The Opus is easy to use. The only button on its edges is a top-mounted on-off switch. Two long buttons to the right of the screen let you step back and forwards through the text a page at a time. Thanks to the accelerometer, you can turn the Opus upside down and use these buttons left-handed. A navpad allows for more sophisticated movement, including hops to live links to pre-configured bookmarks – you can’t add your own, and nor can you search the text. The software remembers where you left off reading and takes you back there when you reopen a book.
The four-greyscale screen's not so bad when it comes to images
The only other buttons take you, respectively, back a step and direct to the main menu. The Menu key also gives you access to all the software features such as sorting your library: by title, file size, date, name and even file path - you can create sub-folders if you want to be really organised. There is a somewhat cack-handed system for going to a particular page – you have to choose the page number from a grid. You can also select from a generous 12 different font sizes.
If you're reading PDFs, you also have the ability to fit pages to the height or width of the screen as you prefer, and scale at ten per cent increments between 50 per cent and 100 per cent. You use the navpad to pan around the page and reveal overspill. This is never a satisfactory system and the fit-width option in widescreen orientation worked best for us.
Images in our test PDFs weren’t rendered, and coloured text is turned into greyscale rather than black, which can be quite pale. All of this means the quality of your experience will depend on the design and layout of original PDFs, but that’s the case with all e-book readers, and the Opus makes a good fist of the task.
We found the Bookeen Cybook Opus very easy to use and it's certainly one of the best devices in its class. It's not cheap: we haven't seen the Opus available for less than £210 and more often than not as much as £250, the same price Sony is asking for its 6in, eight-greyscale, audio-enabled PRS-600. Sony also offers the £180 PRS-300, which, like the Opus, has a 5in screen - but no Jpeg support and no memory card slot. Of the two, we'd rather have the Opus. ®
More E-book Reader Reviews...
Bookeen Cybook Opus
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!)
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.