The Tolino Alliance was formed in 2013 and their mandate was to combat Amazon in Germany. This was the first time big established players like Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Club Bertelsmann, Deutsche Telekom banded together to launch a digital bookstore and a series of e-readers. Every year the consortium releases a single single device, but last year they unveiled two different models – the Tolino Vision 3 HD and the Tolino Shine 2 HD, which we will review today.
The Tolino Shine 2 HD features a six inch e-ink Carta display with a resolution of 1440 by 1080. This is the same type of screen that the Kobo Glo HD, Kindle Voyage and Barnes and Noble Nook Glowlight Plus employs. Unlike the Tolino Vision 3 HD, this particular model is not waterproof, nor is the screen completely flush with the bezel.
Underneath the Hood is a 1 GHZ freescale single core processor (IMX.6) and uses 512 MB of RAM. You have 4 GB of internal memory to store your e-books and there is an additional 25 GB of storage via the Tolino Cloud. You can upload your entire collection to this service if you want. Sadly, there is no Micro SD card.
The Shine 2 does not have physical page turn buttons, but does have a capacitive home-screen button that lights up and emits a pale white light when you click on it. In order to turn pages or interact with the screen, it must be done with gestures.
Make no mistake, this is a device aimed at German speaking people, since the online bookstore primarily composes of around 1.8 million German titles. There is around a few thousand English titles though, and you can even change the device to English so you can navigate around easier. Keep in mind, the Shine 2 supports Adobe DRM, so you can sideload in purchased content from your favorite bookstore, as long as it is in EPUB or PDF.
Most entry level e-readers these days do not bother with a front-lit display to save on costs. I am pleased to report the Shine 2 HD does employ a this technology and they do a really good job. The lightning is even and does not blotch out along the bezel like the Nook does.
The home screen comprises of the last few titles you have opened or have purchased from the Thalia bookstore. You can scroll to display more content via the carousal. Below that are a series of best sellers that you can download samples of or straight up purchase.
If you have ever used a Kindle e-reader before, the e-book experience is fairly similar, so there is no learning curve. There are five different font types you can choose from and a 7 different font sizes. Anything you augment will appear live on the screen, so you can find your proverbial sweet spot.
There is also plenty of dictionaries that are loaded on the device, as well as 8 different translations. This is useful if you want to convert English to French or Dutch to Norwegian.
Page turns are lighting quick for your standard EPUB e-book, but it tends to struggle when you pinch and zoom complex PDF documents. If you have a really small file, like a digital newspaper or D&D Players Sheet it should be fine.
This e-reader is fairly cost effective at 99.00 € and can easily be purchased through a number of online retailers. This e-reader would make sense for anyone that could not afford to upgrade to the Vision 3 HD, which I think is the best e-reader Tolino has ever released.
Lighting system is great
Adobe DRM support
Struggles with complex PDF files
No SD Card
No Bluetooth or audio
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.