As with all the other main ebooks on the market the BeBook uses an E Ink display with a resolution of 600 x 800. This is a high contrast, grey scale screen that doesn’t use a back light and doesn’t suffer from flicker. It produces a rock solid image that’s incredibly readable. Unlike LCD screens, you can comfortably stare at the BeBook’s display for hours and not suffer any eye strain. It really is very close to the printed page in terms of readability. That said the BeBook’s screen can only show four shades of grey, whereas the PRS-505 can display eight and the iRex Iliad sixteen.
Nevertheless, this is only really noticeable when you’re using the display to show pictures, although you may notice it if you’re a fan of graphic novels. Page turns take between two and three seconds, which is in line with all the other ebook readers we’ve used. The lag is to do with the nature of E Ink technology, as the screen first has to be blanked before it can be refreshed to show the new page.
None of the ebooks on the market are exactly stuffed with internal storage, but with 512MB of memory this one has more than most. It also has an SD card slot at the top that accepts cards of up to 4GB in size, so storage space shouldn’t really be a problem.
The BeBook doesn’t come with any software. Instead, when you connect it to your computer it appears as a standard removable drive so you can drag and drop files onto it. A pretty wide variety of file formats are supported including pdf, mobi, prc, epub, lit, txt, fb2, doc, html, rtf, djvu, wol, ppt, mbp, chm, bmp, jpg, png, gif and tif. On the whole it did a very good job of displaying the various file formats and it handled PDF files better than the Sony did when we had it in for review. The mobipocket support is also welcome as it enables you to sync RSS feeds to the reader when it’s connected to your PC.