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Old 11-17-2009, 11:00 PM   #1
paul1403
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Eco Reader - first impressions

For those of you, especially in Australia, who are unsure of which reader to get, let me share with you some of my thoughts a few days after getting an Eco-Reader.

Let me start off by saying I am extremely, enormously, totally, unequivocally happy with it. It is everything I hoped it would be.

I have umm-ed and ahh-ed about which reader to get, and when Kindle was released internationally I thought Aha! That’s The One!, what with the Aussie dollar heading for the stratosphere, and all…

But then I thought, hang on… maybe not… let’s think about this for a bit…

I decided that what I really wanted was
1. A reader that would accept a range of formats, not just one proprietary type.
2. A reader that would accept books from a range of outlets, both here and overseas.
3. A reader that has a six inch screen.
4. A reader that is Australian sold and supported. I didn’t want to have to pack it up and send it somewhere overseas if something went drastically wrong. Similarly, I didn’t want to have to call some help desk/sales department at four in the morning to make sure the time difference was catered for in order to speak to a (real, live, English-speaking) person.

The only one that ticked all those boxes was the Eco-Reader. Sure, the price of the Kindle (and a few others) was a lot better, and sure the Eco-Reader doesn’t have whispernet, or whatever, to download direct onto the machine, but I thought the higher price was acceptable in light of all the other plusses it had.

So, I took the plunge and ordered it one Sunday afternoon via the website. By lunchtime Friday it was sitting at home waiting for me.

By dinner time Friday I had the first book loaded up and was reading it quite happily.

It came already charged, already in its snazzy leather jacket, and already loaded with 21 books. These consisted of the usual suspects (1984, Moby Dick, Pride and Prejudice [sans Zombies], and so on) as well as some refreshingly Australian works, including My Brilliant Career, For The Term of His Natural Life, and one of Henry Lawson’s works (I would have preferred Banjo Patterson, but that’s just me J ).

So far it has been able to handle anything I have thrown at it. The PDF file I tried did have, as has been mentioned in these forums, teeny tiny writing that could not possibly be read. However, the zoom function took care of that problem. The text is now quite readable, although the page lengths seem to have been screwed up… some screens are full of text, some are not, some only have one line in them. This is not a problem, however, apart from the extra number of page turns this requires.

The only problem occurred on Friday evening. For no apparent reason the unit locked up on me. Totally. I couldn’t get any button to work. Even plugging it back into the USB port on the computer made no difference. Prising the unit from it’s cover revealed a tiny hole marked RESET. I unbent a paperclip, inserted it into the hole, pushed, and this reset the reader. Problem fixed. So far (touch wood) this has not happened since.

The display is crystal clear, and perfectly readable. It looks, as has been commented before, just like a printed page. I guess a bigger range of available fonts, as troykm suggested in an earlier review, would be a good idea, however I tend to use only a small number of fonts in MS Word, so too many more would probably be a waste of time. Still, a few more would be good.

I have used it on the bus commuting to and from work only a couple of times so far, so I have not yet had any comments from fellow travellers, many of whom read books as well. I suspect I will get my fair share of puzzled glances from time to time.

So, in conclusion, let me say this.

Get one.

Now.


Paul,
Canberra, Australia
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Old 11-18-2009, 04:09 AM   #2
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Glad you're so happy with that, Paul. Going by the eperience of others here, I've been recommending Eco-Reader to my pals in Oz. Seems a good all-round deal. Outside the US, the Kindle appears to have far too many drawbacks. Good luck. Neil

PS: If you drop me an email, I'll send you the ebook version of a novel released by my own wee publishing house last month, set in Australia and written by an author in Queensland: ntmarrATbewrite.net (Use the @ sign, of course.)
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Old 11-18-2009, 05:52 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul1403 View Post
I guess a bigger range of available fonts, as troykm suggested in an earlier review, would be a good idea, however I tend to use only a small number of fonts in MS Word, so too many more would probably be a waste of time. Still, a few more would be good.
Paul, unless the Eco is markedly different from the other Hanlins, you can add your own TrueType fonts by creating a directory 'fonts' on the SD card and dropping them in there.

At least, that's how it works on my BeBook, and I *think* it's standard Jinke functionality, so all Hanlin clones have it.
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Old 11-18-2009, 06:51 PM   #4
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Great review, thanks, Paul! (I've sent you an email.)

mbovenka: You're correct, you can add your own fonts to the ECO Reader.

http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/Hanl..._formats#Fonts

http://www.jinke.com.cn/Compagesql/E...asp#changefont

Be sure to install the complete font family (4 types: normal, bold, bold italic, italic) and the filenames must be either all uppercase or all lowercase.

neilmarr, thanks for recommending the ECO Reader - much appreciated! It's the only e-Ink ebook reader with firmware that's customised to suit Australians and New Zealanders.

I receive a lot of feedback from our customers and they're very happy with their ECO Readers. We listen to their suggestions for improving the firmware and we've released several updates already. It's very interesting, exciting times for ebooks in Australia/NZ!

Usual disclaimer: I work for DA Direct/Central Book Services.
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Old 11-21-2009, 06:11 AM   #5
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Thank you for the review Paul. I am facing the same dilemma between an EcoReader or Kindle. You have put my concerns very succinctly and I have now mad up my mind to go with the EcoReader. I have a friend with one and she is very happy with it. Your review has just confirmed my mind.

I think the bottom line is really the variety of formats able to be used and the fact that it is really for the Australian market with no real restrictions.

Thanks again, guess I've just decided what my Christmas present will be this year.

cheers
Ruth
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:59 AM   #6
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ECO reader

I have been following with much interest the threads for the ECO e-reader.

I am very close to purchaseing the ECO reader, however I have no experience with e-readers at all and have a couple of queries...
Do I download books to my PC then drag and drop them to the SD card for the reader, or is it more complex than that. My PC has an inbuilt SD card reader.
I dont have Linus, I use windows Vista, is that a problem ?

I have some magazines in PDF format on my computer, would I be able to load them to the ECO reader. This is not something I have to do, as I can read them on the computer, however thought I would ask the question.

Is it best to buy books that are ePUB, I am totally confused after reading as much as I can re this issue, and am no further advanced in my knowledge.
My main reason for the purchase is to read novels.
I was wondering if someone could help with my queries please.
Thanks
margie
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:51 AM   #7
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Hi margie, your understanding is correct. You download books to your computer, then drag and drop them onto either an SD card or the internal memory of your ECO Reader (your choice). You can create your own folders on your SD card and your ECO Reader and you can paste your books to any folder you wish.

To manage purchased Adobe ePub and/or PDF ebooks, you'll need to download Adobe Digital Editions to your computer and connect your ECO Reader once to your computer while Adobe DE is running, so you can authorise your ECO Reader (Adobe DE writes a little file to your ECO Reader). After that authorisation has been done, you can drag and drop Adobe DE-protected ePub and PDF books between your computer and ECO Reader/SD card.

The magazines should load onto your ECO Reader with no problem, unless they're really huge or complex. You have the choice of 2 viewers for PDF files, so you can choose which viewer best suits the format of your magazines (zoom the page or reflow the text). If the magazines are A4 size, keep in mind that they'll be shrunk down to fit a 6" screen.

My preference when purchasing books is to choose ePub, where available, then PDF. For free ebooks, I choose ePub, then Mobipocket. ECO Readers are ideal for reading novels!
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:22 AM   #8
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Thank you cbell

Thank you so much for your reply cbell.
It has made up my mind re the purchase of the ECO reader.
I have had a look at details for the Hanlin V5, it being more compact, but I feel the 6" screen is more suitable for me. As one of the reasons for the purchase is to be able to have a larger font size and the larger screen would also help there.

Thank you so much
margie
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