BeBook Neo review: BeBook Neo

Review Sections

This is made easier by the fact that it supports a multitude of file formats: EPUB, PDF, TXT, HTML, RTF, MOBI, CHM, PDB, JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP and TIFF, as well as MP3 support for music and audio books. And, of course, it is compatible with Adobe Digital Editions, so if you prefer to upload books from your computer using the supplied USB cable, you certainly have that option.

Performance

As an e-reader, the Neo provides a pleasant experience. The E Ink display is of a decent quality, and you can resize text and navigate smoothly. The unpleasant texture of the aluminium back can be dealt with by purchasing a leather protective case accessory, which also protects the device, and the pages turn with a decent speed. We liked the MP3 support, which makes it a decent means for digesting books in audio as well as visual format, although if you have an MP3 player or smartphone, it's probably a little extraneous.

We're not sure, though, that the other features perform particularly well. E Ink was not designed with multimedia in mind, and its make-up — millions of tiny capsules filled with positively and negatively charged white and black particles that respond to an electric signal — means that it can only handle page changes slowly. If you're going to access the web on the go, you might find it less frustrating to use a smartphone. Similarly, if you're going to buy books, uploading them via USB might prove a smoother experience, particularly since the supplied power cable is a USB rather than direct-to-mains.

Another feature of E Ink is that it only uses power while turning a page. It was somewhat baffling and vexing, therefore, to discover the Neo switching itself off after a period of idleness, leaving us to twiddle our thumbs while it rebooted. If you just have five minutes at the bus stop and you want to spend it nose-deep in Stieg Larsson, it's irritating to waste time waiting for an e-reader first to switch on, and then load your book, particularly since one charge lasts 7000 page turns, give or take.

Overall, it seemed to us that the Neo was burdened with a superfluity of features. If you're a student, being able to cart your texts around on a lightweight device that you can make notes on would be really useful, and an integrated dictionary function is handy. However, with less costly e-readers on the market that perform the core features just as well as the Neo, it's hard to justify the expense, particularly since some of the features are poorly executed or frustrating to use.

If you're looking for an elegant, full-featured e-reader, the BeBook Neo does offer a smart and stylish reading experience overall. Like many good things, though, it also comes at a price. Unless you particularly want a touchscreen e-reader, it might be a good idea to shop around.

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