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iRex Digital Reader

iRex Digital Reader DR1000S

Paper tiger?

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Review iRex extended its electronic book line back in September last year, but it's taken us more than a couple of weeks to get used to its new DR1000s Digital Reader and understand that this is really a new class of product, rather than an evolution of the smaller readers of the past.

iRex Digital Reader

iRex's Digital Reader

Electronic-ink screens have been pushed into the role of electronic books but, like Amazon, iRex has realised that the real money isn't in electronic books at all, but in electronic document readers. Executives, or journalists – who have to plough through enormously long documents – will pay handsomely for a device that enables them to easily read, and make notes on, such documents with the minimum of fuss.

Indeed, that's the market that Amazon's latest, the Kindle DX, and the iRex DR1000S are aimed. Yet, the DR1000S isn't exactly comfortable for reading books. At just under 27 x 22cm and a smidge under 12 mm thick, it's much closer to a clipboard than a paperback, even if it is six hundred quid's worth of clipboard.

Still, scribbling in the margins is allowed, as the DR1000S has in-built graphics tablet functions. It’s basically a capacitive touch-screen that responds to a stylus rather than a finger – so you can annotate documents in the margins, just like on paper.

Around the edge of the screen are nine capacitive buttons that are dedicated to fingertip use – they won't respond to the stylus – such is the price of capacitive technology. The three buttons on the sides mirror each other in providing up, down and select, while the three at the bottom are for left, right, and accessing the menu screen.

iRex Digital Reader

Landscape too, but don't expect an accelerometer, this is a menu-selected option

On the bottom left is an SD Card slot, occupied by the 1GB card supplied with the reader. The centre houses an unspecified expansion slot and to the right is a mini-USB port that's used for both charging and data connectivity. Alongside, is a tiny, recessed, reset button, which can be pressed using the stylus that slots into the top of the device.

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