In the highly competitive and ever evolving world of e-ink based ebook readers, the current brand leader is Kindle, but similarly impressive devices are available from Kobo, Nook, Sony and other major companies. However, smaller companies can sometimes offer cheaper products as a good alternative.
Bebook is a company based in the Netherlands. Their last major attempt at an ebook reader release was the “Club S”, a seriously flawed device. The small company have certainly redeemed themselves with the current “Pure” and “Touch” models. With a recommended price of $99 and $129 respectively, the devices are competitively priced, though the more expensive model offers better value for the money, being slightly lighter, having a sleeker design and a responsive touch screen for convenient page turns. Both models include the same 6” diagonal high quality e-ink Pearl screen.
Initial impressions when unboxing the Bebook Pure are impressive, being well designed, strongly built and surprisingly light. A major advantage that you’ll soon notice is that the device allows you to set your default store for purchasing books and to have access to the stores from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or any of the other major sites, without being locked into using any particular company. Your decision won’t limit you in any way, as there is a web-browser built in, so you can always compare prices and ranges and get the best deal on ebooks. Unfortunately this system isn’t as smooth as it should be, with the web browsing software being rather buggy, bringing up false errors and certificate expiration warnings. This problem could be fixed in the future with a firmware update, but this process may be frustrating to those who would like a device that works perfectly right out of the box.
A potentially major advantage over its competitors is the ability to install android apk files. This means that in theory you can install android apps on the device and it’s a first for an e-ink device. Unfortunately, the firmware lets this down and any benefits of the ability to install apps are lost by the lack of a file explorer or management system to run the programs of find the downloaded files.
Reading ebooks is of course the primary aspect of any e-ink ebook reader and the Bebook offers a great choice of file compatibility and is perfectly functional when reading books. Another big plus is the ability to use micro SD cards to expand its memory.
The Bebook Touch has an admirable feature set and some advantages over devices from the major manufacturers. Unfortunately, issues mostly related to the firmware restrict the device to basic reading, anything else being a frustrating and slow process. If you need a device purely and simply for reading books and can find it at a discount price, it might be a worthy purchase. Unfortunately until the firmware is improved, this device can’t really be recommended to anyone else. Bebook has certainly made major improvements to their previous models however and they are definitely a company to watch in the future.