Review: Cybook Opus

The Bookeen Opus came out in the Fall of 2009. I tried one in October and was so dissatisfied that I sent it back. There were any number of things the Opus couldn't do (then) that I required in an ereader: Mobipocket support, instant on, dictionary support. I decided to do this review because I had been told that Bookeen have significantly improved the firmware. This is true. The Opus has changed for the better.


The Opus has a 5” E-ink screen. It has 2 page turn buttons to the right of the screen and a d-pad & 2 buttons below the screen. One the bottom edge it has a USB port, and on the upper edge it has a power button and a microSDHC card slot.

The Opus was too small for me. I did eventually get used to holding it, but it still feels too thin and too small. I know several people who disagree with me, so I might be the odd man out.


The Opus is unique in that it has 2 firmware options. The first provides support for Adobe DE DRM, and the second supports Mobipocket DRM. I spent far more time with the Adobe firmware (the Mobipocket firmware was delayed, repeatedly).

For the longest time I was dedicated to the Mobipocket format, and you'd think that I'd be happy to get back to it. Well, the Adobe firmware is noticeably better. I tried the Mobipocket firmware just long enough to right down its abilities.

The 2 firmwares have the same Library options. You can show 5, 10, or 20 items per page. You can view all your ebooks as a single level collection, or you can view them by folder. The Opus has 4 sort options: file title, size, date, name, and path.

When you're reading an ebook on the Adobe DE firmware, you have a choice of 3 different font, 12 font sizes, and you can justify or embolden the text. But you don't have a dictionary or bookmarks. With the Mobipocket firmware you have the 12 font sizes, 3 font choices, dictionary support, and bookmarks. Also, the Mobipocket firmware is stuck with full justification (I hate it) and a large empty margin around the screen.


The Opus is a nice ereader. It's well designed and solidly built. Bookeen are now on the third generation of firmware for the Opus; I think they've found and fixed all the bugs. I'm glad that Bookeen added a sleep mode; this was one of my 2 chief complaints when I got an Opus last fall. I thought that the lack of a sleep mode went against the very concept of the Opus. It's obviously a pocketable ereader, and what is the point of putting it in your pocket if you can't pull it out and turn it on in a second?

I could recommend this ereader to anyone.

Second Opinion

This review was originally written several weeks ago, and was delayed for various reasons. The cause of the delay doesn't matter, but what does matter is that just last week Amazon and B&N dropped the price of their ereaders. All of a sudden you could get (at least in the US) a Nook or K2 for about the same price as the Opus. These ereaders are much more capable than the Opus, and I think they represent a better value.


  • 5" E-ink screen
  • 400 MHz CPU
  • 1 GB Flash
  • microSDHC card slot

Where to get it

You can buy the Opus direct from Bookeen. Prices vary depending on the market. You can also buy the Opus from one of the 50 or so resellers you'll find on the Bookeen website.

About Nate Hoffelder (11468 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

1 Comment on Review: Cybook Opus

  1. Hello.

    I would just like to point out that, contrary to Amazon’s Kindle, Bookeen’s Opus reads ePub, which means that it’s not tied to a one and only bookshop (even though Amazon does have most e-books regular users might be looking for) and that it therefore supports what is now officially the standard for e-books. Plus I guess it’s also a question of whether you want to encourage closed, proprietary formats or open formats such as ePub. (B&N’s Nook does support the ePub format on the other hand.)


    I was only going to point that out, but while I’m at it, there are a couple other issues I’d like to address:

    Okay, there wasn’t Instant On at the time, but frankly, it takes about fifteen seconds to boot, plus let’s say five seconds to open your book (as the last book you were reading is already selected): I can bear waiting twenty seconds before I start reading a book; I mean, if you haven’t got twenty seconds to spare, then you don’t have the time to read the book anyway. So even though that point is moot because Instant On now exists on the Opus, I did not find the lack of it in the least bothersome, and certainly not a reason to return the reader.

    Now, the one thing that I do miss is the ability to select/annotate text (for example to mark typos — and there are a lot of them about!) and, to a lesser degree, to bookmark pages (the Opus only bookmarks the last page you’ve been reading). Selecting/annotating requiring in my opinion a touch-screen in order to be practical, the Opus can’t win on that count. This will probably be the reason I change e-readers if I do, and Bookeen’s newest release, the Orizon seems very promising (although it’s a 6″ reader — see below). As for the lack of an integrated dictionary, that would have been nice, but it’s a feature I can definitely do without (and here again I believe a touch-screen is required, so that it’s a no-go for the Opus).

    Finally, the 5″ display makes for a small, light device (it’s one of the lightest on the market) that you can easily carry in a jacket inside pocket (it’s slightly smaller than a paperback, and much thinner!) and fits quite comfortably in the hand — and I do not find the screen too small in the slightest since there’s reflow with ePub (PDF is another matter: if you intend to read mostly PDFs, then indeed you might want a bigger screen). For me, this is a real asset, and I’ll want to check that I can carry a 6″-screen device around easily before I think of purchasing one.


    You’ve probably guessed by now, I own a Bookeen Opus (I bought it in November 2009), and I just love it. As I said, the only thing that might push me to upgrade is the lack of the select/annotate function, but I can live without it (for now). Maybe when Bookeen’s new release, the Orizon (which by the way has WiFi connectivity, which the Opus doesn’t — but this again is only a plus, not a real clincher: I like to browse before I buy an e-book, and browsing is still best done from a computer), hits the € 200 mark…


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