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The list price is $399, so it’s half off.  Very, very tempting.  Here is a really good review by A. Gerber from the Amazon site:

I have never had any interest in owning an ereader (e.g. Nook, Kindle, etc), and I already have a Tablet PC (ThinkPad x200 tablet), but when I saw the Dualbook, I knew I had to have one. As an academic, it seemed like the perfect device–something that would let you annotate, grab webpages on the fly and save them as PDFs, write notes while reading. Plus the extended battery life, portability, and even the eInk features had me sold. Deciding between the Entourage Edge (EE) and the Pocket Edge (PE) was agonizing: screen real estate versus size/weight, and so on. I finally opted for the PE, figuring that I have a fullsize tablet PC already, and the portability would really be worth it.

I’ve had the PE for 4 days, and I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time (for me) reading the user forums, downloading apps, and fiddling with various settings and functions. Here are my thoughts, in bullet form:


* The users in the forum are incredibly helpful and knowledgeable–because of them, I have been able to extend the capabilities of the PE way more than I would have been able to on my own, thus significantly enhancing my enjoyment of the PE
* The integration between the tablet and reader is amazing, and pretty much all that I’d hoped for
* The battery life truly is amazing
* The weight it great–not heavy at all
* With the built in YouTube app, streaming is a snap, and of good quality
* The reader functions much like the Kindles I’ve seen, so as far as I can tell, it’s a top notch reader
* Despite being blockaded from the Android Market (thanks Google), there are still lots of ways to get your favorite apps and really trick out the device to suit your needs/tastes
* The WiFi was super easy to set up, and generally speaking, within 10 minutes out of the box I had the thing up and running with no problems
* Overall, it’s fast, responsive, fun to play with, and easy to use.

* No access to Android Market, which isn’t Entourage’s fault, but is still frustrating
* The eInk screen is too small to write on–I tried to annotate a PDF on the reader screen yesterday, and it was impossible. There’s just not enough real estate to orient the pen correctly. UPDATE: I meant to come back to this earlier, but I figured out how to use the “PDF reflow” function, which turns the pdf page from an image to text. It affects the layout, so it’s not good for pdfs with multi-columns or tables, but for regular text documents, it’s just fine and resolves a lot of the annotation issues I was originally having.
* Handwriting recognition software comes standard on my Tablet PC, but there’s no app for this on the Edge. Who finds it useful to hand write pages of notes in the journal that can’t be converted to text? Not me!
* The PE has a resistive screen, which is much harder to scroll and select on than the capacitive touchscreens (like the Droid’s). It’s sometimes quite frustrating, and I wind up using the stylus to minimize the frustration
* I was able to download the kindle app for android to the PE, but for various reasons, you can’t actually read downloaded kindle books on the reader side, only on the tablet side. It’s better than nothing, but it would obviously be preferable to be able to read kindle editions through the reader. UPDATE: You can sideload Nook books and read them on the eInk side, it’s incredibly easy. And pdf/epub format books are available from Kobo and the Entourage Store as well. I subscribe to The Economist and Foreign Affairs–I download their digital editions from their website or via Calibre, load them onto the PE and read them on the eInk side. I think I have a better reading experience than those who are buying the Kindle versions of those magazines!
* No 3G: I had seen several reports that Verizon would be releasing a 3G-enabled version of the Edge in September 2010, but that does not seem to have happened, and I’ve seen no further news of it. It would really make sense for this to be a mobile broadband device.

As you can see, there are some significant benefits and some significant limitations. Some of my criticisms might have been resolved by getting the larger EE–I’m sure handwriting is easier to deal with on the larger screen, for example. But until they find a way to bring it down in weight from its currently hefty 3 pounds (or are physically carried in stores, where one can go investigate before buying), the PE was the right choice. Overall, I definitely would recommend this product, but really only for those who are interested in new gadgets, or for those who can live with certain kinds of limitations. If you really want the best reader on the market, this isn’t it. If you want the best tablet on the market, this also isn’t it. But if you want a device that combines both and does a better than average job of it, this is definitely it. As it stands, the PE is not for everyone, but I would imagine that in a few generations of upgrades (both software and hardware), this is going to be a truly killer device.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: On April 1, Entourage released a beta version of an OS upgrade to Android 2.2. The upgrade is fantastic! I have had zero issues with the upgrade on my Pocket Edge. Here are some of the new features:
*hibernation mode, which significantly extends battery life (I have left the PE in hibernation overnight and lost only 2% of my remaining battery power)
*faster tablet response and improved accuracy in screen typing and hyperlinking
*compatible with the latest generation of Android apps, including native sync with Gmail/Google Calendar/Google contacts
*landscape mode on the eink reader side
*significant speed improvements to the handwriting function in the journal app (eink side)

This OS update has noticeably improved the quality of this device, and has really enhanced its functionality. I still say that the Pocket Edge is not for everybody: if you want something ultra-light, ultra-thin, media oriented, and 100% ready out of the box, then this is not for you! Now, more than ever, I would recommend the PE or the full-sized Edge for academics, lawyers, doctors, sales people, engineers, and teachers

Thanks to EbookNewser for the heads up.


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