Join Date: Oct 2008
Device: PocketBook 360°, BeBook (Hanlin V3), iRex DR1000S, iPad
Hard to really say if one is "better" than the other - they are both good devices. I'm very happy with the BeBook and I cannot compare directly with the CyBook (as I have never used one) but I chose the BeBook for
(1) the wide range of formats supported, and
(2) the active development of the BeBook (since buying it the Mobi support has been added as well as PDB support (with a number of other reader tweaks as well).
I really like using FB2, and BeBook has a great implementation of FBReader. I use a number of other formats from time to time (LIT, RTF, HTML, CHM, TXT, PDF, PRC, ...) and wanted a device that had some ability to handle all these, and more. As already mentioned some reader implementations are not great - Mobi is a clear example, although it can be considered as V1.0 for the BeBook, and any x.0 software release tends to by crappy! I'm waiting [impatiently] for the next Mobi update which I am confident will clean up a lot of the gaps in the current implementation (the support forum at BeBook is very active and even if they only address some of the issues discussed it will be a big improvement).
I liked the fact that "simple" formats like TXT, HTML, RTF are supported quite well (good formatting, zoom features, link following, etc.) as I use them sometimes without having to convert to say FB2 just to read on the BeBook. MS Word and PPT docs can also be read, although quality depends greatly on the document contents (of course). CHM handling was recently updated and works quite well (with the caveat that the device is not a web browser, so baturally some CHM docs display better than others). Also as mentioned PDB support was recently added and works quite well (for me it is currently more of a convenience than a necessity).
Handling ZIP and RAR formats at first appears strange (they are archives, not book formats) but one nice thing about this feature is that you can leave an HTML file archived in RAR or ZIP (so with all images, etc.) and the document can be read from the archive. Sure it's just like dumping it in a Folder, but I like having the option to leave them in archives or use folders.
The removable battery for both devices is a big plus, and the battery life of both devices is more than adequate (forget the 7000 page turns or whatever - suffice it to say you can travel for a week without even thinking about the reader battery, and even if you do need to charge it any USB port will do - no need to connect, use dedicated software, etc.). Or you can just carry some extra batteries - it's a standard Nokia mobile phone battery, cheap and easy to buy.
One concern I do have regards Mobi and their exclusivity conditions. I have asked this specific question of BeBook but have not received an answer. Supporting multiple formats is very important to me (much like dictionary support is HarryT's pet peeve), but this should include DRM as well as non-DRM. We can all agree that DRM sucks in many ways, but the added limitations of DRM dedicated devices is a further pain. Why shouldn't I be able to buy DRM books in LIT, MOBI, eReader or whatever format and use one device to read them? Granted, many eBooks are available in multiple DRM formats, but not all. The support of multiple open formats is great, but if BeBook is bound to supporting only one DRM format, whilst MOBI is a good choice, it would be very disappointing. We'll have to see what the future holds - BeBook may be one of the trail-blazers in offering multi-format DRM support.
Bottom line is both readers seem to be very good. The ultimate choice will come down to which suits your individual reading needs.
P.S. As for aesthetics, I kind of like the matte utilitarian finish of the BeBook. I like the silver Sony 505, but the BeBook doesn't come in silver (yet). The silver trim and button finish on the CyBook does not appeal to me - like they're making an effort to dress up the device or something. I prefer the BeBooks neutral finish with no flashy trim - do something sexy with the BeBook logo and it will look much nicer! It's a very personal choice, but since looks have been mentioned and much made of the silver screen trim, I thought I'd add the other view.