It may be some time before Sony and . ViewSonic, best known for producing monitors, is now also looking to get in on the ebook-reader game with the VEB612. At about £260, it's more expensive than many of its big-name rivals, though, so has it got the style and features to justify the higher asking price?replace the printed page, but they've certainly being gaining their fair share of column inches recently on the back of releases from
Generic but stylish
ViewSonic hasn't exactly broken any new ground with the VEB612's design, but it's still a relatively stylish device. The white finish may feel slightly plasticky, but it certainly gives the device a clean and fresh appearance. As the VEB612 is relatively petite, measuring just 127 by 203 by 9mm, it's pretty comfortable to hold too, and, at 180g, it's unlikely to push you over the hand-luggage limit when you're off on your travels, even if you're flying with Ryanair. We also like the way that ViewSonic has included a white leatherette case with a magnetic clasp on the front, to keep the VEB612 safe when it's tucked away in a backpack or suitcase.
As you'd expect, the front of the reader is dominated by its 6-inch screen. As with most ebook readers on the market, this uses E-Ink technology to produce a very stable monochrome image that's extremely easy on the eye. The display has a resolution of 800x600 pixels, so text, images and graphics looks reasonably sharp. It can only show eight greyscale levels when rendering pictures and graphics, though, whereas many of its rivals are capable of displaying 16 shades of grey.
Lacklustre format support
Compared to other devices, the VEB612's format support is rather limited. It only supports the PDF, TXT, ePub, HTML and PRC formats, whereas Sony's models also support the Word, RTF and BBeB formats.