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Old 12-31-2008, 07:50 PM   #1
GearboxValve
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Thumbs up Astak EZ Reader Mini Review-- love it so far!!

Longtime lurker here. I received my EZ Reader in 5 business days, which was far earlier than expected as I paid for only the standard shipping, so that's a plus (I live in CA).

I used to have a Cybook Gen3, but it kept freezing up on me when I tried to read PDFs and I hated how you couldn't organize your books at all. I just wanted an inexpensive reading device that works without any fusses or hassles, so I returned it and purchased an EZ Reader after reading through all of Robertb from Astak's posts about it and the upcoming Pro version.

To clear things up, from what I know, the EZ Reader is literally a Hanlin V3, but with US tech support, a support website (www.mobiebook.com), free ebooks, AND all for less money!

The EZ Reader comes with a very nice leather case with a magnetic strap, which is nice because now I don't have to go out and buy a different one.

The actual device looks pretty discreet, and isn't ugly like some of the devices out on the market (cough Kindle cough).

The key layout and button controls are all very ergonomic. I had no trouble getting used to the number system that you can use to select things. You can separate ebooks into different folders on your computer when you transfer them, and this makes browsing your library much easier, especially if you are an avid reader. The whole thing is also fairly light, and my hand doesn't cramp at all when I use it for long periods of time.

The 6" screen is very good and does its job. The e-ink page turning speed is also fairly quick, and the device has yet to crash or freeze up on me

Transferring ebooks constitutes of a simple copy-paste or drag and drop, which really can't get much easier.

I will only use my reader for mobipocket (PRC), MS Word DOC, and occasionally PDFs, so these are the only formats I will address.

Mobipocket (PRC): Almost all the actual books on my device are in mobi format and the EZ Reader does an excellent job displaying these. One small thing is that there isn't a bookmark feature for PRC formatted books. There are bookmarks for all other formats though.

MS Word (DOC): This is not to be confused with Microsoft's RTF format. You can simply drag and drop word documents into the EZ Reader, and they read very well.

PDF: This was one of the main reasons I purchased the EZ Reader. I primarily use PDF files for everything but novels, and I had read that the EZ Reader is one of the better devices at displaying them. This is true. The EZ Reader has yet to freeze up on me while opening PDFs (unlike my Cybook), and they display very well. There are 3 zoom modes and image display is good.

The battery life on the EZ Reader is exceptional! Charging takes a little less than 3 hours, and lasts for approximately 8,000 page turns.

Customer service from Astak is unbelievably good! Standard shipping only took 5 days, as opposed to the weeks Amazon usually takes. Also, forum member Robertb is really working hard to satisfy all the requests from MobileRead members on the upcoming EZ Reader Plus, Pro, and the Astak Mentor. Check out the 82 page thread about Astak's upcoming devices
https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...=22658&page=82

Overall, I am extremely satisfied with the EZ Reader. I have no major gripes at all with the device. The only small complaint I have is the mobipocket bookmark thing, but that will probably be fixed soon.

PS if my review wasn't as detailed as you'd like, check out ccccclark's review here https://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34969 and orwell2k's review here https://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30913


Happy Reading!
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Old 12-31-2008, 10:08 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GearboxValve View Post
Mobipocket (PRC): Almost all the actual books on my device are in mobi format and the EZ Reader does an excellent job displaying these. One small thing is that there isn't a bookmark feature for PRC formatted books. There are bookmarks for all other formats though.

Happy Reading!
Actually the PRC does have bookmark capability. They just don't show in the same way as the FB2 & RTF bookmarks.

A "gotcha" item on the PRC is that if you shut down the reader from within a book, it will not reopen where you left off. I have found that I must exit the book, then shut down in order to reopen where I left off.

In addition I occasionally get an automatic reboot while reading. RobertB et al are working on this problem.

I do enjoy reading on the EZ Reader more than my other readers except when I get frustrated with the automatic reboots.
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Old 12-31-2008, 10:09 PM   #3
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Please don't post the same review all over the place. It is not that important that it needs all the repeating and it is against forum policy.

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Old 12-31-2008, 11:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slayda View Post
Actually the PRC does have bookmark capability. They just don't show in the same way as the FB2 & RTF bookmarks.
I have confirmed that bookmarks work for MOBI. Hit the 6 key, then OK then 1 (Add Bookmark) then EXIT (next to OK). To access the bookmark, hit the 6 key and select from the list.
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Old 01-01-2009, 06:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GearboxValve View Post
The battery life on the EZ Reader is exceptional! Charging takes a little less than 3 hours, and lasts for approximately 8,000 page turns.
I would be utterly amazed if your device gave you "8000 page turns". That's pure "marketting hype" from PVI (the screen manufacturer). Please tell us what you actually get from it, not the meaningless figure that PVI quote.
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Old 01-01-2009, 10:04 AM   #6
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Bookmarks and PRC

Quote:
Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
I have confirmed that bookmarks work for MOBI. Hit the 6 key, then OK then 1 (Add Bookmark) then EXIT (next to OK). To access the bookmark, hit the 6 key and select from the list.
I just tested this and it does work. This is different than what the manual says and works differently than the other formats, which is OK by me but the manual should be changed to reflect this.

The manual says:

Add Bookmark:
Press number keys 1~5 to directly add bookmarks.

Replace Bookmark:
If the current number key you want to use as the bookmark is already used, you may press and hold the current number key for 3 seconds, then the previous page with bookmark will be replaced by the current page.

Clear Bookmark:
Go back to the page with bookmark; press the number key to clear the bookmark.



Per the post above, I have not had an issue with the reboot (maybe once, but not sure what I was clicking on). I have found it very stable.

I have found that the MOBI PRC format does seem to "lose the page" place on occasion or mess up the page numbers. At least I think, but maybe I am seeing things. For example, the book I was reading I swore said page 520/550 so I thought I was almost done, but I thought that odd at the time because I didn't think I was almost done. Later after I exited and then re-entered I was on page 440 or so. At least I think, but I could have read the page number wrong. I will try to verify this. This looks like an issue with the MOBI PRC format and not the reader. In fact, from the little I have read, it says that PRC format has issues with this and that FB2 is better at this, which the EZ reader does support.

One thing that should probably be added to the manual (maybe it would be possible to provide online updated versions of the manual, even with an FAQ section) is one of the "issues" I did have. I went to lunch and took my reader with me and even though the menus were coming up and the page was displaying, none of the menu features/paging would work. I thought "Oh no!". Problem was that I had accidentally bumped the SD card and it was not fully seated. So what I thought was a serious issue was a simple user problem.

I am completely happy with the EZ Reader and just like my IPOD, once I took that step and purchased one, it is now something I cannot live without.

Last edited by ccccclark; 01-01-2009 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 01-01-2009, 10:07 AM   #7
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Page numbers do not work properly in any version of Mobipocket. It's a bug in every version. Don't look for it to ever be fixed.
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Old 01-01-2009, 11:14 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by slayda View Post
A "gotcha" item on the PRC is that if you shut down the reader from within a book, it will not reopen where you left off. I have found that I must exit the book, then shut down in order to reopen where I left off.
Of course, the answer to that is that you don't actually ever have to switch off, since it only uses power when you turn a page. I leave mine on all the time, and just lock the keys when I'm taking it out in my bag.
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Old 01-01-2009, 11:22 AM   #9
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I would be utterly amazed if your device gave you "8000 page turns". That's pure "marketting hype" from PVI (the screen manufacturer). Please tell us what you actually get from it, not the meaningless figure that PVI quote.
On the Bebook forum, people seem to be getting anywhere between 1000 and 9000, depending on what sort of files they read most. I read exclusively Mobipocket, and I'm getting around 3500, without ever switching it off.
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