Although Amazon has not yet released its Kindle in the UK, there are several e-book readers available over here, including the Sony Reader, iRex iLiad and Bookeen Cybook. Now there's a new player in the market, in the shape of the e-Reader from Pixelar.
Pixelar's e-Reader retails direct from the company in three bundles: the e-Reader alone will set you back £220, while for £240 you can have the e-Reader with either a brown or black leather case and a clip-on reading light.
The build quality of the Pixelar e-Reader is not up to the standard of the other ebook readers we've seen: the black plastic casing seems robust enough, but the finish leaves something to be desired on a £200+ device. The e-Reader measures 120mm wide by 184mm deep by 9.9mm thick and weighs 220g.
Like the Sony Reader, the e-Reader has ten buttons for navigating through the device's menus. These sit below the screen, and to their right is a button that calls up a context-based menu and includes a 'back' function.
To the left of the screen is a pair of buttons for moving forward and back page by page. A long press on either button advances or backtracks ten pages at a time.
The e-Reader supports a wide range of text (including PDF) and image formats, RSS feeds and MP3 music files. There's a 3.5mm jack for attaching headphones, which is good — but it's located on the bottom edge of the device rather than on the top edge, which would be more ergonomic.
The e-Reader has just 512MB of internal memory, but supports SD cards — there's a slot on the top edge, and you get a 1GB card in the box. PC connectivity is via USB, and you can filecopy e-books to the internal memory or the SD card.
The screen measures 6in. across the diagonal and uses E-Ink technology. It's clear and sharp, but offers only four greyscales and suffers from the same time lag when turning pages that blights all e-book readers. The 950mAh Li-ion battery is rated for 8,000 page turns.
Overall we're not convinced the e-Reader can compete with its rivals. We like the ability to copy files rather than having to use separate software. But compared to Sony's similarly priced Reader, Pixelar's product looks less stylish and feels less robust.
The manual covers the bases well enough, but has obviously been translated into English without the benefit of a copy editor's services.