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back to article Bookeen Cybook Opus

While the Amazon Kindle’s appearance in the UK may help nudge the e-book reader closer to the mainstream, there are plenty of other devices to measure it against. Sony’s Reader variants are the best know, but Interead's oddly named Cool-er and iRex's DR1000S are also in the running. To that list we can now add Bookeen's latest, …

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Cheay and nasty looking

Looks like a PDA from 1999. I rather have the Sony PRS-505 for £160.

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Happy

Like the landscape switch.....

....but more importantly - where did you get that nice illustrated version of Alice?

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eReaders

Lots of pretty readers now.

But all too expensive. I think they will take off when the price halves. I'd build my own if I I could interface a bare eInk display to an GP2X. Though a display with USB is easiest, it probably costs as much as an entire Reader anyway.

Keep up the good work, your coverage of these is quite good.

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FAIL

£250????

How did this ever become an acceptable price point for something that does so little? I would struggle to justify buying such a device at £50! Is it just me?

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Mobipocket support

This would be a huge selling point as it opens up the avilability of many more books from many more established stores compared with the still-developing support for ePub. Shame they apparently just made it up.

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auto-rotate

"An accelerometer means the screen auto-rotates as you turn the Opus in your hand, and we think this is a feature other manufacturers should take a note of"?

... except if you want to look at a sideways printed table (sideways, because it's too wide to fit sensibly in portrait). Then auto-rotate'd just be bloody annoying.

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Anonymous Coward

books to ebooks

I may actually get one of these devices at some point, if they would let me download ebook files for paper books I'd already bought...

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WTF?

Rotate

Surely the screen rotates use same amount of power as turning a page?

Personally if it does I think this is a bad idea. Put book down carelessly and find it has rotated the page, pick it up and rotate it back to the way you want it and two lots of page turns from your 8000 have been used up. What’s wrong with having a rotate button anyway?

But regardless of this until they find an effective way of illuminating the screen, I will stick to reading on PDAs.

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<agree> AC && Mage

For what these devices actually do, it still seems a tall order. I can dump text in various formats onto my mobile and read them there without shelling out for new tech. On top of that, I can stuff a paperback into my heavily-packed rucksack without worrying about damage. And if my book gets too wet to read when I'm in the bath I can get another for a couple of quid.

If the cost reduces enough then I'll be interested, but I'd also expect some form of MP3 player built in, too, so I can relax to some Barry Manilow while reading the latest Jackie Collins*.

*Joke...honest!

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Bookeen Cybook Opus e-book reader’

I sold my Nokia E73 and with the proceeds and a bit more cash, bought one from a supplier on Amazon for £195.00.

The device is a good size and fit, and is certainly pocket sized (if you have wide pockets). The navigation pad and UI suffers from using the iPhone, because using the pad feels a bit stiff and there is an audible click; page turning via the thin buttons on the side of the device feels a little awkward, and I'd rather use a pad than have to click separate buttons. Better still, I'd prefer a touch-screen device.

The accelerometer is extremely good and responsive, and reading books is generally a pleasure. However, reading PDF files is still problematic unless one uses small text (issue with ALL E-readers) - a different sort of eye-strain than using a laptop / desktop pc.

Battery life, is as one would expect, excellent. That said, I rarely use the device but does seem to retain the charge well. One point to note that the supplied charger is via USB port.

I'd disagree with the following section of the review, "An e-book reader is only as good as the material it can hold". Er, not quite - if that was the case then there would be no discernable difference between the e-book readers. The difference is functionality, or lack thereof, and allowable formats.

The major drawbacks of the device are:

1. lack of user bookmarks

2. lack of annotations

Point 1 is a major drawback, although the device does open at the last read page for each book. Still, I'd prefer the ability to use bookmarks.

Point 2 is a major / minor drawback, depending on one's usage. For me, minor - but for the price I would like to have this feature.

Booksonboard is an extremely good site, so no problems there - unlike eBooks.com where infuriatingly, a number of publications are not available for readers in the UK due to copyright!?

This is the crux of whether E-Readers will become a success:

1. Availability of material (in one's region)

2. Availability of format (so 90s - still cannot believe this is an ISSUE!)

3. Price

I love the concept of E-Readers, yet I would advise all but the most rabid reader (or those like myself, who plan to emigrate and / or travel [China / Japan] and need to save room) to wait for to see if the above issues are resolved. I think that prices need to fall on devices by 50% before we see some traction. Although I paid £195, in retrospect I should have waited as I don't have a pressing need to use the device.

If an E-Reader comes on the market that allows user bookmarks, annotations and is touch-screen, I'll sell my Opus on the secondary market and buy such a device.

My advise to readers is to wait and see because there is a flurry of E-Readers which are scheduled to appear on the market - which should hopefully mean improved functionality, and a downwards pressure on price. If you mainly read PDF files, then an E-Reader is not appropriate for your requirements.

Cheers!

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Auto rotate?

Terrible misfeature in an ebook... that you're likely to be wanting to read in bed, lying on your side. Manual rotate is fine, but which way is 'correct' is entirely down to the position of the user.

I much prefer the larger screen of the Sony - the more text on the page the better - after all the primary purpose of the device is to read.. everything else is fluff. They *are* too expensive - even more so if you pay UK prices for the ebooks (mostly they're at hardback prices - completely insane).

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Anonymous Coward

@putonghua

You've been robbed old son. For 220 quid (whsmith) you could've got the new Sony Touch. That is audio-enabled, allows user-generated bookmarks and notes, and is touchscreen. As for your "No ereader can read pdf unless it's small", that's nonsense too. The Sony Touch next to me will happily convert pdf to larger sized fonts without crappily zooming in on the page. I've read 15 full-length books in pdf, 3 in .txt, 4 .docs, an epub and there's no appreciable difference between the formats.

For the extra 25 quid I know what I'd rather have, and it wouldn't be some tacky plastic thing.

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DRM

Sony's reader software has the same limitation on support for different DRMs, and also comes with Adobe's as default - you cannot cohabit different DRM books on the same reader. Which is a bit shit to be honest.

@AC 15:49 You may have just been lucky with the types of PDF you've encountered. I have the same machine as you and the PDFs I've tried have been a very mixed bunch - some behave well but most look crap when zoomed, with line breaking all to pot and graphics illegible and ugly.

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not all PDFs are the same...

Some are properly designed from the ground up for reflow, many are not. And a good few are not even proper e-documents, they are just effectively just pictures taken by a scanner. Meaning on an e-reader PDFs may be great, poor or a bag o'shite. Not great.

Mobipocket - Jury's still out but I wouldn't be surprised if this dies as a multi-vendor format. Sony has gone e-Pub, giving that a huge boost which with Amazon's loving embrace may turn mobipocket into a kindle-only format.

And yes, these gizmos are not a like-for-like replacement of paper books or PDA/phone readers. But in their niche they are very handy. I'm going to New York so I spent last night loading 15 books onto my Sony. I don't fancy taking that many paperbacks in my hand luggage, or reading on PDA for six hours at a time.

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