Technology

Sharper Image Literati Review

Sharper Image Literati Overview 

If you have been seeking a dedicated color eReader, the Sharper Literati might be what you are looking for. The wide 7-inch screen of the Literati aims to display not simply books but magazines, newspapers, comic books, photography books, cookbooks and similar items as they were meant to be seen.

The proportions of the Sharper Literati, though, are not as even as those of the Kindle. The device appears to be too long. However, it appears well-constructed. Colors available for the Literati include white, gray and black.

The Sharper Image Literati isn’t trying to be a tablet, unlike color eReaders such as Augen the Bookor the Velocity CRUZ. Its primary purpose is reading, and it’s very pared down as far as features. It provides no distractions, such as games or videos.

Positives 

Fantastic color. Capability of turning pages is simple by using the arrows on each side of the screen. A padded cover is included. A built-in dictionary is another available feature. Updates were quick and easy.

Negatives

It’s difficult to hold due to its size and weight. The keyboard and joystick are awkward to use. For the latter, you need to use your fingertip. Bright light makes reading difficult.

Bottom Line: 

At $159, the Sharper Image Literati looks like a great deal, but it misses the mark in usability. The Sharper Literati might improve with software updates that are said to be coming, but the LCD screen currently doesn’t improve enough on eReading to make it worthwhile. You can spend $10 or $20 less and get a Nook or Kindle that includes Wi-Fi and more books.

If you really want to have a color eReader, it might be a good idea to save up for the $249 Barnes & Noble Nook Color. The Sharper Image Literati includes a web browser and media player, access to interactive children’s’ books, magazines, and newspapers and access to social networking applications.

Design: 

The Sharper Literati, upon the first look, looks most like the Spring Design Alex because of its oblong shape, but the full QWERTY keyboard located on the bottom is reminiscent of Amazon’s Kindle as well. The 7-inch color LCD on the front is the same size as that of the Nook Color, but this is about all that’s similar.

While the Sharper Image Literati is not only longer at 9.5 X 5.0 X.05 inches it’s also much thicker. Along the device’s perimeter is a chrome strip and a scattering of ports. On the top, you’ll find an SD card slot, and on the bottom, a power port and mini-USB. Sable-colored, metallic paint partially covers the back, which lends an attractive look to the device.

The Next and Previous Page buttons are well-placed on either side of the main screen. In our test, we held the device cradled in our palms, putting the Next Page buttons right beneath our thumbs. However, people whose hands are not the same size as ours may not be able to do this. Nonetheless, the Literati feels better to hold than the Spring Design Alex eReader. The white eReader has a square, sable-colored keyboard and navigation keys in tidy rows underneath the display.

Interface is part of the group of eReaders powered by Kobo. The Sharper Image Literati eReader uses Kobo’s software; however, the hardware is manufactured by a separate company. The Literati, unlike eReaders with color LCDs like the Pandigital Novel and Nook Color, only lets you read eBooks.

There are no apps or additional functions. You won’t find enhanced eBooks, video, email, Web functions or any features like that. There’s only reading. If you’ve used Kobo’s homegrown reader or its SmartPhone apps, you’ll be familiar with its UI. Kobo’s iPhone app has the most similar user interface.

The Sharper Literati has a LCD, not a touch-screen, so to navigate one must use the D-pad and the Home, Menu and Back buttons. The numerous buttons the model contains makes moving around the screen feel more complicated than it really is. It seems as if navigating the interface shouldn’t be this difficult, particularly since the Kobo Reader has a similar UI.

Reading Experience: 

Those who are accustomed to reading eBooks on ePaper will not particularly like the Literati’s LCD. However, users who have used a LCD in the past will not be put out by screen quality. The 7″ color screen features 480 x 800 resolution display. This screen is exactly the same size as the Sony Daily Edition screen. The Sharper Image Literati eReader screen gives an impression of being very tall but does not have wide viewing angles, although we don’t suspect this is likely to become an issue for most. You can easily change the brightness on the Display menu, making the screen easier on the eyes.

The Sharper Literati includes capacitive, not physical page-turn buttons like most eReaders do. Even though the placement of the buttons is good, they’re not responsive at times. About 33% of the time, we had to tap multiple times, for instance after a minutes’ pause between turns of the page. You have to tap the buttons directly and precisely, which isn’t an issue at all with larger physical buttons like the ones on Nook and Kindle.

Battery Life: 

The battery included with the device is rated to have a 6-hour life during reading. When the eReader goes to sleep, the Wi-Fi shuts down as well, so even when we left the device alone for 24 hours, there wasn’t much loss of battery life.

We found it annoying that the device isn’t able to be charged through the miniUSB port. Although the AC adapter is relatively small, it’s just another thing users have to remember if they’re taking their Literati with them, even for short trips.