the Itomic without your help. And for newbies, feel free to email me with questions, lord knows you will have them.

    1. Really like this. Needed the help of this site to get going. Thank you guys.

      Can we delete files? In setting up, I’ve got some files on it three times. Would like to clean it up. Can delete one letter at a time in the notepad, but would like to know if I can just get rid of an entire file.

      1. You can. :) When connecting it to your computer, it should AutoPlay (if you have that enabled on your computer). If you don’t, you can just go to My Computer and click the U: drive. Open the folder that has the files you need deleted (ex: My Books), click the file you need deleted, and press delete. Done!

  12. Despite quirks and limitations, the iTomic Linux-based tablet offers a lot for $32!

    I’m writing this review on the iebr7c itself, which like it’s Augen “The Book” forebear features a built-in chiclet keyboard. A bit harder to use than a soft keyboard (e.g. slower) it is convenient and doesn’t consume any display area, but it lacks illumination. This “Gilligan”-esque Good News / Bad News dichotomy exemplifies the total user experience with this device.

    The Good

    A Linux tablet with 7″ 800×480 LCD, 400Mhz CPU, 64MB RAM, 2GB storage expandable via SDHC to 32GB, 802.11g WiFi, g-sensor to switch automatically between portrait and landscape display, built-in speaker as well as headphone jack and apps for ebooks (including text-to-speech), mp3 playing (concurrently), video and picture playback for a mere $32 delivered is astonishng! So why couldn’t I convince any of my tech-savvy friends to buy one?

    The Bad

    My own out-of-box experience was extremely frustrating. I plugged in the (proprietary) AC adapter (it also charges via USB) and charged the unit overnight before turning it on. After a 30-second boot the main menu is displayed with 12 options:
    1) Continue Reading – returns you to the page you left off. Having this as the default option highlights the ereader focus of the itomic while the lack of so much as a title to indicate what it might be is typical of the oversights
    2) Favorite – a list of URLs and books you’ve declared as such (distinct from the browser’s list). Note these can not be deleted (by you) but appear to vanish spontaneously! (note I rebooted by powering down and the complete Favorites list reappeared).
    3) Library – actually the filesystem from /user and (if installed) /sdcard so you can organize your files as you see fit! Predefined subdirectories include Audio, Digital Editions (yes, it supports Adobe Reader DRM), Free eBooks (150 preloaded titles), My Books (download destination), Picture and Video.
    4) Settings – you’ll want to adjust the time and turn down the screen brightness.
    5) WiFi – instead of descending to a submenu this pops up a dialog box where you can enable or disable WiFi, scan for networks and connect. Note that although it showed no networks in a parking lot where a Pandigital Novel showed half a dozen, the signals were all marginal.
    6) Browser – can also be used to display local HTML files. Note the Favorites here are distinct from those off the main menu (and don’t disappear).
    7) Buy Books – takes you to content partner’s URL, http://www.ebooks.com (which is a permanent “Favorite” as well)
    8) DRM Register – another pop-up dialog where you enter your Adobe account info
    9) Music – runs a rudimentary player with history list (hit the MENU button within the app as usual to display loop options, etc.)
    10) Video – displays an accessed list built from /user/video plus /sdcard/video
    11) Notepad – the MENU button brings up Export (to /sdcard/notepad.txt) and Import options so you can use the chiclet keyboard to write as well as read novels. The touchpad will roam the text cursor within the document for editing.
    12) Power Off – shutdown. The reader will automatically suspend as well, with a brief tap on the power button resuming.

    The power on button is on the bottom right edge of the device. Holding it in for a few seconds yielded an “iTomic” splash screen while we booted to the main menu. I didn’t want to “Continue Reading” so I pushed the prominent “Next/Right” button and was rewarded with the highlight advancing to the second option. So far, so good.

    Hitting “Next/Right” twice more highlighted the “Settings” option so I tried pushing the little ‘select’ button between the “Next/Right” and “Prev/Left” toggles and Lo! up came the submenu. Very intuitive, which is fortunate inasmuch as the user manual (available as “Help” on the “Settings” menu) essentially lists the options with little elaboration.

    I then toggled the “Next/Right” button until “Time” was highlighted and discovered I could use the ‘enter’ key just above the “Menu” button interchangably with the ‘select’ button (nice not to have to wear out just one key) to pop up the time and date setting window. I had to hold down the “ALT” key to access the numeric keypad symbols – an acceptable tradeoff.

    Rather pleased with the tablet’s responsiveness so far, I assumed the ‘back’ key to the left of the “Prev/Left” toggle would exit to the previous menu level (being labeled with a 180 degree arrow symbol) and again the user interface met my expectations. Eager to see how the ereader application worked, I hit “Prev/Left” to highlight “Library”, which ‘enter’/’select’ revealed to be a directory listing of the filesystem(s) – highly desirable as an alternative to the “Collections” built atop MySQL on so many readers!

    If you’ve installed an SD card you’ll start by choosing between internal and “sdcard” roots; otherwise it defaults to “/user”.

    And that’s where the honeymoon ended…

    Confidently, I hit the “Next/Right” toggle to advance the cursor from the default “Back” selection to “sdcard” – and nothing happened! Odd. Try again. And again. No response. Long story short, I knew it *had* to work and tried every key combination I could imagine, to no avail. I couldn”t get that “Library” cursor – the most important! – to budge off of “Back’ to save my sanity!

    Eventually I set my new toy aside in frustration, very disappointed and like so many others determined to return it the next day. But in the morning I tried one last time and discovered quite by accident that the button in between “Prev/Left” and “Next/Right” is in fact a touchpad as well as a “Select” button! Yes, you have to drag your fingertip across the touchpad in the direction you wish the cursor to move *then* depress it (or hit “Enter) once your desired selection is highlighted.

    This inconsistency in the user interface is perplexing and suggests the software was assembled from different sources. At least the touchpad swipe seems to work consistently across every app (although in the case of the browser it controls a GUI cursor).

    As a Tablet

    Ah, the browser! I can’t find a settings or configuration option – the “Menu” key only brings up options for “Favorite List” / “Add Favorite” / “Open URL” / “Back” and “Exit”. The browser mimics Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP.

    Once connected, it”s actually fairly capable for light-duty use, doing a fine job with http://www.dilbert.com/fast for example.

    Delightfully, you can download ebooks directly to the device (stored internally under /user/My Books) – add m.gutenberg.org to your favorites right away! Unfortunately, the filename remains the cryptic “pg”-series number rather than parsing the book title from the file, so you experience the downside of using the filesystem as your “Library” instead of a metadata catalog. Sideloading via Calibre might be desirable.

    It also downloads from Google Books, which use the title as the filename. When you click “Download” the browser requests confirmation, including warning of duplicate filenames – but appears to offer no option to change the new name.

    Sadly, most of the downloaded files couldn”t be opened, with the reader app suggesting they might be corrupted! A subsequent session appeared to download but I couldn’t even find the files! To be fair, I discovered the filesystem was full, although when I connected to a Windows 2000 (yes!) notebook and began moving files off the internal storage to the 32GB card, the latter was corrupted to the extent that CHKDSK was unable to repair it and I had to reformat – perhaps I should have formatted the card in the reader before use? Moving the 1.2GB of PDF magazines to a Win7 laptop went smoothly, however, and subsequent downloads were successful.

    Surprisingly, file management appears lacking. I can’t find any way to even delete files without resorting to the USB drive interface – although you can delete Bookmarks (and Favorites within the browser via an option off of “ALT-MENU” within the Favorites list).

    As a Media Player

    The MP3 player is bare-bones but servicable and will automatically advance to the next file within the current directory (so audiobooks flow from chapter to chapter). Using the “Library” directory to descend to the desired title and selecting an .mp3 extension launches the “Music” app but like its “Video” companion the selection list offers only those files residing in the predefined directories (“Video” and “Audio” – another little inconsistency). The bottom of the unit sports a 3.5mm headphone jack and there are dedicated “Vol+” and “Vol-” keys – nice!

    The Video Player

    The LCD display is 16:9 widescreen aspect so downloaded videos are undistorted. As with texts you can download videos directly to the /user/My Books directory (not “Videos”). The mp4 format appears to work best – .mov freezes after a few seconds

    As an eReader

    With a display of only 800×480 compared to the 1280×600 resolution of leading competitors I wasn’t expecting the iTomic to fare very well. But the font selection is adequate and the black text on a white background offers good contrast. I typically get about 33-40 lines of 45-60 characters at a comfortable size.

    Within the reader app the “Menu” key brings up different options depending on the document type:

    ePub:
    Font – Five choices with 6 sizes each
    Rotate – redundant since g-sensor autorotates
    Style – Allows adjusting margins and line spacing via touchpad

    PDF:
    Zoom – The most useful option is “Zoom +”, which forces landscape mode (oddly, autorotate is not supported for PDFs)

    Common menu options include:
    Goto Page – pops up an entry box
    Pronounce – Text-to-Speech function
    Bookmark – builds a list of page numbers within the book
    Favorite – adds the book to your Favorites
    Outline – Displays the chapter list if present

    Good PDF Support

    Support of true PDF files is excellent! A complex “Letters To The Editor” page in a magazine rendered in about 20 seconds when passed through the “Zoom+” function, which rotates the page 90 degrees (landscape mode) and resizes it to fill the left/right margins (scrolling within the page via the “Prev / Left” and “Next / Right” keys – very useful). The “Original” zoom is the compliment, resizing the page to fill the top/bottom margins, while the “SYM” key pops up a zoom level selector. Since the reader renders a couple of pages ahead, response in practice is instantaneous while actually reading. Text-To-Speech is supported for PDFs as well.

    Many readers are unable to display the Encapsulated Postscript embedded in scanned Google PDFs, displaying only blank pages. But the iTomic handles both page image scans and true PDF text files as well as could be expected. Image scans take longer to render on average and the lack of a cropped view often wastes screen real estate on whitespace in large margins. But the only real problem is that nested images are displayed as black boxes – typically you’ll see the caption and frame but not the picture. Diagrams, however, are usually OK. And the primary “text” layer displays fine. Even “A Home for All” (Fowler, 1854) – one of the poorest scans in Google’s collection – was readable in “Zoom+” landscape mode.

    Other Formats

    One delightful surprise is the excellent support for the MobiPocket .prc format! I have 40 volumes of the “Harvard Classics” series and the formatting was beautiful; I had no idea the Harvard logo was red.

    Another pleasant discovery was the persistence of any adjustments to font and style as well as current location when exiting a book. Return to it days later and your preferences are preserved. It must employ a database on the internal drive because you can even swap SD cards and bring up another copy.

    In Summary

    The iTomic is what Jerry Pournelle deems “infuriatingly excellent” – an iconoclastic exercise in user interface eccentricities worthy of Microsoft! The greatest challenge lies in figuring out how to use the touchpad – if it were colored red or grey it would clarify the intent. Like all readers there are lapses in functionality as well – particularly file management. But withal this bulky reader offers a good experience for novice and veteran alike: the veteran will be bemused by its curious mix of oversights and the novice will find enough functionality to satisfy.

    1. I have never been so frustrated with anything in my life. I certainly would love to find out how to use this thing but I can’t even get the “time” to change. I guess I’ll just have to take a loss and hide it in the back of the closet where all my other failed purchases have gone. Thinking of taking it to work and finding an IT guy to help. Bought it off of Ebay as a “sale of the day”. So frustrated- as my daughter said “you get what you pay for” UGH!!

      1. It also took me around 10 minutes to figure out as well. You have to highlight the number that you want to change. Then use the square to scroll up and down when the box is highlighted.

        1. The thing that took me a while to figure out on the “time” page is that to move from one square to the other, use the touchpad and move sideways. That even moves you up and down from one line to another. I know that is used in other applications, but I wasn’t smart enough to figure it out at first.

          I, too, spent about 31 dollars on this device, and after reading these comments for the past few minutes, I think that I will keep it. It was frustrating not to be able to get into the “Library” sub-directories. But thanks to the comments above, I am now getting the jist of the thing.

          Thank you so much. I just did a Google search after calling the “Customer Support” number, finding it dead and then the website dead as well. Thanks again for all of your support.

  13. email about the reader or ebooks should have as the subject “ITONIC” or the email hits the spam bucket.

    The Itonic 7″ replaced a more expensive nit from a different maker that went t#ts-up, was replaced under warranty with an exchange unit, but that replacement had bad page-switches and it lasted only a short while. Warranty was over so it got the dump.

    The Itonic works well, but the g-rotate is a pia sometimes. The display is great, I read in bed with no other lights so I don’t disturb my boss(wife, but don’t tell her). The only problem I have is using the sdcard for books, the unit doesn’t find them.

    As for free ebooks, since this device reads just about anything (and for only 30.00, thank you) open a web-browser and type those two words in the address bar, “free ebooks” with out the quotes. Of the hundred of thousands of hits you’ll get in response some will be actually free (and not pirated) and you should find subject matter to your liking. Do a little work, expend a little effort and the reward of the results should make it worth your while.

    I’m thinking of buying a second unit just to have a spare, but the battery life, in an unused state, makes that a no-choice choice. If only this thing was powered from rechargeable AAA’s.

    Now I gotta work on using that SDCard…

    1. How do you download books on it and read the books?? The free books work with no problem but any books i put on it (by downloading them to my computer and then dragging and dropping into the my books file) says unsupported when I try to open them. When I try to register my adobe digital editions id in the DRM register it says there is an error and won’t work. Seems like a decent reader especially for my 10 year old daughter, but would be even better if i could get it to work right!

  14. I wanted to thank Dave Huber for a very informative post and add to (or reiterate) the information he provided.

    For quick video tutorials on the iTomic IEBR7C 7″ eBook Reader go to:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwUtgpCMrqk
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnMv1keswX0

    The young lady who made these videos did a fine job in covering many of the features of the ereader.

    I’d like to highlight a few items not covered in the brief user’s manual:

    1. The physical power button on the bottom of the ereader if briefly tapped will put the ereader to sleep. Tapping it a second time will return it to the last operational state.

    2. To have the ereader read you text from a book; once in the book, select Menu and then Pronounce. This feature reads the text from the current page. This is one of my favorite features and is especially useful for PDF documents where the font can be extremely small. Volume +/- controls work with this feature. There are a few quirks with reading PDF documents–I’ll leave that for you to discover.

    3. The touch pad/scroll button will allow navigating through the ereader’s screens. A backward swipe (or selecting back) takes you back a page and you move forward by clicking on a selection. When in a document swiping left or up will move you back a page; swiping right or down will move you forward a page. In a PDF document (unless using the Zoom + feature) swiping right or left will shift the page side to side if the entire page is not displayed. Swiping up or down in a PDF document will move you back or forward a page.

    On a web page the touch pad allows 360 degree movement across the screen. As was mentioned earlier the browser is for light use and will either not be able to display newer graphically rich sites or will take several minutes to render a page.

    4. The SYM option allows changing the magnification of the screen. Pressing the button repeatedly will cycle you through the four options. The touch pad can also be used to select the magnification. I find it faster to just cycle to the magnification I want and hit the enter key.

    5. Keyboard shortcut:
    Within a book press 0 (zero key to the left of the space bar) = Goto Page

    6. Zoom + option will reorient your PDF documents turning them 90 degrees to the left and will fit the document page to the landscape view. This compensates for autorotate not being supported when viewing a PDF document. Each screen in Zoom + displays approximately a third of a page.

    Again, the videos mentioned above cover many of the features of the ereader and I highly recommend watching them both.

    Good luck and share what you learn about this ereader.

  15. I purchased my first iTomic a little over a month ago through Wal-Mart. It worked so well that last week I ordered another one as a gift. Two days before the new one arrived the first one quit working. The new one arrived yesterday and has never worked at all. I’m taking them both back today. Since the first one quit working just a couple of days past 30 days, I may not get a refund on it, but I will certainly get to express my disgust and displeasure.

  16. Hi all. I, too, wish I had read more before buying this, but still willng to give it a try for a 7th grader. Anyway, wondering whether anyone knows how to restore the free, re-loaded library? While going thru all the set-up menus, we happeed upon the “format” page an mistakenly hit the enter key intead of cancel — any now all the free/pre-loaded ebooks are gone! We tried to “restore”, but without sussess. Any suggestions? thx, Michelle

  17. Dave Huber and Earl Henley, thank you guys. I had been doing research on ereaders since my old Sony is ok but not good for my husband. He (80yrs old) used it to finish reading a book whose print was too small in the paper edition. I had downloaded it and then uploaded for him. Since he has a tremor, the touchscreen readers are a no go. Will the manufacturers ever consider this? I doubt it. I didn’t want to buy Kindle and read the pros and cons of this one. It came w/ a pretty good guide to getting started but I appreciate the addn’l info from Dave and Earl. Too bad there aren’t any more available from WalMart since I am now jealous and, suddenly, my Sony is no longer good enuf. I want a color ereader w/ backlight. I doubt I’ll be using the internet but it’s nice to know I could. So we’ll see how it goes. For the people who say “it just stopped”.. yeah, so does my Sony and then I stick a toothpick in the reset and I go back to what I was doing. Hope the same holds true here. I hope everyone has a great holiday season and hope you keep sharing ideas on how best to use this.

  18. I expect a lot of these will be downloading from m.gutenberg.org on Christmas morning and I want to share that I’ve never had a problem downloading the Kindle format but epub fails 90% of the time. Unfortunate, since epub is compressed.

  19. I just got one of these off Ebay and I love it. I have nearly filled up the included 2gb memory with multiple folders of books, navigates just fine thru the Library of the reader. I have installed a 1gb SD card and have put music on it that I can listen to while I read, totally cool. Didn’t know it would be usable in dark but a pleasant surprise to see that it does. The device is just great and for me was very easy to figure out. Hope it lasts for years. Only drawback is slow wi-fi (maybe on my end) and dated browser (Win IE 7) but I didn’t buy it for that, just to read some books so I don’t care on that.

  20. Thanks Nate for the reviews and the place for people to respond. Your reviews and the responses helped convince me to spring for an itomic. I’m totally happy, but knowing what to expect helped. I’ve run it through it’s various features and when I realized I could get it to display in portrait format while I was laying sideways on the couch reading, I was happy.

    In some respects it’s like someone going to the moon with maybe 80’s technology. It will get you there, but it probably won’t be as automated and the buttons won’t be as snazzy. Sure a touchscreen would be fun, but cheap is more fun, and I’ll be reading not swiping most of the time anyway.

    I agree wifi is slow, but to be honest, I almost consider that an advantage. I have plenty of ways to connect to the internet and this makes reading more tempting than surfing on the reader. Good.

    The text-to-speech is a novelty, and doesn’t do half bad. I can’t see using it much, but I write, and it’s interesting to hear it read back something I’ve written.

    I got the iTomic for reading and so far it does a great job of epub and pdf formats. The one mobi file I had looked bad in formatting, but I don’t know if that was the file or the format. The same thing in epub looked great. I love being able to transfer articles to read from the internet away from my desktop. Maybe I’ll buy a book someday, but between the articles, the free books available, and some advance reader copies I have, I’ll be busy for awhile.

    I really think devices like this fill a niche – people like me who really won’t use all the bells, whistles, and connectivity and don’t want to pay for it. We just want a reader to read with (imagine that!) I’m fine with the extra step of loading up my sd card and an interface that involves a few more steps and quirks than the high priced readers. Another happy camper, um reader, here!
    Gwen

  21. Meant to add, for anyone reading and still interested in this reader by the company that is no more – I bought mine from J&R and they still have them advertised as of 1/25/13. Price is $39. Warning – my first reader arrived with a big 3/8″ ring of defective pixels. However, the company was very good with providing me a return shipping label and shipping me a replacement device.

  22. In case you have a dead unit, heres something to try. {have had same prob will a lot of the tablets}

    Let battery drain completely…a week or two. Then connect power adapter and let it recharge overnight. [there is a little red lite on the side by the "Q" key]. Morning after, it works.

    I like the non-touch screen too.

    regards

    tomc

  23. I purchased this for my daughter’s 13th birthday. She loves it! She was easily able to learn how to use it. Learning to obtain songs and books from a PC was more difficult but we figured that out together. It is a wonderful e-reader with a lot of perks. One of the wonderful features is the text to speech to help her with words she does not know how to pronounce (when others aren’t around to help). You can’t do that with conventional books! She now has songs, photos and many books on it. We recommend it.

  24. i bought one of these over a year ago and until recently it worked fine, but now i can’t get anything to transfer over to it. i have tried everything i can think about of, formatting, resetting to factory settings, checking the disk, DE-fragmenting. nothing i seem to do helps, in fact nothing i change from the computer seems to hold as soon as i disconnect the e-reader the changes go back to the way it was before. dose anyone know how to solve the problem?

  25. Hi. I enjoy this for what it is.
    My 1 question is:
    * Has anyone figured out how when on the Internet to get the screen to display the webpages in landscape mode?
    It does this for ebooks, but I cannot seem to do it for a webpage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>