The e-Reader arena is utterly saturated with six inch devices and there is slim pickings if someone wants to buy something with a larger screen. I am a huge fan of eight inch e-readers such as the Icarus XL and the newly released Inkbook 8.
The Inkbook 8 features an e-Ink Pearl HD touchscreen with a resolution of 1024×768 and 160 PPI. You might be thinking, why is the resolution so poor when the Kindle Voyage has 1440 x 1080 with 300 PPI? The main problem is cost, it is hard to build an e-reader from scratch and offer cutting edge screens. Most companies simply buy preassembled e-readers and simply do software design. This is why the Inkbook 8 and Icarus XL use the same shell and internals.
The big selling point behind this reader is the fact it has a 3.5 mm headphone jack and it runs Android 4.2 You can listen to music and audiobooks from Audible, TuneIn or Spotify. I dig the fact there is a built in app store that allows you to download thousands of apps such as Moon + Reader, Nook, Kindle, Kobo etc.
Underneath the hood is a dual core 1.0 GHZ processor, 512 MB of RAM, 8 GB of internal storage and a Micro SD to enhance said storage up to 32 GB. You should be able to garner around 3-4 weeks of battery life via the 2800 mAh Li-ION Polymer internal battery.
This e-reader has a front-lit display and does a fairly good job. You don’t get the same blue hue as you do with Nook products.
The main user interface is elegant and intuitive. It simply lists the last few books that you have opened and has a number of UI shortcuts to your library, app store, cloud storage and settings.
You download apps from the Midiapolis App Store, which is the marketplace that all Inkbook e-readers employ. To be honest, I was totally unaware that this app store even existed, but it tends to be used primarily by a European audience.
If you are a serious reader you might dig the fact this reader will let you import in e-books you purchased from other online retailers. It supports Adobe DRM for EPUB and PDF, so you can easily import in your collection via Adobe Digital Editions.
One of the reading features I really dig is in regards to PDF files. You can adjust the greyscale of the image and make documents lighter or darker. There are even options to reflow the document and strip it of all the CSS elements so it functions more like an e-books.
The Inkbook 8 is retailing for $179 dollars on Amazon and I think its a solid purchase for people wanting an e-reader with good PDF functionality and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. I think being able to install your own apps is also a good value proposition.
Solid Front-lit Display
Good PDF support
3.5 mm headphone jack
You can install your own apps
Resolution is average
e-book font settings are convoluted
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.