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Slick eReader Review

December 16th, 2010 by · 65 Comments · hardware reviews

This week Big Lots! started selling the Slick eReader for $89.99.  The store in my area had plenty, but then again I got there early on Sunday morning.  The ad in the paper doesn’t reveal any real specs so here they are as listed on the reader’s box:

  • 7” Color display
  • 2gb internal memory
  • SD Card slot for additional storage
  • Supports ePub and PDF files
  • Plays music, video, and pictures
  • Auto switching from landscape to portrait view
  • Support for Borders eBooks and Adobe Digital Editions

Included in the box:

  • The eReader (of course)
  • Cover
  • USB cable
  • AC Charger
  • Headphones
  • User Guide

The packaging itself is nothing to write home about so I will skip that description.  The reader looks heavier than it is and is built quite solidly.  The front looks like a brushed metal, but it plastic.  In spite of that it doesn’t look or feel like a cheap reader.  Page turning can be done using the side buttons that are clearly labeled or by using the navigation button on the bottom.  The included cover is black as expected and the device is held in place by brackets.  While the cover is plain, I think it is a nice plus to be included.

In order to get your books on the device you have to connect the reader to your PC or Mac.     From there you have to install the Border’s Desktop software. All instructions on getting started are explain in detail in the User Guide along with pictures.  This I liked.  I hate when the user guide is installed on the reader.  Since the reader is not Wifi, all book transfers must be done via your computer.  The desktop app does have a sync-to-reader button.  This works fine for Borders, but the guide does not specify how to add your own files or Adobe Digital Editions to the reader.    I don’t have any ADE files so I could not test that part, but I would think that you would just follow Adobe instructions.  I did load some of my ePubs to the device simply through copy and paste.  I placed them in a folder and the reader did show them in the library.

Just to see what would happen, I also connected the reader to Kobo Desktop app.  As soon as it connected there was an option to sync my reader.  I now have the books I bought from their site on my Slick.  Nice to know, huh?

Since the reader is quite simple, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it.  The user guide does get you started, but it excludes some things that I feel are important.  For example, bookmarks.  I   didn’t see it in the guide and while playing with the reader I hit the ok button and then the bookmark option pop up!   I can’t say too much about the battery life, since I’ve only had it a few days.  I’ve charged it once and it still has a few bars left.

There are some gripes I have about the reader.  They aren’t major, but I can see it as a deterrent for some:

Display:  It is not as clear as some other lower end LCD devices.  The only comparison I can think of is the old-school REB1200 color reader.  But it is clear enough for an enjoyable reading experience.  Auto page rotation is very sensitive and there is no setting to lock the lock the screen.

Margins:  They can’t be adjusted by users.  I prefer small margins to get more words on the page.  It is not a lot of white space, but I would be happier if I could fine tune it a bit.

Fonts:  There are only 3 choices.  The largest setting is really huge, and the medium is okay, but I wish there was something in between.  There are no font choices.  Fonts seem to be dependent on the book.  This also affects the font sizes.   I see the most difference in the ePubs that I have added.   So there is no real consistency in the appearance of pages from book to book.

Library:  All books show as a generic book until you open the book.  Then it appears with the cover art.

So much of this can be fixed with a firmware update.  Will we get one?  I hope so.  The SlickUSA website has been updated and the reader is now showing.  The user guide is available for download.  Other than that no other info like specs are on the site.

Overall, I like this reader. For the price you can’t go wrong.

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65 Comments so far ↓

  • Mike Cane

    You never mentioned something elementary: brightness control. It has it?

    • Ellen Hage

      Sorry about that. You have a choice of five settings for the brightness. The highest setting is very bright. I have been keeping mine at the lowest setting. One good thing is that you can set it while reading by pressing the menu button. You can set the default brightness from the main screen as well as how long you want the backlight to stay on.

      Ellen

  • Mrawhimskell Klaar

    Just wondering how good these 7″ LCD ereaders are for reading technical PDF’s… any thoughts?

    • Nate the great

      It all comes down to the software.

      If the device can crop the edges of the PDF then a 7″ screen is just barely large enough. But if it can’t remove the extra whites pace from around the edges then the screen won’t be big enough.

    • Ellen Hage

      I don’t have any technical manuals, but I did test one of my crochet pattern files. The three choices of zoom are present. If in portrait mode you have to do a lot of scrolling across. I think it looks better using landscape. That way you only have to scroll down. Pictures show up quite nicely.

      Ellen

    • Dan

      Mrawhimskell Klaar,

      Saadly this reader is poor in features. It does not have any functionality when it comes to scrolling. For technical reading it does not allow you to zoom into a selected section AND scroll across the zoomed section.

      In the case of reading a “magazine” it does not allow the following of text laid out in a three column fashion.

      Another draw back is the layout foe selecting loaded books. I loaded over 300 .pdf files and when needing to select one that was in the 280 range (the 280th in alphabetical order) I had to select through the previous 279 to get to it.

      The response was extremely slow as well.

      This Ereader is good for simple “pocket book” reading. Nothing more.

      It also does not play much of the formats as it states.

      When titles and files are loaded on the optional memory card this reader does not even “see” most of the files. Instead it states “No Files”.

      For $89.00 it has about the functionality of a Sylvania 2GB Mp3 player and performs about as well.

      I believe the problems lie within the interface programming and it appears that the Slick reader will not have support regarding the poorly written interface program.

  • Chris Dav

    Ellen,

    Thank you for your review. My wife wants an e-reader for Christmas, but I didn’t want to spend a lot on a reader that may not get used a whole lot. I appreciate your taking time to review this product and give us the low-down.

    Sincerely,

    Chris
    (St. Louis, MO)

  • KC

    If I download kids books, do they show up in color? Can you download movies?

    • trinitysj

      It took a bit of time to get the video part figured out. It WILL do video, however the files must be in .flv format or Flash Video. They work great.. I put in a 16 gb card and had no trouble moving files from my computer to the disk, which shows up as a drive in my computer when connected via the usb port on the ereader. Hope this helps. There is software out there to convert video files to flash video, you just have to google it.

  • Ethel

    I just got one and I also didn’t want to spend a lot of money, and I played with mine ,it’s ok for me I’m going to try and put my camera memory card in today and try to figure that part out ,as far as the music ,I’m not sure about that .I’m an Iam an Isonomiac and I read to relax and wind down ,so I like it quiet.and Iam also only using free books and I did the sync and it took about 3min.and only 1 book didn’t sync1 out of ten

  • Ethel

    Iam very fustrated , my slick, worked ok last night after I charged and reada couple books , but today the screen is flashing madly and I can not get it to stop so I can select settings to lock the screen,I’ve tried turning it off and back on to try and reset it ,but it still flashes all over the place ,I put my sd card from my camera in but couldn’t do anythingI sent emails and called ,the hotline and it sent me straight to voicemail, then I was told that this box is full please try later I waited 1hour still same thing, anyone out there that can help me before I decide to return it ?

  • KC

    Ethyl, would it show up in color if I download childrens books. I may return mine too if there are problems

  • Peggy J J

    thank you I was wondering were we only limited to border website for books? I see that someone in here also used the KOBO website for book downloads so I will try it. Overall I really like my slick ereader. I love listen to my favorite music while reading.

    • Nate the great

      You can buy ebooks form any ebookstore except Kindle or B&N.

    • Buck Helton

      Peggy,
      I’ve had mine for several months now. you can install any PDF (I personally convert them to EPUB) or Epub file. There is a free program called Calibre that will convert virtually any text file into Epub, which can then be loaded onto your Slick.
      The Slick does not have all the bells and whistles of an Android based tablet, but it does everything it’s designed to quite well, and for a very affordable price.

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  • Keith

    I just called a Borders Store they reserched it with thier techs. and told me to return this reader. Borders will not have any apps. support the transfer of ebooks to the Slick 700 ereader. Sorry to be the messenger with this bad news hope this helps.

  • Harish Mangrulkar

    Can someone name a few websites where I can obtain and load children’s colorful books (free of course) into Slick eReader for my 3 year old granddaughter. tia.

  • Borders Employee

    KEITH :I just called a Borders Store they reserched it with thier techs. and told me to return this reader. Borders will not have any apps. support the transfer of ebooks to the Slick 700 ereader. Sorry to be the messenger with this bad news hope this helps.

    I work for Borders… the app works fine I also called our tech support . the app will not be updated but is supported. Please do not give out false information. This is a good ereader for the price

  • Melanie

    I am having the same trouble with downloading. I had to exchange the one that I received as a gift because it was missing the installer program. Now, I was able to download the 5 free books, but when I download books into my library and try to synch them, it tells me that my device cannot be activated. I’ve called customer service everyday for two weeks even emailed them and have yet to get a response. Not sure what Southern Telecom’s customer service mission is, but it sure isn’t customer service!! I think I’ll just return it and buy a Nook. I know I can get customer service at Barnes and Noble. I thought this would be a great first e-reader, however, since I can’t download books to it, it’s useless.

    • Robben

      I have the same issue-customer service is closed on the weekend and I have done everythign I can think of to get this stupid thing to work.

  • Benita

    I was given a Slick as a gift but its disappointing. How can I return it?

  • Heather

    I recently bought the Slick e-reader at Big Lots. I have a question about the Borders App.
    As a Canadian citizen, am I able to set up a borders account and purchase e-books?

  • Heather

    Can the Borders App or Kobo App (or any other ebookstore) be downloaded on an iPod Touch?

  • Angela

    I am having the same difficulty as you, my reader doesn’t seem to have the Kobo application in the Desktop installer folder. Can anybody help?

  • Angela

    Kathy,
    Mine was doing the same thing. I just connected it anyway to my computer and then went to Borders and downloaded the app to my desktop & started downloading free ebooks to my computer. Then I hit the sync button and it worked. Now I want to see if there is a way to convert Barnes & Noble books to be put onto this. They have a lot of free books too. Hope it works for you too.

  • Josie

    I can’t seem to get my books to sync. I bought two books and they are in my online library but wont sync to the e-reader……

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  • carebare88

    i also bought an slick e reader from big lots and i charged it fully and when i plugged it in to my computer it read it so i clicked open file and clicked windows (thats what im using ) and it said there are no files found so i tryed looking it up on line at borders but nothing so i took it back and i was very lucky they had by chance a sony e reader pocket style for the same price so i got that one instead and have had no problems so far sorry slick e reader but i give you two thumbs down :( :(

  • Maggieg

    The Slick e-reader is on sale at Big Lots for $59 and I’m wondering, after seeing all the problems from way back in Dec/Jan, if maybe there’s a reason the price is dropping so much. Should I get it or not?

  • Cathy B

    I bought my at Big Lots on sale the other day. I followed all the instructions carefully and when I got to where you install the sync software, my folder for windows sync was also empty. I went to http://download.kobobooks.com/desktop/1/KoboSetup.exe to download the sync software and everything worked fine after that. I loaded up about twenty free books so far. I have both pdf and epub files on there and they read fine. I did turn off the rotation as I seem to be a restless reader and it seemed very sensitive.

    For music, the arrow back/return key will play the music while you are reading. To stop the music you need to use the pause button.

    I plan to use this for a while to see how much I like having an e-reader as I had just not wanted to invest the money in one. If I like using an e-reader, I will probably invest in a better one and give this one to one of our special ed teachers to use with her students.

  • Cathy B

    Before returning it, try the reset button on the back. Also, make sure you follow the instructions step by step and if you are missing the software you can go download it at http://www.borders.com/online/store/MediaView_ereaderapps Just download the one for the Windows and it will sync.

  • Timster

    Can you download free books from the public library???

  • SamU

    I’ve had my Slick for about four months now and suddenly the charging is failing. I plugged it in overnight and the next morning the light is green but the charge indicator has only one bar. Also the low battery window displays. Has anyone else had this problem, and is the battery replaceable?

    • SteveC

      Evidently you cannot replace the battery unless you have a soldering iron and know how to use it.

      Sorry, but I have heard of similar problems with this ereader…the battery sometimes fails after 3-6 months.

  • Nancy Naigle

    Looks like a great way to stretch your book dollars. You can always go to smashwords.com or coffeetimeromance.com and get the versions that will work on this e-reader.

    CoffeeTimeRomance.com is running a 20% discount on any eformat of my brand new release, SWEET TEA AND SECRETS. It’s a love story from the crossroad of small town and suspense.

  • Rick

    I can’t sync either with the Borders or Kobo app.
    It seems to do just fine with plain drag & drop to the ereader volume when you plug it into your PC though.

    The firmware is very weak and featureless. Its a shame because the hardware seems to be just fine.

    The calendar is a joke, it just displays the day circled on a month and nothing else….seriously, nothing, thats all it is.

    I updated it with the 1.3.8 version from Southern Telecom but it doesn’t add any features or fix anything thats noticeable.

    http://www.southerntelecom.com/slicksupport_ereader.html

  • Cathy B

    The more I use mine, the more I discover how to do things. The instructions are not all that clear and having never had an ereader before, It has been a bit of trial and error. I think for the price you are not going to beat it and you just need to take the time to read through others comments above to see how they solved some problems. Maybe somebody should start a discussion group somewhere?

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  • Christina

    I just purchased a slick from Big Lots and I am having a bit of trouble with mine and was wondering if you could help. I went in and downloaded alot of the new books, and some of the books are going in the “digital editions” part in the memory files instead of being listed in the library like the other books. Do you know why this is happening? Thanks for your input on this device and I hope that I get the hang of this thing real soon! Thanks!!

  • Channahs

    So glad that I found this review! I was in Big Lots today and had my hot little hands on one of their Slicks. I hmmed and hawed and decided not to purchase one without doing a little research. For the little bit more than $89 I can get the Amazon Kindle. I think I’ll wait.

  • Roger Jones

    Ellen,
    Miss your comments at Teleread. You gave me much good advice re the Cybook, Gen1 many years ago.

    • Ellen Hage

      Hey Roger!
      Wow, it is very kind of you to remember me. I was planning to do more reviews, but I didn’t think they were providing any real service. Your comment made day. Thanks.

      • Roger

        Just saw your reply to my message – our paths crossed a while back again when you commented on the Slick 701 – good advice, as usual. I have the Slick, love it and, am getting a Nook Color for Christmas, shhhhhhhh……..

        Take care and stay active – yours are opinions that are always worthwhile!

  • Marvin Hollon

    Okay, here’s the question:
    I am down to choosing between the slick and the Skytext Primer, for a cheap E-reader. I was wondering if the drag and drop method would work on the slick. Any comments would be helpful. :)

  • Marvin Hollon

    I might want to buy this, but I have a Skytext Primer set up, that I might also buy, so which should I get?
    Does this read books very well, because that is why I want one. Does the drag and drop method work?
    Is the music player any good?
    Any comments would be helpful. Thanks! :)

    • Nate Hoffelder

      I’d go with the Slick over the Skytex Primer. it felt like a better device.

      But I would actually get neither unless they were under $50. You can get a Nook Touch for $80 tomorrow, or a K4 for $109 any time. They’re worth the cost.

  • Beth

    I am looking at getting one of these but i am wondering if it is even worth it? Are their more issues with this product than there is good? I just want to be able to put some stephen king books and others on it. maybe some music but that would be it. is it even worth it or should i keep looking?

  • Debbie

    How can you use this at a public library? I have tried to install the program at two different libraries, but it stops with an error message. Is it that the library doesn’t allow this to be downloaded? I have no internet service at home to try it.

    • Nate Hoffelder

      You don’t actually need to install that app. There are other apps that can do the same job.

      Ask the librarians to help you transfer the library ebook. Hopefully they will be set up to transfer ebooks for patrons.

  • Maxine McGinnis

    How can I become a distributor of the Slick e-Reader. I own a used bookstore and it would go nicely inside my store. Thank you, Maxine

  • David Webb

    I bought one from Odd Lots(Big Lots) Parts were missing such as the charger. It takes the same charger as one of my other electronics objects. Same amps, same voltage. I tried originally to charge it through the usb port.
    The battery does not hold a charge. Have never got it to work.
    If the battery isn’t replaceable it is a rotten deal. No matter how long it works eventually rechargeable lithium batteries do die. Then you have no reader.
    My thoughts on the matter are, I got cheated by Big Lots on this one. My own fault really for not immediately returning it.
    I think if a replaceable battery was in the works it would work. To bad the company is too stupid to realize that long term you are better off to offer the battery at a reasonable price.

  • chris

    i recieved one from for christmas is it possible i can use my gift cards for amazon and barns and noble

  • Fulvio Perini

    I got it on Dec17, 2011 at Shopko. They don’t accept returns or exchanges on electronics which are opened! Beside David’s issue, I found out that the button (or whatever it is) to turn on or off is deeply stuck. I can turn on using a ball point, but, often it turns off ( or on). I charged all night, and five hours later I found it was on. And, there is a lot more. Money wasted.

  • Kim

    Slick ereader – . I can delete from favorates but it is still in my library – How do you delete books from your library, library is full.

  • Melode Gall

    Has anyone else had an issue with not getting a complete charge when recharging?

  • Kay Rasmussen

    Got my slick e-reader for Christmas. It now froze up and I can’t get it to do anything.
    Hope someone can help me with this or i just bye a kindle.

  • Stacey Folkner

    I purchased the slick e-reader, fully charged the battery downloaded the 5 free titles plus bought 2 additional titles. I was reading one of the books that I bought and downloaded when all of a sudden the screen went blank and then a bunch of blue stripes popped up…I turned it off and back on, the battery light flashed then the stripes popped back up. I cannot get them to go away…I am incredibly frustrated…when I got home from work today I found that it was turned on…thinking of returning it but not sure if I should exchange it for a new slick or purchase a kindle instead….

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