I have always been a fan of reading books, getting Infibeam Pi 2 which is an dedicated eBook reader was exciting for me! I had tried reading eBook’s on my iPad, but I wasnt really happy with it as an ebook reader. The reasons where that the Pi 2 has e-Ink display which makes reading a complete joy. Infibeam Pi 2 comes from an Indian born company and has support for 15 Indian languages(including Sanskrit and Hindi).
The company has definitely taken its Pi series of eBook readers, a step ahead. The Pi 2 fulfills most of the demerits of original Infibeam Pi.
- Pi2 Reading Device
- Mini-USB 2.0 Cable
- AC Adapter
- Quick Start Guide
The Pi 2 has a 6-inch e-Ink display, with a resistive touchscreen. It runs on a custom Linux OS. The resistive touchscreen also works as an onscreen keyboard. The stylus comfortably slips inside the Pi 2. The Pi2 comes with the Freescale iMX 35 serials processor, 128MB RAM and internal memory of 2GB (32 GB expandable with SD card) on which you can store thousands of ebooks, pictures and hundreds of songs too.
It has a mini-USB slot which can be used for data transfer and to charge the reader. There is a 3.5mm slot at the bottom, but it doesn’t have internal speakers. You have to use Head phones to listen to music. It is Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g) enabled which can be used to surf the web and buy books from infibeam store or download books from web. Its 1100mAh battery is enough to read about 8000 pages in one charge(without Wi-Fi usage). It weights 235 gm and is pretty light weight.
Looks and User Interface
Infibeam Pi 2 comes with a pretty clean design, nothing extraordinary! It comes with a black body with a rough back which feels good to hold. It not really huge and bulky to carry, it fits into your Suit pockets easily. It really doesn’t have that many buttons, there are 3 buttons below the screen i.e. the directional joystick, an options button and back button which are used for navigation. There are two on the side with which you can page-down and page-up (can also be used for increasing or decreasing the volume of songs). Carry it around for sometime and you will get used to most of its features and navigational options. The UI is pretty easy to get use too, I didnt have any problem in navigating myself. The problem arises with the refresh rate, the refresh rate is so low that it feels a bit sluggish especially when typing things using the onscreen keyboard.
Usage Experience and Views
This reader comes with a Music, Internet, Soduku, Notes app and a Photo browser app along with the Ebook Reader function. The Soduku app is quite fun to play with, you can set levels, request solutions, etc. The music app is simple with features to play random songs, but unfortunately you cannot set playlist. The Notes app can be used to draw stuff easily, but writing long notes is not very comfortable. The browser is reasonably good, I was not able to test downloads in background but, it’s one of the best e-book reader browser’s I have ever tried out. The reading application has features like setting changing fonts, going to a particular page and even searching specific keywords but the bad part about it is that it doesn’t automatically bookmark where you were reading the page last time. It does feature a bookmark option which you have to do while changing books or when you know the battery is going to die.
The best part about the reader is that what ever format you throw at it (PDF, ePUB, HTML, TXT, RTF, MOBI, PRC, DOC), it supports it! This makes downloading books from the web so easy. Also, some of the other supported formats for Multimedia are: JPG, BMP, PNG, GIF and MP3.
One of the lows is the absence of the volume rocker button. You have to go into the music app to shutdown music or skip a track. The refresh rate is a bit low which makes it irritating. The contrast ratio is also not up to the mark, which makes reading very difficult in low light areas. The screen reflects a bit because of the touchscreen panel. The outermost layer of the screen has an matte finish which makes every word look as good as on a real book. There is no backlight which makes it nearly impossible to read books in an blanket or when lights are off. The battery life is good and no heating issues even after long usage are observed. The quality of music playback is also pretty good.
With a price-tag of Rs. 11,999, we feel that this piece of hardware is a bit over-priced. A price-tag of about Rs. 8000-9000 would have been really appealing for this device. Overall, it a decent device with not much to cry about. It seems to be competing with the well-established Amazon Kindle which is also priced in the same bracket.
We give an overall 2.5/5 for the Infibeam Pi 2.