I received my review unit of the Sharper Image Literati last night. I haven’t really had the chance to do much with it, but I did take some unboxing photos. I also took a video with my webcam, though I’m a bit undecided whether to make it public; the audio quality isn’t great.
One thing I noticed was that the section of the packaging with the device itself in it had already been slit open; not sure whether they did that just to make it easy for me to take the thing out, or whether someone else had the review unit before me, but I didn’t really care much either way.
One thing that struck me was the shape of the screen. It seems subtly wrong somehow; it’s like the proportions are off. But I realized that’s largely because I’m so used to the 1.5:1 ratio of the iPod Touch, or the 4:3 ratio of the iPad or standard computer monitors. For that matter, the screen is proportionally narrower than most book pages, too, and the addition of the keyboard on the bottom makes it look even thinner.
I noticed that at least a portion of the very same Winnie the Pooh book that comes free with iBooks was bundled on the device, allowing me to do some iPad comparison shots right out of the box (bearing in mind that flash photography tends to make backlit LCD look worse than it does in real life).
I’m not sure at all I like the wideness of the margins on the Literati; they’re about the same width as those on the iPad but since the screen is narrower it feels like losing more horizontal space. Consequently, the amount of text on the screen actually feels about the same as I would have had on my old iPod Touch. I couldn’t find anywhere obvious in the settings to adjust margin width.
Although the packaging and the promo material said that the device was supposed to come pre-loaded with 25 books, I only found 6, including the Winnie the Pooh. Three of them were Hungry Girl cookbooks, and one was some sort of Project Runway thing. I’m not really too bothered by this, given that I’d be reading mostly stuff I already had on it anyway, but it would have been nice to see what the titles were.
I haven’t had the chance to try the device with any of my own content yet, as I couldn’t get either my laptop or my desktop to recognize it when I plugged it into the USB with the provided cable. (Update: They’re sending me a new mini-USB cable; this one may be defective.) I copied my 400-plus-titles Calibre library onto the SD card I normally use for my camera and have dropped it in the slot.
The device churned away “processing new content” for 45 minutes…and then told me “no e-books available” after it finished. What? Presumably because the books were in a subfolder, rather than the root directory. Lame. (But even so, there were a couple of EPUB and PDFs in the root directory…why didn’t it notice them?) I’ll say more about the device once I’ve had the chance to play around with it some more.