Foxit eSlick aims to be a low cost eReader with fairly good specs, but we believe that unless all you want to do is read PDF text documents, its flaws are too great to overlook. It is among the most recent version of the Taiwanese Netronix EB-600, the most copied eReader design in the world (a pity it isn't particularly exceptional). It has the same basic hardware as the the European Cybook Gen 3, the UK COOL-ER and Elonex, the Russian Pocketbook 301, the Polish eClicto, the South Korean Soribook, NUUT and the US Astak Mentor Lite. Like these, it use e-Ink display technology for low glare, high contrast viewing. It lacks any keyboard, touchscreen, or wireless capability, putting it far behind similarly priced leading eReaders.
The minimalist design comes in black, gray, or white plastic, with only a joystick-like keypad and four other buttons to control it. The eSlick could be described as sleek, but we'd call it more plasticky and cheap feeling. The buttons are annoyingly sticky, especially the center one, and this may become an issue for sensitive fingers repeatedly hitting next page. There is, surprisingly, a dedicated Delete button, an unnecessary and dangerous feature in our opinion, though at least the eSlick requires you confirm any deletions.
The eSlick has a built-in mp3 audio player and headphones. Continuing the minimalist theme, it displays only 4 greyscales, compared to 16 for the latest eReaders, which means even the PDF documents it does a reasonable job of displaying will have very primitive illustrations.
It comes with an anemic 128 MB of internal memory, but does ship with a 2GB card (expandable to 4GB). We do like that you can manage and manipulate a folder structure for you ebooks, unlike the Kindle where they're all lumped into one folder. Charging is accomplished via a mini USB port which is hidden behind a cumbersome rubber door, as well as the mp3 port.
Foxit's customer service also leaves something to be desired--fairly fast to reply, but rather curt, as if they don't want to be bothered according to some reports. This is unsurprising as Foxit is a software company, with little in the way of consumer electronics sales under their belt.
Connecting: The eSlick does not have wireless capabilities of any sort, and must be synced via USB cord to a computer to download content. It also has among the poorest file format support (8 formats) of the current eReaders. And two of those, EPUB and PDB, were just added with the 2.0 firmware update. However, the eSlick comes bundled with software for your PC which can convert any printable document (TXT, PPT, DOC, XLS, and HTML) into a PDF for viewing, a feature which won some praise on its launch, before the Kindle got its own native PDF conversion firmware update in November. And it does handle PDF formatting for short documents well, adjusting margins, font size, etc. to fit the eReader display size. Likewise, the PDFs are fully zoomable from 50-400%.
Unfortunately, the PDF reader lags heavily if your files are longer than 300-400 pages (up to 15-20 seconds between pages reported by some users), which we find unacceptable. As many ebooks are longer than this, if converted from other formats to PDF, these sorts of delays may be common. On PDFs with standard text, the eSlick's reflow option is impressive--it reformats the text to properly fit the screen when zooming in. Unfortunately, you have to enter the menu and enable the option each time you zoom--very annoying.
Eslick is a software company, but has launched an online bookstore, though this pales in comparison to the offerings by Amazon, Sony, and now Barnes & Noble.
Accessories: The unit ships with a USB cable, AC power adapter, 2GB memory card, earphones, earphone adapter (which allows standard 3.5mm headphones to fit the 2.5mm slot, and installation CD.)
You can also buy a genuine leather cover ($39), an imitation leather cover ($19).
Price: The Foxit eSlick has a recommended retail price of $259.
The eSlick is available in the US, Europe, Canada, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand