in a small land crowded with population, children are put into competition from an early age by their parents . and the latest hype only second to teach them English even from pre-school, is to buy them an Electronic Dictionary in mid-elementary school .
( OK, late-elementary to late Junior-High, but the price-range differs )

you might think this is expensive indulgence for children, but cheap, considering the after-school private lessons they have to opt.for eventually .

I put this into a blog, rather than a like other tech.items in Korea, because Electronic Dictionary develops yearly with more pizazz intact . the latest models are more of video-lesson players than your customary look-up dictionary, where you can download newer lessons from their site, record key points as well as write & draw onto the screen .

most have extensive English section, then Japanese and Chinese with some offering a dozen more languages in phrases needed for travel into SE.Asia and Europe . please remember Korean language is sometimes used in conjunction with Chinese characters (somewhat understandable to the Chinese AND Japanese) and are included in the studies in all models listed .

while especially Junior-High School students would use these as a Bible, business people who are stressed to the limits to learn English+ in rising corporately use them as needed concentrating on a specific language, in my case Chinese .
and although these machines are meant for Koreans learning the other languages, you can find some that work vice-versa . this can be only done if you tackle them yourself, for unlike another popular genre – digital cameras, it is impossible to find a product that suits you 100% without :

  1. searching through the .Net,
  2. trying them at sales stores AND
  3. using them for at least a week after purchase (normal time-frame for a whiz-kid to find most of the contents of an advanced Electronic Dictionary, for a normal person would in no way unleash the full potential of an advanced model today).

so here I’ll start introducing the major players, the manufacturers :


first there were Sharp, long~ ago in the form of a pocket scheduler, then Casio both long track records with these machines as Electronic Organizers, were the choice when things were black & white letterings on a greyed LCD . Casio still has a small LCD next to the keyboard where you can jot down the letters – in this age when everyone is writing directly on the front-top LCD screen . also only with this latest model did Sharp join the colorful LCD wagon .

so although die-hard academic students swear Sharp & Casio are THE Electronic Dictionary, (nano) times have past by them, no matter how hard they try to become the ultimum in another age . mainly because these Korean companies with young staff start-out with color and moving video in mind . the only culprit comes in the form of handling, for I have experienced clumsy character-recognition and obstructed typing in some of the earlier models, though with trial-and-error seem to improve twice-fold by-the-model .

with the advent of fun-learning where the machine doubles as mp3 player, portable video player, and TV oh plus scheduler, did companies such as Nurian join in, early 2008 with the most numbers of Chinese dictionaries . however, I found the earlier models notably X9’s character recognition along with their keyboard very bulky .


iRiver, Korea’s modern-day miracle who’s company is very popular in Asia for their well-designed mp3 players have joined in about the same time in a sub-notebook approach, allowing users to type-in with both hands, continuing with their clean exterior designs .


then one of the latest companies to join and succeed (many have failed) is ATree, whose 2009 model 20B gave me joy with its smooth writing and multi-media capabilities . and there is another manufacturer, with the most chance of using these for Koreans AND foreigners alike, but I’ll refrain from even mentioning their name, for although they supply surprising technology, their price is almost 2~3 times the machines I mention here (which still is top-of-the-line).


although you can see clearly from their specs.their strong points and the bad, you really have to try each for yourself, for handling is much a personal taste . plus, what brand dictionary is in which machine will matter to your own style of composition, and there really are much more going on than all~ that can be listed on specs.alone . so much so, that unlike digital cameras AND notebooks : user testimonies do little to help your choice, for there are so much contained in such a small-smaller machine, meant to use for very personal use . and again with such a handy machine it better satisfy your personal taste such as outer design, key-pad touch, character recognition AND clearness of those simulated pronounciation .

although I have listed extensive pages on Electronic Districts in Korea, most of the vendors have rude selling habits, so the best is try them in the Electronics floor of your nearest super-mart, or SamSung Electronics Branch (where they will have Electronics Dictionaries from all major manufacturers). play them to your liking, then order them online, where it is more cheaper .

most vendors in Korea won’t accept an exchange or refund after used it widely to unleash its potential, say after a week or two .. unless you buy from an on-line shopping mall run by a conglomerate (check my other pages on that). so if you find this is NOT your kind of a model, then you should sell it through one of the popular “used” sites or an on-line community in or . and for this you should buy a “popular” model, which would only deduct your sort-of “trial fee”
.. all this trouble, for unlike a notebook, where you buy an appropriated-sized (AND weight) model to suite your traveling habits then install the programs you need, specific dictionaries and programs are built into Electronic Dictionaries .

as an aficionado of such mobile devices having toddled electronic schedulers since Sharp Zauraus days, I would say you will get the “feel” of a manufacturer after having used 2 or 3 of their higher products . even in these fast-changing paced changing days that manufacturer’s edge would remain in following models to come . so it is then a matter of studying their specs extensively when it is time to buy the next one .