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.
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.
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.
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.