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Old 12-10-2009, 11:46 PM   #1
Nate the great
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Sungale Cyberus review

I almost didn't write this review. This "ebook reader" is so bad that I'm almost too embarrassed to admit I bought one. Eh. It's going back tomorrow, so who cares.

Background
Sungale is a manufacturer of small electronic devices like digital picture frames. The Cyberus is one of 2 digital picture frame models that were adapted into ebook readers. The other model is slightly less capable, but details are sketchy. I don't know exactly how less capable (except that it can't read PDFs).

The Cyberus has a 7" touchscreen with a resolution of 800x480. It's slightly narrower and slightly taller than the original Kindle. The case is a minimalist matte black, and it comes with black leather book style case. I don't know the CPU or RAM, but I have used the Wifi to get online.

Negatives
It has no sleep function. The battery life is atrocious (somewhere around 2 hours). The speaker is behind a tiny hole on the left side. The sound quality is marginal at best, and the max volume is low. But it has a headphone jack which has decent sound.

It can only read PDFs and text files, and it does a really bad job. I couldn't set the zoom level right, so none of the PDFs I tried displayed properly. Some of the characters were pushed together, others were pulled apart.

If you want to know how bad, look at the third PDF picture. The characters are not supposed to be filled in like that. Then look at the fifth PDF picture. The dropcap is supposed to be uppercase, and the text is supposed to have quotation marks.

Positives
Compared to anything in its price range, its media capabilities is best defined as adequate. It has no browser, but it does have a very limited ability for Youtube, Gmail, IP Radio, weather, stock reports, traffic, etc. From the way it accesses Youtube and Gmail, I think it uses a proxy server run by Sungale. I could be wrong, though.


My recommendation
Take the $200 this thing costs (Walmart) and go buy an iPod Touch, Sony Pocket Edition, Aluratek Libre, or any of the several small tablets discussed here on MobileRead. Anything is better than the Cyberus.

P.S. Sorry about the picture quality. I don't have access to my main camera.
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Last edited by Nate the great; 12-11-2009 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 12-11-2009, 02:23 PM   #2
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Wow... You just saved me some time.
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Old 12-11-2009, 02:43 PM   #3
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I think it's just a very very cheap PC. I guess some would let them get away with it because it's in color but what makes a good e-reader is it's long battery life, size and how well/many formats (good programs cost money) it can handle. I think we are about to see a lot of junk in this new (not really) electronic device market. We are going to get a bunch of start-ups trying to get in and make a quick buck on people who don't know any better. China is going to be very busy with poor knock-offs. Ever notice how many fake ipods there are in Flea Markets, soon you will be seeing readers.
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:57 PM   #4
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Haha...someone wrote their own text rendering engine, and had no idea what they were doing.

Good to know! I kind of expected that from the cyberus, but nice to see it confirmed.
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Old 12-11-2009, 09:13 PM   #5
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2 hrs batt life. Is the fabled Apple tablet gonna be much better?
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Old 12-11-2009, 10:32 PM   #6
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Here's a link to a very bad intro commercial made by Buy.com. They show a little of the "ebook reader" which they promise to get back to but never do. Mostly, it's a lot of icon clicking and watching it say "connect network...". They don't show how any video looks on it, you don't hear the speakers for the radio and it's very DOS looking to me. It also looks like it has some screen burn-in.
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