ViewSonic is not a company that springs to mind when you think of e-book readers, but as the format becomes more popular it has decided to enter the fray with two models.
The VEB625 will have Wi-Fi and a touchscreen and will be available in a few weeks — probably before the end of July. The VEB620, pictured here, is almost identical in design but lacks the Wi-Fi and touchscreen elements, and is available about now.
The ViewSonic VEB620 should debut at £169 (ex. VAT), while the price for the VEB625 has yet to be finalised.
The devices come in black or white — we had a black sample of the VEB620. The key difference between the two models as far as deisgn is concerned is that the VEB625 has a slot for a stylus running down the right edge. This is not needed on the VEB620.
The chassis feels somewhat plasticy (although it's solid enough) and lacks the classier looks of e-book readers from the likes of Bookeen, BeBook and Sony.
A row of five buttons beneath the screen give access to menus, bookmarks, text size changes, a back feature and the home screen. These, plus left and right page movement buttons and a five-way controller, make the design look rather busy.
The 6in. E-ink screen, which is on the small side, has a native resolution of 800 by 600 pixels and supports 16 greyscales. Overall the VEB620 is a little large for a pocket, measuring 18.8cm wide by 12.6cm tall by 0.99cm thick and weighing 220g (the VEB625's dimensions are 18.8cm by 12.6cm by 1.09cm and 258g). A G-sensor allows pages to rotate as you move the device between portrait and landscape orientation.
Formats supported include the usual range of EPUB, HTML, PDF, TXT and RTF. No image file formats are supported, but the infrequently seen FB2 — an XML-based format — is added into the mix.
As well as displaying text, the VEB620 plays music files — although it only supports MP3s. You can get music and e-books onto the device via a USB connection to a PC or by using an SD card — there's a slot on the underside of the device, which is also where you'll find the 3.5mm headset connector. There is 1.5GB of internal memory available for user files.
The battery is quoted as good for 8,000 page refreshes. In use, we found the VEB620 a little slow to respond — certainly slower than some of the competition.
The VEB620 comes with a faux leather cover to help protect it when you're on the move.