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Elonex eBook review: Elonex eBook

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The Good Sharp e-ink screen; light, stylish housing.

The Bad Slow to start up; sluggish menus; buggy software; no page-turn buttons.

The Bottom Line The Elonex eBook has a lovely screen and lightweight chassis, but it's let down by fiddly controls, slow, buggy software and an anorexic features list. It's no match for Sony's venerable, metal-clad Reader PRS-505, let alone the Kindle, which is expected to arrive in the UK soon

6.5 Overall

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As the country holds its breath for the long-awaited launch of Amazon's Kindle, traditional booksellers are jumping the gun by offering other ebook readers. Waterstones has chosen the impressively built, if aging, Sony Reader PRS-505 and now Borders is exclusively selling the Elonex eBook. Available for around £190, the eBook is similar enough to the Interead Cool-er to inspire a distinct sense of déjà lu (get it, French fans?). The price includes 100 pre-loaded, copyright-free classic titles.

Lightweight body
The Linux-powered eBook is clearly built on the same bones as the Cool-er, albeit with a few key differences. Out goes the Cool-er's faux-iPod plastic styling and in comes the altogether more stylish, tactile and robust matte black rubber finish.

The eBook is light, at just 180g, and comfortable to hold in one hand, although its lack of dedicated page-turn buttons forces you to use the clumsy circular navigation pad. Side-mounted menu and return buttons are small enough not to hit accidentally, and there's a rotate key for flipping into a gimmicky landscape mode. There's also a button for a terrible Sudoku game. You can use its controls to adjust the font size.

Unlike the Cool-er or the PRS-505, the eBook doesn't even attempt to play MP3 tunes. The eBook starts up and responds to menu commands slightly faster than the Cool-er, but it's much slower than the PRS-505 overall. Surprisingly, the 6-inch, e-ink display is sharp, high-contrast and very readable -- and better than the Cool-er's.

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