Review: Next2 e-reader

I finally got my hands on one of the Next2 ereaders I showed you a couple months ago. This is a pretty decent ereader, and it was slightly better than I expected.Read on for my review.

Hardware

This is a minimalist ereader based on an Android tablet. It has a 7" (800x480) resistive touchscreen, 2GB Flash, a SD card slot, Wifi, accelerometer, a headphone jack, and 2 page turn buttons. It runs Android v1.5. It ships with a reversible case, USB cord, and power supply.

You can't swap the page turn buttons, but I didn't find that to be such a problem. And TBH, I'm pleased just to have the buttons. I have the feeling that this was a hybrid design. They took a tablet and changed it just enough to make it a usable ereader.

The resistive touchscreen is the good kind (trust me, there's a difference) and I thought it was easy to use and more responsive than some I've had my hands on. This tablet lacks the 3 standard Android buttons, but that's okay. They're on the taskbar at the top of the screen.

Apps

Since the Next2 runs v1.5, you will have trouble installing apps. So it's good that it ships with certain basics such as a file manager, web browser, email, an app store, as well as a Youtube app. All are the basic apps you'd find on any Android tablet and they work fine, with the exception of the Youtube app.

Update: The Next2 got a firmware update early this year. Current models should be running Android v2.1, a much newer version of the OS.  it should be a lot easier to find and install apps.

As you might know, the Youtube app for Android can't play all Youtube videos. But this one might be kinda funky. I've searched for my standard test clips and I can't find them. This is rather odd. I've found them with other versions of the Youtube app, so I really don't know why they don't turn up on the Next2.

The app store is one I've seen before. It's okay, but it's one of the smaller stores and the selection isn't very good. It also doesn't help you screen for compatible apps.

Sidenote: if you're interested, one of my test videos on Youtube is "High on Firefly". I use it for an audio test because there is one particular word that poor speakers will screw up. Play the video and listen for the line "he lives by one law - Murphy's". If the last word sounds like "herpes" then the speakers are poor quality.

Video & Audio

It ships with video and audio players, yes. I don't have the hearing to judge audio, but I watched the included  clip and it was shown full screen at 30 fps without dropping any frames. For a budget tablet, that is impressive. But then I played a couple clips I shot myself. The Next2 can't handle MOV 720p at 30fps.The video and audio don't stay in sync.

I don't expect it to play full screen, but I think it should at least be able to handle the file and gracefully downgrade it. I have other tablets that can do that much.

Reading Experience

The Next2 is tied to the Borders ebookstore, and the registration process is a pain. They want me to enter my Adobe ID, which tells me that this isn't using the borders/kobo app, just the Borders ebookstore. Fortunately, you don't have to have a Borders account to read your own ebooks.

Sidenote: I usually don't bother to authorize my ereaders. I will do it sometimes in order to make sure a particular device can or if I'm helping someone troubleshoot. But it's generally too much of a nuisance. As a rule I download an ebook and strip the DRM right away. It's much less hassle to just get rid of it right away. DRM is a pain in the ass.

The only annotation option is bookmarks, and the only font option is font size (5 sizes). But it does at least have TOC support and a jump to page option.

Page turn speed was okay for both Epub and PDF (when not in zoom mode). When you zoom in on a PDF, page turn is quite slow. But on the upside you can use the touchscreen to scroll around each page of the PDF.

The Next2 can't reflow PDFs, only zoom. This isn't much of a problem for a 7" screen, but the Next2 also can't crop the PDF (remove the white space around the edges). That is a shortcoming, because on 7" screen the standard PDF is quite readable if you can crop it.

Opinion

All in all, I'm rather pleased with this ereader. It's comfortable to hold and page turns are reasonably fast. But it's also rather heavy, and I'm concerned about the battery life when it's left in standby. Be sure to turn off the Wifi when you're not using it. I didn't and the Next 2 kept trying to stay connected to my home network (even though it was in sleep mode). This drained the battery in only a few days.

 

About Nate Hoffelder (11585 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."

9 Comments on Review: Next2 e-reader

  1. Android 1.5 is a non-starter. This way to the Egress, suckers.

  2. Not only has the nextbook3 aged me 10 years, now I can’t find the comments prior to registering. I am going to hope I have the right site and ask if there is anyone that give me help?

  3. Just got done with Nextbook’s (E-Fun) tech support. It appears that you cannot get an update for the Android OS on your NEXT 2. The one I had purchased has 1.5, which has too few apps to get. The Android market app is useless, because it does not have apps that utilize Android 1.5. The search on the site (Android Market) is also useless. Many TV and informational apps only take Android 2.0 and higher. This means E-Fun really screwed up, by not allowing users to “update” the Android OS., even if one paid to do so, which I offered. One must get a newer model, costing more money.

    To me, this is like getting a microwave that only microwaves 30 seconds. You must get a newer, more expensive microwave to heat up a cup of coffee, ie., one minute of microwaving.

    E-Fun really is quite a joke, if this is their business model. Customers must come first, not 4th, after cash, rent and then employees.

    It’s my duty to tel the world of how they operate, regardless of what customers need.

  4. Since my review, I have used the Next2 device more. Therefore, I can add additional comments on the unit itself.

    The video player (included in the apps) quality is ok. However, sometimes the video gets jerky and lags for a moment. This is probably due to the 64 k memory it has. The screen size is a bit off, by about 1/2 cm, showing black ‘letter boxing’ on the top and bottom of the 16×9 screen, as it shows the 16×9 video. The whole screen is not taken, but is some what close. As a video person, this was one of the first things I noticed.

    The speakers are not that good. They have allot of midrange and tonality. They do not go very loud. Therefore, use in slightly noisier places will not work. There is also no way to EQ the audio. With headphones, it’s not as loud as it could be as well.

    The ‘Youtube Player’ simply does not work. Why include an app that will not work and crashes, even after resets?

    There is no way to “move” a file from the SD card, to the main drive of t he NEXT2. You need a PC to do this. When saving a file, it also does not ask where to save a file either.

    The touch screen is not as fast or even “catches,” until you ‘hard tap,’ then drag. It will not always drag easily. It’s not like an Iphone or Ipad.

    Internet on a wifi network is very slow. Seems like dial-up, as you load your pages. This is both at home and work. Distance does not make a difference.

    Had to reset the machine twice, since the last comment I made. This means I lost all of my bookmarks. How joy!

    Watching video vs. battery life is not as lengthly as E-Fun claims. I only got 3 hrs. They claim 7 hrs is the length. This was on a full charge, after battery was wound down.

    There is no way to charge it from a PC. This was too bad the other day, when I had a number list stored on it… and needed it. Battery was too low and it shut itself off. I couldn’t get to my cord, since it was not at work.

    Speaking of charging, you have to have the unit on… which it will turn itself on, when charger is plugged in. This makes the unit get hot, since it does not rest.

    As for the OS, E-Fun says they are testing ‘the new update.’ I have that in writing. Needless to say, I simply do not believe them. Archos did the same game on thier “A705” model, about 5 years ago. They (Archos) still do not have an update for the A705. So it looks like the same exact game.

    One more thing also concerns me on this device….. That’s the battery replacement. On my Archos, I could get a new battery and replace it on my own. With this one, it appears to need to be done professionally.

    I also wonder about the internet security, if the internet app (Explorer) cannot be updated. How many holes have been patched in IE alone, on a regular PC? I know of several times, since I got this Next2, alone. This means that the Explorer needs patched… even if it’s on linux base OS (ie Android). Even linux internet programs get update patches…. why not this one on the Next2?

    The more I use this, the more I see what’s wrong with the Next2 e-reader.

  5. I recently bought the nextbook2 thinking it would be as nice as a Nook or Kindle, we bought it rather cheap, less than $10 and now I can see why. I cannot download any apps to be able to purchase any books to read on this device, and unfortunatly, Borders Books is now owned by Barnes and Nobles, and you cannot download any other applications, well because the Android doesnt doesn’t work… so therefore, I can use this for the internet, but when it comes to downloading anything, I cant.. Thank goodness I only spent $10 on it. Still feels like a waste, but I am going to be purchasing the Kindle Fire

  6. How do i get batteries if the ones in the tablet do not take long to drain. i have had the next two for about six months and the battery does not last as long as it used to. Another one that my dad had also went off suddenly and refuses to come on. how can these problems be solved since there was no space provided to fix new batteries and no info. about batteries

  7. and it probably will be outdated very soon… since Android 2.3 is here. I won’t buy another tablet, due to the way they will not allow updates to the OS… instead you have to buy a whole new tablet or e-reader. If someone has to “hijack” the OS to update it, it’s not worth the security risk.

    I also noticed that the outside of e-reader and tablet boxes DOES NOT SHOW the version of Android, within the specs. I noticed that when a lady friend went to Best Buy to get one. I looked at it’s box and that was the first thing I noticed. No OS info/version.

    The OS thing is moving to rapidly, if E-Fun will not allow you to update. And personally, 150.00 is too much to spend on something that will be outdated in 2 yrs. It’s not worth it. It’s like reinstalling windows 2000 in 2000, because Microsoft no longer supports Windows 98. Or in more actual terms, Ubuntu Linux… support dies within 2 yrs, just like the E-Fun issues I mentioned.

    This OS thing depresses me. in the last 6 months, I found 2 things that you cannot “update” or keep running 2 years after it’s inception.

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