Review: InfiBeam PI eBook Reader

Before I share my review of InfiBeam PI, let me share a bit of personal context. I used to be an avid book reader [way back in college, I always needed something for bedtime reading], but lately I almost stopped reading books and switched to rss feeds [thanks to my startup].

Having said that, I have been adding books to my reading list and even tried the eBook versions. Reading eBooks on laptop is cumbersome and honestly, never worked for me. PC/Laptop is still a laptop and the form factor isn’t conducive for book reading.

And that is where InfiBeam PI ebook reader comes in as buddy, as a great handy tool that has helped me restart my reading habits [and it surely feels great].
I am carrying the PI reader to pretty much everywhere I go, even if I get say 20 minutes of free time [for instance, when going for a meeting and waiting for the other person to show up].

So that’s my personal story and this will set the context for the review.

InfiBeam PI Review

The reader is lightweight (180gm), thin, easy to handle and comes with seeded content [Man Eaters of Kumaon, As You like It, The Pied Piper of Hamelin and Bhagwat Gita (in Hindi) etc].

Default accessories include adapter, USB data cable and handsfree [check out PI Reader’s Packaging/first look].

PI eBook Reader Menu
PI eBook Reader Menu

Just like the iPod, you can connect the USB cable to the laptop [the reader does not yet support WiFi], and start exporting PDF, HTML, ePub. MOBI and MP3s document to the reader. The device is shipped with an internal memory of 512MB, which can be expanded upto 4GB – so be assured that your hunger for reading is taken care of.

Features Supported

So what all things you need while reading a book? PI Reader is shipped with few interesting features that makes the experience better (to a certain extent) than reading a hard copy book. For instance,

  • Ability to increase the font size – This is my favourite feature. One can increase the font size [heck! you cannot do this with a hard copy] and the book is rendered according to the size.
  • Bookmarking –  For each and every book that you are reading, you can add bookmark to a page.
  • Sort/Search – One can sort documents as well as search for text
  • Sudoku – A good timepass, and I end up playing more of Sudoku than reading.
  • Navigation – Going back and forth is as simple as it should be.
  • Support for Indian Languages.
  • DRM – You can read any of your books [PDF/HTML etc] on the PI, but books bought from InfiBeam.com comes with DRM.

What steals the show?

If you are a regular reader of PluGGd.in, I am sure you aren’t the one who ever reads a user manual. InfiBeam is neatly designed (few buttons) and it should not take you more than 20 minutes to learn how to operate the device.
The product at this point, does not have lots of bells and whistles and does exactly what is is supposed to – i.e. be an awesome eBook reader.

Also, what is impressive is the battery life – a full charge easily goes for 4-5 days [i.e. when you are using the reader for almost 4-5 hours a day, though its all dependent on the usage].

Rendering worked perfectly fine, except in one case where there was a complex table.

What Needs Improvement?

Lots of things.

For instance, I’d love to see a colorful PI reader (i.e. the one that supports colors), especially if you are the one who binges on Seth Godin’s eBooks.

Flickering – There is a bit of screen flickering (when you turn pages, perform any action which needs screen to be refreshed) which might seem a little uncomfortable for the first few days. But once you get used to it, it all looks fine.

BackLight? This is a priority one feature for the team [IMO]. The entire point of taking PI reader to the bed is lost, since the device does not support backlighting. Though it is easily readable in the daylight, backlighting will make it a good bedtime reading device.

Overall, a highly recommended product for those who want to read books and prefer a digital route. Priced at Rs. 9,999 – I firmly believe that this is a better investment than waiting for Kindle to drop price.

Imagine if InfiBeam partners with educational institutions and kids start using an eBook – it will open up a new business opportunity and create a new ecosystem for companies.

If you have queries on InfiBeam’s PI eBook Reader, feel free to shoot them here.

Meanwhile, enjoy the slideshow



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