Choosing an E-Reader: Is the Shift3 Lookbook Worth Considering?
written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 6/22/2011
The Lookbook is an elegant and pretty little device for reading e-books, but does it offer enough features? Find out pros and cons of this reader to make an informed decision.
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The Shift3 Lookbook has a large LCD display screen --seven inches-- that is in full color. The colored display may not be much of a benefit if you are only planning on reading text from books, but if you love browsing through magazines, it offers a visually stimulating experience. Aside from the aesthetics, this device also offers easy navigation through book pages with its navigation buttons. These buttons have ergonomics in mind, as they are placed strategically on both sides of the device so you can use either or both of your hands when navigating. For an elegant and solid design, the Lookbook gets a good rating.
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Aside from the colored display, you can still improve your visual experience with the customizable user interface. You can change font sizes and typefaces, as well as the look of the bookshelf to achieve a pleasing look for your user interface as you go through your collection of books. It does not add to the usability of the device, but it definitely adds something positive to the visual experience. You can also adjust the brightness of the screen to let you read in different lighting conditions. It is basic and there is nothing special about its user interface, but it is usable and functional so it still gets a respectable average score.
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As the name suggests, one of the best features of this device is its wireless connectivity. It lets you use a WiFi connection to download content from the online store. If you have books in your computer in PDF, TXT or ePub format, you can transfer them to the device using a connection cable. If you are not up to downloading books or transferring them onto your new device, you can relax for a while and still use it because it comes with pre-packaged books. Just remember that you can only store up to 512 MB worth of content in this device, although you can expand that storage capacity thanks to its support for SD memory cards.
The Lookbook Wireless Reader uses the Kobo Books online store as its main source of downloadable content. This collection of books numbers more than a couple of million titles ranging from free timeless classics to current bestsellers. Aside from books, users can also download issues of magazines and newspapers, but note that currently this online store does not offer magazines and newspapers for international users. Content from this online store can be accessed through different devices, which means you are not limited to your Lookbook if you want to read your favorite book.
Unfortunately, that is all that there is to say about the Lookbook’s features aside from the basic e-book viewing with bookmarking capability. It does not have a web browser or a media player, so this is definitely geared towards people who simply want to read e-books.
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Like most e-book readers that offer colored displays, this device uses up relatively more battery power compared to devices with black and white screens. Its built-in rechargeable battery only lasts up to six hours of continuous use per charge. If you plan to read all day, you may have to recharge the device twice before you are done for the day.
In terms of loading time, you will find it a little annoying because there is a noticeable delay in the loading of books. You can blame this on the device’s way of storing books, which is via database as opposed to separate files. If you are used to using devices and apps that have lightning-fast response time, you will find this device quite slow.
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The Lookbook Wireless Reader is very tempting if you consider its price --even with a basic set of features. However, battery life and loading time might be an issue if you are used to more responsive pieces of e-book hardware. It may be considered a steal at only $79.99 from Amazon.com, but that is only if you are looking for an average performance e-book reader. It has a decent design and user interface but it has a very basic set of features. Performance is quite lackluster. If you simply want a device that lets you read e-books from a store with a wide selection of content, then this is for you. If you want more than the feature mentioned here, then you would be better off with another e-book device. It gets an overall rating of three out of five, which is an average score.