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txtr Beagle eBook reader is an £8 Kindle killer?

by Mark Tyson on 12 October 2012, 16:15

Tags: Kindle reader

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There is a new eBook reader that has just been announced by txtr called the Beagle. It looks a pretty standard 5-inch eBook reading device with an e-ink display. However this new entrant to the market, launched at the Frankfurt Book Fair, is expected to sell for around about £8. It is slim and light and looks nicely designed but does it have enough features and storage for eBook enthusiasts?

Good things about the txtr Beagle

txtr has a pretty good summary of the merits of the Beagle in its press release “The new 5-inch eReader is not only the smallest and lightest in its class, it also delivers more than one year reading experience. It does not require any cables or chargers, giving consumers a unique out-of-box experience to read their eBooks within seconds. It is the first companion reader to receive eBooks sent from a smartphone. This is the eReader telecom operators have been waiting for.” Combine these features with a fantastically low price “we foresee the txtr beagle to be available to consumers for a price as low as €9.90” and we do indeed have an attractive product.

Let us cut through the marketing haze and look at some specs:

  • Display: Vizplex e-ink, 5-inch, 8 levels of grey, 800x600 pixels
  • Dimensions: 140mm tall x 105mm wide x 4.8(14)mm thick (sloping to house battery compartment)
  • Power: 2 x AAA batteries, lasts for 1 year (at a reading rate of 12-15 average books per year)
  • eBook formats: As supported by the smartphone host app (epub, PDF and more)
  • Memory: 4GB (said to be able to cache “up to 5 eBooks”)
  • Colours: “fashionable” Jade Green, Grapefruit, Turquoise and Purple
  • Requirements: Bluetooth enabled smartphone with txtr eBooks app in order to manage your eBook library

txtr Beagle possible drawbacks

The txtr Beagle may be missing some features that other eBook readers on the market currently enjoy. The Beagle lacks Wi-Fi or 3G connectivity so you have to have your Bluetooth enabled smartphone or PC with you to upload eBooks or change about the content. With 4GB of memory I am surprised that it can only store “Up to 5 books”. (I’ve read in comments and forums that the high storage use is due to the txtr app converting compact eBooks into bitmap image files for the eReader.)  The most basic Kindle can hold up to 1,400 books. Also the Beagle display is just a little smaller than the most basic Kindle. We don’t really know about the usability of the txtr Beagle software; if it allows bookmarking etc, so basic software on the device could be an issue.

What do you think? Do Amazon, Kobo and Barnes & Noble have reasons to be fearful?

unmissable txtr Beagle advert



HEXUS Forums :: 14 Comments

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I had to have a double take at the price. It sounds too good to be true. It's really cheap but it will only be good value if it's useable and it's too early to know. It might well tempt people that have never had an e-reader but I doubt if it will be feature rich enough for existing users. I'm a bit sceptical at the moment over usability things such as quality of display, page turning speed, placement of buttons, awkward shape etc...
Strikes me as a nice companion to an entry-level smartphone - paired with a basic 3.2" android handset you've got a very cheap entry into "proper" e-reader territory. For anyone with a larger / higher spec smartphone I can't really see the point though: if you've got a 4"+ device already I doubt this would be significantly better for reading on (unless you're one of those people who get a headache from reading on a backlit screen, I guess).

It's obviously intended as a larger companion screen for a smaller device, though.
scaryjim
Strikes me as a nice companion to an entry-level smartphone - paired with a basic 3.2" android handset you've got a very cheap entry into "proper" e-reader territory. For anyone with a larger / higher spec smartphone I can't really see the point though: if you've got a 4"+ device already I doubt this would be significantly better for reading on (unless you're one of those people who get a headache from reading on a backlit screen, I guess).

It's obviously intended as a larger companion screen for a smaller device, though.

Smartphones are pretty bad to read in sunlight thought, plus there's also the battery life. If it isn't horribly unresponsive/difficult to use then it could be a pretty good buy for only £8. If I wanted to do serious reading i'd prefer an ereader I think. I don't really read minus online articles.
I don't get a head ache from reading on a smartphone, but i would still rather read on an e-ink screen than my One X.

Using my phone as an e-book would make it last less than half a day. The "one year" on two AAA batteries on this would probably equate to about 6 months for me, probably less. Yes, I read a lot.

I can see this being £9.99, if that price is at all right. I'd buy one, what is there to loose at that kind of money.

I wonder how they can possibly make something for that low though, Amazon said today that they don't make money on hardware. Is there that much of a difference in hardware between this thing and a basic Kindle to make it a 6th of the price.