ViewSonic VEB612 review: ViewSonic VEB612

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good

Average User Rating

2.5 stars 1 user review
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Lightweight; attractive design.

The Bad Terrible software; high price tag; plasticky build quality.

The Bottom Line The ViewSonic VEB612 is small and light, and its design is quite attractive, but the software is far too buggy for us to recommend this device at the moment, especially given its high price tag. We'd advise those looking for a similar-sized ebook reader to check out one of Sony's models instead

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It may be some time before ebook readers replace the printed page, but they've certainly being gaining their fair share of column inches recently on the back of releases from Sony and Amazon . ViewSonic, best known for producing monitors, is now also looking to get in on the ebook-reader game with the VEB612. At about £260, it's more expensive than many of its big-name rivals, though, so has it got the style and features to justify the higher asking price?

Generic but stylish
ViewSonic hasn't exactly broken any new ground with the VEB612's design, but it's still a relatively stylish device. The white finish may feel slightly plasticky, but it certainly gives the device a clean and fresh appearance. As the VEB612 is relatively petite, measuring just 127 by 203 by 9mm, it's pretty comfortable to hold too, and, at 180g, it's unlikely to push you over the hand-luggage limit when you're off on your travels, even if you're flying with Ryanair. We also like the way that ViewSonic has included a white leatherette case with a magnetic clasp on the front, to keep the VEB612 safe when it's tucked away in a backpack or suitcase.

As you'd expect, the front of the reader is dominated by its 6-inch screen. As with most ebook readers on the market, this uses E-Ink technology to produce a very stable monochrome image that's extremely easy on the eye. The display has a resolution of 800x600 pixels, so text, images and graphics looks reasonably sharp. It can only show eight greyscale levels when rendering pictures and graphics, though, whereas many of its rivals are capable of displaying 16 shades of grey.

Lacklustre format support
Compared to other devices, the VEB612's format support is rather limited. It only supports the PDF, TXT, ePub, HTML and PRC formats, whereas Sony's models also support the Word, RTF and BBeB formats.

ViewSonic has been stingy with the on-board storage too, as there's only 512MB of memory. In comparison, the iriver Story has 2MB of memory. Nevertheless, you can always top up the internal memory using cheap SD memory cards via the slot on the top edge of the device. Files are transferred from a PC via the mini-USB port on the bottom of the VEB612, as, unlike the Kindle, this model has no Wi-Fi or mobile-data support.

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Where to Buy

ViewSonic VEB612

Part Number: CNETViewSonic VEB612

Typical Price: £260.00

See manufacturer website for availability.