You’re going to be reading an awful lot about iPads and iPad accessories in the coming weeks, so I thought I’d cleanse the palate, so to speak, with a trio of accessories from M-Edge for one of those other e-Book readers, the Sony Reader Pocket Edition (PRS-300).
M-Edge sent a trio of accessories for me to try out with my Sony PRS-300. I already have a leather cover for my reader, but that’s as far as I’ve gone for add-ons, so with summer coming, this was a good opportunity to see what else might prove a useful addition. Before getting to the reviews, I should mention that most of these products are available for other eReaders as well, and M-Edge does offer a full complement of iPad accessories.
First up is the Leisure Jacket. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos may be willing to read his Kindle in the bath (albeit in a ziplock bag), but given that he likely has a car trunk full of the things, he can afford to lose a Kindle or two to water-related mishaps. The Leisure Jacket may not be waterproof, but it does have a clear vinyl cover and fully enclosed, padded case that offers protection from moisture, sand and dirt. Perfect for the beach, I’d say, so long as you weren’t planning on reading in the water. On a trial run, I found the cover clearly offered protection from the elements without interfering with the reading experience. The vinyl front can be a little reflective, but it doesn’t take much to tilt the reader slightly to overcome glare. Available in six colors.
M-Edge Leisure Jacket for Sony Pocket Reader Edition
Wired: Protects from the elements as advertised, doesn’t interfere with reader operation, easy in and out.
Tired: Minor glare issues.
Flexstand and e-Luminator after the jump.
The FlexStand Book stand is one of those products where I simply can’t pinpoint the intended market. The device works well at supporting an eBook reader at virtually any angle or orientation, it slips on easily and stays on thanks to flexible legs (think Gorillapod for e-Book readers). The problem is the Sony Reader Pocket doesn’t have a remote control and its buttons require pressure in order to operate; I found the force needed to operate mine would move the stand unless it was braced on something. The idea of “hands free” reading is tough to fathom when you have to grasp the reader to push a button every time you turn a page. The reader itself is so light that I can’t see how using this might reduce strain either. I suppose someone might have use for it, and with other readers (especially those with touch controls where a page turn can be accomplished with a swipe) it could be useful, but for this particular e-Book reader it seems impractical.
M-Edge FlexStand for Sony Pocket Reader Edition
Wired: Does a good job of presenting the e-Book Reader at desired angle and orientation.
Tired: Intended “hands free” reading experience fizzles with Sony Reader Pocket Edition.
The final item in the trio of accessories I tried out was the M-Edge e-Luminator2 Booklight. A flexible goose neck style, battery-powered LED, the e-Luminator2 takes care of that E Ink lack of back lighting. It provided sufficient illumination to make reading in the dark a pleasant experience, with the light focused on the reader screen to minimize annoyance for others who may be sleeping. There are two levels of intensity and a single AAA battery is expected to last 20 hours (I didn’t have time to verify this, but the claim seems reasonable given the LED bulb). The only issue I had with functionality was a minor quibble over having the entire screen fully lit; try as I might, I could not find the sweet spot that prevented the top corners from having a darker area at the extreme edges, at least without positioning the lamp where it would interfere with reading (you can see this effect even on the web site’s promo shots). This was pretty minor to me, but it may bug people with very low light sensitivity. The major issue is that the e-Luminator2 is designed specifically for use with M-Edge reader covers (even the Leisure Jacket has a slot to accommodate it). If you use a cover from a different company, like the Sony version I own, the e-Luminator2 works, but isn’t the same integrated experience. I ended up taping the light to the back of my reader, which works fine, but it’s hardly an elegant solution.
Wired: Inexpensive and flexible lighting solution, adjustable intensity LED, fully integrated with most M-Edge covers, works with covers from other manufacturers (with a little MacGyvering).
Tired: Difficult to find a sweet spot where 100% of the screen is full illuminated (top corners in particular are darker).