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Old 08-18-2009, 08:23 AM   #1
AlexBell
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Review of ECO reader

I’ve had my ECO Reader about 36 hours now, and it’s time for a review.

I bought this reader because I wanted to be able to read Mobipocket and ePub ebooks on the same reader, wanted folders, and wanted a reader with an Australian support desk. The ECO Reader fully meets all these requirements, and I’m very pleased with it.

At the moment I’m using the same SD card as I used in my Cybook Gen3. In the ebooks folder on the card I have a folder for each author (and a couple for SF Anthologies and Mystery Anthologies) and have had no problem in loading ePub books into folders which contain Mobipocket ebooks. For example in the Trollope, Anthony folder I have ‘The way we were.prc’ and ‘Barchester Chronicles.epub.’ When I select the book I want the ECO reader instantly chooses the correct reader and opens the book.

I really like the folder setup on the reader. One can have multiple levels of folders. I have 20+ ebooks by Lois McMaster Bujold in three different series and one stand alone book. The first level folder I set up is Bujold, Lois McMaster. It contains the stand alone book and three subfolders. Each of the subfolders is named Bujoldn, series name, where n is a number given to a series and series name is the name of the series. I have renamed the files to show the positions of the book in the series. So when I open the overall ebooks folder I find the folders in author’s name order. When I select Bujold, Lois McMaster I see Spirit Ring (the stand alone book), and folders for the three series in order the series were written. When I select a series, for example The Sharing Knife, I see the books in that series in the order of the series. The ECO reader sorts by file name (which need not be the book title), and displays the book title taken from the metadata.

The support and information given by the vendor, DA Information Services, is excellent. All my enquiries have been handled very promptly and efficiently, and I am confident that if the reader does need service it will be dealt with just as efficiently and rapidly. As an example, one needs to install a Nokia battery when one receives the ebook reader. The package includes the battery, a screwdriver and spare screws as well as a cable, an Australian style wall plug, standard 3.5mm earphones, and a printed manual.

There are of course opportunies for improvement, as there will be with any device. Although the manual is full and detailed I found some of the explanations hard to follow. There is an option to order books within a folder. The manual states that the ebooks can be ordered by title, but as mentioned they are ordered by file name. Nearly all the many options are selected from a contextual menu revealed by pressing the key on the lower right confusingly labelled the OK key, but bookmarks are managed in a totally different way which I found counter intuitive. And I’d like to see more gradations in font size, especially between the smallest and next smallest in ePub books. These quibbles are minor. My Cybook will be relegated to spare or reserve, and the ECO Reader will be my first choice.

Finally, the manual recommends that one charge the battery for at least 12 hours before use. I strongly suggest that new owners follow this advice since this will prevent some minor glitches that I experienced when I started using the reader almost immediately. One can read ebooks while the reader is charging.

Regards, Alex
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Old 08-19-2009, 12:11 AM   #2
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good review
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Old 08-19-2009, 02:20 AM   #3
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Thanks.

Regards, Alex
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Old 08-23-2009, 07:32 PM   #4
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Good review. I'm VERY interested in buy an Eco Reader. I've been looking for a reader for a while now and when the Eco Reader was released I got shivers.

A couple of questions I hope you or someone can answer.
- The screen, how strong does it feel? roughly the same durability of a LCD screen?
- Cleaning the screen, use window cleaner or treat it like a LCD screen and use damp cloth or LCD cleaner?
- Updates. The Eco Reader being a rebranded Hanlin, does it use the same firmware updates as the Hanlin or BeBook?
- Adding books. Does this require you to install software on your PC, or do you just plug it in and it show up as a removable drive on your computer? I'm asking as I am an Linux user.

Now out of sheer curiosity, where do people prefer to buy their ebooks from? I have found a few good sites (mobipocket.com for example) but when looking at the prices of dymocks.com.au the cost is usually the same as a paperback, even sometimes greater (hardly worth it IMHO)

Thanks in advance. I'm very close to getting one.

Cheers,

Edit: Forgot to add, how well does the Eco Reader go with .PDFs? Is a A4 size pdf readable on the Eco Reader?

Last edited by Solicitous; 08-23-2009 at 08:10 PM. Reason: Edit
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Old 08-24-2009, 06:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solicitous View Post
Good review. I'm VERY interested in buy an Eco Reader. I've been looking for a reader for a while now and when the Eco Reader was released I got shivers.

A couple of questions I hope you or someone can answer.
- The screen, how strong does it feel? roughly the same durability of a LCD screen?
- Cleaning the screen, use window cleaner or treat it like a LCD screen and use damp cloth or LCD cleaner?
- Updates. The Eco Reader being a rebranded Hanlin, does it use the same firmware updates as the Hanlin or BeBook?
- Adding books. Does this require you to install software on your PC, or do you just plug it in and it show up as a removable drive on your computer? I'm asking as I am an Linux user.

Now out of sheer curiosity, where do people prefer to buy their ebooks from? I have found a few good sites (mobipocket.com for example) but when looking at the prices of dymocks.com.au the cost is usually the same as a paperback, even sometimes greater (hardly worth it IMHO)

Thanks in advance. I'm very close to getting one.

Cheers,

Edit: Forgot to add, how well does the Eco Reader go with .PDFs? Is a A4 size pdf readable on the Eco Reader?
Firstly, before I go through your questions, I can't speak too highly of the support provided by CBell (no relation) who is an active member of this forum and can answer all your technical questions.

The screen and the whole reader feels more sturdy than my Cybook.

I clean the screen with a Kleenex.

I don't know about updates. I do know Christine is in contact with Jinke, and has provided feedback to them.

I keep all my ebooks on an SD card, and add or delete them through a SC card reader. The printed manual mentions that the reader can be plugged in to one's computer, but as I don't have linux I don't know whether that will apply to you. If your computer can read a flash drive I don't think you'll have any problem with an SD card reader.

My preferred supplier is Fictionwise - they think I live in the US so I haven't had have any problems buying books from them. HarperCollins is also good. But most of my books are from this forum. DA Direct is about to open its own ebook store in September, but of course I don't know what their prices will be. I do know that on their web page at www.ecoreader.com.au has lots of links to free ebook sources, many of which I wasn't aware of.

I rarely if ever read pdf ebooks, so I can't answer your question about A4 sizes. I do know that the manual is a pdf document, is on the reader, and that one can zoom in and out. But when one does zoom the text does not seem to flow. My guess is that the font on an A4 page would be very small.

Hope this helps, Alex

PS There is a very detailed review of the BeBook on the Ebook Devices>Hanlin. I'm sure you will find it helpful.

Last edited by AlexBell; 10-31-2009 at 01:45 AM. Reason: Additional information
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Old 08-24-2009, 08:23 PM   #6
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Hi Alex,

Just to clarify, are you saying that the PDF doesn't reflow? Can you zoom and pan somehow?
I thought that the latest firmwares for Hanlin gave the ability to reflow pdf (but not zoom and pan).

Thanks in advance
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Old 08-24-2009, 08:31 PM   #7
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Thanks, Alex! That's a great review and reply.

The onboard user manual is a PDF designed for a 6" screen and it does reflow.

Solicitous, firmware updates will be available via our server in Melbourne and they'll be ECO Reader updates. You can load other HanLin V3 firmware, but the ECO Reader firmware is current and will be kept updated.

The ECO Reader is recognised as an external hard disk and files can be copied/pasted - dragged/dropped between the ECO Reader and a PC (or Linux computer or Mac).

ECO Readers support Adobe Digital Editions (ePub and PDF) and Mobipocket without DRM. If you purchase ebooks from the Mobipocket store, you won't be able to read them on an ECO Reader, as they have DRM (ie only non-DRM Mobipocket books are supported).

You can change firmware to support purchased Mobipocket ebooks with DRM, but I see that as a backwards step. Adobe DE is the format we've chosen as most suitable for Australians and New Zealanders. (It's fine to change firmwares back and forth.)

If you have a lot of A4 PDF documents, you may find a 6" screen is a bit small for reading them. However, if they're text based and tagged for reflow, they'll display nicely on an ECO Reader. You'll have 5 levels of zoom and you can rotate the screen at any zoom level for PDF and ePub files.

Last edited by cbell; 09-19-2009 at 05:45 AM.
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Old 08-24-2009, 08:35 PM   #8
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cur3n4, if PDF files are tagged for reflow, this is supported by the ECO Reader. PDFs (whether tagged or not) can be zoomed and flipped landscape (but not panned).
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Old 08-24-2009, 09:12 PM   #9
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Very nice review! thanks for this information.

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Old 08-24-2009, 10:26 PM   #10
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Great info here! I am still considering which e-book reader to buy next and the Eco reader is still a contender. Good to hear about the customer service too!
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Old 08-24-2009, 11:11 PM   #11
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Thanks for that cbell!!. Very much appreciated.
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Old 08-25-2009, 12:06 AM   #12
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Thanks AlexBell and cbell. The info you have provided has cured some of the doubt I had over the device.

cbell I realise the online bookstore isn't running yet, but are we able to get an idea of how competitive the prices will be compared to the dead-tree version? eg: are we looking at the price being roughly 80%ish?

Thanks again for your help. I've never had an ebook reader but I love the concept and been researching these for the last few months. I've done the hard bit....I've convinced the wife.
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Old 08-25-2009, 12:53 AM   #13
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Hi Solicitous, I can't indicate the price % compared to print books - as the ebook prices aren't set by us. It's the publishers and authors that determine the price. It's common for DTBs to be priced similarly to ebooks.

We've initially committed to listing approx 76,000 ebooks for sale and this will be increased over time.

Note that ALL ebooks in our store will be available to Australians and New Zealanders and they're ALL priced in AUD and they're ALL compatible with ECO Readers.

There's a good chance you'll have to buy a second reader (for your wife) down the track

Last edited by cbell; 09-19-2009 at 05:44 AM. Reason: Added ECO Reader compatibility
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Old 08-25-2009, 05:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbell View Post
If you purchase ebooks from the Mobipocket store, you won't be able to read them on an ECO Reader, as they have DRM
Unless of course you learn how to deDRM the books. None of the ebooks on my reader are defiled by DRM.

Regards, Alex
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:59 AM   #15
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There's a video of the ECO Reader in action at:

http://www.youtube.com/user/DAInfoServ

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