Ectaco Jetbook – a brief review
The Jetbook has been out for some time now, and it has been reviewed endlessly. But I’ve never explained why I like it, and I think that merits a brief review.
Ectaco released the Jetbook in early 2008. The hardware was designed by a Chinese company called JCNIP, and is sold in China (under the original firmware) as the M218. BTW, I’d avoid the M218 unless you already know how to convert to a format it uses, or you know how to replace the firmware. The Chinese firmware is for the mainland Chinese market. The ebook formats it uses are rather funky.
The Jetbook has an unique 5″ LCD screen. This grayscale screen was designed by Toshiba as a low power alternative to traditional LCD. it has buttons for 0-9 to the right of the screen and a slider bar to the left of the screen. Below the screen are the page turn buttons (to the left), and a D-pad, OK button, and 4 menu buttons to the right. The purpose of each button is obvious, so I won’t discuss them here. But I will say that I like the design; very rarely do I press the wrong button.
This is one of my preferred ebook readers because the abilities it lacks are more than outweighed by the very low cost (I found it on sale at $150). The current firmware is limited; highlighting, annotation, TOCs, and hyperlinks don’t work. I didn’t realize until I bought it that there are times when I don’t care if I can use those features. I have any number of ebooks in my collection that all I want to do is advance one page at a time.
I also like the Jetbook because it uses FBReader, and does a decent job of displaying Epub. I prefer to read in landscape mode. This lets me hold the Jetbook in my left hand with my thumb next to the page turn button. I feel I have a firm grip, and turning the page is easy.
no DRM support