A simple, no-frills device with good format support and the ability to play music, the Go is one of the lightest eReaders available, but it feels flimsy and doesn't have Wi-Fi or a built-in shop
The Icarus Go is available from eBook specialists Green Reader and like most non-Amazon devices, it relies on Adobe’s Digital Editions software and authentication to manage purchased eBooks. It’s one of the lightest eReaders available at 169g, and costs less than £100.
There’s no Wi-Fi, so you’ll have to load eBooks onto the Go using Adobe’s Digital Editions software. The first time we plugged the Go in via USB, it took a while to load its book list into Digital Editions, but subsequent connections were faster. There’s support for microSDHC cards too, so there’s plenty of room for spare books or music, and the Go supports WMA, WAV and OGG files as well as MP3s.
Although it isn’t the cheapest eReader around, we weren’t surprised to find that a few corners were cut to keep the Go competitive on price. The lack of Wi-Fi is one, and means that you won’t be able to add new books while on the move unless you have access to a computer for USB transfers.
Another sign of cost-cutting is the lack of a dictionary or any note-taking ability – the most you can do while reading a book is to create a bookmark. Battery life is also inferior to many other eReaders, but 6,000 page turns is enough to last for quite a few novels. Bear in mind that playing music while reading will drastically reduce battery life. Finally, although the plastic construction helps to reduce weight, the Go felt a bit fragile, especially its flimsy plastic buttons.
In other areas, however, the Go’s simplicity came as a breath of fresh air. It has a column of buttons down the right-hand side of the fascia, and much like the original Sony Reader, this means you choose an option from the menu by simply clicking on the corresponding button. The Home screen is refreshingly clear: you get access to your reading history, separate lists of books, music and photos, a system-wide file explorer, a settings page and a manual. The time and date is also displayed.
Books are listed by filename, which is a pain if your book files aren’t named by author and title. Page turns are reasonably quick, and contrast is good. The Go does a full refresh each time the page changes, so we never saw any artefacts.
Text size is handled by a dedicated button, which offers five levels of zoom – strangely, these go from M to XXXL – we would have liked an option for small text. In PDF files where text is rendered as an image, there are options to scale to page, width or height. The tiny page turn buttons aren’t ideal, but you can also use the four-way navigation ring to turn pages.
There are some rough edges – poor translation sees the Contents menu option labelled Catalogue and, similarly, the option to reset to factory settings is called Restorable. Still, the Go’s simple menus and clear options make it easy to pick up and use, and a refreshing change from more complicated eReaders.
However, there are cheaper, better eReaders in the form of the Amazon Kindle and the Kobo Wireless eReader which both feel better built. Although neither can play music, both include Wi-Fi and a built-in shop, and have more user-friendly controls.
|Memory card support||microSDHC|
|Battery and charge options||Li-ion, USB|
|eReader Battery life||6,000|
|Wireless networking support||N/A|
|Ports||USB, 3.5mm headphone|
|eReader TXT support||yes|
|eReader HTML support||yes|
|eReader RTF support||no|
|eReader PDF support||yes|
|eReader ePub support||yes|
|eReader MOBI support||no|
|eReader Amazon AZW support||no|
|eReader Microsoft Word support||no|
|Audio MP3 playback||Yes|
|Audio WMA playback||Yes|
|Audio WMA-DRM playback||No|
|Audio AAC playback||No|
|Audio Protected AAC playback||No|
|Audio OGG playback||Yes|
|Audio WAV playback||Yes|
|Audio Audible playback||No|
|Image BMP support||Yes|
|Image JPEG support||Yes|
|Image TIFF support||No|
|Warranty||one year RTB|