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back to article John Lewis pitches 80-quid colour e-book reader

If Samsung's 7in Galaxy Tab is too big for you - let alone Apple's 9.7in iPad - then how about this 5in "colour e-book reader" that the middle classes' favourite retailer, John Lewis, will be offering this Christmas? Out under the name of UK electronics supplier Sovos, the SVEBK5-B has a 480 x 800 LCD and measures a neat 149 x …

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Only 80 Quid...

Errm £79.95 to be exact

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Anonymous Coward

No e-ink

But it doesn't use a e-paper display.

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spec sheet

http://www.sovos.co.uk/pdf/Sovos_SpecSheet_SVEBK5.pdf

Not what I would call "detailed".

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Any chance of a review?

And a comparison with some of their other offerings such as the Kindle?

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codec support

without a lisr of supported codecs sayim WMV and MP4 is worthless.

read the one page spec sheet and shudder.

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Anonymous Coward

Video codec

The tech support guys for this company were very helpful and pointed out that there are lots of different encodings that could be stored in an mp4 and that it may not work. Their suggestion was to use divx.

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Troll

no e-ink

An ebook should use e-ink or it should be called a tablet. They should make it an EU law ;)

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For £30 more you can have a Kindle.....

with e-paper and and 30 *days* of e-book reading on a single charge.

While this may make a fair compromise device if you are interested in watching video, if your primary concern is reading then the LCD screen is a major problem. It is harder on the eyes, will perform poorly in bright light and the display and backlight sucks the battery dry in a few hours.

I was initially sceptical about e-ink, until I tried it. I can read a Kindle for hours without any eye strain, whereas I can barely manage 30 minutes on an LCD before I'm rubbing my eyes and blinking.

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@Eponymous Cowherd

"I was initially sceptical about e-ink, until I tried it. I can read a Kindle for hours without any eye strain, whereas I can barely manage 30 minutes on an LCD before I'm rubbing my eyes and blinking." Your PC monitor is LCD and u read that for HOURS with no trouble whatsoever. It was the e-ink inventors that started the LCD eye strain myth.

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LCD vs e-ink

LCDs are backlit. e-ink screens aren't (- they're reflective, like regular paper).

They really are much easier on the eyes.

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No I don't

I *look at* my monitor for a few hours at a time before taking a break for lunch or a cup of tea. I have read a book on the monitor and it was a very unpleasant experience.

Hardly anyone actually reads at their LCD screen for hours at a time and I'd venture a guess that most of them do have trouble.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: LCD vs e-ink

I think the real benefit of E Ink screens is actually the lack of a glossy front, not the display technology per se.

It's the reflections that makes you average (glossy) LCD less pleasant to read for long periods. Otherwise, I'd have LCD's generally higher resolution and certainly higher contrast over E Ink any day.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: No I don't

Monitor LCD != tablet LCD. Reading for long periods on a monitor isn't pleasant, I agree, but I think that's more to do with overall bodily comfort.

Spudding out on the sofa with, say, an iPad and I can read novels and comics for hours without discomfort.

I suspect that many folk who claim LCD isn't good for extended reading bouts have only done so at a desk or with a laptop.

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no

you don't read your PC screen for hours you sausage. You look away, you type, you glance here and you glance there. That isn't like reading a book.

I have a scientific experiment called "me" because nobody knows my eyes better than me. e-ink affects my eyes like real paper. i.e. it doesn't. A backlit screen does. That's it .End of story.

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Actually............

It may surprise you to know that I actually *do* know that my PC monitor is an LCD screen.

When I use my LCD computer screen, it isn't for intensive reading. I have downloaded a few books onto my laptop and find reading them very tiring, but normal work, where I keep looking away from the screen every minute (or less) is OK, though, by the end of the day, I've had enough.

The e-ink on the kindle isn't backlit and doesn't flicker. In fact, apart from the slight "sheen" it is identical to regular paper. I can read it for hours, continuously, with no eye strain.

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Gloss.

The kindle e-ink screen also has a slight sheen, but no different to my Dell Latitude (a sort of "silk" finish, so it certainly isn't that). The discomfort I feel with extensive LCD use is certainly real, and doesn't occur with the Kindle. Given the similar "sheen" to the two screens, I can only put it down to the backlight and, possibly, the flicker associated with the screen refresh on the LCD.

I do have a particular hatred for the current fad for shiny LCD screens, these do make the eye strain problem worse, but it certainly isn't the whole story.

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Silver badge

Your own perspective.

I find *any* backlit screen tiring, whether it's handheld or otherwise. After about 20 to 30 minutes of reading I find it increasingly difficult to scan along the page. The words almost seem to move around.

This only occurs with backlit screens. Not with paper, or e-paper.

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display?

How good is the display though? The monochrome readers use displays that work pretty well, even in bright daylight. Does this? or is it no better than reading on a phone?

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Everything is different now.

That's all I have to say on that.

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Um..

>>>The battery life stretches to seven hours' e-book reading, five hours of video playback or 30 hours of music listening, John Lewis said.<<<

And that's why.. no thanks.

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Go

Looks familiar

https://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.44189 $106 = £65.

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Bronze badge

So basically...

...it's a digital photo frame, elsewhere selling for about 25 quid.

Gotta love those marketing people!!!

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@Lord Elpuss

"...it's a digital photo frame, elsewhere selling for about 25 quid.

Gotta love those marketing people!!!..." No, u cant play video on a digital photo frame, and digital photo frames don't support e-books. And u cant even get a decent digital photo frame for 25 quid.

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No video?

Oh no! I'll have to tell my video-capable photo frame that "u cant play video".

It'll be devastated!

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FAIL

Someone want to tell el-reg

It's not a ebook reader unless it's got e-ink...

Anyone that's tried to use an IFad for long-term reading will now painfully know the difference.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Someone want to tell el-reg

No. It's an e-book reader if it's intended by the manufacturer that you read e-books on it. It doesn't matter what the screen technology is.

Now, whether it's a *good* e-book reader, that *does* depend on the screen.

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FAIL

Your needs != my needs.

"iFad"? Never used one of those. But I've read plenty of novels using the Kindle app for my iPad. Hell, I've read a couple on my iPhone 4 too.

I'm a night owl, so an e-ink screen is wasted on me: I do a distressing amount of reading at night and there's no socket anywhere near my bed for a table lamp. A backlit display saves having to buy a separate lamp.

The Kindle 3's e-Ink display is perfectly decent—I've used a Kindle 3; I'm a firm believer in doing some solid research—but only within a very specific usage context.

Commercial e-Ink displays cannot do colour, animation, or video. An LCD-based tablet can. For textbooks and reference materials, my iPad wipes the floor with a Kindle, Nook, or any other e-Ink reader. It's not even a contest.

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Case

By a case with a light for the Kindle - easy.

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Anonymous Coward

(untitled)

Not sure about this "only" description. I can buy a lot of paperbacks for £80. Let me know when they've got it down to about £20 or less.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: (untitled)

Well, this boy would be a darn sight easier to carry around than 80 quid's worth of paperbacks.

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Maybe...

But why and when would you ever want to carry around £80 of paperbacks anyway?

I would presume that most people are happy with carrying maybe two or three when going on holiday. And to my mind, using devices such as these kill any appeal of spending an hour or so browsing through a library or a branch of Waterstones for the next good read.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Maybe...

For myself, I'll forego browsing in bookshops. Almost without exception, bookshop stock is poor thanks to allowing any spotty herbert in off the street to leaf through their stock with greasy paws.

Borders UK - now deceased - has a lot to answer for.

I'd rather buy online and get a pristine copy, thanks. Which is, of course, why Borders UK went bust.

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WTF?

2 or 3 ???

I get through 1 or 2 books a day on holiday...

over 2 weeks that's easily 20 books (i.e. most of anyone's luggage allowance...)

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You're doing it wrong

If you're reading 1 or 2 books per day on holiday, it hardly seems worth the bother anywhere, in which case luggage isn't an issue.

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Anonymous Coward

That old chestnut again...

And you can buy many CDs for the cost of an mp3 player - you still use a CD 'Walkman' I take it...?

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Anonymous Coward

Oh dear...

"But when would you ever want to carry around all your music collection anyway"

1999 called, they want their anti-mp3 argument back...

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Re (untitled)

Most of what is on my reader is out of copyright, so free. Paper copies, assuming I could find them, would cost more than the ebook reader.

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Not quite...

you can pick up an MP3 player for less than a tenner...besides which its pretty easy to move data between CD and MP3. That works less well for books and e-books.

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FAIL

Re: That old chestnut...

Good arguement, but MP3 players are much cheaper, and you can put your existing music collection on them. Had much luck ripping your old books?

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Joke

I like blinking I do

> I was initially sceptical about e-ink, until I tried it. I can read a Kindle for hours without any eye >strain, whereas I can barely manage 30 minutes on an LCD before I'm rubbing my eyes and >blinking.

Try blinking every few seconds.

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Anonymous Coward

Tempting, tempting

Still, no DJVU. And I need that, a lot. Might as well shell out 150UKP for one that does do DJVU, then. Also a bit low on battery life. But for commuting probably good enough. Smartphones and laptops _still_ also have a pitiful battery life, and I see little enough complaint there. Just hope you can charge it while reading in bed, instead of needing a cradle or other.

Only 15 pounds extra for the privilege of local retail and warranty handling is probably well worth it, though, so I think this retailer has found a nice little christmas niche market.

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Megaphone

A digital photo frame/album?

Hmm, clever marketing, but is it really more of a basic tablet?

I see it has a TFT display and TFTs don't generally have comparable battery life or contrast ratios to screens on Ebook readers like the Kindle etc. With a TFT screen however it does have the potential to double up as a photo album/frame which is I think, more of a killer app with much broader appeal, than as an E-book reader. There is a big gap in the market here, but also an opportunity for Tablets. Yes a real use for a tablet... I don't think tablets are at the right price point for this sort of mass market application yet though (£80 is OK). Also many people will prefer the simplicity of something aimed at a more vertical market.

I will be interested to see a review to find out whether Sovos have spotted the potential for this, it doesn't seem to be being marketed as such.

Robin Penny

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This post has been deleted by its author

Happy

only £69.99 at...

Play.com

With free delivery too

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Paris Hilton

Why?

Let me know when there's an e-ink colour e-book reader, and a slew of books that require a colour screen, then I may be interested. Until then, i can't help but think, "Why?!".

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Colour?

I don't actually read that many colour books, so I'm not sure that colour e-ink would be a radical step up for me. Certainly not enough to make the difference between having a reader and not having one.

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Colour...for the pictures!

Ideally colour screen ebook readers are best suited towards comics, sorry, graphic novels ;)

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Happy

Colour is one thing...

But give me a shout when they have invented an e-book reader which accurately replicates my pop up books, with funny pull out bits and nice bits of fabric and shiny things glued in....

just me?

Oh!

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