Think of e-readers that you can easily carry in your pockets. You might be thinking of the likes of the Xiaomi InkPalm, Boox Palma, or the Hisense series of E Ink smartphones though they all have around 6-inch or so displays but in a smartphone form factor. Enter the Woxter Scriba 195S which with its 4.7-inch E Ink display is smaller than all out there. Also, the Scriba 195S is more of an e-reader than a smartphone in its looks and feel, albeit of a smaller size.
However, is pocketability its only virtue, or being small is of any advantage to the user. Let us find that out.
Design and build
The first thing that catches your attention with the Woxter Scriba is its size. You will love playing it around a bit in your hands before you get down to using it for what it has been designed for in the first place. It is like a tiny little thing that almost fits into your palms. At 96 grams, it is also one of the lightest around as well. It is well built too and has a solid feel to it.
However, those who keep a close watch on the e-reader space might find the Woxter Scriba a familiar piece of hardware. That is because they actually have been manufactured by Y-Ben and have also made it to the market as the Y-Ben P47L e-reader. Woxter uses the same device, rebrands it, and markets it as their own. Interestingly, you pay a bit higher when you buy it from Woxter, which the Spanish firm justifies as the price you pay for getting better after-sales service as well as a better resale value.
Coming back to the device itself, the Scriba 195S comes with a 4.7-inch HD E Ink Pearl Plus display. It has a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels which makes for a 234 PPI pixel density. The display however isn’t touchscreen enabled and to make up for the lack of it, there are a myriad of physical buttons at the bottom for navigation as well as page turn buttons on the two sides.
Making up the core of the e-reader is a 600 Mhz ARM RK2818 processor that is coupled with 128 MB of memory and 4 gigs of storage. The actual storage that you get is even smaller and there is no microSD card support as well. An 800 mAh battery keeps the device going. Lastly, there is the micro-USB slot which serves twin roles of recharging the battery as well as transferring data.
The e-reader features only a Power button at the bottom which is where everything else is located. That includes the status indicator light as well as the hard reset button while the micro USB port sits in the middle. The buttons included are Up, Down, Left, Right, Ok, More, and Back/Refresh buttons. There is no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Another notable emission is front light, which means you have to rely on ambient light for all your readings. There is no audio available too.
Turn the device on and you get to see a simple user interface. Here you have options for Browser history, Library, Search e-books, Explorer, Pictures, Games, Calendar, and Settings.
The games page will let you play just two games – Sokoban, and Jigsaw. Needless to say, you get to play these with the four directional buttons. The games are neatly arranged along the top left corner with the remaining display left blank. This might make you feel you can always add more games though unfortunately, that isn’t the case.
Similarly, selecting Pictures will let you view the images that you may have on the device. However, with the paltry storage available, it is best to make judicious usage of it so that you have enough space left for your e-books.
The rest of the icons are self-descriptive
The Woxter Scriba 195S supports several e-book formats which should be more than enough to take care of your reading requirements. Those include PDF, ePUB, txt, DJVU, HTML, RTF, FB2, DOC, MOBI, CHM, and PRC. The overall reading experience is quite good. The text is sharp and looks nice and inviting. The page refreshes fast enough and there aren’t any smudges and such left as well. This ensures a clean surface each time which makes reading off it all the more pleasurable.
With the page turn buttons available, turning pages is a breeze. You can do all your reading while holding the device with just one hand. With the relatively small display, you can do all of your scrolling or page turns with just one hand. You will be using the page turn buttons quite frequently given that it is a small chunk of text that gets accommodated each time. You can change the font size to the one that suits you best.
You also have a few more options which you can access once you tap ‘More’. Here you get Bookmarks, Table of contents, Add to favorites, Go to page, Search, Font size, Margins, and Rotate Screen. The latter bit is essential as there is no Gyroscope onboard and you have to select screen orientation manually. However, what needs to be said here is that it is the portrait orientation that can be most convenient for single-handed reading though it can vary as per individual preferences.
Coming to PDFs, it is the last thing you should ever think of reading on the Scriba 195S. It isn’t that the device is lacking in this respect but the small display is just not suitable for reading PDFs. This isn’t even advisable on a 7-inch or so display and the Scriba 195S comes with just a 4.7-inch screen. With no pinch-n-zoom, you will have to click on More every time and select Zoom size to increase the font size. Thereafter, you will have to bring the desired portion in focus using the direction keys. Interestingly, there is a mini-map available, though none of it is going to be of much use.
The Woxter Scriba is inches away from being useless. It is no surprise or elephant in the room that this device is exactly the same as the OEM device it came from; the Y-Ben P47. The Spanish company repackages it, adds their logo, and then resells it for a premium cost. This is industry standard though usually the company would put a little bit more effort into the software. However WOXTER didn’t. They didn’t do any changes to the software, apps, or even a boot screen. It is simply just a rebranded rehash of a unit that already exists, you’re spending more, literally for nothing. There is no benefit to buying this unit, seeing as Y-Ben already sells to the public.