Thursday, November 8, 2007

eBook Reader - My Cybook is here!

Yesterday afternoon I got my Cybook . I made a very adult decision to wait until this weekend to actually play with it. Monday is a holiday and I should have some extra time. Right now, I have things to do, emails to answer, blogs to write and meetings to attend.

Mistake 1: I had to at least open the box and plug it in. After all, it does take three hours to charge.

Mistake 2: I picked it up -- you know, just to move it. I knew it was light but I struck with how light 6.3 oz. really is!

Mistake 3: Since it was in my hand, it seem logical to turn it on -- just to see if it really works. I am happy to report that it works.

The system came up quickly and all of the sudden I was in the Library -- thirty six preloaded files. The view was wonderful: clean, crisp and easy to read. Made me remember why eInk is such a big deal even if it isn't backlit.

And that was it. . .

I started playing. First, the big button on the front. It acts as a combine directional navigation and "Enter" key. Pretty miminalistic but effective. I found six small buttons on the sides (4 on the left and 2 on the right) with tiny unreadable (to these old eyes) symbols on them. I am quite intrigued by them especially, since they remain the "mystery" buttons on the device.

The half page quick start guide made a point of telling me that all would be clear if I read the User's guide. Despite my basic notion that anything that requires a manual is badly designed, I was actually willing to give it a whirl. So I scrolled around the Library looking for it.

Found music files, book files and picture files including one entitled "How eInk Works". No user guide! I went back through the titles 3 times, just in case I missed it.

Took a quick detour to email Bookeen asking about the User Guide. Got a very quick response (impressive) telling me that they would be sending it out to me today in eBook form.

Back to the eBook. Figured I would just start pushing the buttons and find out what happens. So this is what I found out:

  • one button takes you to the Library;
  • one button allows you to navigate in a book (start, find page, change layout, change font and add bookmarks);
  • one seems to control music.
  • The other three? Who knows? Guess I will have to wait for the user guide.
The device does not have a touch screen or stylus and I found that I actually miss them. I am in such a habit of poking and sliding around a screen that it felt strange not to be able to. Very disconcerting to me (a creature of habit).

I dipped into all the files on the device. . . pretty cool stuff. The thing that impressed me the most is that the page change is fast and smooth. No waiting, no ghosting and no jumpiness.

So that is my first take. Unfortunately, I really am out of time: email is stacking up, phones are ringing and I am due in a meeting shortly. Obviously, I haven't tried to download a book yet; that is a task for later (maybe that can wait until this weekend). I'll let you know how it goes.

My overall first impression? Positive. . .

To be continued

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