Thursday, November 12, 2009

WHO CARES about User-Replaceable Batteries?

Well, you should and I do.

You will note that both of our lines (EZReader and Mentor) have a battery door. There is one sturdy little screw that opens with a standard phillips screwdriver. You can purchase replacement batteries atour website:

Almost all the major eBook Reader sellers have gone to sealed-in batteries.

"So what?", you might say!

First of all, batteries do not last forever. Maybe you do 200 recharges in a year. That battery might be ready to go out. It depends on how long it sat discharged and weather and temperature and other factors... but Diamonds may be forever and batteries aren't!

With a sealed -in battery you first hunt down the maker of the device and try to contact customer service. You then pay $80 or so to them to replace the battery. But wait, what about freight? Add that in. Then you sit for 4-6 weeks waiting to get the device back. Getting the idea now?

With the Astak line... you can already be up and running for about $16 or so.

Also, what about the concept of a "spare battery"? With Astak you can buy a spare, charge it, and pop in the spare on a long trip! It weighs next to nothing and takes up little room. So, instead of the "8,000 pages to a single charge"... you now have 16,000 pages capability.

Frankly, I would never buy a device that is sealed in! That, to me, is a form of lunacy.

Most reviewers never seem to get this. They comment on font sizes available and Text-To-Speech quality instead... all items that are readily improved by firmware upgrades... free and taking maybe 2 minutes. In the last month or so, Astak has offered firmware upgrades to improve: battery charge, Search Function, Bookmarking, Font Size selection, more languages supported, amd more. Dictionary Support and a visual clock are the next upgrade and already in the works. We listen and we react.

Unfortunately, you cannot change a sealed in battery with a firmware upgrade.


  1. It's not that most reviewers do not get the idea of a user replaceable battery, it's that it really isn't a selling point to most people. There are three reasons I can think of as to why a user replaceable batter does not matter.

    1) Sealed in causes the device to be cheaper to produce and thus cheaper for the consumer. This leads into point two.

    2) The device is not seen as a long term investment. This is very reminiscent of how Apple positions the iPod by inciting consumers to upgrade to the latest release. In one or two years the device will be replaced with a newer model. As someone who is looking to buy my third ebook reader for the third year in a row I haven't had to worry about the battery wearing out and needing to be replaced.

    3) Worries of availability. While it is very easy to buy a spare battery now what about in 5 years from now. Chances are the product will not longer be produced as the company has moved on to better and cheaper technology. 5 years from now obtaining a replacement battery can easily be impossible or cost prohibitive.

  2. Yes, that is a part of it. But what IF you want a new battery. Or what if you want a spare battery for a trip. We carry them on our website.

    And... the cost for ours and for theirs is the same. I agree that it costs less to manufactrue sealed-in. BUT... if it costs no more to the end user it is at least an important PLUS, I think.

    I know my own frustration with a GPS that had sealed-in battery. I am on a trip after 16 months using the device and it goes out in the middle of nowhere. Granted, you will not need a Pocket PRO to find out how to get around, John... but if you are on a trip it can sure be a hassle!!

    Thank you for good comments,though!!

  3. I'm glad that the EZReader has an easily replaceable battery. I replaced the battery on my iPod mini a year ago when it stopped holding a charge after several years. It was difficult to do and left a minor scratch on the case. I still use that older iPod even though I have a newer mini and also a Zune.

    Having a replaceable battery was a selling point to me with the EZReader.

    I haven't bought a replaceable battery for my EZReader yet, but will in the next week or two as a spare. I travel a lot (work and vacation) so having a spare around will be very useful.

  4. Dear Zanke:

    Thank you! I agree that the ability to change the battery (if and when it stops working) is a selling point. We ALL never know when a battery will cease to work. For me, having an easy time of changing batteries, is something I expect an eBook Reader to have. I may never need to change... but I want that ability if the time comes.

  5. I do support the concept of user replaceable battery, this is why I purchased a Pocket Pro instead of a Sony. I hope Astak will continue this concept. I also want there will be a standard type of the battery, which means easy availability of batteries. In case of the Pocket Pro, I can buy the battery only from Astak, not like the standard 6" one, a nokia battery will be more than enough.


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