Hands on: Spring Design Alex reader

Google might not be exhibiting at CES but there are more exciting Android gadgets here than you can shake a Nexus-shaped stick at - and some of the mo

Google might not be exhibiting at CES but there are more exciting Android gadgets here than you can shake a Nexus-shaped stick at - and some of the most exciting are ebook readers.

The Marvell booth had the very first working sample of Spring Design's Alex ebook reader, which uses Marvell's Armada chip to excellent effect. The colour touchscreen, although on the small side, is sharp, bright and speedy when browsing, while the main reading screen is as about as zippy as E-Ink gets.

Construction of the unit is excellent - it's slightly thicker than the Kindle but feels extremely solid while not being too heavy. The same can't said of the rather bloated Entourage eDGe reader - a dual-screen Android ebook reader also showcased at Marvell. The eDGe has the heft and build quality of an OEM netbook, as well as many of its features, including video and music playback, ability to run Android apps and capture audio and video (and even link them to ebooks).

The Entourage can view PDFs and Microsoft Office documents but it's difficult to see its wrist-straining 1.3kg weight impressing readers on the move, while more serious users might miss a keyboard and productivity apps. It's out in February in the US for $490.