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-First the downside. The Cruz R103 reader has a resistive touch screen.
The pressure of a finger or stylus is used to navigate the device. – A stylus works well for me. You can swipe pages, but you need to add some pressure. (Unlike a capacitive screen which uses body temp.)
Also, one of the free book titles at Borders failed to download completely. It seems the title is no longer free. But the Cruz Reader tries to download it every time I log onto the Borders app. It’s been two months. Borders has not returned my request for help. I still can’t remove the title from my reading list. (Although I can easily remove other titles that have been downloaded.)
**PLEASE NOTE* The customer service rep from Velocity Micro (the company that makes the Cruz Reader) was very eager to help solve my problem. They offered many helpful hints and suggestions.
-Now to the good things.
I bought the Cruz R103 in December 2010 at Best Buy for $99. I chose it because I could get books from more than one vender. So far I’ve bought titles from Borders and Amazon.
The reader comes with a charger, a USB cable, a soft carrying case, a stand/docking station, and a quick start guide. (The full operation manual is preloaded on the Cruz reader’s office file system.)
The Cruz Reader runs on the Android operating system. This was my first encounter with Android, and I like it. It’s taken a while to get used to it, but the new OS is easy enough to figure out.
You’ll need to set up your wireless connection. A simple wireless router will do. Set up your Borders app which is preloaded onto the Cruz Reader.
Log onto the Cruz Market. Download and install the Amazon app (Highly recommended) and the FBReader app.
I also recommend the Skyfire web browser app and the youtube app which you will find in the Cruz market for free.
There are plenty of free apps in the Android App store. (which you will need to install.)
There are settings for reading at night, which I do a lot. There are page markers. and you can make notations and look up words using the Amazon app.
Overall I like the Amazon experience on the Cruz much better.
Amazon carries newspapers and magazines as well as books titles, unlike Borders, which only carries book titles.
I consider myself a loyal Borders customer, but Amazon does it better.
But why choose, when you can have both?
The issue of sunlight glare is easily solved with a screen protector. It’s difficult to find them specifically for the Cruz R103. If you find one, buy a bunch.
You will need a screen protector because you’ll be touching the screen a lot.
I use an iPad screen protector that I got at a $5 store. I had to cut it to size. It has a matte finish that cuts the glare.
Most of all… I like not being tied to a phone company just to read a book. This is by far the BEST thing about the Cruz reader.
Eventually I will upgrade to the Cruz T301 which has more memory AND a capacitive screen.
I am very pleased with customer service of the Velocity Micro company. When I upgrade, it will be with one of their products.
This is NOT an iPad. This is an eReader that does other things. I didn’t expect an iPad. What I got was something useful that works for me.
Hope this review helps.