Incredibly cheap for a colour eBook reader, but it feels it. Serious readers should spend more for something with an E Ink screen
This seven-inch eReader from Binatone is one of four models in the ReadMe range. It’s a colour device, so instead of a greyscale E Ink screen it has an LCD with a backlight. This gives it the advantage that it can be read in the dark, but it has several disadvantages, chief among which is that the battery life is far shorter – you’ll only get four hours of use on one charge from this reader.
This particular screen has a lower resolution, is less bright and has less contrast than a typical tablet display. The lack of brightness means it’s not too tiring to read, at least under moderate lighting, but it’s no good in sunlight. The modest resolution also means it isn’t as sharp as an E Ink display, so it isn’t as comfortable to read for long stretches.
This is a cheap device but it’s extremely basic. There’s no touchscreen or Wi-Fi, or even less exotic features such as a music player. While you can expand the available storage with a microSD card, doing so is practically a necessity: the reader has only 128MB of storage, of which only about 10MB was available on the sample we tested.
We’re not against inexpensive and simple products but it’s never a good thing if they also feel cheap, and unfortunately the ReadMe does. While many other readers have bevelled edges and a soft and grippy finish, the ReadMe is made from hard, abrasive plastic that’s not particularly pleasant to hold. The bezel at the bottom of the screen can also cause distracting reflections.
Things aren’t any better when it comes to the control buttons, which give a brittle click when pressed and aren’t placed very logically. Instead of grouping up, down, left, right and action buttons together, left is on the left bezel, while right, up, down and an action button are on the right. Menu, Zoom and Back buttons are at the foot of the screen. This means that it’s not possible to use the device one-handed with your left hand.
The control placement also makes it more frustrating than necessary to use the menus, where it takes time to get used to the staggered position of the up, down, left, right, select and back controls. We quite like the bookshelf graphics and the way that items are highlighted by switching on the virtual light above them, but the library view is poor – books can’t be searched by title or author, or sorted by anything other than filename. Their cover images also don’t appear until after they’ve been opened.
The ReadMe can be quite slow to open a book, and it takes about a second to turn each page – good E Ink readers are much quicker. It’s not possible to change the font, search by keyword or add annotations, but there’s a simple favourites system and you can jump to a given page number. There are four brightness levels to choose from and the screen can be manually re-orientated between portrait and landscape.
This reader might be tempting to those on a tight budget, but its cheap feel and basic features mean it’s best avoided unless you must have the cheapest possible colour reader. If you’re not worried about colour, there are far better eReaders out there, such as the Kobo eReader Touch.
|Memory card support||microSD|
|Battery and charge options||Lithium polymer, included USB cable|
|Wireless networking support||N/A|
|eReader TXT support||yes|
|eReader HTML support||no|
|eReader RTF support||no|
|eReader PDF support||yes|
|eReader ePub support||yes|
|eReader MOBI support||no|
|eReader Amazon AZW support||no|
|eReader Microsoft Word support||no|
|Audio MP3 playback||No|
|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||one year RTB|