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Old 03-03-2005, 01:51 PM   #1
rmeister0
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eBookWise eb-1150 hands-on review

I have written a 5,000 word review on the eBookWise eb-1150 e-book reader, including a discussion of personal content issues. I have also included some photographs to show the size of the book (compared to two other PDA type devices), and some screen shots in normal and large font display.

You can read the online review here.

Feel free to post comments, suggestions and corrections to this thread.

Last edited by rmeister0; 03-24-2006 at 10:45 PM. Reason: Update links
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Old 03-04-2005, 10:55 AM   #2
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I have an eBookWise too.

Here's the skinny for folks on the line:

Personal content - yeah, it's possible. Gutenberg is possible, RB is possible, etc, etc, and if you are enterprising enough, even .LIT files can be converted.

Complex HTML, offline reading - it's possible if you spend an hour or two getting familiar with sitescooper. Sitescooper, I'm finding, is the eBookWise user's best friend. I now, daily, read the Times, BBC News, the Guardian, and a handful of my favorite blogs on my EBW (yes, with hyperlinks).

Weight, readability - the screen isn't as green as it looks in the pics, unless you're reading it under direct sunlight. It *is* a green screen, but the backlight makes it appear black/white. It's not that heavy, either - if you figure out the correct way to hold it, it's nearly weightless.

My opinion: I love this thing. I wouldn't trade it for any Palm/PocketPC - I wouldn't even trade it for a lifetime of free martinis. The size of the screen is wonderful, and the price is right.

I demand alot of this machine and have used alot of the document converters. I'd be willing to answer any questions and help people out making this thing even more usable.
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Old 03-05-2005, 03:02 AM   #3
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Thank you guys for your impression on the eBookwise. I am only using a PDA to read e-books, and it seems I have been missing a great opportunity here. Perhaps I should take the risk and invest in a eBookwise next.
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Old 03-05-2005, 11:58 PM   #4
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I used to have this reader when it was the original rocket ebook, back in 98 I believe. I forget the model, but the one I had did not have the modem. It was first generation. I had stopped using it when I purchased the franklin e-bookman. From what I remember, the battery life was fantastic and the display was excellent for reading. Better than any PDA that I have owned.

I dug it up a few weeks ago, but the battery would no longer hold a charge. Despite my efforts I could not find a way to replace the battery. I think I may purchase the ebookwise version. I currently own the Cybook, but would not mind having another reader. I am assuming that the ebookwise 1150 can still read the REB format.
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Old 03-07-2005, 04:26 PM   #5
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I think it has native support for REB. If not, the Librarian software (is it free? I don't remember, I may have paid $15 for it) converts it.

I just like the ability to put absolutely anything I want on it, save PDFs, and even PDFs can be converted with the right OCR software.

The battery life is awesome. Between 8 and 20 hours depending on your preference for screen brightness. I change mine constantly (reading at the bus stop is different than reading in a dark room), so I get on average about 15-16 hours to a charge.

I don't use the modem. I guess I might if I valued hte online bookstore, but most of hte stuff I throw on it is from my local machine. With an extra $15 memory card, I have 128 megs of storage, which is plenty for any sort of vacationing away from my PC.

The best reason to buy one: screen size, screen size, screen size.

The worst reason: what if your battery breaks, like pitcher's? Doesn't seem like Fictionwise really has a hardware support infrastructure setup.
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Old 03-21-2005, 02:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pitcher23
I used to have this reader when it was the original rocket ebook, back in 98 I believe. I forget the model, but the one I had did not have the modem. It was first generation. I had stopped using it when I purchased the franklin e-bookman. From what I remember, the battery life was fantastic and the display was excellent for reading. Better than any PDA that I have owned.

I dug it up a few weeks ago, but the battery would no longer hold a charge. Despite my efforts I could not find a way to replace the battery. I think I may purchase the ebookwise version. I currently own the Cybook, but would not mind having another reader. I am assuming that the ebookwise 1150 can still read the REB format.
Pitcher23, Gemstar is still offering to replace defective readers, including the old rocket, with a new 1150, for the shipping only cost of $30. You should also be able to access all your old encrypted rocket content on it through the Gemstar servers, which are scheduled to stay up for another year.

I replaced two of my old Rockets this way and have enjoyed them ever since.

I haven't tried using the Gemstar 1150 at ebookwise, but they have talked of providing a patch for it. I have an ebookwise 1150 anyway. Personally, I prefer to convert .lit files and make them into .imp books for both my 1150 and the colour 2150 using the gemstar publisher software.

You can get the details of the $30 replacement program and download the free Gemstar publisher software from http://www.gemstar-ebook.com

Cheers!
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Old 03-21-2005, 03:04 PM   #7
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The 1150 rocks!

I have a couple of them - the Gemstar models and the eBookwise one too. For me, it's not just the screen size and the smart layout of the page turning buttons, but the form factor and the light weight.

I have a 1200 and a 2150 - those were the big colour ebook readers made by RCA and Gemstar. (The 2150 is just the 1200 with a new label stuck over top of the old one.) The colour is nice and the screen size is great, and the removable batter pack is awesome, BUT the darn thing is too heavy to hold upright with one hand. Oh, you can do it, but boy, does your arm get tired after a while. Not to mention the page turning buttons are on the opposite side, so you need to use your other hand to change pages.

The 1150 is grayscale, and frankly, the quality of the screen could be better. I wish they had chosen a dial for the contrast setting because it needs regular adjusting as the unit gets warmer. And I wish it used SD or something, not smart memory which only goes up to 128mb, but just the same it's my daily ebook reader and I'm not giving it up!

Last edited by BuddyBoy; 03-21-2005 at 03:05 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 03-22-2005, 12:55 PM   #8
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I wish I saw your post earlier. I wound up chucking my old Rocket E-book after doing a bunch of online searching for the ebook model and the battery. I wound up purchasing e-bookwise's 1150.

I am still reading the books I have on my Cybook, and have not used the 1150 extensively yet. From what I have seen, it is a little lighter than the original Rocket and is quite legible with fantastic battery life. I did notice though, that the original Rocket had a better display. This is not to say the 1150's isn't nice, but the Rocket was easier on the eye and the text looked more clean. I do prefer the built in modem that will allow me to purchase books without a computer, which will come in handy if I am away from one. It's too bad that when Gemstar took over, smartmedia was a popular removal media choice at the time. I wish it took SD/MMC.

All in all you cant beat this device for it's size and price.
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Old 03-23-2005, 02:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pitcher23
I did notice though, that the original Rocket had a better display.
The rocket certainly did, even the 1100 was better than the 1150 since it required no grayscale capability.

But the Rocket was the best and clearest, and there was much gnashing of teeth and wailing amongst users when RCA decided to downgrade Nuevomedia's original specs.

I'm looking forward to trying the Libre when it's issued though does anyone know if it supports grayscale? Images are pretty lousy in 1 bit monochrome.
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Old 03-27-2005, 04:10 AM   #10
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I'd be so nice if they had the EBW-1150 available outside canada and the US. There's more to the world. They're never available on eBay either.

The only RB's which are available on eBay are the original RB1100's. Sometimes.

Annoying.
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Old 03-27-2005, 08:10 AM   #11
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That might be a positive statement about the 1150. Nobody wants to sell theirs!!

Craig.
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Old 03-29-2005, 03:48 PM   #12
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I'm a happy owner of an ebookwise 1150. After using it for a month I've found I really enjoy using it. I agree with all comments and reviews posted here.

Here are some things I found that can be polished in order to make this reader a great device that shows all the potential and the real advantage of ebooks over regular paper books.

First of all: I think a dictionary would be a great addition to it. I read this device was supposed to have a single-tap dictionary, but I couldn't find it. It would also be great if one could have translation dictionaries for reading books in different languages. I'm learning french and I still have to have a paper dictionary by my side. Wouldn't it be great to just tap on the word in the screen to read their meaning? I think that's possible on this device. The firmware just has to be updated.

The GUI (graphical user interface) could also be polished. There are many simple tasks that has to be done with many taps. For example: whenever I want to change page orientation, in order to change hands, i have to do 3 taps. I'd like to have that on the page orientation icon and done with a single tap!! I avoid changing hands because of that: it disturbs my reading when I have to start tapping to accomplish a simple thing. Besides that, why do we have to press the page orientation to change screen contrast or brightness?

There are also wasted screen areas that could be better used for text display. I mean the top and bottom part of the screen. I'd like to have the possibility to hide the top tab (with the default magnifying glass) and the page number bar on the botton.

There are many other things that can be done with this device (eg. audio jack?) but I think these suggestions are simple to accomplish and may have a great impact on usability.

I wonder if the ebookwise 1150 firmware can be upgraded. Does anyone knows anything about it?
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Old 05-02-2005, 10:11 PM   #13
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I've been searching the net for good handheld readers and so far it sounds like the 1150 is the best out there.

I see from your posts that there are ways to convert LIT files which would really help me. I'll check your conversion forum on how to do it.

I plan on using the reader a lot. I'm on a mission to read every Star Wars book. I have about 50 downloaded onto my comp. I just hope the battery can hold up. I just don't get why companies bother to make things in which you cannot replace the batteries.

rmeister0's review was great. Answered a couple questions I had about the reader.
Quote:
My other criticism of the eb-1150 is it’s inability to display any file format other than its native IMP. You can’t just copy a RocketBook or plain text file onto a memory card and load it into the reader; all content must be converted to an IMP file before being loaded onto the device.
Too bad... my computer has a built in smartcard reader... would have been so easy to just dump the files on it... pop it into the ebook and be ready to go. Seems like I'll have to download the eBookWise Librarian program.

Last edited by DiscoLeia; 05-03-2005 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 05-03-2005, 03:05 AM   #14
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I am an owner of a REB1100 (because I cannot/wasn't allowed to buy a EBW1150, being in Europe). I am having a pleasing amount of success converting various books to its native format. One thing to keep in mind though is that the process from for example LIT to IMP (or in my case RB) may not be fully automatic. As a side note, unless I am mistaken, the EBW1150 can deal with RB files (and will automatically convert them).
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Old 05-03-2005, 11:15 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaapjan
As a side note, unless I am mistaken, the EBW1150 can deal with RB files (and will automatically convert them).
No, it won't; I tried it.

You can upload RB files to the personal content server and it will convert them to IMP files. The GEB Librarian software will also do this conversion.
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