As the ebook market widens, it's only natural that competition will start heating up, and the STAReBOOK STK-101
is quite a good example of a small player making a big impact. The STK-101's main claim to fame is built-in MP3 playback, which with an included 512MB SD card and the ability to listen to music while you read, sounds pretty well executed. Fortunately, STAReBOOK didn't stop there, and have made quite the peppy and intuitive reader. CommanderROR, who reviewed the unit, found book loading and page turning to be much snappier than his iRex Iliad
, and battery life looks to be quite good as well. Obviously, the 6-inches of E ink screen isn't quite as impressive as the 8-inch Iliad, but it should be fine for most reading tasks, especially considering the Sony Reader
's 6-inch form factor. Page navigation bests that of both the Sony Reader and the Iliad, with easy to use bookmarks, and a simple method of inputting page numbers using the cursor. Unfortunately, the biggest drawback to the STAReBOOK might be the biggest deal breaker: the book only supports .stk books, and the included converter deals badly with styling and only includes one hard-to-read font. Luckily, JPG books work fine, so a PDF-to-JPG converter should be able to supply you with reading material well enough, but it's a far cry from the open format support of the Sony Reader and iRex Iliad.
[Thanks, Branko C.]