So I wrote this review on a plane over Tennessee on my way to CES 2011. I brought the 700EB along not just so I could write the review but because the video and ebook abilities make it a pretty decent multi-function device. Unfortunately, I put it down on a counter at CES and turned my back for just a second. That was enough time for someone to steal it. I don’t have any pictures to show you.
This ereader is based on a very good 7″ (800×480) LCD screen but it does not have Wifi or a touchscreen. The front is black with with a matte gray stripe across the front bottom. The back is a plain matte black with 2 speakers. As you can see, there’s a page turn button on either side of the screen, and the D-pad and 4 buttons below the screen (menu, font, play , back). There’s 2GB Flash inside and a SD card slot, headphone jack, USB port, and power jack along the bottom edge and it does charge off USB. The 700EB ships with a case, power supply, and USB cable.
I can’t really say how long the battery would last if used only for reading, but I was seeing at least 5 days. Also, I’ve now watched over 4 hours of video and the meter is still above the halfway mark.
Format support includes AVI and MP4 (probably others, but that’s what I had on hand to test with). The video player app is basic (play, jump forward/back, rewind, fast-forward), but the image quality is great and the screen is a lot better than I was expecting on an ereader. The screen doesn’t quite have a 180 degree viewing range but it’s close. And the image quality doesn’t drop off as the angle increases.
I grabbed several seasons of Stargate that I had ripped from DVD. I’ve been alternating between watching movies and reading for most of my trip. It can also play 720p clips I shot with my digital camera. Obviously the screen resolution isn’t up to it, but the clips play without dropped frames.
This is the first time I’ve wanted to carry a PMP around. I’ve had a couple before, but since I prefer to read I usually grab my ereader. With the 700EB I don’t have to make a choice.
Format support includes Epub, PDF, and FB2. This actually doesn’t have all that great of a reading app.It’s okay, but it’s also not displaying the ebooks correctly. I tested it with several hand made ebooks and the formatting was ignored. The 700EB also didn’t see the external table of contents in the Epub or PDF.
The only annotation option is bookmarks. But, you do have some customization options: screen brightness, font size (6), font color (6), background color (6), and screen orientation. It also offers a page jump option and auto page turn option. It does support PDF reflow, which is great. But you need to remember that if you reflow a PDF with graphs or charts, you’ll lose them.you have bookmarks and page jump.
It will also remember your place when you exit an ebook and when you put it in sleep mode. But other than that it’s just a basic ereader. But the reading experience was decent. It’s still an okay ereader, folks. I can live with the shortcomings.
BTW, I’m also seeing some problems with the 700EB freezing on certain page numbers.. If you get one, you might want to download the latest firmware from Elonex. It might fix the problem.
Where to get it
The Elonex 700EB is sold at Kalahari.net and several electronics stores in the UK. E-readers based on the same hardware are also available from Nexx in Russia and Prestigio in Europe. With luck we might see this device show up in other countries under other brands.