Test: ECTACO jetBook Color 2 Deluxe

It's overpriced, but tonnes of unique features mean it does have credible appeal. Just not for reading novels.
Just to prove that someone out there is doing something with e-Readers that doesn't involve copying Amazon, take a look at the Ectaco jetBook Color 2. It's one of the few e-Ink devices that has a full-colour screen and aims to offer a huge breadth of features rather than the low-priced minimalism that typifies the market.

With a 9.7" screen at 1200 x 1600 resolution and a huge selection of built-in apps and games, the jetBook Color 2 seems more like a tablet PC with an e-Ink screen than it does an e-Reader. The colours aren't as vibrant as an LCD screen's, obviously, but it's hard not to be impressed by the fact of their existence. It's a little like looking at the future of e-Readers, only you can buy it today.

Admittedly, that statement only applies if you have £500 to spend on a glorified Kindle which is too large to hold properly, but the jetBook Color 2 isn't aimed at novel-readers. Instead, it's aimed at businesspeople and academics who might find the colours useful in the context of textbooks and business documents. The supporting apps - graphing software, calculators, and the like - reinforce its position as a specialist device, and that in turn makes its specialist price forgivable.

The Deluxe version comes with a custom active stylus called the C-Pen, which you can use to scan printed text, uploading it directly to the device. Perfect for hanging onto reference material. You can even use built-in translation tools to convert it between languages. It also supports freehand note-taking and text-to-speech. Now-familiar features include 2GB of onboard storage and a microSD slot.

It's tough to call the jetBook Color 2 a device worth considering in any definitive way. It's obviously expensive, and its features mean it competes more with the likes of the iPad and the Nexus tabletsº. In such a scenario, it comes off looking like a slower, neutered version of both - effectively what a tablet PC would look like if it had been made in the 1980s. However, by doing something different, Ectaco at least has the right idea. It's not trying to take on Amazon, and that means it's free to dominate its particular niche.


• Price: £479.95
• Weight: 662g
• Screen Size: 9.7"
• Connectivity: Wi-fi
• Release Date: October 2012


Quality: 9/10
Value: 3/10
Overall: 6/10