Sol Reader: a virtual reality e-reader

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Sol Reader: a virtual reality e-reader

Here's a new product in the digital reading landscape that's likely to cause quite a stir: Sol Reader.

Sol Reader is presented as a headset similar to those used for virtual reality or the Apple Vision Pro.

But Sol Reader has just one function: reading ebooks. This device therefore competes with e-readers from major brands such as Kindle, Pocketbook or Kobo.

However, unlike a Kindle e-reader, for example, Sol Reader wears like glasses, cutting you off from your environment for an immersive reading experience.

Technologically, Sol Reader features two e-ink screens that can display a few lines of text (more or less 20 lines).

Unfortunately, these screens have a rather low resolution of 256 x 256 pixels (for a diameter of 3.3 cm), which limits the display to the use of "retro" fonts, such as those used on computers from the 80s.

Sol Reader: a virtual reality e-reader

The Sol Reader was presented in 2023, and can now be reserved on the website. The price, set at $350, seems very high to me, given the technical specifications:

  • Two 256 x 256 pixel e-ink screens
  • 64 MB of storage
  • Bluetooth compatibility (to connect to a smartphone)
  • Remote control for menu navigation and text page turning
  • EPUB file support (DRM-free) only
  • 25-hour battery life

The company behind this product is touting an immersive reading experience for people who want to totally disconnect from devices.

I'm rather skeptical and would love to test it out to make up my own mind about Sol Reader.

Sol Reader: a virtual reality e-reader

Still, with a price tag of $350, Sol Reader is a retro-futuristic niche product that seeks to convince casual readers that it's possible to offer an immersive reading experience thanks to technology.

But, in practice, it will be difficult to use Sol Reader outside the home. The great strength of a book (paper or e-reader) comes from its ease of transport.

But not only is Sol Reader more cumbersome, it also cuts you off from the outside world. This can be a problem when reading on public transport or in a waiting room.

Only home use (and even then) seems appropriate.

Despite my reservations, I welcome Sol Reader. It may not be the ultimate reading device. On the other hand, it does offer a new way of consuming texts, which could lead to converging uses between virtual reality and books.

And why not, in the future, offer a device that combines both a 6-inch e-ink screen and glasses for reading when you're alone and want to cut yourself off from the world?

It looks like the years to come will bring more surprises!

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nicolas lorenzon

Recognizing the need for an informed and reliable source for eReader-related content, Nicolas created, where he currently serves as the lead writer. His well-crafted articles cover a wide range of topics, including eReader reviews, comparisons between various devices, tips for optimizing reading experiences, and discussions on the future of digital reading. Read more here

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