If you live in the US, chances are the first thing you think of when you hear eBook reader or eReader is the Amazon Kindle. Amazon has done an amazing job at marketing and capturing a large portion of the buying community, but there are still plenty of alternatives that exist. One of these is the French company, Bookeen, who recently provided me with a Bookeen Cybook Opus for review. The Cybook Opus is a no-frills, incredibly lightweight, and pocket sized reader that aims to put an eBook reader in every purse, pocket or briefcase.
Upon taking the Cybook Opus out of the box, I could tell that Bookeen took product quality and presentation very importantly. I hate making the comparison, because not everyone is an Apple fan, but the device feels like they employed the same R&D people to create an aesthetically pleasing and functional product. The Cybook Opus comes preloaded with hundreds of public domain eBooks in both English and French, so I had choices to begin reading immediately.
The reading experience
Now it is hard to describe this experience, but the EInk technology, combined with the 200dpi contrast really feels like you are reading paper. You temporarily forget when you see the colors flash to change pages, but overall, it really captures the experience of reading a paper book, which I honestly love. The Cybook Opus is not touchscreen, rather features buttons on the bottom for vertical reading, and an additional set of buttons on the side for horizontal reading. When I flipped the Opus horizontally, the page immediately reoriented itself, and I continued comfortably navigating my book. The addition of the side buttons for landscape viewing is just another example of how well Bookeen thought this product through.
Media support and copying new books to the Cybook Opus
Personally, I hate bulky pieces of software that are usually required for managing files on electronic devices. The Cybook Opus does it just the way I like it. It mounts the reader as a removable USB storage device and lets me copy my books directly to it. I've copied a handful of HTML, TXT, and PDF files, and all worked flawlessly. For those who like downloading best sellers and commercial books, the Cybook Opus supports the popular EPUB format, which is used by almost everyone, with the exception of the Kindle, so you'll find a huge variety of books available. Additionally as I mentioned before, it supports HTML, TXT, and secure/unsecure PDF and EPUB books.
- Small and skinny profile - 4.2" x 6" x 0.4
- Lightweight - only 5.3 ounces! (that's within an ounce of an iPhone)
- 5" EInk screen
- No backlight (still provides great reading conditions in all lighting, but dramatically improves battery life)
- Built in accelerometer to automatically switch between portrait and landscape
- 1GB built-in storage
- Expandable via microSD slot
- 8000 page flips between charges
Things I'd like to see
- Built-in Wifi - at the Opus's price point, I'd like to see built-in WiFi so I could manage and download my books without a cable
- Improved page flipping - this could be easily accomplished with a firmware update, but the page contrast inverts temporarily when flipping pages, which can be distracting
- Improved operating system stability - while it only happened 2 or 3 times, the system hung and required me to cycle the power; again, this could easily be fixed with a firmware update
Overall, the Cybook Opus is a great addition to the eBook arena. It can't be beat on size and weight, and the battery life, form factor, and style are nothing to be scoffed at. For $199.99 at the time of review, I'd recommend anyone who wants a stylish reader that can be added to your life and fit just about anywhere. Head over to Bookeen for even more info on the Cybook Opus!