The Icarus Excel ebook reader enters the market with a price of $349, which is $30 less in comparison to Amazon’s Kindle DX. From its price range and features it holds, it seems like it makes a better choice than the Kindle. There is not much information available about this ebook reader on famous websites, but after searching on the official website, lots of surprising information can be gathered. The Icarus Excel hails from the Netherlands and has been available in Europe for quite some time.
The Icarus Excel features a 9.7” Pearl screen with a resolution of 1200 X 825 ppi. This makes it similar to the Kindle DX, but the difference comes in favor of the Icarus Excel, with the Wacom Touch screen that can be used for adding screen notes, drawing, sketching and highlighting with a stylus. The Pearl touch screen shows great contrast and easily responds to user’s commands.
Apart from this impressive edge, the hardware features include: 4 GB memory, which is expandable to 32 GB through the MicroSD card slot, Wi-Fi, a built-in audio player and a 1,600 mAh Lithium battery, which can go on for 8,000 page turns without any re-charge needed. The battery can be charged in 5 hours by connecting to a computer through the USB cable available in the box, or plugged in.
The software features are also quite solid, including notes, highlights, built-in dictionary, search box, bookmarks, file explorer, font types, manual screen rotation through the menu in 4 directions, 16 levels of greyscale, automatic page turning option, text-to-speech option and go to page. There are other interesting features as well, such as sketch application, notes application for easy note taking and web browser. Extra fonts can be uploaded if the choice of 10 is not enough and font sizes are adjustable from 100-500% in simple 17 steps. Music can be played in the background as well while reading a book and the user interface comes in 6 languages including English, Dutch, German, French, Spanish and Polish. The weight is about 530 grams for convenient long time reading.
The system on which it runs is custom Linux, built on 800 MHz Freescale CPU. In addition to all these, the ebook reader has extensive support for various eBook formats and annotation tools. The supported file formats include ePub, PDF, FB2, HTML, BMP, PNG, MP3, PRC, JPG, RTF and TXT. It also supports Microsoft Office file formats including DOCX, XLSX and PPTX. The annotations and sketches in the eBook can also be exported.
With all these features, Icarus Excel does seem like an interesting device to explore but for its high cost; these larger ebook readers are not really affordable for most users. However, the price of $349 is not bad for a large device with a 9” screen, but it is quite difficult for these larger ebook readers to sell as prices for high-end tablets are dropping to lower than $399 this year.