Review: Infibeam Pi2 [Good Product, Wrongly Priced]

E-book readers are becoming hugely popular with users today owing to their light weight design and ease of use. An e-book reader will let you carry hundreds if not thousands of book to read at your own convenience, the added functionality of putting various other text formats definitely bumps up the utility factor of these e-book readers. Today we have the review of an e-book reader manufactured by an Indian company, and the only way to give this new product a fair assessment is to compare it with its global rival the Amazon Kindle (after all, they are competing for same buyer’s attention). Read on for full features and review.

Infibeam Pi2: The Hardware

We have had the Infibeam Pi2 available with us for a few days now and we really wanted to get the feel of this new device when used in real world conditions and not in our offices. At first look the device is lighter than a Kindle and features a 6 inch touch screen. The reader supports all major text file types and you can use it to store your own documents that you may need to read while on the go.

In terms of pure hardware, Pi2 is a better product than the Kindle. Pi2 features 2GB internal storage that can be swooped up to 32GB. The touch screen is a nice addition to the reader. However this unfortunately means that if you do need to type something (to use the in-built browser), you have to use the touch screen to type (Kindle’s hardware buttons perform better when it comes to this).

The screen too has a decent resolution, but I hope the additional case accessory comes with some lighting feature ( similar to one available with kindle) as reading in the dark is not an option without this. You can even listen to mp3 files on the device but it does not have an external speaker and you will have to use the 3.5mm standard audio jack for music.

Infibeam Pi2 ebook reader
Infibeam Pi2 ebook reader


The software

Pi2 runs on a Linux system and the software is nothing to boast about. It features the standard options like choosing books you want to read, a music player, browser , scribble pad and a Sudoku game. What I would like to focus on is the book store that is available on the device. It features Infibeam’s own book store but I’m not sure how vast their collection actually is and whether it can compete with Amazon’s collection.

The truly awesome feature that really made me think that this device is made for India is the support for ‘most Indian Official languages’. Although the page rendering speed is slightly slower than that of the Kindle, it does not bother you that much. The Sudoku game must get a special mention and is quite fun, more than i was expecting frankly and Infibeam promises to add more games soon. The preloaded content on the reader is fairly vast and Infibeam currently has around 5 lakh books available to download from their book store.

The Final Verdict

The page render and speed of the device is fairly respectable, so no complaints there. The display resolution is good but when compared to a Kindle the colours seem slightly washed out. The touch screen too performed well through page selection but was disappointing during typing. The lack of a backlight does seem to be a feature that is desired, but you can live without it I guess. Pi2’s battery backup impressed me with almost 5 days of battery backup and it got charged up in under an hour’s time, definitely loved that.

I was hoping that I would be able to install Amazon’s Kindle store for the book that they have on it but I guess that’s the point of buying a reader attached to a book store. And now the price, Pi2 is priced at 15k INR 12K(*) which is slightly steep if you ask me. The value addition that it brings over the Kindle is not justified, the Kindle costs approximately 9K if delivered to India.

We strongly recommend Infibeam to relook at Pi2 pricing, if the company really wants to compete for buyer’s attention.

Aside, it’s really sad that Infibeam still hasn’t upgraded the Android tablet, Phi’s version. They are still selling the tablet with Android 1.5 version – so that makes us wonder if these devices really have a (long) shelf life?

Should you even take them seriously? [Read:Of Infibeam Pi, Android Devices and A Call to Bring “Better” Chinese Imports].

What’s your opinion?

* – We have updated the price of Infibeam’s Pi2 (its available for Rs. 12,000) and even though the company has slashed the price post-launch, they should look at <10K pricing.

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