Technology

Ectaco JetBook Lite Review

Overview 

While this device is a bit less streamlined than its predecessor, it is also a bit less expensive. At under $150, Ectaco JetBook is intended to be a very affordable reading device.

Is it a viable contender against the more established e-reading devices? It does feature translation functionality, a universal power source and improved screen display.

The Ectaco JetBook Lite is similar in appearance to the original JetBook. It also features many of the same options such as the company’s signature award-winning language translation software, the World CIA FactBook, and multilingual interface options.

Now Ectaco has added some exclusive features that make JetBook Lite stand out from others and from the original Ectaco e reader.

The original Li-on battery found in the JetBook has been replaced. In its place, is a battery chamber that takes 4 AA batteries of either the disposable or rechargeable variety. Ectaco is able to charge less for this eReader, thanks to this switch (which also assists with energy efficiency). Consumers can now enjoy 23 hours of reading on one full charge – three hours more!

The Ectaco JetBook Lite substituted the e-ink display with an LCD screen. The 5″ TFT LCD screen is made by Toshiba. It gives benefits similar to devices using e-ink paper displays. You can read it in all kinds of lighting situations because of the VGA reflective monochrome technology, which is better than LCD in terms of eyestrain.

One good thing is that using the TFT screen lets you turn pages faster with the Ectaco JetBook Lite than with many other e readers that utilize e ink technology. Those flashes during transitions are gone, as well.

Another great thing is that there is support for DRM content so readers are able shop at Barnes & Noble and pull content from their collection.

Positives
Some people may think that portability has been exchanged for price because of the switch to using AA batteries.
At only 9 oz, it’s still light enough to carry in your pocket or in your hands.
Users will notice that there is a protrusion where the batteries go into the chamber.
The bulge is ergonomic and allows for more comfort for left-hand holding, even though it may not be the most beautiful. You can use it as a stand while multitasking, such as copying down quotes from the e-reader.
You can type words quickly thanks to the T9 text input method. The system is able to reference pre-installed dictionaries and utilize auto-complete if you wish.
You can start reading right away because this electronic reading device comes pre-loaded with such classics as the works of James Joyce and Shakespeare.

Negatives
One of the negative aspects is the fact that the flash memory built in to JetBook Lite is meager. It is only a hundred megabytes. However, you can use external storage to expand the capacity.
There is a limited number of fonts, and the user only has two that they can select from.
One unfortunate thing is that this JetBook does not have wireless capability so readers who want to download books directly to the device will not be able to.
One unique feature of the Ectaco JetBook Lite is the fact that, in addition to simply being a reading device, it is also a tool that helps readers learn/read in a foreign language, learn about interesting places around the world, and study language.

Bottom Line 
The cost of the gadget is everything. The cost for this ebook including shipping is $160.30. Considering that the shipping is free, the device will only cost you about 149.95. That’s a savings of 10.35! Amazon.com is selling the JetBook Lite for 124.47 – no taxes and free shipping (top result).

Because Kindle has recently reduced its price, JetBook Lite now out-prices Kindle 2. I am just talking about the solely Wi-Fi Kindle 2, though. This should result in Ectaco offering a reduced price; however, we have seen no evidence that this is forthcoming.

Ectaco JetBook Lite Screen Review: 
This is a very easy screen to read from. Ectaco made a great decision by not using an e ink display for this reader. I have seen a lot of e ink displays, and this is definitely an improvement. Even though E-ink generally has a better screen, it costs a lot more than I want to pay for an electronic reading device.

Because of the reflective TFT technology used in JetBook Lite, you only need a little bit of light to be able to read using the device. Even when ambient lighting is low, the eBook is easy to read. It’s easy to read with a 40 watt light bulb. I can even read in a dark room using only my laptop screen for light (even though this is probably not very smart).

The screen’s reflectiveness is also a weakness. I noticed a small flicker on the screen when using the JetBook Lite in direct sunlight. I looked into and found that only one other person who used JetBook Lite disliked this enough to return the e-reader to Ectaco. This is a result of the reflective TFT, though which means that it will not help to send in the ebook reader.

The newer ereader would do the same thing. Changing the way the sun bounces off the screen is the only way to truly solve this problem. Therefore, it might help to turn the screen or to simply sit in the shade rather than in the sun. However, this only happens with outdoor lighting, not indoor lighting.

Buttons: There are three different ways to change the page on the JetBook. You can scroll through pages using the rocker on the left side of the ereader. On the left, front face of the reader, you will find 2 chrome buttons to be used for turning pages. On the right hand side of the front face, you will see arrow keys that can be utilized for page turning.

To navigate the JetBook menus, use the buttons found on the right hand side of the front face. You can use either the arrow buttons, or the number buttons located on the right hand side of the reader to navigate the menu.

Here are the choices you can access with these numbered buttons: ZOOM for DOC & PDF files, adjust font size, jump to page, dictionary word search.

eBooks are a hugely popular alternative to traditional printed books. The choice to hold a couple of thousand books on a device appeals to a number of people. The JetBook Lite will be reviewed in the following article. This device is one of the select few that allows readers to read their books upon a monochrome TFT LCD display.

Page turning and load speed can be a little bit slow when doing a cold-start. It tends to start up a lot faster when you turn it off when you are reading a book on it.

The loading time depends on a few different factors. The most important features are file format and size and I’ve found that it can take PDFs a while to load. This mostly occurs with DRM books, according to forum posters on the Ectaco and Mobile Read forums. After the book is loaded, turning the page only takes a second.

Holding the Ectaco JetBook Lite is not exactly like holding a paperback. When you adjust your grip, you have to move your hand in an uncomfortable way to continue being able to access the page turning options located on the lower right hand corner of the device.

The model prior to JetBook Lite – the JetBook – has a built in battery. Ectaco changed this because it wanted the consumer to be able to change the batteries when needed. The weight of the unit is reduced thanks to the use of AA batteries. Four AA batteries are required for the JetBook lite. You can use the battery compartment located on the back as a handle, too, thanks to its golf ball texture.

We used the batteries that Ectaco provided with purchase and they proved to have an excellent battery life. We were able to read for at least twenty minutes a day for fifteen days. My daughter and I use it for about three hours every day. This is a great e reader, especially when compared with others on the market and keeping in mind that it uses a TFT screen.

Results will vary when using different kinds of rechargeable batteries. The reason for this is that different types of rechargeable batteries have varying mAh ratings. The amount of time a rechargeable battery can operate before dying is referred to as milliamper-hour or mAh. This formula, mAh / A = h, is usually used to calculate this information. You can use rechargeable batteries that rate at least 2000mAh. For better results, use 2500mAh batteries.