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Alex eReader retail box
One of the electronic book readers I saw at CES 2010 in January that piqued my interest was the Spring Design Alex eReader since it had a full 6 inch eInk display on the top and a full 3.5 inch capacitive touch color display on the bottom with Google Android powering the device. The Barnes & Noble Nook is also powered by Android with both an eInk and color display, but a much more limited color display. I spent last weekend with the Alex eReader and found several things to like about it, but there are a couple other aspects that will prevent me from buying one for myself at this time. Check out my hands-on video and detailed thoughts and experiences with the device on my ZDNet Mobile Gadgeteer blog post.
Inside black box
Inside the outside cover you can find the black solid box containing the Alex.
Here's the Alex eReader
The Alex eReader is secure in a bed of foam to protect it in the retail box.
Remaining box contents
The cable, charger, case, and Quick Start Guide are below the Alex.
Spring Design includes a decent slip case for you to protect your Alex.
Full view of closed slip case
Here you can see the closed up slip case.
Alex eReader dual screen goodness
The Alex has two screens to give you a reading and Google Android experience.
Upper eInk display
There is a 6 inch eInk display on the upper part of the front.
3.5 inch color display
A full color 3.5 inch color display is found on the bottom of the front.
Back of the Alex
The back contains the microSD card slot and stereo speakers.
Externally accessible microSD card slot
You can easily slide the microSD card in and out of the Alex eReader.
Top of the Alex
The 2.5mm headset jack, charging indicator light, and miniUSB port are found on the top of the Alex.
Left hardware buttons
The previous page and back/Home button are on the left side of the 3.5 inch color display.
Right hardware buttons
The next page/menu and power buttons are found on the right side of the color display.
This cool button lets you sync your lower and upper displays so you can view the same content on both screens.
Alex label and microphone
There is a microphone on the upper right of the front, adjacent to the Alex label.
Bottom indicator items
The text size, power indicator, and time are found on the lower right of the eInk display.
Lower left of eInk display
The page location information is found on the lower left.
Ebook in sync
As you can see the displays are in sync so you can read in either display.
Reading on the eInk display
The eInk display looks good with five available fonts for your to choose from.
Closer view of eInk display
I am a big fan of reading ebooks on an eInk display.
Lower right display
The connection status, battery status, and time are found in the upper right of the color display.
Alex eReader in hand
The Alex eReader fits well in your hand, even though it is long.
Sony Reader, Alex, and Nook
Three ebook readers side-by-side.
Back of three ebook readers
The back view shows the sizes of the ebook readers from a different view.
Ebook readers stacked up
The Nook on the Alex on the Sony Reader.
Side view shows the length of each
As you can see the Alex is quite a bit longer than the other two ebook readers.
Google Android Home page
The 3.5 inch Home screen shows the Google Android experience on the Alex.
The BookStore utility is a page of shortcuts for the different web pages where you can download ebooks.
This is a typical view of the library on the Alex.
Titles in the library
Here you can see the different titles in the library of the Alex.
This is the screen on the lower color display for the Reader utility. There are several functions and options available while reading ebooks.
More Reader options
Annotations are a big part of the Alex.
Editor on the Alex
There are different ways you can create content to add to your ebook.
Voice memos are supported with the integrated upper microphone.
Adding a highlight
Highlights can be added to your ebook for later viewing.
Hyperlinks are also a type of annotation that can be added to your ebooks.
Typical highlight that you created
Highlights appear in yellow on the lower display.
Reading ebook on the lower display
You can read on the lower display as well as on the eInk display.
Accessing the menu while reading
You can tap and hold the right button to access the menu.
Alex eReader gallery 1
Alex eReader gallery 2