Perhaps the iRex Digital Reader replaces a printer, not a notebook


Dr1000s_front_lLast week we wondered who might buy an $850 eBook type of device from iRex. Today we have sparse but official details on the iRex 1000 series Digital Reader thanks to a press release (PDF) at MobileRead, yet the question still remains. Granted, I’m only looking at the press release and official product page, but I’m still not sold on this unit when the target audience is already toting a notebook computer around the office. If the iRex 1000 was in the $200 to $300 range, I might feel differently. Unfortunately, the base 10.2-inch unit will set you back $649. Adding a Wacom digitizer for notes and annotations adds another $100. Want WiFi and Bluetooth: that gets you to $849. That’s a lot of coin for a standalone device with limited purpose.The device itself looks nice: 16-color grayscale with 1024×1280 resolution, Secure Digital card slot with a 1 GB card included and mini-USB connector for data transfer. It’s definitely lighter and thinner than most portable computers as well, coming in at 570 grams and 1.2 centimeters thick. It’s not the hardware that concerns me at this price; it’s the functionality and file formats it supports. iRex says the 1000 series works with Unsecured Adobe PDF, TXT, HTML, Mobipocket’s DRM PRC files and JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF and BMP images plus “additional formats supported in the future.” There appears to be some companion Windows software involved also since you can print “Microsoft Office documents, e-mails and Adobe PDF documents” to your iRex 1000 in lieu of printing them to paper. Maybe that’s the device this is supposed to replace. Instead of printing off your e-mails, Word docs and such: shoot them over to the iRex 1000 and save a tree.



These aren’t really made for the eBook reading crowd, they’re aimed at people that need to read PDFs. One of these can easily be stuffed with hundreds of reference manuals. For a field engineer one of these would be invaluable, as it’s much easier to use than a laptop, and lasts a lot longer. Also, while the majority of eBooks come in PDFs that have relatively small paper sizes, reference works tend to come in larger page sizes. Meaning you need a large resolution to make them readable. This is the only device I’ve seen with a screen resolution that I’m actually interested in. The paltry 800×600 resolution offered by other devices is nowhere near good enough for the task.


Converting doc files to pdf and then copying over to the reader. To much work. I’m thinking that syncing a directory would be the way to go. I would want it to read all of the common file formats natively.

I agree with the 200 to 300 dollar price. It would also have to have all day(6 to 8 hour) battery life.

Alan A. Reiter

Hi Kevin,

Very perceptive comment about the iRex replacing printing.

I recently gave a keynote address before a mobile printing association, and we discussed the future of printing. I think the future — at least the medium to long term — will result in less printing as we store more files in the cloud and displays improve.

However, until displays provide the right combination of features — good resolution, reasonable prices, large enough reading area, etc. — printing will still be a big deal.

For reading, a variety of existing screens offer good enough resolution. But there are some things (i.e., beautiful photos) and some times (long documents) where printing makes a lot of sense. (No, I don’t work for or represent the printing group! Yes, I do read eBooks on my Tablet PC and phones.)


But that price is still way too much.

I have an original Smasung Q1 that can do that same function.

I have no doubt that using that Irex is easier and more elegant. But I’m certainly not willing to pay that amount of money for it.

Comments are closed.