Mobileread
Wired Reviews the Cool-er
#1  Gideon 07-09-2009, 01:39 AM
Cool-er E-Book Reader Leaves Us Feeling So Very Cold

As you can imagine, it didn't do well. Got a 5/10.

Some excerpts:
Quote
For 250 bucks you get a slim, lightweight reader available in eight, bright candy colors, that supports formats like ePub, Txt, JPEG and PDF. It also comes with a 6-inch E Ink display — the same size screen on both the Kindle 2 and the Sony PRS 505.

The Cool-er looks eerily similar to Sony's ubiquitous device, right down to the placement of the buttons for the page turn. It's also almost the same width, 4.6-inches to Sony's 4.8-inches, and just a smidge taller.

That's pretty much where the physical similarities end. Although Cool-er gets geek points for offering a Linux OS, 1GB of storage, and the option to flip the screen to landscape and portrait modes, the hardware has an unrefined, shoddy feel. The hard-to-press buttons are enough to give you Carpal Tunnel-esque pains after just a few minutes of use. But that's not the most agonizing part of the Cool-er.

Navigating the menu is horrendously difficult. Say you're trudging through Alan Greenspan's The Age of Turbulence and want to switch over to Twilight. It takes about four clicks to get back to the main index page. Adjusting the font size had us stumbling through the menu, even restarting the device twice because we couldn't figure out how to change the font or increase the size. And there's no search feature so if you have say a dozen books stowed, be prepared to go clickety-click chronologically to find the publication you want.
They also mention the price difference between the Cool-er store and Amazon's. Gladwell's Outliers is 70% more expensive ($17 versus $10).

So nothing earth shattering in this, just corroboration of things we'd already heard.
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#2  Gaurnim 07-09-2009, 06:24 AM
This review appears in the news bar in GMail, which is cool as it increases awareness for ebook readers in general.
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#3  Tuna 07-09-2009, 11:43 AM
It's a little bit misleading, as the Cooler doesn't require you buy things from their store. Interread may have done themselves no favours by trying to sell the service and the device as a single proposition.

As for the hardware, it's a tad unfair to single the Cooler out for not having wireless access when they are also comparing it to the Sony PRS-505.

That said, I've commented before on the problems in getting the user interface right when you just buy in firmware - and reviews like this only back up the fact that you have to do more than copy iPod colour schemes to make a device as useable as an iPod.
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#4  Tuna 07-10-2009, 08:04 AM
To be honest, I'm not very convinced by the recent Wired reviews.

I'd like to see a more in depth review of the Cooler to get a better feel for it.
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#5  mtravellerh 07-10-2009, 08:12 AM
Quote Tuna
To be honest, I'm not very convinced by the recent Wired reviews.

I'd like to see a more in depth review of the Cooler to get a better feel for it.
Cool-er has been shipped to me, so there will be a full review pretty soon. It should be here tuesday at the latest.

What bugs me a bit in that WIRED review is the fact that (like all the other reviews I've seen so far) it doesn't seem to care about the device itself, but slams the Cool-er because of the doubtful quality of the ebookshop. I don't see the connection, frankly. I can buy from every bookshop I like and put the books on that, so where's the problem?
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#6  JSWolf 07-10-2009, 10:03 AM
We don't even know that wired actually had a reading device in hand for the reviews other than a Kindle of some flavor.
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#7  rhadin 07-10-2009, 10:22 AM
Quote mtravellerh
What bugs me a bit in that WIRED review is the fact that (like all the other reviews I've seen so far) it doesn't seem to care about the device itself, but slams the Cool-er because of the doubtful quality of the ebookshop. I don't see the connection, frankly. I can buy from every bookshop I like and put the books on that, so where's the problem?
This has been my problem with most reviews as well, including the reviews that praise the Kindle. To me, in the balancing scales, a device's ergonomics, formats accepted, usability, reliability, and readability scores are more important than the particular bookstore associated with the device. I think a device that gives access to a greater number of formats and bookstores is better than a device that gives access to fewer, assuming all else is nearly equal.
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#8  Gideon 07-10-2009, 10:48 AM
The store is relevant to plenty of people. If I had access to every bookstore but the Amazon bookstore, I'd never have an eReader because the other bookstores fail so thoroughly at having content I want at competitive prices.

It talks plenty about the device itself - they say it's of shoddy craftsmanship, has a terrible interface and hard to press buttons. What are you wanting from a review that isn't from an ebook expert? This seems to be about in line with much of the other things I've read on the device.

I don't think we should doubt Wired had a device in hand for the review - Wired runs a tight enough ship that such a impugning judgment is not warranted or fair. You might not like their judgment, but that is a very different thing then essentially calling them liars.

I'm not endorsing the review, I just stumbled upon it and felt it might be useful to some people. I don't particularly care about it in any regard - though I like the colors.
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#9  bwaldron 07-10-2009, 11:12 AM
Quote Gideon
I'm not endorsing the review, I just stumbled upon it and felt it might be useful to some people.
It's good to know what is being said/written about reading devices, but this was a shoddy job of a review and likely not too enlightening to regulars here. When I want to know about a device, I find much more useful information here from folks that actually use it. This means that one has to wait for official release of the device, of course.

Neither the general nor the tech "press" does a good job talking about reading devices, at least for my needs/purposes/biases.
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#10  MaggieScratch 07-10-2009, 11:20 AM
Quote bwaldron
Neither the general nor the tech "press" does a good job talking about reading devices, at least for my needs/purposes/biases.
Hear, hear. Some prefer the breadth of offerings from Amazon and convenience of wireless download of Kindle, some prefer the openness and privacy of the non-Amazon devices, and a good review would mention both possibilities rather than dismissing anything that isn't a Kindle. Such reviews just display the ignorance of the reviewer. It's a shame that some of these tech sites don't have knowledgeable reviewers. If they hired someone like that to review computer games there would be a mass uprising.
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