Endless Ideas BeBook Club S review

17 Nov 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

Broad file format and language support and a host of advanced features make the Club S a geek's dream, but it's frustrating to use


The BeBook was one of the first E-Ink eReaders we reviewed and, while it couldn't compete with Sony's slick Reader, it got a special mention for its support for a broad range of file formats and typefaces. The BeBook range has expanded since then, but the Club S still follows in this tradition, with support for multiple languages and file formats.

There's no stylus support as with the more expensive Neo, so has five navigation buttons, two page-turning buttons and Menu and Back buttons. The Menu button is labelled with a Home symbol, however, which is confusing, as to return to the home screen you have to keep pressing the Back button.

Endless Ideas BeBook Club S

It's reminiscent of a computer's file system, where you navigate through trees of folders, and we found this structure frustrating to use and unnecessary. This is in stark contrast to other readers such as the Kobo or Sony eReaders, which have more functional categories and lists of book titles rather than filenames.

Page-turning was quick, however, and the Club S is one of the few eReaders that allows you to choose how many pages you turn before the screen refreshes completely. Contrast is good, making small text readable, but it isn't the best screen we've seen and some ghosting was apparent if the screen hadn't been refreshed recently.

'Ponderous' doesn't only describe the Club S's interface: it's one of the heaviest eReaders we've tested, second only to the Neo. At 278g it's almost twice as heavy as Sony's new T1 Reader, and holding it in one hand for long periods could become uncomfortable.

You can change the font as well as its size and encoding, although in some formats, such as old PDF files where text is rendered as an image, you get the option to zoom instead. HTML files are loaded in a web browser, however, so you don't get the options you'd expect in a book, such as page navigation. The browser itself is useless, as there's no Wi-Fi.

This also means you have to either transfer files manually or use Adobe's Digital Editions software to load books onto the Club S via USB. The BeBook website has links to eBook shops and free repositories, but you'll have to stock up before you travel. There's an SD card slot that supports cards up to 32GB and, unlike some eReaders, the Club S didn't take ages to scan the card for books, even when we had almost 1,000 on the card.

Endless Ideas BeBook Club S Back

As well as the usual eBook formats, there's support for the less-common DJVU and PDB formats. You can also play MP3 files while you read - the option is hidden in the menu. A dictionary is installed, but it's a chore to use: you have to choose Word Select and navigate to the word on the page. There's an option to have books read to you using text-to-speech, but pronunciation and sound quality are awful. Plus, there's no way to change the volume, which we found too loud.

If your eBook collection is in an odd format or you need support for Chinese or Cyrillic text the BeBook range is just about your only option. If not, then most other eReaders are lighter, easier to use and have better access to eBooks.


Price £115
Rating ***


Viewable size 6.0in
Native resolution 600x800
Touchscreen y/n no
Capacity 2,048MB
Memory card support SDHC
Size 124x10x197mmmm
Weight 278g
Battery and charge options Li-ion, USB
eReader Battery life 12,000
Wireless networking support N/A
3G? no
Ports USB, 3.5mm headphone

Format Support

eReader TXT support yes
eReader HTML support yes
eReader RTF support yes
eReader PDF support yes
eReader ePub support yes
eReader MOBI support yes
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 Yes

Buying Information

Price £115
Warranty one year RTB
Supplier http://www.dabs.com

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