Back at CES we got to spend some time with an early version of Plastic Logic’s eBook reader, and the company is out in full force here at the D7 Conference showing off the device after a few more months of work, especially on its user interface.
We went hands-on with the e-reader for a bit of time this morning. Check out our original impressions and stay tuned for a video.
We continue to be impressed by the Plastic Logic Reader’s thinness. The .27-inch thin, made from plastic reader is thinner than a rail and the Kindle 2.
Where Plastic Logic has been hard at work is on the user interface that appears on the the 8.5 x 11-inch e-Ink touchscreen display. Aimed at business users, the software features a home screen (which you can easily get to by pushing the only physical button on the device in the upper right hand corner) that is tabbed and allows for accessing what they call binders. These binders allow you to organize content into different folders.
We lightly tapped on a binder icon and opened a multi-page document. The touchscreen was responsive at most times, but the e-ink display took about four seconds or so for the content to adjust or page to turn (Plastic Logic expects this to be sped up in production units). In the document, you can turn the pages by either swiping a finger, tapping the arrows in the bottom left corner or by selecting the page numbers lining the right hand side of the screen.
As with the Kindle, you can search through a document or e-book by selecting the Search button and using the on screen keyboard. Searching for the word “Lord” while reading Hamlet was speedy and the searched word was highlighted throughout the text.
Another neat feature is the annotate key that lets you mark up different parts of the on screen text. You can select the circle button and then tap on the text and it will circle the designated area. You can also use the pen tool to sketch a note or underline some text. Lightly scribbling on the screen was responsive.
We were pretty impressed with the Plastic Logic Reader, but we’ll see how impressive it looks when it finally ships in January 2010.