CNET First Look
Entourage EdgeThe Entourage Edge successfully answers the call for an e-book reader designed for textbooks and academics, but casual readers will find the device awkward to handle and complicated to operate.
>> Hey, I'm Donald Bell for cnet.com, and today I'm giving you a first look at the enTourage eDGe. This is an e-book reader and a tablet computer tied together to give you the best of both worlds. Well, that's the theory at least. It sells for $499, comes in five different colors, and like the Amazon Kindle includes 4GB of built in memory. Now, to its credit the eDGe has features that the Kindle couldn't dream of. The [inaudible] displays a massive 9.7 inches that works as a touch screen. With the included stylus, you can scribble notes on the pages, highlight text, zoom, search, and all sorts of extended features. There's also a hotkey off to the side here that flips the reader into a journal mode where you can quickly take notes. For students and teachers one of the coolest features is the ability to filter down just the pages you've made notes or highlights on which can then be exported as a separate PDF file that you can print out or email to a study group. The e-reader works with any ePub or PDF book format but doesn't work with the kind of DRM protected books you'd get for the Amazon Kindle. Books can be loaded from a USB stick, SD card, or purchased through the built-in Internet bookstore which includes listings for free Google books too. Now, on the tablet side of the eDGe, you have 10.1-inch resistive touch screen that doesn't need the stylus to work but it doesn't hurt either. The whole thing runs on a striped-down version of the Android operating system. There's a home screen with large icons for your library, bookstore, web and email, and there's also a drawer for Android apps. But so far there's no integrated store for installing new apps. Email and web are really the strongest apps for the tablet. Both are standard issue Android and very easy to use and set up. Out of the box you also get an app called Docs To Go which can be used to read or create Microsoft Office documents or PDFs. Technically, the eDGe can be used as a functional little word processor by reorienting the screen and attaching a keyboard, but it's a bit awkward which brings us really to our overarching criticism for the enTourage eDGe which is the thing is just too bulky. At three pounds it weighs as much as five and a half Kindles or two iPads. And that's not even counting the wall charger that you'll need to carry around since the eDGe can't recharge over USB. We really like the mark up and note taking features here, but the whole thing really feels just kind of awkward and the two screens felt like a burden more than a blessing. So there you go. That's the enTourage eDGe, a dual-screen reader and tablet that proves the concept but just isn't very practical. For cnet.com, I'm Donald Bell.