Technology

RCA REB1100 Review

Overview 

The REB1200’s big color screen and sleek design is aimed squarely at the more high end of the dedicated e-book reader market. However, some of its flaws include a limited selection of available books, lack of ability to display other kinds of documents and a so-so screen.

With its large color screen and sleek design, the REB1200 will be considered a high-end dedicated e-book reader. However, the lack of books available, poor support for different formats, and lackluster screen make this task rather difficult.

Positives 
Although it may be hard to believe that a person would not own a computer these days, there are some people that do not own a computer; therefore, for those people the RCA REB1100 eBook Reader provides a built in modem that permits people to make purchases using a telephone line. Several new eReaders have done away with backlights, selling them as separate accessories, but RCA’s device retains it.

RCA’s original software wouldn’t let you convert formats, but Gemstar-Rocket Reader’s library program can be downloaded for free and will convert files for you.

Negatives
What is missing from the RCA is the new e-ink technology that you see on other electronic readers. The e-ink clarifies the process and has an imitation of a book. The RCA REB only provides an LCD screen, however its screen has a resolution that is six times higher than the standard handheld personal digital assistant.

The battery charge is painfully brief, a mere 12-15 hours when utilizing the built in backlight. Included, though, with the RCA REB1100 is an A/C charger, which many more modern units don’t include because they can be charged with a USB cable.

Bottom Line 
Although many people look for sleek, technologically advanced electronic readers with various capabilities, eBook purists who are only interested in having a basic eReader for reading on the go may find that the RCA REB is ideal.

Design 
The RCA REB1100 has merely basic specs — a 5.5-inch screen and only 8 MB built-in memory. You can expand this to 128 MB of storage, but even this pales in comparison to the 512 MB that more modern devices have already built in.

Be careful using the backlight, since it reduces the amount of time available from a single charge from 30 hours down to about 12 to 15 hours.

The RCA REB comes with a stylus, power adapter, phone cord, USB cable and slip case as standard equipment, whereas these items are optional on the more modern electronic readers.

Electronic Paperback 
The RCA REB1100 is roughly the size of a standard paperback (5x7x1.5 inches) and weighs 18 ounces, perfect to hold in your hand. Although the black and white LCD touch-screen is definitely superior to that of the Palm Vx, the resolution is relatively low which makes the letters look as though they were printed using a dot matrix printer.

A duo of big buttons allows you to skim a book easily. The unit works on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can be used for 20 to 40 hours.

There are a few benefits to the illuminating liquid crystals over paper. Additionally, the RCA REB1100 has backlighting that allows you to revisit the act of reading under the sheets. People with poor eyesight will like the ability to change the font size easily.

With your finger, or the stylus provided, you can underline or annotate passages in the book or use the included dictionary to look up words. The device has 8MB memory, which holds roughly 8,000 pages of text or 20 novels, not to mention periodical editions, such as Newsweek and the NYT.

Music and audio book features have not yet been enabled on the device, but it includes a music button and a headphone jack.

Purchasing books 
It is possible to buy and download books and periodicals for the RCA REB1100 utilizing the internal 33.6Kbps modem; alternatively, you can visit online bookstores, like Barnes and Noble, buy a book and download it utilizing your PC.

Using a USB cable, the text is moved to the e-book. You may only read the book on your own ebook, not on your computer, nor may you lend it to anyone else, due to stringent copy-protection regulations. Not only that, but the selection of books offered for the RCA REB1100 is rather limited; only best sellers in fiction and a few non-fiction titles.

If you want to read other novels, science or history, you’re out of luck. All you can download are titles expressly designed for RCA devices; the RCA REB1100 does not have support for Microsoft Reader or Adobe e-book formats. You won’t be able to use the REB1100 with your work documents or anything else in Word or other normal computer formats.

We thought using the device was fun. The model has a backlight, and the ability to turn pages easily, which balances the unit’s smaller screen. Although it costs $299, this device doesn’t enable you to read anything you might like; although an electronic book reader is a good idea in principle. It will require an improved book selection, a cheaper price, and a better screen to make it more popular with customers.