We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Digital Home Reviews
15,512 Reviews

BeBook review

£229 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Endless Ideas BC

Our Rating: We rate this 3 out of 5

The BeBook is an electronic book (ebook) using an electrophoretic display from Dutch company Endless Ideas BV.

The BeBook is an electronic book (ebook) using an electrophoretic display from Dutch company Endless Ideas BV.

There's no backlight and it instead uses power to move a coloured dye to represent text and images. In contrast to more commercial models from Sony (see Sony Reader PRS-505 review) and the Amazon Kindle, the BeBook is aligned to the open-source free book market. To that end it supports a larger array of formats, from PDF to HTML to RTF, along with various graphics and audio formats.

Support for DRM-restricted formats is included in the BeBook though, for the MobiPocket format, so your choices for buying new books is limited. But there's a wide body of out-of-copyright work in the public domain, with online projects such as the regarded Project Gutenberg aiming to digitize written works, already hosting 25,000 books. The complete works of Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde are just a click away.

Sourcing ebooks from such a wide variety of sources (of admittedly varying quality) throws up a number of problems. Text and rtf files from Gutenberg have hard returns after every 72 characters, which makes line breaks on the BeBook appear in the wrong places. Text in PDF files was often too small to read, even after you've zoomed in to the margin widths, or used a third level of zoom to flip the page into landscape mode.

HTML files often crashed the BeBook, and we didn't find the ability to read PowerPoint files, images nor MP3 files of much use. Microsoft LIT and DOC files either didn't open or took 15 to 20 seconds to turn a page, making them virtually unusable. The best bet is to find a good source of RTF files online - such as the excellent Manybooks - and use that to fill the BeBook with readable material.

Other issues include forced hyphenated of long words, and even across pages. And chapters would start in the middle of pages; in general the inconsistent nature of these text files lacks the finesse of a real book. Still, you get what you pay for and free access to a huge library of classics may be worth a little untidiness.

The slightly shaggy nature of the available text files is matched by the down-to-earth feel of the BeBook itself. In its black plastic case with tic-tac buttons and e-paper screen, it has a retro feel, rather like an old Psion.

The BeBook's screen resembles paper, and is no harder to read for long periods. It uses power only when you turn pages, and claims to provide 7500 page turns on a single four-hour charge. There is a slight delay when turning pages, when the screen will flash solid black.

There are some nice design touches to the BeBook. It's well-designed for the left- and right-handed, and the leather case works in both directions. But it will sell on functionality rather than looks.

Visit Digital World for the latest home entertainment and digital audio news and reviews

BeBook Expert Verdict »
Electronic book with electrophoretic display
6in (800x600) screen
supports PDF, MOBI, PRC, EPUB, LIT, TXT, FB2, DOC, HTML, RTF, DJVU, WOL, PPT, MBP, CHM, BMP, JPG, PNG, GIF, TIF, RAR, ZIP AND MP3
USB 1.1 port
headphone jack
512MB internal storage
SD Card slot
lithium-ion battery 950mAh
184x120x10mm
220g
  • Build Quality: We give this item 6 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 6 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 6 of 10 overall

Whereas Sony's device requires Adobe Digital Editions and is aimed at selling you books, the BeBook is better suited to the array of free online material. This may be more challenging, but as we got used to finding texts in a readable format, so our opinion of the BeBook's usefulness rose. It lacks the elegence of Sony's offering, but the BeBook is a versatile e-reader.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
  • BeBook Mini review

    BeBook Mini

    The BeBook Mini is a compact eBook reader with a 5in screen. It scores points over Amazon's Kindle in some areas, but overall it faces an uphill battle to gain market share; we also think there is substantial room for refinement.

  • BeBook Neo review

    BeBook Neo

    Clad in white plastic with a rubberised rear, the BeBook Neo is a great looking e-reader device.

  • BeBook Live review

    BeBook Live

    The BeBook Live Android tablet seeks to fill the gap between top-end premium devices and the more affordable mid-range market.

  • Interead COOL-ER Reader review

    Interead COOL-ER Reader

    Interead's COOL-ER Reader is an interesting e-book reader device that's stylish and practical and offers a wide range of support for both open and DRM (digital rights managed) books.

  • Sony Reader PRS-505 review

    Sony Reader PRS-505

    Sony's latest Reader for electronic books adds audio playback and compatibility with more formats.


IDG UK Sites

Google Fit vs Apple Health Kit: What's the difference?

IDG UK Sites

How to join Apple's OS X Beta Seed Program: Get OS X Yosemite on your Mac before public release

IDG UK Sites

Introducing generation tech

IDG UK Sites

Government kills £50 million 'Silicon Roundabout' regeneration fund