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Interead COOL-ER review

Barry de la Rosa
21 Sep 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
189
inc VAT

It's lighter and more colourful than other eBook readers, but the COOL-ER is poorly made and clunky.

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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.

Details

Price£189
Detailswww.coolreaders.co.uk
Rating**

Hardware

Viewable size6.0in
Native resolution600x800
Touchscreen y/nno
Capacity1,024MB
Memory card supportSDHC
Size118x11x183mm
Weight178g
Battery and charge optionsLi-ion, USB
eReader Battery life8,000
Wireless networking supportnone
3G?no
PortsUSB, 3.5mm headphone

Format Support

eReader TXT supportyes
eReader HTML supportyes
eReader RTF supportyes
eReader PDF supportyes
eReader ePub supportyes
eReader MOBI supportno
eReader Amazon AZW supportno
eReader Microsoft Word supportyes
Audio MP3 playbackYes
Audio WMA playbackNo
Audio WMA-DRM playbackNo
Audio AAC playbackNo
Audio Protected AAC playbackNo
Audio OGG playbackNo
Audio WAV playbackNo
Audio Audible playbackNo
Image BMP supportYes
Image JPEG supportYes
Image TIFF supportNo

Buying Information

Price£189
Warrantytwo years collect and return
Supplierhttp://www.argos.co.uk
Detailswww.coolreaders.co.uk

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