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Amazon Kindle 2 International Version UK Review

by Ebook Doctor on November 5, 2009


amazon kindle 2

The Amazon Kindle 2 is finally available in Europe and the UK, and we thought it would be good to review the product and offering to see how it compares to the leading ebook readers available in the U.K.

The Amazon Kindle 2 is a large improvement from the first generation device released by Amazon, and looks both stylish and usable. The navigation buttons are intuitive, featuring a 5 way rocker switch and various buttons laid around the screen for page flips.

The screen uses the popular Vizplex E-ink display, featuring 16 shades of gray for a clear and crisp letters and graphics. Many ebook readers are limited to 4 or 8 shades, and the 16 levels does give an advantage to the Kindle when it comes to handling graphics, font smoothing and images.

The screen refreshes are fast, and similar to the Sony and Bebook devices – This makes for a pleasurable reading experience without having to wait too long for the next page.

The Kindle 2 comes with 2 GB of internal storage onboard which should be enough for most user’s needs – But it does not come with an SD card slot for additional storage. This will be an important factor to consider when purchasing your ebook reader, as this means once you have filled this up, you will need to delete books…Plus means you can’t load ebooks from the SD card directly.

kindle2-compare-crayon

The device itself is gorgeous, and the ebook reader size is nothing short of amazing considering the features: With a 0.36 inch thick design, this is one of the thinnest ebook readers around.

Software wise, the Amazon Kindle features a well built and intuitive user interface thats been improved since the Kindle 1. Functionality wise, you can save notes, search, access the built in dictionary and it all feels pretty well thought out.

The new feature the Kindle brings to the table is the text to speach function, which means your Kindle can your books to you literally. This is an interesting feature, you get to pick from either a male or female voice, and you can change the reading speed to suit your taste. The Kindle uses the latest generation text to speech engine, which provides a more natural experience than the built in feature your your mac or PC, but lets just say that the audio book industry is not about to go out of business! The reading is robotic, and if you are like me will revert back to audio books or reading after 30 mins.

Another unique feature is the Whispernet 3G connection which comes built into the Kindle, which enables you to access Amazon’s walled garden internet network worldwide (in 100 countries) at no extra cost. This is a bold move by Amazon, and a world first at this scale.
Through Whispernet you get access to Wikipedia,the Amazon ebook store, read the first chapter of any book (try before you buy) and access to paid subscription news feeds. You don’t get access to email or the actual internet in the but considering this comes free and its available worldwide makes it an attractive offer.

You can therefore buy books wirelessly during your travels, research Wikipedia as you are reading, and keep on top of your favourite news at a low cost per feed – Its just like reading the morning paper, without the bulk or wasted paper.

The Amazon is not without its weaknesses though. This is apparent when you take into consideration the compatible ebook formats supported by the Kindle: Kindle (AZW and TOPAZ), PRC, Limited MOBI (non DRM), TXT, MP3, Audible (format 4, Audible Enhanced (AAX)), MP3;

UPDATE: The Kindle now supports PDF format ebooks.

Yes you read this right, there is no PDF support or DRM mobi / epub formats, which means you will need to buy your books from the Amazon ebook store only.

Alternative ebook readers such as the Sony Touch or the BeBook both enable you to load up pretty much any ebook or document format which make them very versatile.

Another think to bear in mind is that at the time of writing, you have to buy your ebooks from the US Amazon Ebook store in US$ – This is not always practical, but can lead to lower ebook prices compared to UK ebooks.

Also the Kindle does not come with expandable memory, this is not a major issue as 2GB is a lot of books, but its nice to know you have room to grow with such a device.

In all this is a great device, its slim, it looks fantastic, and its a breeze to use. If you are keen on reading your own pdf’s or epub / mobi ebooks or god forbid download ebooks from your favourite pirate site then the Kindle might not be for you (Check out the BeBook One or Sony Touch).

For everyone else, the Amazon Kindle is a great device, you get instant access to a wide range of ebooks downloadable without the need for a PC. Plus you can keep in touch with the built in feed reader to read the news as it gets released from participating websites (for a monthly fee per feed).

The Amazon Kindle is available from the Amazon store for $259 / £158 – A bargain considering the quality of the device and the wireless access. Go to Amazon.com for more information.

Also check out our comparison table to see how it compares to other 6 inch ebook readers.

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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.

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Sony Reader Touch Edition PRS-600 Review

by Ebook Doctor on September 16, 2009


Sony have recently released an updated lineup to it’s popular PRS-505 ebook reader which we reviewed last year.

This year they are releasing the Sony Reader Touch Edition PRS-600 and the Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-300. Both are looking to compete against different sides of the ebook reader market: Mainly the rise of the sub 5 inch ebook readers, and the new Amazon Kindle 2.

The Sony Reader Touch Edition is the new successor of the old PRS-505 and PRS-700, which adds a touchscreen into the mix. The Pocket edition sports a smaller 5″ screen format which we will review at a later stage.

The first thing you will notice once you handle a Sony Touch ebook reader is that it looks really classy – Its an elegant ebook reader which won’t look out of place next to your other accessories.

The screen is easy to read, and the contrast has been much improved since the PRS-700 and ebooks look great on this 6″ e-ink Vizplex™ paper-like screen.

The touch screen is interesting, unfortunately its a bit slow and doesn’t quite feel natural when interacting with words or the UI. Don’t expect an Iphone like touch interface on this ebook reader! But the touchscreen is useful, and adds to the ease of use of the ebook reader – For example you can flick through pages like on a real book.

In terms of capacity, the Sony Touch comes with 500 mb of internal memory which you can store about 350 books with, and you can expand this through an optional MS Duo (up to 16GB) and SD card (up to 16GB) slots for up to 13,000 eBook titles – practically an entire library!

The great difference in these new ebook readers is the change of stance from sony with reagards to ebook formats – Beforehand the Sony ebook readers were a bit limited in the book formats supported, not anymore.

You can now read eBooks in a choice of file formats: Reader Touch Edition™ supports EPUB  (industry standard), PDF, Text, RTF, Word and BBeB. Also displays most common image and photo file types including JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP (in black-and-white).

This is a big change and will mean that you can now upload ebooks which are both DRM and non DRM protected to read on the go!

The US version of this ebook reader comes with a 3G connection built in similar to the Amazon Kindle, which has been ommited from the European and UK release, but thats not too much of a problem. Thanks Russ for the clarification, the US version is like the European version, and does not include a 3G card.

You can still buy your books from your favourite online book shop such as Waterstones, Borders, and Whsmith in the UK.

This is a lighter and more nimble device, and if you are a fan of Sony products, or haven’t yet got your feet wet with an ebook reader device this is a very affordable device, which oozes of quality.

Is it the best device out there? Well we still like the Bebook (reviewed earlier) which supports more ebook reader formats.

But if you are looking to spend a little more, and like the look of the Sony Reader Touch we definately recommend it too. Click here to find out more.

!Update:
Waterstones have just lowered the price of the silver Sony Touch, get it at £29 less here: Click here to find out more about the promo.

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Elonex launches eReader 6-inch eBook reader with Borders UK

by Ebook Doctor on July 1, 2009


Borders UK is looking to rival Amazon by beating them to a UK launch, with their unveiled Elonex ebook reader. This new ebook reader was launched nationwide in UK Borders stores at a £189 – Much cheaper than the the iRex iLiad, priced at £399, which they will continue to sell alongside the Elonex.

The Elonex eBook is compatible with the free Adobe Digital Editions software, and is one of the first ebook readers to market with this technology and supports DRM protected reflowable PDF and ePub formats, as well as other less widespread eBook formats and images/pictures. This puts the Elonex closer to the Bebook beating the Sony Ebook reader in terms of ebook formats, but doesn’t quite match the wide range of ebook formats available for the Bebook.

The ebook features a 6 inch e-ink screen, and at 9mm thick and only 180g it’s incredibly thin and light – And the long battery life means you can enjoy up to 8000 pages between charges.

The new device comes with 100 titles already pre-loaded and can hold up to 1,000 books (8000 with the optional 4gb SD card).

The device was launched into the 41 Borders stores and 10 Books Etc and Borders Express branches on the 30th June.

Customers will be able to take advantage of the 45,000 ebook library available on the Borders UK website, which are all going to be compatible with the device to maximise readability – Plus the many more available in epub format. Click here to see the range of ebooks available at Borders.

-Update

The Elonex eReader is now available online at the Borders website,click here to find out more.

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5 Inch Bebook Mini Coming Soon

by Ebook Doctor on April 30, 2009


Endless Ideas have published images of the upcoming Bebook Mini, which packs in all the features of the original Bebook into a smaller format.

It looks like it will have SD card support and should be staying under the $200 / €200 price barrier.

There’s no indication of a release date, but BeBook Twitter feed did tease about staying under the $200 / €200 price barrier.

Until then, make sure you check out the excellent Bebook here.

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BeBook Ebook Reader Hands On Review

by Ebook Doctor on October 25, 2008


bebook ebook reader

bebook ebook reader

We have recently received our copy of the BeBook ebook reader, and we have been pretty impressed so far.
The Dutch based BeBook has some stiff competition in the UK, especially from the new Sony Ebook reader which is currently available from Waterstones for only £224 here.

So whats so great about the BeBook ereader? Well, from the outset, the device looks quite good, its much better looking than the Amazon Kindle, and has an impressive battery life of around 7,000 page turns, a 6 inch reflective screen mimicking paper, and a light weight of around 220g with its battery.
At the moment, BeBook are offering 150 classic books free, which come preloaded at purchase. You can then download any book listed on the MyBeBook.com website free of charge, which currently has over 20,000 classic titles available!

BeBook are really trying to go for the open source angle, and have made their ebook reader compatible with a myriad of ebook formats and any file type you can imagine, including PDF, DOC, EPUB, PPT, TXT, HTML, RTF, BMP, JPG, PNG, GIF, TIF, DJVU, FB2, WOL, CHM, RAR, ZIP, MP3 and even Microsoft LIT. It also features the longest battery life of any of the current models and has an in-built 512MB memory, which is more than enough to hold 1000 books. This means you can actually load up pretty much any ebook out there, including pirated pdf ebooks…(not that we would condone such a thing!)

In terms of anti-piracy, BeBook says that each device has a unique key, which can  be used to identify any copyright-infringing users that are using illegally obtained ebooks from torrent and usenet sites. I’m not too sure how this can work, but it sounds like a way of protecting themselves from a potential onslaught of legal cases, whether this feature really works or not.

bebook ebook reader review

bebook ebook reader review

Similar to the other leading e-ink readers on the market, it’s also easy to read in direct sunlight, but as the device is not backlit, you will need a reading light for night reading.
The BeBook also comes with a great RSS which can update aall of your favourite news feeds from your PC first thing in a morning and you can browse the news on the way to work. This beats having to go though the Metro or a broadsheet at 8am in a crowded underground. This is a real plus point that the BeBook has over Sony’s Reader, which can’t currently handle RSS feeds.

Also as of August the BeBook  supports the Mobipocket DRMformat, one of the most prolific e- book publisher formats in the world, so it promises to have plenty of titles available for it.

Pricewise, The BeBook is retailing for £199, which is £25 cheaper than the £224  Sony Ebook reader, and comes with a large library of free ebooks so will come out cheaper in the long term.

Bebook have kindly provided us with a discount code which enables you to save €25 off your purchase,  click here to get your BeBook for only £180 by quoting our voucher code:  [email protected] at checkout.

Some people might prefer the Sony Ebook reader because it’s a Sony product, but if you are keen on reading your rss feeds in the morning, and like to read your own pdf and txt ebooks, this is a great choice – Plus it comes with over 20,000 free ebooks to download from the BeBook library. So don’t delay, get one in time for Christmas!

You can find the BeBook here. And don’t forget to use our voucher code “[email protected]” to save €25 / £25.

Also check out this video of the Gadget show reviewing the Bebook ebook reader:

Edit: The video was taken before August when the device didn’t have the Mobi Pocket format compatibility. Also as of August the BeBook  supports the Mobipocket DRM format, one of the most prolific e- book publisher formats in the world, so it now has plenty of modern titles available for it.

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Is this the Amazon Kindle 2 ebook reader?

by Ebook Doctor on October 6, 2008


Our friends over the Atlantic over at BGR have uncovered what appears to be Amazon’s Kindle 2 ebook reader. Although we are suspicious, the picture does look authentic, and if this is true this could be the follow up to their very popular ebook reader.

Unfortunately for us in the UK, Amazon has yet to release any Kindles over to Britain or anywhere else than the US so far.

Looking at the photos of the new Amazon Kindle 2 e-book we are impressed,  although the unit hasn’t gone down in size it looks much cleaner and neater than the current model. This is very much in line to its close competitors including the awesome Sony Ebook readers.

The unit now has a joystick, and the following buttons: Home, Next Page, Menu, a joystick, and Undo. On the left side, there’s Previous, Page, and Next Page.

It looks like the buttons are much smaller to prevent any accidental page turning which was an issue with the original Kindle device. The joystick takes the place of the scroll wheel and it “takes a little getting used to.”

The keyboard of the new Amazon Kindle device has been redesigned and we are impressed by its good layout, but lettering on the keys could be better.

Looks like they no longer have their own charger. The Kindle 2 is able to be charged with a miniUSB cable which sounds like good news for the travellers in us!

The display is roughly the exact same as the original Kindle even though at first glance it might appear a bit smaller due to the new shape.

More details to come!

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Cybook Gen3 Ebook Reader review

by Ebook Doctor on September 21, 2008


cybook gen3 ebook reader

cybook gen3 ebook reader

Cybooks electronic book, the Gen3, is a quite easy to read and convenient device which is light-weight, fully portable and ultra thin. Its screen minimizes eye-strain due to the paper like display it features, fully capable of operating well under an array of lighting conditions whilst not producing glare of flicker. It also boasts:

• A Vizplex E-Ink six-inch screen. The Vizplex features better screen contrast than E-Ink technology that is old and possibly outdated.

• A total weight of 6.13oz. In fact, Sony’s new Reader PRS-505 weighs three ounces more.
• 8,000 page flip battery life between needed changes.
• eNews and RSS feed reading capability.

This device is quite capable of storing files which are supported by such formats as TXT, HTML, PalmDoc, PDF, and is able to download and store 1,000 Mobipocket supported eBooks. Using this encrypted scheme provides Cybook users access to volumes of copyrighted eBooks, one of the worlds largest catalogues indeed. Due to their Electronic Ink Displays, Cybooks have a quite impressive battery life cycle which lasts around 2 months under average conditions. And the Cybooks highly responsive and advanced user interface will allow you to perform a whole host of possible actions, all of which take less than a second to accomplish with the use of one navigation key and two buttons on the Cybooks front side.

This is a real player in this ebook race, and one which is made future proof with a range of innovative features not found elsewhere.

Recommended!

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iLiad eBook Reader review

by Ebook Doctor on September 19, 2008


irex iliad ebook reader

irex iliad ebook reader

This eBook reader is produced by iRex, a Dutch company who aspires to be a true competitor with the likes of Sony and Kindle eBook readers. And because it boasts a notepad as well as being an eBook reader, iRex has possibly one-upped its competition with this offering. The iLiad also operates much like the Kindle or the Reader with its basic feature offerings, since the whole lot feature displays with core e-Ink technology. If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing a device with e-Ink, you must try and find one because its effect looks remarkably like text written on paper.

Similar to the three aforementioned eBook readers, this ereader takes roughly two seconds to turn pages, can set bookmarks, view books, text files, PDF files, JPGs, HTML documents, Mobilpocket eBooks and PNGs is no problem. Not to mention that battery life is very good as the iLiad only uses power when the e-Ink device and Wacom sensor need it.

And when looking for an eBook reader device that is full of options which will assist you when installing content into it, the iLiad is just what you’ve been searching for. In order to fill it you can to use Ethernet, USB, WiFi, Compact Flash cards, USB flash drives and SD cards as well. Unlike other ebook readers which only supports Mobipocket files only, this one supports a wide variety of formats. Of course, that isn’t a terrible drawback seeing as how Mobipockets main store provides customers with 40,000 titles.

Top Stuff!

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Sony PRS-505/SC Reader Digital Book Review

by Ebook Doctor on September 18, 2008


sony prs 505 ebook reader

sony prs 505 ebook reader

How delightful would it be to have the capability to read your most favourite books-with the whole lot digitally stored on a compact device? The Sony PRS-505/SC Reader Digital Book, a redesigned and slimmer model, allows you to tote what was once a stack of books with one hand.

This sony ebook reader can hold roughly 160 eBooks whilst optional memory cards can store hundreds more. And thanks to its portable size that is about 1/3 of an inch thick and 9oz in weight, you are able to read through a vast library of books wherever and whenever you like. And as for battery life, it can support around 7500 continual page turns before needing to be changed.

Boasting cutting edge technology such as an amazing 6-inch display and e-Ink that is so paper like in its appearance that reading your books is enjoyable and easily accomplished even in the sunshine. It has a significant amount of internal memory and a slot where you can add or remove memory cards, making it perfect to take documents, Web content, etc., and read them while you are on the go. And thanks to its Integrated eBook Store, the Sony PRS-505 eBook reader let’s you browse, discover, search and even purchase thousands of popular, new and classic eBook titles. It is possible to visit other sites which offer unsecured eBook titles in Reader supported file formats, translating to vast amounts of suitable content to use in concert with your Reader.

And even though this device is called the Sony PRS-505/SC  Digital eBook reader doesn’t mean it can you can only read eBooks with it. In fact, using the Library 2.0 PC Software include with it gives you the ability to transfer Microsoft Word documents, PDF documents, BBeB Book as well as other text files right to your Reader, which provides you with the ability to view and access multiple files any time you like.

Recommended, get yours from Waterstones UK now and save £££.

*Update* Save £20 off your Sony Ebook reader at Waterstones today with our exclusive Sony Ebook reader voucher code: R27736

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