Cool-er e-book reader on CNET (Video Review)
#1  Kris777 06-06-2009, 04:55 AM

The good:
Lightweight; comes in eight color choices; 1GB of internal memory with an SD card expansion slot that allows you to add up to 4GB of additional memory; battery is removable and replaceable; decent battery life; accepts JPEG, PDF, EPUB, TXT, and MP3 file formats.

The bad:
Feels a bit too much like a "budget" e-reader; drag-and-drop e-book loading less convenient than Kindle's instant downloads; buttons are stiff and aren't intuitively labeled; interface lacks polish; navigation is a bit cumbersome; slow screen refresh when flipping pages; nonstandard 2.5mm headphone jack.

The bottom line:
The Cool-er e-book reader has some nice pluses and costs $110 less than the Kindle, but it's not as big a bargain as we hoped it would be.


Now for the bad news. While the Cool-er looks fairly attractive on the surface and is indeed lighter than the Kindle 2 and the Sony Reader, its build quality doesn't inspire confidence. It's not poorly built, but it does feel a bit too plasticy for a $250 device. The review sample I received already had scratches to the finish on the back (the Cool-er doesn't come with a protective cover but it should, even if it's a simple and inexpensive neoprene sleeve).


Another drawback: the "page turning" on the device--when you move back and forth in a document--has a slower refresh rate than rival readers from Sony and Amazon.

Cosmetics aside, the bigger problem with the Cool-er is that its interface lacks polish and its buttons aren't designed all that well, both in terms of placement and mechanical function (the biggest issue is that they're stiff). Adjusting the font size, for example is a much more tedious process than it should be; a dedicated font button like there is on the Kindle would have been nice. You often end up dealing with menus within menus and check boxes you have to click. It's just a bit cumbersome, and style-wise, it's too generic.

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