Unlike the other eBooks on the market the BeBook only supports USB 1.1 so file transfers are rather slow. It’s especially noticeable when transferring larger PDF or MP3 files to the device. If you’ve got a card reader you can get around the problem, but really in this day and age there’s no excuse for using USB 1.1 on a device.
As well as support for the document and picture formats, the BeBook also supports MP3 files and comes with a pair of in-ear headphones that connect to a standard 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom of the device. MP3 is the sole audio format supported, and the audio player is very basic – it doesn’t even support ID3 tags or playlists. You do get some EQ presets (rock, jazz etc), but playback can be a bit glitchy on higher bit rate tracks. However, at least you can use the music player to listen to tracks while reading a book.
The BeBook charges via its mini USB port and there’s no charger provided in the box, which is a bit of an issue if you’re going to be away from a PC for a significant length of time. Battery life for eBooks are given in the number of page flips you can perform before the battery dies. This is because the devices only really draw significant amounts of power when they’re refreshing the screen. From a three hour charge the BeBook is good for 8,000 page flips according to Endless Ideas. As a comparison, Sony says the PRS-505’s battery lasts for around 6,800 page flips. In reality you’ll get around a week’s worth of relatively heavy use out of the BeBook before it needs a charge.
The BeBook is not a bad device. It supports a broad range of formats, has a good screen and long battery life. However, the interface is a bit hit and miss and in general the device feels a tad more sluggish than other eBooks we’ve looked at. The biggest issue, however, is that although it costs around £30 more than Sony’s PRS-505 it doesn’t look anywhere near as stylish and its menu system isn’t as polished. Given these issues the price difference is a pretty significant deal breaker.
Score in detail