- Two screens offer a lot of versatility
- Very responsiveness
- Excellent sound quality
- Good battery life
- Relatively bulky
- Keyboard difficult to use
- eInk touchscreen much less responsive than the LCD
- Disappointing camera
- High price
The pocket eDGe would be great if the NOOKcolor and iPad weren't already available.
The Pocket eDGe is a mini Android-based tablet computer with two screens, one 6-inch eInk eBook screen and one 7-inch color LCD touchscreen. It includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless networking, 3 GB of internal memory, a microSD card slot, a USB port, microphone, headphone jack, and speakers. It is now available for $399.
When closed, the Pocket eDGe looks like a miniature laptop computer. It isn’t until you open the device that you see how unique it is, with an eInk screen on one side and a color touchscreen LCD display on the other. The screens face each other like the facing pages of a book. The hinge is sturdy and allows you to open the Pocket eDGe like a traditional laptop, bend the screen back so that the device can be propped up like a greeting card, or fold it all the way back so that you can only see one of the two screens.
The overall device measures 7.5-inches by 5.5-inches, and is only one inch thick. It feels bigger than that though, especially in the thickness department–but perhaps I’ve gotten spoiled by my iPad. At 1.35 pounds the Pocket eDGe has a good weight to it, but it isn’t too heavy. You won’t be sticking it in your pocket, though it should fit easily into gear bags or even larger purses.
The LCD is bright and colorful, and of good quality. It is very responsive to my touch and a pleasant surprise, considering my recent experience with the Pantech Novel tablet. You can use the included stylus if you like, but it isn’t strictly necessary on the tablet side of Pocket eDGe.
The eInk display is crisp, with very good contrast, but is much less responsive than the LCD. You have to use the stylus with the eInk screen–that isn’t a problem in itself, but unfortunately the eInk screen isn’t anywhere near as responsive as the LCD screen. You have to wait for it to update and I found the experience to be rather frustrating because I often had to tap in the same place a couple of times in order to get my input registered. It’s no big deal if you’re planning to just read with the eInk screen, but if you’re planning to do a great deal of annotation it could be a real problem.
The Pocket eDGe does not have a physical keyboard, instead relying on a virtual keyboard. It works, but you won’t want to do very much text entry on this device. If you try to type too fast, the device can’t keep up with you, forcing you to go back and re-enter the text more slowly.
Since the screen orientation can be changed at the touch of a button, it would be best to use the keyboard in landscape mode so that the virtual keys won’t be squished so closely together. The portrait mode keyboard makes me much more prone to errors because the keys are so tiny.
It is possible to connect a USB keyboard to the Pocket eDGe to enable faster text entry, though I wasn’t able to test this feature because I don’t have a USB keyboard.
The power button, microSD card slot, volume control, headphone jack, and charging port are located under the eInk screen, while the USB port, mini USB sync jack, and the reset button are on the top of the eInk screen.
The buttons next to each screen serve as the main controls; you will find page forward and back buttons and the search key next to the eInk screen, while the menu, home, back, and screen orientation keys are next to the LCD screen.