The BeBook is the first to fall by the wayside. It's a decent little device, but the way it presents Mobipocket and EPUB content simply isn't good enough and that's a major issue if you plan on purchasing DRM-protected - ie. recently published - content.
Next comes the iLiad. Yes, it does a lot more than the other three readers on test and has the larger screen but it's more than twice the price and we aren't sure how much use all that extra stuff will be to the your average buyer. The larger screen doesn't really justify the bigger size and weight, either, and the lack of a bookmark function is a drawback.
It's a close run thing between the Sony Reader and the Bookeen CyBook. The CyBook is wonderfully small and light, and for our money shades the Sony for legibility when presenting most formats. It does feel rather plasticky for something costing £180, though.
So the winner is the Sony. Why? Well, it's the best made and nicest looking of the four by some margin, and as is often said by fans of the iPod, it just works. Give all four of these devices to a ten-year-old and ask them to tell you which is the easiest to switch on, use and get familiar with, they will tell you the Sony. How do we know this? Because we tried it with a couple of ten-year-olds.
It's the little things: the dedicated bookmark button, the fact you can access all your bookmarks from the main menu rather than having to open up the relevant book first, and the menu layout. It just shows that Sony has been around the block once or twice when it comes to making a usable and desirable consumer gadget. The only serious drawback is the lack of support for Mobipocket files.
Group Test: electronic book readers
I'm sure I recognise that manga from somewhere. Oh yes:
http://www.ukanime.com/images/dailymail.jpg (Don't actually buy it if you want the stuff from the headline, The Mail is being as accurate as usual)
Also, Ichigo Marshmellow is sure to be banned soon, we can't allow depiction of underage smoking now can we?
Is that some Manga on your e-book!?! Best be careful as far as NuGov is concerned all Manga is depraved and pornographic. Now excuse me where was my ichigo marshmellow.
I think the BeBook definitely should have gotten a better rating. The developers are constantly updating the firmware and seem quite responsive to what customers want. Of all the devices it surely has the most future potential, which is most important in a constantly evolving market.
Buy it from www.mybebook.com and enter "firstname.lastname@example.org" as your coupon code upon buying.... you'll save 35 bucks on it. Here's a little vid of the BeBook in action:
It's all very well having these bespoke readers for eBooks but it's not going to work unless you can get virtually any book on the medium. I had a look at the last 10 books I bought and only one was available as an eBook.
If there was a truely wide selection I wouldn't hesitate at getting one as I love the concept.
e-book v. tablet
I'm trying to decide between an iLiad (for the note-taking) and a Tablet (probably a 12' one). If it weren't for the price difference, would anyone recommend the tablet for some particular paper-reading advantage? Or is there a particular disadvantage that I should be aware of?