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WikiReader Review

Feb 15 2010, 12:00am CST | by

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WikiReader Review
 
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WikiReader Review

Today I am going to check out the WikiReader. The little handheld device is sort of like an encyclopedia for techies. If you or your child need to do research on topics that are covered in the Wikipedia, but don’t always have access to an internet connection, the WikiReader may be perfect for you. Read on for all the details.

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Features & Specifications
The WikiReader is a small device that has a touchscreen and three buttons for navigation and finding information for research. The WikiReader runs on a pair of AAA batteries that are included and sells for $99 plus shipping.

In Use
The WikiReader is a small and thin device that is about four inches on each side and a half-inch thick. It needs no internet connection to access the data on Wikipedia. The company behind the WikiReader, OpenMoko, offers at least two updates per year for the device. The updates can be downloaded for free online or you can order them for $29 on new memory cards. Updates include new Wikipedia entries and new firmware features.

The Wikipedia content and the firmware for the WikiReader itself resides on a microSD card that slips into a slot under the batteries in the battery compartment. WikiReader is very easy to sue with an onscreen touch keyboard for entering topics you want information on and it has three buttons on the front for accessing certain functions.

The three buttons are search, history, and random. Press the random button and one random topic from all the data on Wikipedia is displayed. The search function brings up the search field and the history makes it easy to go back to topics you previously read. The screen of the WikiReader is large and you can scroll up and down by dragging a finger.

The screen lacks a backlight, so you will need to use it in a decently lit room. The screen is not ePaper like you see on eReaders. The screen is a simple LCD with black text on a grey background that looks a lot like the screen on a standard calculator.

Contrast is not that great so some may find the text hard to read. I like the way data is displayed on the screen. The data has hyperlinks under words in the entries as you read them that will take you to more information about a specific word or subject by simply touching it.

The screen responds quickly and accurately to scrolling and touch input. The onscreen keyboard is small and when the keys are pressed, they briefly change to a black background so you know what button you pressed. Openmoko says the single pair of AAA batteries included with the WikiReader will last for about 15 months of use. The device sells for $99 plus shipping and is available for purchase now.

Verdict

Conclusion

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Needs no internet connection
  • Tons of information available

Cons

  • Needs higher contrast
  • No backlight

Verdict
The WikiReader is a great way for students or anyone else to take the full knowledge offered on the Wikipedia with them wherever they go without needing an internet connection.

8.5
10
 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/3" rel="author">Shane McGlaun</a>
Leading our review center, Shane McGlaun (Google) knows technology inside out. His extensive experience in testing computer hardware and consumer electronics enable him to effectively qualify new products and trends. If you want us review your product, please contact Shane.
Shane can be contacted directly at shane@i4u.com.

 

 

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