CNET First Look
Cool-er e-book readerThe Cool-er e-book reader has some nice pluses and costs $110 less than the Kindle, but it's not as big a bargain as we hoped it would be.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:02 >> I'm David Cartoway, executive editor for CNET.com and I'm here with the Cooler eBook reader. After wondering what Cooler stands for it is Hulu eBook reader. And the idea behind this device is to undercut the Kindle 2. The Cooler costs 110 dollars less. It doesn't feature the integrated wireless that the Kindle 2 does, but it does have the same size 6-inch screen and the same eInk technology, display is sharp and easy to read. And the device itself is smaller than the Kindle 2 because it doesn't have a keyboard at the bottom. It's also lighter. It does feel a little bit flimsy in your hand. And one of its problems, even though it cost 250 dollars, it feels like the device should really cost less than 200 dollars. The Cooler actually comes in 8 different colors. In that sense it's kind of iPod like. Some of the good things about it, there is an SD card slot to increase memory and you get 1 gigabyte of internal memory. The battery is also removable, Interead will replace the battery for you for 5 dollars. The Cooler does get decent battery life. We were pretty pleased about that. With this model, you can download ePub files, text files, PDF files and you just drag and drop them on to the memory card or the device itself. Interead also has an online eBook store. One of the problems however is that the books are usually a little bit more expensive than what you get on the Amazon Kindle store. A couple of features worth noting, you can switch from portrait mode to landscape mode with the touch of a button. And there is an MP3 player. You do need an adapter to use standard headphones. However, that adaptor is included. Probably our biggest gripe with this device is that it's just a little bit quirky and not all that polished. You have to do multiple button presses to get through menus to get to for instance adjusting the font size. Also, the buttons are a little bit stiff and their placement probably wasn't thought out as well as it should have been. Although the Cooler isn't a bad little reader, but it's just not as polished as what Amazon or Sony has to offer. We'd be a little bit more forgiving if it was less expensive, for instance under 200 dollars. As it stands though at 250 dollars, it is more of a work in progress. Hopefully there will be some firmware upgrades that make the interface better. But for now, we really see the Cooler appealing to more of a worldwide audience in places where you can't get devices like the Kindle 2 or some of the Sony readers. All that said, we hope that Interead works through some of the kinks and gets to the version 2 of the Cooler, which will be that much better. I'm David Cartoway and that's the Cooler from Interead.