InkCase i7 combines an e-reader and sophisticated case for the iPhone in one product.
I’ve never really been ‘into’ e-readers. I enjoy the feel of a real book as opposed to the electronic pages that I can flip through. That said, I have read full novels from the screen of my iPad. When iPads and e-readers really came into prominence in mobile technology, many (including myself) were left wondering, “which display was better — the LCD or e-ink?” There seem to be opinions on both sides of the tracks, but thankfully, I don’t have to make that determination because, with the InkCase i7, I have both.
Touted as the second screen for iPhone, the Oaxis InkCase i7 is a fantastic case for the iPhone with a secondary anti-scratch e-ink screen. It provides iPhone users with the option to read eBooks and news articles, review upcoming events and weather, and display a beautiful custom picture all through the e-reader screen. The screen provides an anti-glare e-ink reading option with 217 dpi at 480 x 800 resolution. This resolution is quite a bit less than what you would get with current versions of the Amazon Kindle, but it’s still a respectable resolution. The display is a full 4.3 inches and it’s managed by an iOS app.
The case connects to your iPhone via Bluetooth 4 (low-energy). It has 128 MB of built-in memory and a 460 mAh rechargeable battery. That battery capacity kind of through me off. I’m used to seeing thousands of mAh not hundreds. But as it turns out InkCase will run for days without needing a recharge. That’s the beauty of e-ink — it uses far less energy than an LCD.
The case itself is very hearty. It offers military drop protection and using BubblePro Technology, millions of Micro Weave locks together to reinforce the case rigidity. When the phone is dropped while in the InkCase, energy will be dispersed across the case so that your phone is well-protected. InkCase even comes with a hard plastic pick that is designed to help you remove your phone from the case if you so choose to. I personally love this addition because I’ve used it many times not only with the InkCase but also with other cases that are hard to pry off of my beloved iPhone.
When I first heard about the InkCase, I was a little apprehensive about using it since I don’t frequently read material at length on my electronic devices. I do, however, love having a case on my phone and I really liked the idea of a case being more than just a case. Installing my iPhone 7 was pretty easy. The InkCase is very rigid and getting it off it quite a different story, but the installation went smoothly. According to the instructions, the next thing you should do is download the app from iTunes. The app allows you to connect to the InkCase via Bluetooth, send images and eBooks from the iPhone to the case, access the live information center, and save news articles through Pocket.
Before you can really make use of the InkCase, you have to pair it to your phone through the app. The process is pretty painless. Make sure your InkCase is powered on and then go to InkCase app > Settings > Device List. The InkCase should be the only thing in the list. In addition to pairing your case to your phone, you can also customize the look of the eReader function, connect to Pocket, and control your Widget settings.
It’s a pretty straightforward device, but I have to admit that I had a bit of a learning curve. Since the InkCase isn’t a touch screen, I had to retrain myself to use the designated navigation buttons rather than tapping on the screen when I wanted to access a function. When you go back and forth between your iPhone and the InkCase, it can get a little confusing, but the more you use the InkCase, the easier it gets. The navigation buttons are quite responsive as a gentle tap will activate the function. One thing I noticed is that when you are on a screen (image, widget, etc.) and you call up the menu if you don’t switch to a different function, the menu will be slightly burned into the screen until you switch to a different feature. I don’t know if this is typical of e-readers, but it was a little jarring when I noticed it the first time.
As cool as it is to have an e-reader attached to my iPhone, I really have to say that the case part of InkCase is pretty remarkable. Not only is it protective, but it’s also very slim and easy to hold. It adds very little weight (2.1 ounces) or bulk to the iPhone. The power and volume buttons are very responsive and the cutouts for the Lightning port and speakers are very precise. After my initial testing of the e-Reader feature, I just left the case on my phone because it was such a capable case.
All in all, the InkCase is a pretty cool product. I was able to read in the car successfully (an activity that previously caused me to feel ill when I read on a regular LCD) and I like having access to information that is on my phone without having to use my phone’s battery. There are some limitations for updating and personalizing that I would love to see addressed in an app update, but other than that, the InkCase has been a pretty smooth accessory.
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