This week Big Lots! started selling the Slick eReader for $89.99. The store in my area had plenty, but then again I got there early on Sunday morning. The ad in the paper doesn’t reveal any real specs so here they are as listed on the reader’s box:
- 7” Color display
- 2gb internal memory
- SD Card slot for additional storage
- Supports ePub and PDF files
- Plays music, video, and pictures
- Auto switching from landscape to portrait view
- Support for Borders eBooks and Adobe Digital Editions
Included in the box:
- The eReader (of course)
- USB cable
- AC Charger
- User Guide
The packaging itself is nothing to write home about so I will skip that description. The reader looks heavier than it is and is built quite solidly. The front looks like a brushed metal, but it plastic. In spite of that it doesn’t look or feel like a cheap reader. Page turning can be done using the side buttons that are clearly labeled or by using the navigation button on the bottom. The included cover is black as expected and the device is held in place by brackets. While the cover is plain, I think it is a nice plus to be included.
In order to get your books on the device you have to connect the reader to your PC or Mac. From there you have to install the Border’s Desktop software. All instructions on getting started are explain in detail in the User Guide along with pictures. This I liked. I hate when the user guide is installed on the reader. Since the reader is not Wifi, all book transfers must be done via your computer. The desktop app does have a sync-to-reader button. This works fine for Borders, but the guide does not specify how to add your own files or Adobe Digital Editions to the reader. I don’t have any ADE files so I could not test that part, but I would think that you would just follow Adobe instructions. I did load some of my ePubs to the device simply through copy and paste. I placed them in a folder and the reader did show them in the library.
Just to see what would happen, I also connected the reader to Kobo Desktop app. As soon as it connected there was an option to sync my reader. I now have the books I bought from their site on my Slick. Nice to know, huh?
Since the reader is quite simple, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. The user guide does get you started, but it excludes some things that I feel are important. For example, bookmarks. I didn’t see it in the guide and while playing with the reader I hit the ok button and then the bookmark option pop up! I can’t say too much about the battery life, since I’ve only had it a few days. I’ve charged it once and it still has a few bars left.
There are some gripes I have about the reader. They aren’t major, but I can see it as a deterrent for some:
Display: It is not as clear as some other lower end LCD devices. The only comparison I can think of is the old-school REB1200 color reader. But it is clear enough for an enjoyable reading experience. Auto page rotation is very sensitive and there is no setting to lock the lock the screen.
Margins: They can’t be adjusted by users. I prefer small margins to get more words on the page. It is not a lot of white space, but I would be happier if I could fine tune it a bit.
Fonts: There are only 3 choices. The largest setting is really huge, and the medium is okay, but I wish there was something in between. There are no font choices. Fonts seem to be dependent on the book. This also affects the font sizes. I see the most difference in the ePubs that I have added. So there is no real consistency in the appearance of pages from book to book.
Library: All books show as a generic book until you open the book. Then it appears with the cover art.
So much of this can be fixed with a firmware update. Will we get one? I hope so. The SlickUSA website has been updated and the reader is now showing. The user guide is available for download. Other than that no other info like specs are on the site.
Overall, I like this reader. For the price you can’t go wrong.