Monday, April 6, 2009

Comparison between BeBook and Cybook

I have blogged at length in previous posts about the BeBook and the Cybook
I thought it would be fun to put together a little chart which compares the BeBook, which I have used for a few weeks, with the Cybook, which I have used since December 2007. I will be going over the key points I use when determining which eBook Reader to use/buy. This comparison will be based on the functionality available with these firmware updates installed:
  • Bebook - Version: V2.02NL.090216
  • Cybook - Version: 1.2 (build 796)

FeatureCybookBeBookPersonal Opinion
Size188 × 118 × 8.5 mm

(7.4" × 4.7" × .3")
184 × 120.5 × 9.9mm

(7.24" × 4.74" × .39")
Both eBook Readers are similar in size and weight, I do notice the difference in depth of the BeBook which feels very "sturdy" to me. I think part of the 'sturdiness' of the BeBook comes from it's extra weight. Both are easy to hold in one hand for reading.
Weight174g (6.13oz)200g (7.05oz)
I have to admit that all the extra formats available for the BeBook make it very attractive, especially since their HTML support includes accessing photos and pages from within a folder which Cybook currently does not.

For me the most important format has always been Mobipocket, at this time both eBook Readers support DRM Mobipocket content. I Prefer the way the Cybook supports it. I like being able to lookup a word from within my eBook and the ability to see the header or not.
Font OptionsAdd any TrueType font

12 Font sizes (using menu)

Add any TrueType font

3 Font sizes

(using <8/zoom> button)

I *love* having 12 font sizes available to me on the Cybook, I usually use the 3rd or 4th smallest in the list depending on which TTF I've chosen. The smallest font size on the BeBook is about equivalent to the 6th or 7th size in the Cybook menu. This means about a 1/3 more pages per eBook. Not a huge deal, but definitely noticeable when reading.
Search functionality / Dictionary lookupDictionary lookup

(using menus)
NoI didn't think this was that big of a deal, but in the 2 weeks I've been using the BeBook exclusively I think I've thought about looking up a word at least every other day. I like to see the definitions of some words which aren't in common usage just to be sure I'm getting the meaning of the word/sentence that the author intended.
Bookmarksbookmarks menubookmarks menuBoth eBook Readers have very workable bookmarking schemes, I think anyone would be happy with the options provided by either.
  • The Cybook has unlimited bookmarks which you can cycle through going to 'first/last/previous/next' based on your menu choice.
  • The BeBook has 5 bookmark spots available for most eBook formats and apparently unlimited spots available for Mobipocket. More than 8 Mobipocket bookmarks slows down the bookmark system noticeably so I didn't attempt to add more than 14 bookmarks.

FoldersNoYesThe BeBook even offers the option of nested folders making sorting and organizing a large eBook collection easy. One of the best features is the "Recent files" folder which shows the 8 most recently opened eBooks with the most recently read at the top.
Page NumbersProgress Bar onlyYesI have been living with the Progress bar for over a year on the Cybook and liking it. However now that I've seen the page numbers on the BeBook I realize how much I've missed page numbers. I *know* that the page numbers in Mobipocket eBooks aren't accurate, I just don't care. I *like* knowing how many pages I've read and how many are left. Really, I had no idea it was such a big deal until I got them back again.
Cover ThumbnailYesNoI really miss seeing the cover thumbnail when I'm looking for eBooks on the BeBook. The title is important, but the cover tells so much about a story and can trigger my memory as to why I downloaded that eBook in the first place.

The BeBook shows a Format icon beside the title instead. This is also useful as it lets you know what kind of reading experience you can expect when you open that eBook.
SpeedStartup time could be 30+ seconds depending on number of eBooks.

Opening an eBook is almost instant.

Startup is fast and using the "Keyboard lock" option
saves even more time.

Opening an eBook takes about 5 seconds.

I *love* the "Keyboard lock" option that the BeBook has! It saves sooo much time when I just want to spend a few minutes reading while standing in line or waiting for something to happen. I love being able to go back to the last screen I was on without clicking any other buttons. It is a bit disconcerting to open the case and find the BeBook still displaying the last eBook I was reading because I had forgotten to lock the keyboard, my Cybook is set to turn itself off after 1hr to save battery power.

It did take a while for me to get use to the time it took for an eBook to "load." I was use to the Cybook which does all of it's eBook indexing at Boot-up so that by the time I click to open an eBook it doesn't take anytime at all.

For most of my reading, I don't find that the long startup for the
Cybook is an issue, I click the "power" button when I am about to read, and when I'm sitting and ready I open the case and click select to open the last book I was reading. This accounts for about 98% of the reading I do.
PriceUS$350 for just the Cybook & USB Charger

US$450 for Cybook, USB Charger, Cover, 2 GB SD card, Earphones, Extra
US$279.99 including the BeBook, Leather case, USB cable,
User Manual, Earphone.
I think this could be the biggest determining factor. If I was in the market to purchase my very first eBook Reader I would probably look at everything that was different, as listed above, and
then get the BeBook.

At this point I've come to the conclusion that I like the Cybook best and will likely continue using it and eventually find a new home for the BeBook. However I stand by my recommendation to purchase a BeBook as a first time eBook Reader. It is a solid device, has great format support, and constantly evolving firmware. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see some of the functionality I
crave being implemented in the future. There are a lot of really good features that are supported by the BeBook and they make the missing font sizes and dictionary support secondary for most people. I'm just really picky I guess.

I have heard rumours of firmware updates soon to come from both Cybook and BeBook. If Cybook gets folder support, or BeBook gets dictionary and font size support I'll be over the moon!

25 Euro BeBook Discount Code:

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