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Old 07-14-2009, 02:01 PM   #1
mtravellerh
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Cooler finally arrived

My Cool-ER finally arrived today. It was safely tucked in a big Jiffy-Pack. The Cool-ER itself was in a small cardboard box. Not a lot of extras coming with the reader, I'm afraid. There is a headgear-adapter and a Mini-USB cable. Not even a manual in that box! There was no cover in the package and no cover seems to be available right now.

The reader itself is not really black, it's more of a coal color. It's only plastic but it seems to be sturdier than the Cybook and at the same time lighter (about the same or a little lighter than my iPod Touch)

A foil was glued to the Cool-ER for additional protection. At first glance, the volume control on the right was easy to manipulate while the four buttons on the left couldn't be manipulated easily. The On/Off button needs to be pressed a little longer. Startup takes exactly 30 seconds and the reader starts right into the library. Interestingly, a splash screen advises that NTX reader is starting! Up side: You don't push buttons involuntaryly on this one! ;(

Menu navigation is not very glamorous but quite self-explanatory. BTW: I could change font size in two clicks (I read in a review that it takes 8 clicks) Strange, that! There are only three fonts available and I hope that there is a way to add new fonts (no manual no fun). There are 8 different font sizes on offer. The step between the smalest font and the second smalles is a bit steep, another step would have been nice here. Meanwhile, the NTX font isn't good for german texts, so I have chosen Arial.

The reader started right away and the battery was half full so I am quite sure that the device has been tested before delivery. In one of the folders (yes, there are folders and you can even add new ones), there are a few ePubs from Project Gutenberg (Ulysses, Alice in Wonderland in English and Italian, for example). There were already four folders present, one of them a music folder.

Connecting to the PC is easy as a pie. XP and Ubuntu recognized the reader right away, Ubuntu as external drive, XP as external drive and as reader (ADE offered right away to activate the reader). Transferring books to the Cool-ER is REALLY fast. A shame that ADE only transfers books to the Adobe Digital Editions folder (no sub folder or other folders). You have to move the books manually if you want to keep order! Transferring books directly per drag and drop doesn't take long at all. Even some music was swiftly transferred. Folders can only be added on your PC, not on the reader itself. Same is true for deleting a book.

Thanks to the folders, moving through the library goes very fast, too! The navigation wheel is quite responsive and holding the button gets you through the menu rather quickly as well. The central button is a bit too small for my big hands, so that pushing that middle button is quite difficult for me!

The book formats:

ePub: This device was made for ePubs. They are fully justified and the book is rendered very fast. Page turning is faster than on the 505 and Cybook, nearly as fast as on the 700. The display seems to have a lot of contrast. Calling up the TOC takes two clicks, though. Direct access would be far better. I think the Cool-ER is not subject to the 300 kb-limit anymore. I will check that out later today and keep you posted.

PDF: It's Adobe, so PDFs show up quite nicely. PDFs can be zoomed, but they lose formatting in the process and are quite ugly and reading them is hard. Reading PDFs in landscape mode or specially formatted PDFs is an okay experience, I guess! Look at the 505 and you see about the same quality here!

Mobi: Mobis work. That's the good news. They look like text files (no illustrations, no headings) but are fully justified and you can still use the TOC. Great plus: Aportis Doc (palm) files work without a hitch! Of course, DRM is not supported for Mobis.

FB2: Hey, good looking! Retains all the bells and whistles! Maybe the NTX reader in the splash screen is some kind of Cool Reader or FB-Reader clone?

RTF, HTML,TXT: HTML and RTF are looking like unformatted texts (indented and fully justified). Most of the original formatting is lost. If you're too lazy to transfer those to ePub, you can still easily read them, but the pleasure is rather basic!

Finally: The Cool-ER is still a little rough around the edges, but the ePub engine is just great and the good speed is quite nice, too. Maybe the page turning could be done with the volume control if ya don't listen to music (hint!) I am still playing with the device, so I will keep you updated!

Notes: Trying to load nonworking ePubs will crash your system (you'll need a reset) As a general rule, all the ePubs opening with ADE will open on the Cool-ER (hint: PG ePubs work but they are really not well made) Other files that can't be opened (i.e. wrongly labelled or wrongly formatted) will drop you back to the last book that you have read (much like ADE on desktop)

There doesn't seem to be a sleep mode that brings you right back to the book you were reading. You have to go through the boot sequence and the library navigation first, even if you haven't turned off your Cool-ER (major bummer). I hope there's some way to get this working as I hate starting up all over again every time! UPDATE: There is actually a way for the reader to not turn off automatically: In the library menu (of all places), is a menu where you can switch off the automatical shutdown! No real standby mode, still, but as long as it stays alive, everything is fine (doesn't need any energy when I'm not reading, anyway)
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Last edited by mtravellerh; 07-15-2009 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:09 PM   #2
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Can you tell if it has 4 or 8 greyscales? Godzil posted some good test images in Cool-er: light, trendy, inexpensive e-book reader but they are 600x800 stand-alone images (rather than images embedded in, and sized for, an ePub) . Perhaps they will be good tests of the Cool-er's image viewer.
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
Can you tell if it has 4 or 8 greyscales? Godzil posted some good test images in Cool-er: light, trendy, inexpensive e-book reader but they are 600x800 stand-alone images (rather than images embedded in, and sized for, an ePub) . Perhaps they will be good tests of the Cool-er's image viewer.
Yes. 4 greyscales dithered. Sorry! I had written it down in the german review and forgot it here!
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:14 PM   #4
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thanks for the review mtravellerh ! i'm glad you are happy with it ! sounds like a very decent device, particularly at the price !
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtravellerh View Post

The book formats:

ePub: This device was made for ePubs. They are fully justified and the book is rendered very fast. Page turning is faster than on the 505 and Cybook, nearly as fast as on the 700. The display seems to have a lot of contrast. Calling up the TOC takes two clicks, though. Direct access would be far better. I think the Cool-ER is not subject to the 300 kb-limit anymore. I will check that out later today and keep you posted.

Mobi: Mobis work. That's the good news. They look like text files (no illustrations, no headings) but are fully justified and you can still use the TOC. Great plus: Aportis Doc (palm) files work without a hitch!
Does it support both DRM'd Mobi and DRM'd ePub?

Best,
eaderigt
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:20 PM   #6
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I like the quality ePub support. It looks like an interesting device...
But I hate that gigantic logo/tag line on the back (and front, too). I would be embarrassed holding that up in public. "We make reading cool?" Are you serious? Honestly, this is a large turn off for me. The design is nice, but the logo, company name and tag line are quite poorly done, IMO.

Also disappointing that it is only 4 shades of grey, as Manga is one of the main reasons I want an eBook Reader.

Still, this is on my list of readers to consider. I could always slap some more tasteful stickers on there.
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:25 PM   #7
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I wonder if maybe they improved the UI a little after the bad review. That's certainly not as dire as Pogue made it seem. Looks like a decent device for the price. Not a fan of the little clickety buttons myself, but others prefer them.
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:29 PM   #8
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I like the quality ePub support. It looks like an interesting device...
But I hate that gigantic logo/tag line on the back (and front, too). I would be embarrassed holding that up in public. "We make reading cool?" Are you serious? Honestly, this is a large turn off for me. The design is nice, but the logo, company name and tag line are quite poorly done, IMO.
I'm with you there. The logo and tagline on the back of the thing seem excessive. Maybe one could put it in a nice cover and cover that up? It doesn't come with a cover does it?
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:30 PM   #9
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great review, thanks
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:31 PM   #10
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Fantastic review, thank you!

So you're not having any issues with the page turn button being stiff to press?
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:53 PM   #11
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Not even a manual in that box!
Do they have one one-line yet? The Elonex actually has a manual, although it does not come with a printed version. So far as I can tell, the Cool-er is the standard Netronix EB-600 hardware (in a slightly non-standard case) and the standard EB-600 software stack. The Elonex is in the standard EB-600 case, but should otherwise be virtually identical to the Cool-er. So the Elonex manual, which is a bit picture heavy and short of details but seems to cover the basics well, should also be applicable to the Cool-er.

If the Cool-er has some unique features over other EB-600's, then that would be good information to have for the wiki and future "Which one should I buy?" queries.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:29 PM   #12
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Do you know if the Cool-er's .epub support can handle custom entities like headers & footers as per Jellby's DorianGray.epub here.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:52 PM   #13
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Fantastic review, thank you!

So you're not having any issues with the page turn button being stiff to press?
Actually, I'm not quite used to it. But it's no big thing in my book
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:54 PM   #14
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Do you know if the Cool-er's .epub support can handle custom entities like headers & footers as per Jellby's DorianGray.epub here.
I'll check that. But, due to the fact that there is no pointer available I have my doubts, frankly.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:56 PM   #15
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Do they have one one-line yet? The Elonex actually has a manual, although it does not come with a printed version. So far as I can tell, the Cool-er is the standard Netronix EB-600 hardware (in a slightly non-standard case) and the standard EB-600 software stack. The Elonex is in the standard EB-600 case, but should otherwise be virtually identical to the Cool-er. So the Elonex manual, which is a bit picture heavy and short of details but seems to cover the basics well, should also be applicable to the Cool-er.

If the Cool-er has some unique features over other EB-600's, then that would be good information to have for the wiki and future "Which one should I buy?" queries.
Maybe I'll download the Elonex manual and see if it works with the Cool-ER.
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