The latest and greatest 6″ ereader from the Dutch reseller Icarus is now listed on Amazon.com. Yesterday my competition reported that the Illumina HD, a 6″ ereader which launched last month, can now be had via Amazon.com for the princely sum of $184 (plus shipping).
This ereader sports a 6″ Pearl E-ink screen with a capacitive touchscreen and frontlight. It runs Android 4.2 on a dual-core 1GHz CPU with 512MB RAM, and 4GB internal storage, It also has Wifi, a microSD card slot, and comes bundled with a cover (hence the high price tag).
As I mentioned when I covered the launch last month, this is a very attractive ereader. It’s not quite as good as the Onyx Boox T68 (which is also available on Amazon) but it does run a newer version of Android on a faster CPU – albeit without Google Play.
I don’t plan to get one myself; I don’t like Icarus’s customer service. But if you do buy one you should know that it ships from the Netherlands, and that you are paying the full EU price. Icarus sells the Illumina HD on their website for 135 euros (119 euros without the cover), and on Amazon.com they sell the same device for basically the same price: $183.
Icarus has neglected to deduct the EU taxes that US customers are not required to pay. In other words US customers are being overcharged by about $30.
While that shouldn’t necessarily stop you from buying from Icarus, it is an example of why I don’t like the company and will not shop there. And that is unfortunate, because my competitor has one and he says it is not bad:
I’ve only been using the device for a couple of days, but the software seems to run a little smoother and faster than the T68?s. For one, the Illumina HD enters partial refresh mode automatically when scrolling without having to manually turn it on, and it works quite well. The Kindle app comes pre-installed and it works better than on the T68, especially when shopping the Kindle store, which is almost impossible on the T68 for whatever reason.
So far it looks like a promising ereader. The built in reading app is pretty basic, but other apps can be installed. Without Google Play onboard it’s harder to get apps, but I installed both the Amazon appstore and 1Mobile appstore and both work well enough to install Android apps.
Update: At the advice of a couple readers, I am going to buy the OEM version of the Illumina. It costs $100 when bought from China.