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Old 03-11-2010, 08:53 AM   #1
Chris Robinson
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Bebook One (Hanlin V3 rebrand) first impressions

Hi all,

In my introductory thread I was asked to say what I thought about my BeBook One when I got it, and this looks like the right place to do so. I haven't used any other type of eBook reader so all my previous experience has been reading books on the computer.

My purchase was based on price, and I got the BeBook One off Ebay for a buy it now price of US$180. Which seemed pretty reasonable.

My first impressions are that the UI is a bit dated and clunky, which I kind of expected. Page refreshes and general operation is a little slow, but it's quite usable. At 220g the weight is little more than I feel comfortable with, but it's not excessive by any means. The new price of around US$450 for the BeBook One is probably too much when you compare it with the latest technology on the market, especially the stuff with touch screens and more mature UIs. The e-ink screen is very nice and easy on the eyes.

Most of my reading has been ePubs, and the Bebook is performing very well. Larger ePubs of 500 pages take about 15 seconds to load up which seems like a long time when you are waiting.

One of the things I wanted was the ability to look at archive.org generated PDF text books, particularly microscopy texts like Handbook of Basic Microtechnique. Unfortunately the Bebook One does not handle large PDFs very well. On opening the text is invisible. Rotating and enlarging the font works to a degree, but images are almost always lost and font sizes vary wildly within a line. Searching text does work, but due to the problems with displaying pages the BeBook One may not be suitable for these large texts. Archive.org are currently working on making their inventory available in ePub format. They still have a long way to go with this as their conversions often lose the formatting, but it might be a better alternative once they work all the bugs out. Archive.org also have the Djvu format available which I haven't looked at yet but will do as soon as I can.

Small PDFs (under 2Mb) work quite well however, retaining good font size and images and formatting if you rotate the page to landscape. Images found in these old texts are often line drawings or B/W photos which look good on the BeBook 1. The Search function works quite well, but the data input with the numeric keypad takes practice to get the timing right. If only all the PDFs worked this well.

I haven't looked into upgrading the firmware, mostly because the firmware that is installed appears to be V2.11NL.090910 with V3.0 of the viewer software. The firmware available on the BeBook site appears to be V2.02NL.091127. This would be a downgrade based on the version number, but the date code seems to imply otherwise.

I find this a bit confusing to say the least. I don't want to change the firmware if it means losing some functionality, and I can't find the source of the V2.11NL firmware anywhere to get it back if I want to.

My conclusions are that this is a useful eBook reader for ePubs and smaller PDF files. I've very pleased with it for what I paid and am going to get a lot of use out of it. I would feel cheated if I'd paid over $400 for this eBook reader however, when you consider some of the newer equipment on the market.

With the Asus eBook reader and the apple iPad coming out soon I think the prices on this and other eBook readers will drop a lot this year. They would certainly sell a lot more if the price wasn't quite so extreme.

Chris.
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:46 PM   #2
Stormchild
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Hi Chris.
I am one of the Moderators on the forums at MyBeBook.com. Please feel free to register and make use of the wealth of information and experience we have over there.
To answer a couple of your issues. First, the firmware on the site is later than the one you have and I recommend you update. PDF and Epub handling has been much improved and your large PDF's should work better.
Second, the PDF's at Archive.org will always be a problem for any reader because they are basically photo scans of the original works so there is no text or formatting to work with. OCR scans are much better but you have probably realised this by now. DJVU works very well, so I am told, and there are several different firmwares available, one of which really excels with the format. You will find them discussed quite heavily in this subforum and they are quite safe to try. You can't brick a BeBook One with a firmware update.
As I said, come over to the BeBook forums and let us help you.
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Old 03-11-2010, 05:48 PM   #3
Solicitous
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Hi Chris,

Just to clear up a little mistake, the Bebook One in Australia is $450AUS, not $450US.

With the firmware you can also load the Astak version. Astak sell a rebranded Hanlin V3 themselves (quite a nice price too).

Unfortunately about the price, if you buy here in Australia the price well exceeds what one can buy for overseas and ship here. You talk $450AUS for the Bebook One, but I could buy the Astak 6" for $284US ($239 for the reader, $45 freight) which works out at $310AUS. Big saving from the $450 if buying the equivalent reader locally. I too would not be happy paying over $400AUS for the reader.
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:18 PM   #4
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I have a BeBook one too, for just over a year now. I find it is excellent for reading epub and less so for PDF. I have many PDFs they work and are acceptable to read but a bigger display handling images would be nicer. I am looking toward an iPad as I imagine it will be cheaper than the iRex 1000s which is $1600.00 https://www.dadirect.com/books/iRexDR1000S.asp

I have no regrets and it has been a joy to use. The extended battery life is wonderful.
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Old 03-13-2010, 06:30 AM   #5
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To echo what Stormchild said DJVU works very well on the BeBook. All the docs I have come across at Archive.org are available as DJVU and I have read a few on my BeBook with no problem.

Don't expect the BeBook software to be able to search the hidden text layer in the DJVUs though. However with a bit of work you can add a navigation index to the DJVUs to make it easy to locate individual chapters.

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Old 03-21-2010, 04:33 AM   #6
rontere
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Hi, I bought a BeBook one a couple of weeks ago and I have added 325 books so far. I am using Calibre, but now it will not add any more books, I get 'error communicating with device' although the BeBook is connected to Calibre. Can anyone help?
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