Cleverly recreating the pleasant feel of a paper book, Arta Tech’s two new e-readers were distinguished this year with the prestigious Red Dot award for their design and innovativeness. Read on to find out how these readers may finally give e-book enthusiasts the experience they have been waiting for.
The never-ending war
Ever since the rise of the e-reader, a discussion has been going on between its supporters and opponents. The former typically mention that the device is highly practical, giving access to many books through one small piece of equipment that runs for ages without recharging. Meanwhile, the latter often say that nothing can substitute the experience of holding a material copy of a book, feeling how it smells, etc.
Also, many people say they’re simply accustomed to printed books and don’t see the need to change something that’s been working out fine for them throughout their reading careers. At this point, your author would like to throw in his two cents and say that if readers had always avoided progress, we would still be using tablets. And not the fancy, electronic kind, but the clay ones engraved with chisels…
Fortunately, the creators of inkBOOK Classic 2 and inkBOOK Prime, two new e-readers from Poland, are too mindful to use that historiosophical argument to convince readers to use their devices. They’ve decided to choose a different approach. Instead of trying to convince traditional readers to abandon their print book habits, they actually cater to them. Sweetest of all is that they do this while providing state-of-the-art e-readers that can readily compete with the meanest machines out there, satisfying the appetites of devoted e-book supporters.
A synergy of style and ergonomics
The shape of these devices lets you hold them with ease and pleasant firmness. The back-side surfaces were shaped by bending lines inspired by the form of an opening book. This way we came up with a part that’s comfortable for the hand and gives the fingers delicate resting places.
That’s how Piotr Maciejewski, the man responsible for the design of the two new inkBOOKs, describes their form (they have the same bodies, and differ mainly in their electronics). These words from the founder of Wrocław studio ID Design sum up what these Polish e-readers are all about: ergonomics and conveying the feel of a print book. It just so happens that these things are what traditional book lovers often consider to be among their biggest griefs with e-readers (it used to be the screens, but across the industry these are now so eye-friendly that looking at them doesn’t cause you to get any more tired than with paper pages).
Most e-readers have more or less flat back sides that either provide grip through the use of an appropriate material or are intended to be put into a special cover that makes holding easier. As for imitating the feel of a book, this is usually done by giving an e-reader a front cover, e.g. a leather one. Because of all this, some e-readers do indeed come about as a clumsy ersatz of a nice print book.
But the approach presented by the inkBOOKs is something fresh that might just flip some of those traditionalist readers to the e-side. In the case of these devices grip is provided by the book-like form of the back, meaning that there’s a beautiful synergy of ergonomics and traditionalizing style here. According to their creators, the innovative form of the inBOOKs guarantees unparalleled comfort. Here’s what Paweł Horbaczewski, founder of their Wrocław-based manufacturer Arta Tech, has to say:
We decided to think outside of the box and presented a design that puts its chief focus on ergonomics. Above all, we wanted to make a device you can comfortably hold in your palm for many hours and to minimalise eye and hand strain.
The innovative and ergonomic design of the two e-readers from Poland didn’t go unnoticed abroad. This year, both were distinguished with Germany’s prestigious Red Dot award – given since 1955, it’s one of the most important industrial design prizes in the world.
Polish bad boys
Regarding the electronics and technical specifications of the new inkBOOKs, it’s safe to say that they’re state-of-the-art and place the devices among the best of their kind. Arta Tech has been present on the e-reader market since 2009 and there is no doubt that they know their stuff. inkBOOk Classic 2 is the more modest of the two with 4GB of memory, a USB port, Wi-Fi, but no screen illumination. It’s cheaper than inkBOOk Prime though, which on top of all that has an illumination feature, more memory and a quicker processor. Both devices run on Android and come equipped with a web browser, sporting an eye-friendly 6-inch e-ink screen. A thing that can be considered a shortcoming is the lack of a dictionary but the producers are already working to change that through a software update.
How about you – have you already updated to an e-reader from print books? If you’ve been putting it off, maybe it’s time to consider these Polish bad boys…
Author: Marek Kępa, Apr 2017