Interead COOL-ER review
Despite having an awful name, the COOL-ER is a smart eBook reader that comes in a variety of colours.
Unlike Sony's Reader, it comes with no case or wallet to protect it. Instead, it's designed to be as light as possible and easy to hold in one hand. The plastic case has a nice satin finish with rounded edges and is only 11mm thick.
The front of the unit has a simple four-way control with a central button for selecting items. You can navigate through most of the menus using just this, but there are also two volume buttons on the right edge of the reader and four buttons along the left edge. The menu and library buttons are self-explanatory. The third button enables you to switch from portrait to landscape mode - a novel feature, but not an essential one - and the fourth button provides access to music playback and a Sudoku game.
Unfortunately, while the controls are easy to understand, they're stiff and aren't within easy reach. The side buttons don't protrude far enough from the casing and have a small amount of travel, so pressing them in far enough is difficult. Once you've pressed a button, the reader is slow to react compared with Sony's Reader. The menu system is particularly clunky, and for some functions, such as bookmarking, you'll need to dive into the menu rather than simply pressing a button, as you would on the Sony Reader.
While the interface is poor, the screen is fine - which isn't surprising, as all the screens for eBook readers are made by the same Taiwanese company. The COOL-ER ties in with Interead's website at www.coolerbooks.com, which offers eBooks in Adobe's Digital Editions format. This requires you to download and install the Adobe library software, which is easy to use and helps you organise your eBook collection. Alternatively, you can simply download eBooks to your PC and transfer them to the COOL-ER via USB. You can create folders and organise your eBooks from Windows Explorer.
The device supports a reasonable number of eBook formats including the two most popular: PDF and ePub. It also supports rich text and HTML files, although the formatting occasionally went awry when we tried these. You can view JPG and BMP images and play MP3s. The manufacturer, Interead, includes a 3.5mm adaptor for the 2.5mm headphone plug, but sound quality isn't great.
As the price of the Sony Reader has fallen recently, we can't recommend the COOL-ER. The Reader may be heavier (by around 82g without its case), but its build quality is far superior, plus it has better controls and superior performance. The COOL-ER's only advantages are its lower weight and colourful designs, but these aren't enough reason to choose it over the Reader.
|Memory card support||SDHC|
|Battery and charge options||Li-ion, USB|
|eReader Battery life||8,000|
|Wireless networking support||none|
|Ports||USB, 3.5mm headphone|
|eReader TXT support||yes|
|eReader HTML support||yes|
|eReader RTF support||yes|
|eReader PDF support||yes|
|eReader ePub support||yes|
|eReader MOBI support||no|
|eReader Amazon AZW support||no|
|eReader Microsoft Word support||yes|
|Audio MP3 playback||Yes|
|Audio WMA playback||No|
|Audio WMA-DRM playback||No|
|Audio AAC playback||No|
|Audio Protected AAC playback||No|
|Audio OGG playback||No|
|Audio WAV playback||No|
|Audio Audible playback||No|
|Image BMP support||Yes|
|Image JPEG support||Yes|
|Image TIFF support||No|
|Warranty||two years collect and return|