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Old 09-01-2009, 03:35 AM   #1
Mneme
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HanLin V5 Quick Review

I apologise to everyone in advance if this turns out to be very long. OK, <takes a deep breath> here goes:

I chose HanLin V5 for several reasons; my main criteria for choosing a reading device were portability, good quality of display and ability to handle book formats of my preference. Secondary considerations were affordability and/or Australian warranty. We aren’t spoilt for choice in Oz, as neither Sony nor Kindle are officially available. I’ve heard good things about Jinke’s V3 (this device is branded ECO Reader in Australia), CyBook was another contender. Having compared these e-readers side by side in a store, I knew I preferred the ECO Reader in everything but size. So my choice was obvious – HanLin V5 is very similar in features but smaller and lighter than ECO Reader/V3.

I ordered online with DA Information Services and 3 days later I had my e-reader in my hands.

The package contents included:
  • the V5 (black) with battery already inserted and almost fully charged;
  • a tan leather-look (not sure if it is real leather, but it looks very nice) cover case with plastic clips to hold the reader in place;
  • a screwdriver and two spare screws for the battery cover plate;
  • headphones;
  • a usb cable which doubles up as a mains charge cable;
  • a lanyard (I somehow don’t see myself suspending the V5 from my neck no matter how light and small it is)

The V5 came with several e-books preloaded in memory (in epub format). I loaded an 8GB SD card into the device (it takes cards up to 16GB).







V5 boots fairly quickly. The device’s default is to have a small beep on key press, and the first thing I did was to turn it off via the Settings menu.
There are several ways to navigate: the 9 and 0 buttons below the screen, the thumb wheel/lever on the right side and the arrow buttons beside the screen on the left-hand-side. The menu uses “funny” English (I had a giggle over some of the menu choices), but it is not hard to work out what’s what. You can have multiple level folders and arrange your books according to your taste.

The screen is almost non-reflective, the text is crisp and you can see it clearly from virtually any angle.

There are 8 system fonts pre-installed, I changed default to Verdana. Your own preferred fonts can be stored on the SD card. I suspect, though, that only some file formats respond to font change.

Page turns are rapid enough, they take about the same time as it would take to turn a page in a paper book. There’s a brief black flash before the page refreshes, but you get used to this fairly quickly.

I tested the following formats:

html – my preferred format, works well on V5. The only small problem I noticed is the reader doesn’t perform total page count correctly when it opens the file. There is a current page/total pages indicator on the bottom of the screen, and in most cases the total pages indicator doesn’t go beyond 220-230. Most people wouldn’t be bothered by this as V5 does indicate the current page correctly. I found the workaround for total page count is to make the reader go to last page, then go back to my current page.


html file at default zoom level

fb2 – works flawlessly. Not my favourite e-book format, but some people out there obviously like it.

txt – works very well, default zoom level is good enough for me.

doc – the reader choked on a 1.36MB file. It opened it, but then froze, wouldn’t respond to any key presses, even off button wouldn’t work. I had to resuscitate (reset) it. I ended up converting the large doc file to html, the reader handled that one fine. Smaller doc or rtf files work ok.

epub – works fine, default zoom is too small for me, but the next level zoom suited me well (see photos)

epub at default level zoom


epub zoomed 1

pdf – works fine, I found default level zoom too small but the next level zoom was fine.

pdf zoomed 1

djvu – same as epub and pdf, needed second level zoom to read text comfortably.

lit – I found V5 is very picky with lit files. I had mixed success opening them: out of 5 I tried, it opened one fine, two others completely failed to open, and it took 8 minutes (I am not kidding, I timed it) to open Unnatural Death by Dorothy L Sayers, a file of only 500KB that I downloaded from this site. To compare, a 3.5MB pdf file opened in less than 5 seconds. None of the lit files I tried were drm, and the location of the file (inbuilt storage or SD card) made no difference.

I tried the Text To Speech function – it’s not something that I would use, but it works quite well. You get a female voice reading rather robot-like, but I think it’s quite acceptable for those who like this sort of thing.

I haven’t tried the mp3 playback, so can’t comment on the quality.

The device fits neatly in my bag and is very light and easy to hold in one hand. I’ve shown it to my family and friends and they were pretty impressed, too. I do have a wish list for things that could be implemented if DA Information Services decide to brand this device, such as navigational shortcuts, but in general I am very happy with my choice.

I hope this helps someone make their choice
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Old 09-01-2009, 04:01 AM   #2
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Does it support hyperlinks in ePub files?
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Old 09-01-2009, 04:11 AM   #3
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HarryT,

I am not sure I understand what you mean. Do you mean hyperlinks in Table of Contents? Being able to navigate to a particular chapter? It does. If you meant regular hyperlinks, then I have no idea how to highlight a hyperlink within a page.

Last edited by Mneme; 09-01-2009 at 04:23 AM.
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Old 09-01-2009, 04:40 AM   #4
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I meant "regular" hyperlinks within a book. Eg, if you download my "Haggard Anthology Vol 1":

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=54886

and look at the "Introduction" to the first book in the volume, "King Solomon's Mines", on the first or second page you should see a hyperlink to an endnote, labelled "[1]". Does this work on the V5?
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Old 09-01-2009, 04:54 AM   #5
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No, HarryT, there's no way I can see to follow that hyperlink within the page.
Nice anthology, by the way, l look forward to re-reading Haggard now.
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:08 AM   #6
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Thank you for checking that. This, unfortunately, seems to currently be a limitation with all the Jinke devices. It's a significant issue if you want to read a book which has a lot of endnotes. Hopefully it'll be fixed in a future firmware update.
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Old 09-01-2009, 04:18 PM   #7
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So far I have seen that even Fbreader doesn't do hyperlinks properly in Epub format, so what I did was to create each chapter seperately and have a seperate file link them all. The same should be possible for footnotes as well, I would imagine, but then again, I'm not skilled at HTML, just saving pages as HTML with Open Office.
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Old 09-01-2009, 07:49 PM   #8
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As I said previously, Table of Contents navigation is supported in V5, you can navigate to whatever chapter you choose from the menu.

I've done further checking on support for endnotes navigation in V5, and it isn't supported for fb2, either. It's not a problem as far as I am concerned, I find these endnotes distracting and never follow the links to read them

I discovered, however, that fb2 files have a settings sub-menu (which doesn't appear to exist for any other file formats) where you can set default font face, font size (not zoom), spacing between the lines and a few other things. I wish V5 had these options for other file formats ...
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:12 PM   #9
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Mneme, great to read your review, thank you! Reviews like this are really helpful for people who are trying to choose their first ebook reader.

RTF files have a lot of additional menu options, too, on the HanLin V5 and the ECO Reader.
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:57 PM   #10
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Thanks muchly for the review - I've been leaning toward buying a V5 if/when I get the ready cash. Your review's inclined me toward it even more

PS. Love the avatar *snicker*
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:18 PM   #11
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For the hypelinks of V5, it will be solved at the latest firmware recently.
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allen View Post
For the hypelinks of V5, it will be solved at the latest firmware recently.
Huh?

Are you saying it has been solved or that it will be solved?

The problem as we know is that we have to go with what is and not what will be as we have no idea when or even if will be will happen. So it seems that the V5 is not yet ready due to a poor ADE implementation.

For example, the Discworld series has footnotes in the pBooks and endnotes in the eBooks. Without being able to navigate to the endnotes, this makes them not as enjoyable as they would be otherwise. This sort of error should never have been allowed to happen. As it turns out the v3 and some of the clones have the same issue.

Last edited by JSWolf; 09-01-2009 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:56 PM   #13
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Dear JSwolf,
Thanks for your question.
I think they will do their best to complete this task. There will be a perfect result.

Last edited by allen; 09-02-2009 at 02:19 AM.
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Old 09-02-2009, 01:37 AM   #14
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BTW, all TOC can be used by "Go to Catalog" menu
with "King Solomon's Mines"
It shows 4 sections to jump...(same as the list in Book Index page)
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Old 09-02-2009, 02:56 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keng2000 View Post
BTW, all TOC can be used by "Go to Catalog" menu
with "King Solomon's Mines"
It shows 4 sections to jump...(same as the list in Book Index page)
That's correct - that's the ePub table of contents, and that will work fine. What's lacking is support for hyperlinks within the book.
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