Plastic Logic Que proReader Hands on First Impressions


Of all the features we’ve heard people clamoring for in e-readers – bigger, touch-enabled screens, more content, additional file compatibility – the words “more expensive” just never seemed to make the list. That makes Plastic Logic’s new $800 Que proReader a bit of an eyebrow raiser right out of the gate, but despite the outrageous price tag, it does manage to fill many of the other feature holes that have kept e-readers stuck in the novelty zone for so long.

plastic-logic-que-3Plastic Logic set out to design an e-reader for the suit-and-tie crowd. If it appeared unbranded, you might even suspect it slipped out of the R&D labs at Research in Motion. The screen measures 10.7 inches across – a full inch larger than the Kindle DX. It uses e-Ink laminated to a full to plastic substrate for more durability than fragile glass e-readers. It measures only a third of an inch thick. And the entire screen is touch-enabled.

In person, the package immediately impresses. Despite its light weight, the Que feels solid, tightly put together, and incredibly intuitive to use. Much of the credit must go to a nearly buttonless design almost certainly inspired by Apple. Like an iPod or iPhone, the bezel has only a single button for home. The rest of the selections can be made entirely by touching the large, finger-friendly buttons on the screen.

Of course, we do have a few concerns. First and foremost, the touch screen lacked the responsiveness you may be accustomed to from quality smartphones. We really had to apply some pressure to make selections. Part of that sluggishness also carried into the page changes, which seemed a little too leisurely for our liking. And although it looks incredibly slick, all that shiny plastic around the edges also loved to pick up fingerprints, turning the floor model into quite a mess after a day of nerd manhandling at CES.

plastic-logic-que-2As for content, a partnership with Barnes & Noble will score Plastic Logic both retail access to brick and mortar stores (so you can try the Que before cutting that $800 check) and access to the entire Barnes & Noble eBook Store – the same one used by the Nook. The company has also partnered with over 300 magazines and newspapers to preserve the formatting used in print copies on the e-reader. In other words, reading Popular Science on the Que should feel like thumbing through a monochrome copy of the magazine, not reading copy and pasted into Notepad. In the limited browsing we were able to do on a preproduction model, the Que seemed to deliver on this premise.

For execs truly trying to justify the Que as a business expense, it can also tether to phones via Bluetooth to have e-mail delivered to the home screen automatically – and handle all the attachments you might normally need to print, including .doc, .xls, and .ppt.

The Que will appear in April at two price points; $649 and $799. The less expensive version will offer 4GB of memory and Wi-Fi but no built-in cellular connection, while the top-tier model will double memory to 8GB, keep Wi-Fi, and add lifetime AT&T connectivity.

Emerging Tech

Scientists debate mysterious flash of light in space, known as ‘The Cow’

On June 16, 2018 there was an unusual flash in the sky which puzzled astronomers around the world. NASA researchers have been collecting data on the event and have shared two competing theories for what could have caused it.

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for January 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for January 2019.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers for 2019

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.

What to look for and what to avoid when buying a camera

Looking to buy a new camera? Our comprehensive camera guide for 2016 has answers to any camera or photography questions you might ask, whether in regards to pricing, image quality, or weatherproofing.

You could spend $1,000 on an iPhone, or buy one of these awesome laptops instead

Finding a decent laptop is easy, but finding one under $1,000 is a bit tricky. Luckily, we've taken some of the guesswork out of picking out a budget laptop. Here are some of our favorites, the best laptops under $1,000.
Emerging Tech

Brightest quasar ever seen discovered by Hubble, may be star-producing machine

The brightest quasar even seen has been observed with the Hubble Space Telescope using a technique called strong gravitational lensing. The quasar is enormously energetic and may be producing thousands of stars per year.
Emerging Tech

Watch China’s moon mission touch down on the planet’s far side

Video has been shared of a lander's-eye view of China's Chang'e 4 mission touching down in the Von Kármán Crater on the far side of the moon. The craft captured footage of the descent with a camera which was attached to the probe.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX nails its first launch and landing of 2019, but job cuts loom

SpaceX has nailed its first launch and landing of 2019 with a mission that deployed more satellites for Virginia-based Iridium Communications. But the success was soured somewhat by reports of upcoming job losses at the company.
Emerging Tech

The enormous ‘Flying Bum’ moves toward a commercial design

A prototype of the world's largest aircraft is being retired as the company behind it prepares to build a production model. The new Airlander 10, also known as the "Flying Bum," could be ready for commercial use by 2025.
Emerging Tech

Face-scanning A.I. can help doctors spot unusual genetic disorders

Facial recognition can unlock your phone. Could it also be used to identify whether a person has a rare genetic disorder, based on their facial features? New research suggests it can.
Emerging Tech

Lasers and bovine breathalyzer help determine how much methane cows produce

Cow farts and belches don't sound like catastrophic threats, but they contribute to the massive amounts of methane in the atmosphere. Recently, scientists set out to establish the numbers.
Emerging Tech

Researchers discover a way to make 3D printing 100 times faster using light

Researchers at the University of Michigan have invented a new method of 3D printing which is up to 100 times faster than conventional 3D-printing processes. Here's how it works and why it could prove a game-changer for 3D printing.
Emerging Tech

Why wait? Here are some CES 2019 gadgets you can buy right now

Companies come to CES to wow us with their cutting edge technology, but only a few products are slated to hit the market right away. Here is our list of the best CES 2019 tech you can buy right now.
Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.