Review: Skytex Primer

This is an that's ereader destined to be a blip on the market, and that's unfortunate. It's actually a decent ereader. (Then again, I thought the Ectaco Jetbook was going to be a blip on the market and look what it did.)

Hardware & Specs

The Skytex Primer is based on a 7" LCD screen (800x480), 400 MHz Rockchip CPU, 2GB Flash, and a microSDHC card slot (up to 16Gb supported). It also has an FM Radio, a microphone, and a speaker. It has 2 sets of page turn button on the right side of the screen; below the screen is a d-pad, number keys, as well as buttons for rotate, back, font size, and play/pause.

The Primer supports Epub, PDF, html, Mobi, FB2, and txt for ebook formats, and according to the specs page it also plays MP3, WMA, APE, FLAC, AAC, RMVB, VOB, DAT, MP4, FLV, and 3GP. I do not have most of those formats so I can't test it. I got around 10 hours of battery life before I had to recharge. That's not bad for a LCD based ereader.

Reading Experience

I like the general feel of the Primer. I kept setting aside the Literati so I could instead read on the Primer. It's not the prettiest ereader on the market, but using it was pleasant. It doesn't have any features beyond bookmarks and page jump, but I don't see why that would be a problem.

I found one rather curious feature. According to the CPU maker (they developed the firmware),  the Primer does not support DRM. They were quite certain that they did not add this feature. However, there's a problem with that. My review unit worked just fine with Adobe DE.  I've authorized the Primer and transferred several DRMed ebooks on to it and they work.

I'm fairly certain that it's not using Adobe Reader Mobile (the reading app on Sony, Nook, etc), though. An ebook will look about the same whether you read it on NookStudy, Nook4PC, or Sony Reader Library.  The Primer is showing a several major differences in how it displays ebooks. Add that to the fact that I've messed with my laptop a lot (my Adobe DE install might not be kosher anymore) and the fact that Skytex aren't seeing this feature. I don't know if you'll have this feature, so don't count on it.

Video

I wanted to include a special note about the video becuase it was a lot better than I expected. I'm not a video buff, but I think one might like the Primer. It came with several clips, and they played at full screen resolution (800x480). (I double checked on my laptop.) That was impressive considering the CPU was only listed as 400MHz. 16GB cards aren't that expensive now and it's enough for quite a bit.

Opinion

I really liked this device as a $99 ereader, and it really does have a good reading experience. But I've been told that the retail is now $129, and that's just a little too much. TBH, even at the original price it had a lot of competition.

You can buy the Primer right now at Meritline.com for $119. I also know that this hardware has already shown up in Australia as the Big W MiGear.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

14 Comments

  1. Jeff2 November, 2010

    I stopped reading at 7″ … 800×480

    Reply
  2. James4 November, 2010

    I’m curious about how you got it to read drm books. I downloaded two books from the library and after authorizing my primer trough ADE (just downloaded installed today) transfering to my primer I get the error “loan info wrong. ” and of course file doesn’t open.

    James

    Reply
    1. Nate the great4 November, 2010

      My contact with Skytex couldn’t get it to work, either. I didn’t do anything other than plug it in. Adobe DE recognized it without any trouble.

      Reply
    2. erisgrrrl21 February, 2011

      I had this problem too. But only on certain books. Others worked just fine. A couple of times I had to delete a book and re-load it to get the pictures (I was borrowing cooking, children’s and craft books). They also released a firmware upgrade so now DRM titles should work.

      Reply
    3. Alan25 April, 2011

      James dis you get a solution to “loan info is wrong”?

      Alan

      Reply
  3. […] LCD based e-reader looks to be the same as the Skytex Primer I reviewed a few weeks back. This one comes with 2GB Flash, a microSD card slot. and broade ebook, audio, and video format […]

    Reply
  4. […] case you’re interested, here is my review of the Skytex […]

    Reply
  5. Wade21 January, 2011

    Does this really work with mobi, and what about the Ematic, does it also support mobi?

    Reply
  6. betherann8 March, 2011

    My Adobe DE does not even TRY to recognize my Primer. Can you offer any suggestions? :\

    Reply
    1. PrimerFan15 March, 2011

      The Skytex website has the firmware update now that supports DRM ebooks. The FAQ section of their website still says they are working on the licensing agreement with Adobe, but this apparently is complete and the newest update is there under downloads section. My husband (the techie of the house) installed the update for me and now it works great with Adobe DE–I’ve been buying books from the Kobo site recently. Couldn’t be happier with it now!

      Reply
  7. Emily1 January, 2012

    Hey guys…
    I was wondering If this reader supports italic formatting.
    I have a similar ereader and it replaces italic formatting with bold.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder1 January, 2012

      I don’t believe it does.

      Reply
  8. Bernadine Fox2 May, 2012

    Can’t get ADE to recognize my Primer. I also have no idea how to authorize this thing. Can you point me in the right direction? I can download books onto it – but they fail cause of the DRM

    Reply
  9. Glenn8 March, 2013

    If this thread is still active? – To flash the firmware on Skytex Primer e-Reader, the files are here http://www.skytex.com/driver-download

    PLEASE READ, before you flash the firmware.

    Enjoy!

    Reply

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