Home / Computing / Peripheral / Bookeen Cybook Gen3

Bookeen Cybook Gen3 review




  • Recommended by TR

1 of 5

Bookeen Cybook Gen3
  • Bookeen Cybook Gen3
  • Bookeen Cybook Gen3
  • Bookeen Cybook Gen3
  • Bookeen Cybook Gen3
  • Bookeen Cybook Gen3


Our Score:


I like my eBooks, and generally spend more time than I probably should with a notebook computer propped up on my knees reading from the screen, or using my smartphone of the day for a bit of e-reading. I'm also a big fan of paper books - I read a lot more words printed on good old treeware than I do on screen.

The upshot though, is that I am always on the look out for a good e-reader, and that means not only something that works well in itself, but that meets my need for ‘comfort computing'. It has to be something easy to hold, easy to use, and that I am prepared to carry around.

Recently I took a look at another eBook reader called the iLiad. I found it to be a relatively expensive option, a bit large for carrying around in a bag, and potentially technically demanding for some users, though I did like it in many ways.

The latest incarnation of the Cybook from Bookeen deals with the size and technical difficulty issues and is less expensive too.

The technical points are addressed in no small part by leaving things out. This is an eBook reader pure and simple (well, almost). It doesn't have a digitizer stylus like the iLiad, and so you can't make your own notes. That's fine by me, as all I want to do with it is read. Nor does it have Wi-Fi for fancy downloading of data.

Size-wise the Cybook Gen3 is ideal. It measures 188mm tall and 118mm wide and is 8.5mm thick and weighs 174g. It is too big for a pocket, but beautifully sized for the hand.

I got the Deluxe version which costs -450 (as opposed to the standard version which is -350). One of the extras you get for the additional Euros is a leather wallet. This is well made and stores the Cybook Gen3 nicely as well as having a couple of pouches for paper or what have you, and a pen holder.

But for my money the wallet adds too much bulk to what is, without it, a beautifully portable device. Give me a screen protector in preference any day.


July 12, 2008, 12:23 am

Dear Sandra,

I am wondering how's the PDF support on the newest Bookeen Cybook?

From what I heard of the other devices (Sony's Digital Reader & Amazon's Kindle), PDF support isn't great (can't zoom, nor is the display of PDFs that great).

If you give me an insight on this, I would be most grateful.


November 10, 2008, 6:21 pm

The Sony Reader is available in the UK...


November 10, 2008, 8:29 pm



November 10, 2008, 10:20 pm

What gets me is the outrageous price of eBooks though - digital downloads should be significantly cheaper than hard copies, and until they are, I can't see eBook readers becoming anything more than a niche product. I know there are loads of out of copyright classics available for free, but for recent novels the going rate seems to be about ٤-7, which is no less than you'd pay for the paper version, which are regularly on 3 for 2 or similar offers. One extreme example - the eBook of "Devil May Care" is 㾻.19 on Waterstones.com, whereas you can buy the hardback, delivered, for ٥.59 from Amazon. Where's the logic in that?


November 10, 2008, 11:34 pm

@Ed: Sorry, could you have posted a more ignorant comment on the website you write for?

"It is the technology used on the iLiad, by Sony in its Reader (still not available in the UK, come on Sony)"


November 11, 2008, 4:15 am

There seems to be a certain level of disconnect between the two reviewers... Any knd of conclusion on that? Tend to agree with Sandra, her phone reviews are very objective, while some other reviewers on this site somehow always seem to go with the brand (which is not exactly why someone would read reviews...)


November 11, 2008, 2:14 pm

Just to clarify, Sandra wrote the text review a few months ago - thus the comment about the Sony reader not being available yet. I recently wrote the video review and, because of the way our site is currently laid out, have attached the video to the existing review and republished it. This is something we've done with most of the video reviews as we're still waiting for a tweak to the front page layout that will promote the video content. Evidently most people missed Sandra's review the first time round and this has caused confusion.

As for the comment about going 'with the brand'. Well, in this case it's pretty clear cut. The Cybook is more expensive, is of significantly poorer build quality, and the Sony reader comes with a CD of 200 free books. Admittedly the books are all free to download anyway but this way saves you the hassle.

As for a general observation. Well, I'm struggling to think of what products we review on here that aren't 'branded'. And besides which, more often than not, unbranded products are not universally available and of poorer quality. Lastly, there are so many knockoffs that fill the shelves of market stalls around the world that we could probably swap our website over completely to those sort of products and not drop our level of output. Somehow I don't think we'd be quite as successful nor our readers so satisfied if we did do that.


November 11, 2008, 2:37 pm

@Ed: the 'branded' observation goes to point out the significant brand bias toward certain manufacturers (Apple, Sony, Fuji). These always get significantly better reviews that the competition, despite not only being poorer in terms of specifications or value, but also from a customer experience perspective. The products of the competition are then presented in an unfavourable light as well (you will notice this from the number of negative comments the article receives (Apple, Omnia, Touch Diamond immediatelyjumps to mind).


November 11, 2008, 3:16 pm

The number of or contents of comments tend to have little bearing on whether the reviewer was right, wrong, biased, or anything else - there will always be people that disagree with the writers opinions. What determines the level of commentary is the interest the product garners. The three products/companies you mention are all of great interest to many people so they've had a lot of comments. Some random 22inch monitor has no comments because people aren't interested.

And beside which, you're completely wrong. The brands you mention do not always get significantly better reviews than other products. I would cite our opinions of the Macbook Air as being a prime example but they never sent us one to review because we kept slamming it in news articles.

The only thing I will concede is that, as a general rule, we value quality and ease of use over raw features as that's what most of the public want; a device that does what they need and does it well. Also for the most part we take a 'you get what you pay for attitude'. Of course enthusiasts will tend to think the other way round but then we're not an enthusiast's site.

So while you could argue the Touch Diamond has more features and costs less than the iPhone, the features of the iPhone are so easy to use, you value them more than those on the Diamond. The iPhone is also better made than the Diamond.


November 11, 2008, 4:09 pm

So, in short, you guys need a less slack website developer. :P

I think this device looks much nicer than the Sony Reader though.


November 11, 2008, 5:32 pm

@Ed: Gving a Macbook Air a bad review is not saying much (otherwise, as the only site that gave it a good review, your integrity as a review site would have been out the window). If I understand your reply well, you will basically go with the popular vote when it comes to product reviews.

As to 'getting what you pay for' the iPhone is the prime example of the opposite, along with most other Apple or Sony products, so I am not sure how the reasoning is holding up.

As far as comparing the iPhone to the Diamond goes: the bias is very obvious. Updates for the former are discussed in great detail, while the one for the latter that has addressed all the negative comments you made in your review has been disregarded. Guess it all boils down to research...


November 11, 2008, 6:12 pm


Sorry for the earlier comment, btw. There was confusion on both our parts.

As for the looks of the Cybook, I thought the same until I saw them in the flesh. The Sony reader is so much nicer. Admittedly there are compromises like the fact it weighs nearly twice as much but these pale in comparison to the juggernaut that is the Cybook's cheap plastic construction.


I'm not going to continue to defend our position as you clearly just have an axe to grind rather than any genuine concerns that we could hope to address. Ultimately, if you're convinced we're biased then that's your issue, not ours.


November 11, 2008, 6:23 pm

@Ed: Don't have an axe to grind at all; everything above is based on what I have read this site and others. Not sure why you would precive stating facts as an issue, but it clearly isn't mine.


November 11, 2008, 6:39 pm

I just like the one button-ness of this one. Plus it looks a little smaller than the Sony Reader.


November 11, 2008, 8:16 pm

Having played with both, I'd pick the Sony Reader every time. Just my t'penny worth.

I am *so* avoiding the rest of this discussion! =)


January 3, 2009, 6:40 am

Very strange this ebook earns 10/10 for usability?? I did a detailed case study about the cybook. All the marks where related to usability and there are for non-advanced users huge drawbacks. Our target group was 50 years old and they all read more than 30 books/year. Non of the test persons did understand the navigation and the most of them had difficulties to understand the little buttons on the left. Especially the big navigation button on the front is confusing because the little black button inside the silver square button covers 2 different action : Selection and Menu.

The device must be very simple, but the few option it has (compared with mobile phones, mp3 players, digicams) are difficult to reach or sorted unlogic.

But the benefits are huge to. The screen is crystal clear and the design is very slim. But for epileptic people the "reset" flash to change polarization from the e-inkt can be a problem. Even normal people closed there eyes for a moment when changing a page.

Our cybook had some strange errors, the delete button on the right did not seem to work and when you disconnect the USB connector the cybook freezes up.

And other big problem was the lak of overview, when you have lots of mp3's, books and pictures you will search for ever to find your file. Ok, it is not a mp3 player, but this is no reason to throw all different files on one big stack. At least in our version there was no search function or any kind of separation between the books are file. The only thing you can do it arrange all files from A to Z.

The dictionary function is a good feature, but in our cybook it was not working. (maybe you have to install it first?)

None of our participants could find the MP3 function, simply because there where to many books on the device, before you get your mp3 you need to scroll aaaal the way down.

I have to tell somebody told me there is a firmware update, maybe it is solved?

And none of them could change the standard English (even more advanced users) language because the selection buttons behave against your nature.

I don't say this is a bad product, but the user interface is not perfect! NO 10/10 :-)i can't believe.... Still I will recommend this cybook to everybody because the screen is just perfect! But older people need even for this easy looking cybook there

Grandchildren to get operate all the functions.

+ super screen, high res.

+ Look and feel (housing)

+ Slim design

+ battery life

+ external MMC slot

- operates slow

- reset flash when changing page can be irritation for some people

- no touch screen

- no "feel good" navigation.

0 They need some help from apple engineers ;-)

comments powered by Disqus