45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Timothy B. Riley
- Published on Amazon.com
I have always liked stand-alone data devices like this. I've owned many including several Franklin handhelds with many of their plug-in modules. They were great for spelling, Bibles, dictionaries, encyclopedia entries, etc. However, they were always limited in their versatility. The only ones that I have ever traveled with have been handheld translators. This one is different.
I travel often for both business and pleasure. I always try to incorporate some personal interests into every trip. Whether it's a museum, a historical site, a local festival or a building of special architectural interest I always try to add to my understanding of our planet. This makes frequent travel not only bearable but really enjoyable.
I love to come across things that I have never heard of before. A new (to me) species of bird or mammal, a significant landmark, a reference to an obscure historical event or person, etc. The only problem is that I have to wait until I get home to find out more information about what I saw. Imagine standing at a historical marker and being able to get read the entire Wikipedia entry for that subject WITHOUT a computer or internet connection. I live blocks away from a museum and when I am looking at a piece of art from someone I am not familiar with I can look them up quickly while still looking at the art. This is sooo wonderful!
Although I have a smart phone, a Kindle (which has 3G access to Wikipedia), a net-book with 3G and I plan to get a 3G iPad, they all need to download the needed information from the internet. However the Wiki Reader has it all built in so it reads much, much quicker than those devices that are dependent on an internet connection.
Now for the device itself; there is certainly some good and some not-so-good. Here are my impressions:
* The small size is very convenient. It could be thinner but I am happy with it as it is.
* Speed - Once I initiate a search it finds what I am looking for in just seconds which is much faster that most 3G connected devices.
* Data base - Wikipedia is just incredible! I am always amazed at what is included on it. I know that some people question it's reliability but I have never been disappointed with Wikipedia.
* Ability to upgrade - You have a couple of choices here. You can download other Wikis from the internet for free (including updates) or you can pay to have a data card sent to you twice a year.
* Runs on AAA batteries which are cheap and easy to find.
NOT SO GOOD -
* I find the QWERTY touchscreen to be difficult to use. I don't have small fingers and my fingernails are cut short. Although I have gotten better at inputting data it is still very frustrating. I wish it was a little larger and had a real keyboard.
* When I try to click on links that are close to others I sometimes hit the wrong one.
* Often when scrolling I will hit a link inadvertently which is frustrating.
* There is no back-light so you can't see it in the dark.
* The unit displays no photos or illustrations of any kind. I'm not looking for color, just black and white line art.
I tend to be an early adopter and I will use this until a better one is available. Although I love my Wiki Reader, it could be better so I give it four stars. I think that this would be great for those older people who don't carry a computer with them on trips and for younger folk, especially when doing research for homework.
NOTE: Although I didn't purchase this item myself it was bought for me, from Amazon, by two of my sons as a birthday gift. Thanks guys!
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
This is it! A whole universe of information literally right in the palm of your hand! This thing is a jaw-dropper! I LOVE it!!!!! The design is sweet! I love the simplicity of the design. The on-screen keyboard and touch-sensitive screen work very well. I love the sliding finger scrolling. The display is very clear but adequate lighting is a must; the LCD display is a generous size and easy to read. The real shocker to me about this thing is the incredible thoroughness and length of the articles. I'm amazed at the depth of information you get with each search. With portable database products it's easy to be let down and run into an annoying "not found" message. But this thing has me saying "WOW" everytime I look up something. A friend of mine and I had a dispute as to when Mama Cass died. The Wikireader settled it in seconds. Within seconds after seeing my Wikireader that same friend asked me to order him one and forked over the $100 right then and there! It's that exciting! I tried to trip the Wikireader up by seaching info on Mike Oldfield's sister, Sally who is not so well-known.(Mike composed and recorded the Exorcist Theme "Tubular Bells"). BAM! It had so much info on Sally I just laughed! This thing is DA BOMB! (...and I hate that expression...but I have to use it here!) I wanted to do a quick check on the time intervals between the assasinations of JFK, RFK, and Martin Luther King...BAM! I had it seconds! Any trivia buff would LOVE THIS!!!! I remember when an encyclopedia set took up a whole shelf-length of a book case. This Wikireader seems to be more thorough than any encyclopedia I've ever seen and it sits right in the palm of my hand! WOW!!!!!! There's never been anything like this before! It's pure genius! You'll love it! What a great gift for a student this would make! Gee...can you tell I'm excited about this? LOL! It's entirely self-contained and needs no 'hot-spot" or 'wi-fi' to operate. It's just a beautiful product. I keep mine with me all the time.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Battery life is really awesome. 12 months of usage with only 2 AAA batteries. This is unbelievable and one of the key features for this device.
It is really nice to have almost all of Wikipedia in your pocket and there's no need for any data connection. It's very useful when you're not close to the modern comforts of home e.g 3rd world country, long term camping.
Compact: It can fit in your pocket.
There's also a subscription plan where you can have yearly or bi-yearly updates.
If you have the technical aptitude, you can skip the subscription and update it yourself.
Hard to read: The screen has really poor contrast. Unless you have good lighting, your eyes will go bad. However, if I had to choose between better readability and the 12 month battery life. I would still choose the 12 month battery life.
Touch UI: It's hard to type since the virtual keys are too small and it's not all that great scrolling through articles. The other reviewers summarize this pretty well.
There are no pictures or diagrams.
It needs a lot of improvements and I would pay more money for a better version as long as the battery life is about the same. I would still recommend this product even with its faults.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
August W. Duez
- Published on Amazon.com
great handheld - users manual doesnt tell how to clear the "history" mode - just go to history - then hold down the history button and a popup will ask to clear or retain the history of use - other slight problem is the key pad is very small - i use fingernail to key in the word or phrase - over all i love the machine
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
If you will note, I have given this product, the Pandigital Handheld Electronic Encyclopedia (WikiReader) a four star review. I truly have mixed emotions as to this rating. Please note my comments rather than the star rating in this case.
First, I love this little instrument. For the use I put it to it is like a gift from the Gods. I read a lot, and I mean a lot. Most of my reading is done either in my reading chair or in bed. Both locations are at the far end of our house away from our computers. As I read, I am constantly running across references to geographical locations, names of people, references to events, obscure literary figures and obscure historical figures and events of which I know absolutely nothing about. What ever I am reading is enhanced greatly if I know something of what ever the author is referencing. In the past I have always kept a steno pad and written these reference down and as time would allow, so a search, usually winding up being referred to Wikipedia. This was okay as far as it went, but so often I found that by the time I looked up what ever it was I wanted to know about, I lost the context in which it was use. This little machine has solved that problem. As I run across the many things I do not know about, I can instantly access the information and continue in an enlighten state with my reading.
This small, palm-sized thing is programmed with the entire English version of Wikipedia. It is absolutely ready to go out of the box, has pretty good instructions and is easy to use. The battery life (it uses 2 AAA batteries) is good. It is easy to turn on and off. The information is truly there and truly available.
The company offers updates via download or via MicroSD card. It should be noted that if you choose the MicroSD card method that there is a charge, a stiffer charge than I am willing to pay! This is something they do not tell you on the product page.
I use this product a lot; almost on a daily and nightly basis. It has made my life much easier and much more enjoyable. This item has a touch screen, is fully independent from the internet and even though this information can the accessed via your smart phones, Ipads, etc., it is nice to not be connect and is far less hassle. It is also very versatile and can be carried anywhere; taking up little room.
But there are some major considerations that the potential buyer needs to be aware of! I must stress the work "major!" There is a very dark side to the use of this reader.
Now I am use to touch screen technology, no expert mind you, but then again, I did not just fall off the turnip wagon when it comes to this stuff. But that being said, I have never encountered a touch screen devise more difficult to use than this one; it takes practice, practice and more practice! To begin with the screen is quite small. I do not have large hands and am pretty digitally adept, but no matter, this screen absolutely drove me crazy when I first started using it and I still have a lot of problems. This touch screen is extremely sensitive and is very small. I was and am constantly hitting the wrong letters when I try entering data and sometimes it takes me three or four tries. The QWERTY keyboard is an absolute pain in the behind to use. This reader desperately needs a regular, off screen keyboard.
The scroll mechanism, again something I am quite familiar with, is great in concept on this item but it is so sensitive and the screen so small, that I am constantly being sent here and there to subjects that I have no intention of touching on the screen, but due to the sensitivity, accidentally hit. This causes frustration to the extreme. You MUST NOT even vaguely touch anything that is underlined in the text because you will be sent directly to that subject and this forces you to more or less start all over again. I am a very patient sort of fellow and not subject to temper tantrums, but I have to admit that at first this item almost fond itself being hurled across the room toward the nearest wall...quite often, as a matter of fact. I still have my moments when using this thing.
If you are use to texting at a great speed...forget it. You will have a horrible adjustment to make using this device.
You need a good light and a lot of light to read this thing as there is no back lighting. I am older and my eyes are not what they were twenty or thirty years ago and this is a real problem at time.
Were this company to produce this item with a screen a bit larger, an off screen keyboard, a screen that was less sensitive and some back lighting, I would enthusiastically pay well over double the cost of the current item. The concept there is great; it just needs to be much, much more user friendly
After much, much practice and a great deal of frustration and practice, I can finally manage this device somewhat and use it constantly. I am glad I bought it but feel strongly that the designers of this thing; a wonderful thing, really, should be publically flogged, sent back to design school or drummed out of the designer corps in complete disgrace.
As to Wikipedia. Some like and trust it, others do not. I personally have no problems using it for what I use it for. I am hardly the person to judge its accuracy and reliability. I have never personally had problems with it and use it all the time. That is just me though...each will have to decide that question on their own, using their own standards and needs as a benchmark.
Do I recommend buying it? After reading this review and a couple of other reviews that are posted here, you the potential buy will have to make your own mind up and figure your own tolerance level. Would I buy it again? Probably, but with the knowledge of what I was getting into, and a willingness to put up with the inadequacies and quirkiness of this product.