Review: Sharper Image Literati
I got a Literati about a week ago, and I was 1 of 4 blogs to get it. I’m sitting here right now, watching it fail to load my personal ebooks, and I’ve decided that I’ve used enough to give my opinion.
DON’T BUY IT!
At the very least wait for a firmware update. I have a number of complaints with the Literati, and I’ll take them one by one. But first I’ll give you a summary of its abilities.
- HTG, I can’t think of any
- poor formatting
- no annotation options
- slow to load ebooks
- buggy & unstable
- page turn buttons are iffy
The Literati is a Kindle clone that doesn’t bother to make use of its keyboard. It has a 7″ LCD screen, Wifi, and supports the Kobo ebookstore. The library is pretty much identical to the Kobo PC app, so I’ll skip it here and jump straight to the reading abilities.
The Literati has no annotation options (not even bookmarks). This really bugs me. Why put a keyboard on a device if you don’t plan to use it? You have 5 font size, 2 font choices, and you can adjust the brightness (seven settings). There is a dictionary, but you can’t select a word on the screen (you have to type it in).
I also don’t like the joystick, but there are so many other problems that I’ll skip this one.
I’m covering this irritation first because even if you disagree with my other complaints, this one will give you pause. The Literati doesn’t have page turn buttons. Instead it has spots on the case that are touch sensitive. I hate it. You can’t tap and turn the page; only swipes work. The swipe sensor is also incredibly sensitive. I keep having trouble with it flipping forward, and then back to the page I just read. I also have trouble with it not recognizing a swipe, which irritates me to no end.
I can’t load my own ebooks
I took one of my SD cards with my standard Epub library (about 600 titles) and stuck it in the Literati. It can’t find the ebooks. In fact, it can’t find any ebooks (not even the Kobo ones already on it). I tried a second time with a SD card that had only a dozen titles; the same thing happened.
I’ve never actually had an ereader fail to load ebooks before. I’ve sometimes had to reboot, but in the end the books were loaded. This is a pass fail for me.
Kobo formatting sucks
Until I started using the Literati, I didn’t realize that Kobo ebooks had such limited formatting. I’ve downloaded a dozen freebies, and they are all the same. There’s space between paragraphs and no indents. I hate it. If you appreciate a well designed ebook then you will hate it too. I’m also annoyed by the large margins, but that’s really just a minor problem given the rest of the formatting issues.
The Kobo editions are also significantly less pretty than their counterparts. I have several commercial titles in both Kobo and another format. The Kobo edition always lacks the subtle refinements found in other editions. Heck, Kobo ebooks are actually less pretty than Kindle ebooks, and that’s saying something.
And I just noticed that on a couple of ebooks, the Kobo edition doesn’t even have the full TOC. WTF is Kobo doing different from everyone else? It makes no sense.
Here are a couple of photos that show the relative formatting. The same title is on both ereaders. BTW, I’m showing 2 photos because the first shows a section break that the Kobo edition doesn’t have.
Update: Mike Cane pointed out that it’s not fair to compare the different font size. Well, those are the font sizes I find comfortable on each ereader. Yes, the font is larger on the Literati, but it’s the fault of the Literati. I think the font is bigger because I hold it further away.
I just crashed the Literati again
I tried to bring up the TOC and the Literati rebooted. That’s not the only bug. It also takes a long time to load an ebook every time I open it. This isn’t just the first time; it’s slow every time I open an ebook. The Literati isn’t recognized as a USB drive. This actually isn’t a big deal; I’m sure it will be fixed. But it’s irritating nonetheless.
The Literati costs $159, and the K3 Wifi costs $139. I don’t see any reason to get the Literati over the Kindle.