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17 February 2012

Got a new ebook reader: Cybook Odyssey

Replacement due to breakage

My old ebook reader (Bookeen Cybook Opus) fell down some time ago, the screen cracked. It wasn't really an excellent product, but it did the job, so I don't think I would have replaced it anytime soon if I had had a choice. But with this turn of events, I had to look around. The "big" offerings from Amazon and the like were out of the question for "political" reasons, no way am I going to tie myself into those corporate orwellian worlds. Besides, I'm mostly reading the classics, which I get from Project Gutenberg.

In the end I decided to look for Bookeen's latest product, the "Odyssey". (Someone should examine my psychology for buying again from a company that I bought a rather shaky product from before.) To my defense, I must say that this time I checked some reviews through the mobileread forum, and those reviews looked satisfactory. So, how have I been faring?

I'm happy with the new device. It's a bit heavier (one big advantage of the Opus was that it was really incredibly light, totally made for one-hand reading). The software is much stabler, it hasn't crashed on me even once. The screen appears to be a bit better - I can't compare them side by side, since my Opus' screen is crashed. The screen is certainly much, much faster, page turns are not noticeable any more. In fact the screen is so fast that they waste time by animating opening a book, which becomes annoying quick. (Even more annoying when I tapped the wrong book on the touch screen and when that books is from Project Gutenberg, with no meaningful title page.)

The Odyssey has a touch screen, which is fancy in some respects, but then it also leads to a smudgy screen in need of cleaning all the time. I would have been fine with a couple of more buttons and the button interface of the Opus.

There are some extra software features, like the "Home" screen that allows access to the last 5 books opened ("Now Reading"). Also the last 25 added books - but since they are shown only with the "cover", and much too small, this is useless. On my friend Saad's "nook", they use a text list for these things, which is much more usefull. The "slide" on the touch screen for moving between "last read" books is a "hit and miss" business, for me it often opens the wrong book instead of showing me another choice.

There is also on the "Home" screen a huge link to the online shop of the company where I bought the reader, which I can't seem to get rid of. Well, I bought it for 130 EUR at the Virgin Megastore in Paris (including the cover, which would have cost 23 EUR or so normally), instead of paying 180 EUR for it here in Greece. So that "ad" on the Home screen is the price for my money saved.

The Odyssey lets you set bookmarks and annotate books. Some people may like this, for me it doesn't play a big role. This is one feature where they needed the touch screen, for the on screen keyboard. There's a french lexicon too - useful when I read Jules Vernes, and lexica in other languages are in the works apparently. More high tech is in wifi and a web browser. Now I can load books directly from (works very well), look stuff up in wikipedia and read the news. The browser is a bit of a hack though, don't expect too much.

What's weirdly missing is a search feature. Can't search neither inside a book nor through all books. Not really in the class of features that I totally miss myself, but in the list of "kind of obvious features to put in an electronic reader device". The PDF support is still the same, not being able to "reflow" PDFs. So this works only for PDF documents made for the format - what I do is to converto PDFs to ePUB.

What else? Battery live seems to be much better than on the Opus, but the battery isn't replaceable any more. (The replaceable battery of the Opus was something that I was very fond of.) I never switch the device off totally, yet I haven't gotten stuck with an empty battery yet. The on/off/standby button is oddly placed and tricky to use.

In the end what matters for me is a good screen, because I really, really use the device to read books. I'm enjoying the faster page turn speed. Also the battery life and lack of crashes (the Opus often crashed when the battery reached 40%). Everything else is a bit of a game to me, nice to have to waste a bit of time sometimes.

Posted by betabug at 18:23 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
ch athens
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Re: Got a new ebook reader: Cybook Odyssey

Congratulations on your new ebook reader and for sticking with ebook readers! I've concluded that when my BeBook Mini retires I will stick with an iPad that runs Kindle, Stanza, Bluefire and GoodReader.

Posted by: adamo at February 19,2012 17:21
Re: Got a new ebook reader: Cybook Odyssey

Hey adamo! Well, I'm currently fed up with Apple. As you see, I opted to buy a product that appears to be a little more open than others in the field, even though I risked getting an inferior product in the process.

I like it that there is nothing distracting me on the ebok screen, when I read, I read. Also I really started to appreciate e-ink screens, I love it when the sun shines on them.

Posted by: betabug at February 19,2012 19:30
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