Review: Ectaco Jetbook Mini (video)

I got the Jetbook Mini just over a week ago, and I have to say it was a lot of fun.  I was ready to write the review after only a few days (it's basic ereader), but I held it because Ectaco promised a firmware update (it came with a pre-release firmware). I'm not sure I should have waited; it's still missing key features. The video is at the end of the post. Upside

  • long battery life
  • smart battery design (runs on 2 AAA)
  • lots of user selected formatting options
  • limited ebook format support (only FB2)
  • does not support any DRMed ebook format
  • no image, links, CSS support

Ectaco are a company that should be known to anyone who follows ereader news. They launched the Jetbook, their first ereader, in early 2008. The Jetbook Lite (same ereader but running on AA batteries) was released in 2009. And now the Jetbook Mini will be coming out in October 2010.

The Jetbook Mini is actually the first ereader designed just for Ectaco. The previous 2 models were originally developed for the Chinese markets by JCNIP. You can buy them in China under the brand name Dr.Yi (with a different firmware, of course).


The Mini is a very basic ereader. It lost almost all the buttons that were on its predecessor as well as the internal storage and MP3 player. It shares just one hardware detail with its predecessors: the screen. The 5" LCD screen is a low power, grayscale entry into the epaper market that was originally developed by Toshiba. The Mini has an SD card slot on the upper edge, a USB port on the lower edge, and 5 buttons to one side of the screen. The buttons from top to bottom are: Menu, up, Enter, down, and Exit/Power.

The battery compartment is behind the buttons. It holds 4 AAA, and the Mini only needs 2 AAA to run. This will let you swap out a pair without losing your settings. I like that. I also like the way the batteries are placed so you can grip the thickest part of the ereader.

The Mini is pleasant and light, but it's clearly been designed for hands smaller that mine.


The Mini shipped with Sudoku and a tetris clone. They're not easy to play, unfortunately;  it's really not obvious what each button did. But you won't buy this for the games, so it doesn't matter.

Reading Experience

It was a lot like reading on my Jetbook, and that's not a good thing. It took a long time for a book to load. Page turns were slow; I compared it to my K3 and the K3 was faster. Images and links were missing, as was most of the CSS formatting.

On the up side you do have a lot of formatting options to pick from. You can set the justification, line spacing, font size, text encoding, and paragraph break behavior. All 4 screen rotations are supported, so this ereader should please a lefty.


As I reach the end of the review, I have to ask myself this: Would I recommend an ereader that makes its users go through extra work (conversion) for a poorer experience (no images, TOC, or links)? The answer should be obvious.

I really think Ectaco should either improve FB2 support or replace it with Epub. I wouldn't get the Mini until that happens. I also want them to improve the page turn speed.

Pricing Footnote

Right now, the Mini is listed for $99. You can get the Aluratek Libre for that price. If you have limited funds I would recommend the Libre.


About Nate Hoffelder (11466 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."

3 Comments on Review: Ectaco Jetbook Mini (video)

  1. I have tried the Libre and it is a great little e book reader. This thing really seems to be lacking and who is going to buy it without Epub support? Where do you get books for it?

  2. I bet the software is rubbish. The smallest and portable e-reader in the world- Pocketbook 360!
    And this is just another bad quality clone)))))))))

  3. i actually just got back from HK and picked up one of the jetBook minis at the electronics show. its absolutely amazing for the price and i downloaded fb2 books to it which look better than TXT but the TXT ones are still well formatted.

    for the previous comments:
    @Zigwalski – convert them to FB2 via Calibre, it looks fantastic

    @Alexey – i think the jb mini specs compared to your statement say otherwise, plus it sounds like you work for them…

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