Literati eReader by The Sharper Image

Gift Guide Pick

One gadget that’s likely to be on a lot of Christmas wish lists this year are eReaders.  There are many to choose from with different price points, and different features, and one of the newest on the market is from The Sharper Image and it’s called Literati.  Just released in October of 2010, it’s available at retail locations nationwide just in time for Christmas shopping.

The Sharper Image has long been a company that has enthralled people with lights and buttons on electronic devices, so it makes sense that they would enter the booming retail presence with an eReader of their own.  What makes this one a bit different than the majority of the ones on the market is that is has an LCD display rather than an E-ink one.

There are merits to both types of displays, but the Literati allows readers to tap into the types of books where color is necessary to really appreciate the story.  Such as children’s books, newspapers and magazines.  Granted you can get those on E-ink readers as well, but there is something lacking when you can only view the pictures in gray scale.  Other than the display itself, the experience of using it, is similar to using an Amazon Kindle.

So if you’re looking to purchase an eReader this season, your main question I’m sure is if the Literati is the right choice for you, well let me tell you about my experience with it.

Literati Device

The color LCD boasts a 7-inch display screen of size 480 x 800 resolution, and is about 1/2” thick.  The device itself has a black plastic edged screen around the display and a silver matte finished bottom with a keyboard.  Just above the keyboard are buttons that allow you to navigate the software.  The device back is smooth which makes it somewhat slick to hold, but Sharper Image includes a carry case for use with the Literati.  It’s nothing fancy, but it does the trick of holding it better than the device on its own, and it protects it for when you want to throw it in your bag for on the go.

The Literati holds 252 mb of data which is quite substantial.  I have 33 books loaded on it right now, and am only using about 50 mb of that space.  If you need more though, there is an SD card slot that allows users to add storage (up to 8GB).

The device has Wi-Fi on it.  This allows you to connect to the Kobo Bookstore and buy your books from where ever you are.  It’s an easy to use feature, and loads the book nearly instantly to the Literati.  The Kobo bookstore has a good collection of books and it’s effortless to purchase through it, and the prices seem to be inline with most of the other online book sellers.

The display can be adjusted to suit your viewing.  There are 7 levels of brightness, so if you find it’s too bright you can bring it down, or if you need it brighter you can push it up a few levels.  For the most part I’ve found very little glare on the screen when using it indoors, I have more glare on touch screen devices than I have on the Literati.

Using the Literati

Thanks to Mom Central, the reviewers of the Literati, were given the latest firmware updates before the general public .    The menus essentially lets you pick your books to read from a number of predetermined ways.  You can view the books you’re currently reading, by author, by title, or just new books you’ve uploaded.

When you power your Wi-Fi on to buy a book from the Kobo store, if there is a software update it will automatically upload it and apply it to the eReader.  That will require a reboot of the device.  That’s where I had a bit of problems with my Literati.  After uploading the firmware update, and rebooting, my Literati just hung on the opening screen.  After attaching a mini USB cable to the device and hooking it up to my PC, I was able to get it working again, but that was a bit frustrating.

There is also a dictionary feature in case you need to look up the meaning of a word, which is kind of a handy thing since sometimes I do come across something I wish I could look up while I’m reading.

Who it’s good for.

Definitely the traveler.  That’s one of the reasons I love eReaders so much.  We travel quite a bit, and I read voraciously.  Going on a two week cruise with minimal luggage, doesn’t allow for a lot of book packing.  With the Literati I can pack as many books as I can read and more for the time period I’ll be gone!

The student.  We find it invaluable in our homeschool.  With so many good classic books available for free due to public domain, we don’t need to go to the library to take them out, or take up room on our shelves with physical books.  It also allows us to take our schooling on the go, because we can upload PDF’s and other documents to it, and take it in the car or when we’re waiting for appointments.

The late night reader.  This is a place where the Literati’s LCD screen truly “shines” (pun intended!).  If you like to read at night, but your spouse is already asleep, or you have a young child in the room with you, you can still read because the screen is back lit and you won’t be disturbing anyone else!


if you are looking for an eReader that has a color screen, so that you can fully enjoy magazines, cook books and the like in a digital format, the Literati is a great price point for that.  At $159 (and likely further price drops the closer we get to Christmas), it’s right on target with the cost of most E-ink readers.

The Literati can be purchased at The Sharper Image and I just saw it at Best Buy the other day, and JC Penney and Kohls (who has free shipping on orders $50+ until November 25th) will also be carrying them this Christmas.

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of The Sharper Image and received a Literati eReader to facilitate my review.”

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