COOL-ER (Cooler) eBook Reader Review

by Ebook Doctor on October 22, 2009


cooler-ebook-front

The Cool-er (or Cooler ebook reader if you prefer) is a relatively entry level ebook reader which comes in a range of striking colours similar to the ipod range.

cooler-device-colours

The COOL-ER ebook reader uses the typical Vizplex E-ink display used in other ebook readers and features a 6″ 600 × 800 pixels, 167 ppi screen. This is comparable to other ebook readers in this range with 4 levels of grey.

Although the Cool-er has the same 6-inch screen as say the Kindle 2, it renders text with a proprietary font instead of the print like fonts used by the Sony or Kindle devices.

You can flip it the screen 90 degrees to read in landscape mode but you will have to go through the settings as it cannot sense when you are turning the reader.

The design and build quality is not as good as some of the more expensive models – For example the Sony Pocket and the Bebook Mini  both have more wow factor when it comes to the build quality, but it should make for an ideal device for people looking to save but still be able to read on the move.

The latest generation Cool-ER ebook reader comes with 1GB of internal memory, and can be extended up to 4 GB through an SD card. In comparison, only the Bebook mini supports SD cards at this price level, the Sony Pocket reader is limited to its internal memory of 512 MB. This is rather good, and means that you are able to store in between 500-800 novels in the internal memory alone.

The 6 inch screen is glare free, and features Vizplex E-ink for a nice reading experience just like reading on paper. Thankfully, this screen is un-affected by direct sunlight glare unlike earlier ebook readers so you can read anywhere as long as you have light.

cool-er-ebook-hand

The user interface / device build is a bit problematic, and is where more expensive ebook readers will shine. The big iPod type design and the D-Pad scroll whele interface look and feel clunky and cheap.

The D-Pad scrollwheel acts as both a menu selector and a page turner, which doesn’t feel natural as you will only be able to turn pages with either you left or right hand based on the orientation of the device.

The onscreen UI works, but isn’t intuitive and you will find yourself going through many menu’s to find your way round.

There is no text to speech function, but thats no loss as I’m not a fan of the robotic voice of the text to speech apps available in some of the ebook readers such as the Kindle. But the COOL-ER comes with an MP3 player function which although limited, is quite good for listening to audio books (ie you can’t control the playing, unless you get out of the book…).

There is no built in dictionary but bookmarking is thankfully included for easy reading.

The COOL-ER ebook reader supports a good set of formats including: PDF, EPUB, FB2, RTF, TXT, HTML, PRC, JPG AND MP3. As well as Adobe EPUB/PDF DRM’d ebooks. Which makes it a versatile ebook reader which will accept almost anything (this is not the case with earlier Sony ebook readers or the Amazon Kindle).

Ebooks are loaded through the USB cable or SD card, and its a simple process. The ebook reader appears as an extra drive, which works better in Windows than on Macs where it creates additional folders for nothing.

The battery life is good, the device is rated for about 7000 page views (Most ebook readers have in between 7000-8500), but the battery meter is not always accurate. This isn’t a big deal, but can mean you might find yourself with  drained device out of the blue.

There is no auto-sleep function so make sure you switch off the device after using it, although it doesn’t use much juice it will still be draining the battery.

The COOL-ER device is available at £189 from Firebox, and it makes for an attractive device at this price point. This is an ideal starter ebook reader, or gift for students to encourage them to read more.

You can find out more, and purchase the COOL-ER ebook reader here.

If you are looking for a more feature packed ebook reader, we would recommend the BeBook one which is £10 more expensive but includes a dictionary, and better build quality. Alternatively at a higher pricepoint we suggest the Sony Touch which is also an excellent looking  alternative jam packed full of features.


{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dean Johnston 03.25.10 at 12:16 am

Cooler E-Reader – Disappointing Quality and Support

We purchased 2 Coolers in July 09 when they first came on the market and unfortunately would not recommend them to anyone. While one has generally worked ok, less than 2 weeks into a 4 month trip to South America my wife’s unit started having problems – freezing up, getting caught in continuous loops while starting up, having the screen suddenly become garbled. A number of different fixes worked at different times but nothing actually solved the problems. Mine has also had some of the same problems but never as bad.

Eventually we were told to send hers back in mid-October (from Bolivia, paid by us, eventually reimbursed in Jan/10). Despite the fact we tracked it and knew they had received it before the end of October we never heard back until I hounded them in mid-November and finally got a response. I was told it was fixed but they were just waiting on a new software upgrade and would send it out next week. That turned out to be a blatant lie. Three weeks later I hadn’t heard anything and tried contacting them again – no response, no response. Finally, in mid-December, I got fed up and sent an angry email to everyone in the organization I could find contact info for. That apparently got their attention as I received several replies and even a phone call. Their PR rep was very helpful and got a new unit sent out immediately (which was good because apparently they could no longer locate our original one). Of course, although she also promised to send us free credit in the Cooler Bookstore we never did receive this.

Now, while the new unit doesn’t seem to suffer from the original problems, the battery appears to be defective (it lasts about 10% as long as our other one – not even a full day). I once again contacted Cooler Support, even offering to purchase a new battery, and after a third try was told:

The COOL-ERs battery is easily removable. If you do find a replacment
battery at a local battery retailer please feel free to try one out. I
currently do not have a replacement battery to offer.

Best regards,
Julie

I thought it was very generous of them to “allow” us to try to find a new battery at our own cost since they apparently don’t bother keeping replacement parts around. Unbelievable.
All in all, we’ve had nothing but headaches with Cooler and I now understand why they were cheaper than the rest. Even when they are technically working they still occasional get stuck cycling and overall they just seem poorly made. So, while I don’t have any personal experience with other models, I would recommend trying anything else since I can’t see how the quality or service could really be any worse.

2 Ben 03.31.10 at 7:30 am

I could be mistaken, but isn’t the point of the e-ink screen to not draw power when displaying a static image?

3 Lisa 04.21.10 at 6:32 pm

I bought a cool_er e reader today in Italy where I live. When removing the plastic packaging the color coating of the device came off with the plastic packaging. Now I have to return it but live in Italy and they are not at all responsive about doing returns. I am so dissapointed in this product and I haven’t even gotten to read anything!!!

4 e-book Not 07.05.10 at 3:58 pm

I dont have any problem with any of my books reader, don’t have battery problems, plastic packaging didn’t with coating or vice-versa, I didn’t have any problem with the screen going bad, of the item going into a loop. and I didn’t have to call anyone ? and this all because I did not buy a cooler e-reader or any other e-book reader.

5 yogi 07.12.10 at 2:29 am

The ereader sucks, I bought my from QVC. Coolet ebooks and qvx should be ashame of false advertising this product. Five months after my purchase, my coolerbook also malfunction. I think QVC and this company should reimburse everyone’s money back. It’s garbage and the 1-877,number is always out of order as well as there 304 area code number. they are cute on the outside but totally garbage.

6 Denny 07.21.10 at 5:30 pm

I bought a cool-er ereader in June 2010 from Mediamarkt Arena – Netherland.
About 3 weeks later the cool-er stoped working – the unit is freezing.
I sent several emails to ‘[email protected]’, but there is no response from them.
I very dissapointed.

less than 2 weeks into a 4 month trip to South America my wife’s unit started having problems – freezing up, getting caught in continuous loops while starting up, having the screen suddenly become garbled. A number of different fixes worked at different times but nothing actually solved the problems. Mine has also had some of the same problems but never as bad.

Eventually we were told to send hers back in mid-October (from Bolivia, paid by us, eventually reimbursed in Jan/10). Despite the fact we tracked it and knew they had received it before the end of October we never heard back until I hounded them in mid-November and finally got a response. I was told it was fixed but they were just waiting on a new software upgrade and would send it out next week. That turned out to be a blatant lie. Three weeks later I hadn’t heard anything and tried contacting them again – no response, no response. Finally, in mid-December, I got fed up and sent an angry email to everyone in the organization I could find contact info for. That apparently got their attention as I received several replies and even a phone call. Their PR rep was very helpful and got a new unit sent out immediately (which was good because apparently they could no longer locate our original one). Of course, although she also promised to send us free credit in the Cooler Bookstore we never did receive this.

Eventually we were told to send hers back in mid-October (from Bolivia, paid by us, eventually reimbursed in Jan/10). Despite the fact we tracked it and knew they had received it before the end of October we never heard back until I hounded them in mid-November and finally got a response. I was told it was fixed but they were just waiting on a new software upgrade and would send it out next week. That turned out to be a blatant lie. Three weeks later I hadn’t heard anything and tried contacting them again – no response, no response. Finally, in mid-December, I got fed up and sent an angry email to everyone in the organization I could find contact info for. That apparently got their attention as I received several replies and even a phone call. Their PR rep was very helpful and got a new unit sent out immediately (which was good because apparently they could no longer locate our original one). Of course, although she also promised to send us free credit in the Cooler Bookstore we never did receive this.

cool-er stop working, the screen is frozen, and the device did not show any effect to the buttons click.
I have try to connect my cool-er to my computer, but the computer cannot detect the device, and even after the battery is fully charged, the screen is still frozen.
I also have try to reset my cool-er, but it did not work. The screen only show greyscale bars, and did not show the content of the files.

Please help tell me what to do. I think there is no service station for cool-er ereader in my country.

Thanks

7 Denny 07.21.10 at 5:34 pm

I bought a cool-er ereader in June 2010 from Mediamarkt Arena – Netherland.
About 3 weeks later the cool-er stoped working – the unit is freezing.
I sent several emails to ’[email protected]’, but there is no response from them.
I very dissapointed.

8 Vitali 07.25.10 at 9:30 pm

I would say that Cool-er DOES NOT HAVE any support. They do not answer to any email, even I’ve suggested my feed-back about localization problem. They do not interesting in anything else, only sells of this crappy device.

The list of features is very bad. It’s pretty slow. I’m disappointed.

9 Neill 09.11.10 at 6:30 pm

Non-existent support
I bought a Cool-er ebook reader in May. In August is stopped working – simply wouldn’t boot up/switch on. I sent emails to the support address for a month and got nothing back at all. Disgraceful. Fortunately the store I bought it from in the UK has stopped stocking Cool-er so hopefully enough feedback is being sent in. Avoid this device at all costs.

10 Ali 10.11.10 at 6:00 pm

Interead, the company behind the Cool-er, went bust in June 2010, and so any emails or phone calls to the customer services will go unanswered. This is why the Cool-er is going cheap now as the remaining stock is being sold off by retailers and creditors.

I bought my Cool-er about 1 year ago. Like a lot of the people here I found the build quality terrible and there have been a constant stream of problems. I have had all the problems described above and all the screws dropped out the back. Only my pvc cover is holding it together at the moment. Up to now I was able to fix the recurring problems myself as when I had my first problem I emailed and rang customer services in January 2010 and eventually got the help I needed.

The problems that everyone is having about the constant looping or not tuning on can be fixed by updating or reloading the firmware using an SD card. If you do this, it should fix the problem. Download the firmware and un-zip it. Load the un-zipped firmware onto the SD care but do not have the firmware files in a folder, they must all be unpacked to the root of the SD card. Plug the Cool-er into the computer as you need to have a constant stream of power during the firmware loading process. Put the SD card into the slot, and carry out the 3 button reset. The firmware will automatically load and will tell you when it is finished. Unplug your Cool-er and turn it off. It should now work again. WARNING – by doing this all data on your reader will be lost so if you don’t have a back up of your books you will lose them.

Your first problem in doing this is to find a website with the firmware for download. I downloaded the firmware from the cool-er website in January 2010 but as this no longer works and I am not sure where you can find it now. It is over 200mb so is not a small download either.

There are 3 firmware versions – I have Windows 7 and the latest version released in February 2010 does not work as my computer doesn’t recognise the device when it is plugged in. The December 2009 firmware does work, although having now gone through this firmware reload for the 3rd time I am going to buy a new e-book reader as the Cool-er now does not let me read any of my purchased and DRM protected books.

Good luck everyone.

11 Spikiey 10.12.10 at 5:09 pm

I bought a Cool-er ebook reader in August 2009, it is great value for money I haven’t had any problems with it. I would recomend it to everyone that would like a cheap e-book reader, the menu isn’t very good and it is a little slow at page loading, but apart from that it does everything I need in a reader.

12 Nigel 11.15.10 at 2:53 pm

I brought a nice ebook only to find i cannot load any books, I have purchased 5 and the money has been taken from my account but no books loaded on the Cooler ebook, waste of money back to paper backs for me…

13 JOHN GALLERY 05.10.11 at 10:22 pm

WE HAVE PURCHASED A COOLER EREADER BUT ARE STRUGGLING TO DOWNLOAD THE BOOKS AND CAN’T FIND ANY INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO DO THIS CAN YOU ADVISE MANY THANKS
JOHN

14 christina perryman 08.03.11 at 7:06 pm

hi having problems with no page..it is fully charged up and i have nothing just a black/grey screen with lines down,,,can you,s help in any way..thank you..

15 Kathryn 07.19.12 at 8:07 am

So this is basicly trash right?!

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