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
15,103 Reviews

Hanvon N518 review

£249 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Hanvon

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

The Hanvon N518 is a touchscreen e-reader that packs a lot of function into a small space.

The Hanvon N518 is a touchscreen e-reader that packs a lot of function into a small space.

With the N518 Havon has taken a regular 5in electronic e-book reader and packed in a wealth of functionality. But is it a case of too much; too small? We take a close look at the Hanvon N518.

We've tested quite a few electronic book readers over the past couple of months, and the Hanvon N518 has some pretty stiff competition from the likes of Sony and Apple. Even so, the relatively little-known company has managed to produce an interesting device that packs a lot more into its frame than you'd imagine.

The display is a 5in eInk variation (the type that offers long battery life, up to 7,000 page turns). And it's a touchscreen, although it requires use of a stylus (that slots neatly into the top) rather than responding to finger pressure. Fortunately the Hanvon N518's screen lacks the glare that ruined the Sony touch reader, but it lacks the immediacy offered by finger responsive devices.

The Hanvon N518's touchscreen interface has been put to good use, you can doodle on the screen while reading books to recreate that school experience. It's also great for memo note taking, although the handwriting recognition is – to be fair – rubbish, the ability to scrawl notes and memos on to books is a great feature.

Inside is a Ingenic JZ4740 processor, clocked at 336MHz backed up by 64MB SDRAM. while this is adequate for the Hanvon N518's interface, we did find it a tad slow. Especially when looking at PDFs or large files.

It has a 3.5in audio output and a small built-in speaker with support for MP3, WAV, and WMVA audio files. You can use the Hanvon N518 to play music or audiobooks, but there is a better purpose. It has built-in electronic reading of text, so you can set it talking through a book while you flick through.

Like most electronic readers, the Hanvon N518 supports a wide range of text files, including TXT, HTXT, HTML, PDF, DOC, and EPUB and it has support for DRM (Adobe Content Management 4). It also has comprehensive image and audio support including JPG, TIF, BMP, PNG, GIF...

The Hanvon N518's memory is fairly small though, at 512MB. Not that it's a big deal for e-book readers, with files typically weighing in at a couple of MB each. But if you're looking to go beyond that you'll want to make use of the SD card slot.

While the black and chrome of the Hanvon N518 isn't the most stylish design, but there are nice design touches like the ridged right hand side. On the whole the look is 'executive' and the leather case goes some way towards complimenting this look. A particularly nice touch are the hooks and magnets that neatly hold the device in place.

The Hanvon N518 itself is just covered in too many buttons. There are the numerical buttons running down the side from the Sony reader, plus four control buttons (draw, text, audio, and search), then there are a page back and forward buttons (oddly named Up and Down) plus a Menu button, Okay button C button, refresh button and a four control buttons (up, down, left, and right). All of this on top of a comprehensive touchscreen interface.

You don't need this many buttons on a book reader. You don't need a touchscreen either. Heck, anything beyond page turn seems overkill to us. We've tested almost a dozen book readers now, and you need four buttons: up, down, back, forward. If you've implemented your touchscreen interface properly (such as on an Android device, or the iPad) you don't even need that. And if you need the buttons then, as is usually the case, it's because you don't need the touch screen.

The buttons aren't particularly well laid out either. To flip pages you press the Up and Down on the awkward to reach lefthand side, or the fiddly to use navigation controls which are surrounded by other buttons.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

See also: Hanvon WISEreader N516 review

Hanvon N518 Expert Verdict »
5in E-Ink 800×600 Gray Scale display
TXT, HTXT, HTML, PDF, DOC, EPUB
JPG, TIF, BMP, PNG, GIF
MP3
Rechargeable Lithium-Polymer battery, 3.7V, 1500mAh
Ingenic JZ4740, 336MHz
64MB SDRAM
USB mini USB connector
SD memory card slot
3.5in stereo audio out jack LED
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

The Hanvon N518 is a good electronic book reader, and you have to credit Hanvon with packing a lot of functionality into such a small space. We're also impressed with the executive leather look of the device, which comes as a relief from many of the Apple-clones we've come across. Sadly the interface suffers from all the compression, with too many buttons in too small a space. But if you can live with a slightly awkward control scheme, you'll find a good e-book reader here.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
  • Hanvon WISEreader N516 review

    Hanvon WISEreader N516

    The Hanvon WISEreader N516 is a sturdily built 5in e-book reader that comes with its own carry case.

  • Sony Reader Touch Edition (PRS-650) review

    Sony Reader Touch Edition (PRS-650)

    As its name suggests, the Sony Reader Touch Edition (PRS-650) eBook reader comes with a touchscreen in the form of a six-inch, 16-level greyscale e-ink display. The Sony Reader's touchscreen can be manipulated with your fingertip or the included stylus, which slips snugly into the side of the device.

  • Sony Reader PRS 300 Pocket Edition review

    Sony Reader PRS 300 Pocket Edition

    The Sony Reader PRS 300 Pocket Edition is one of the most affordable e-book readers around. And there is plenty to like about it.

  • Barnes & Noble Nook review

    Barnes & Noble Nook

    The Barnes & Noble Nook e-book reader is a potential rival to the Amazon Kindle and Sony E-Book Reader, letting you loan books, and being compatible with PC, Mac, iPhone, and BlackBerry.

  • ViewSonic VEB620 review

    ViewSonic VEB620

    The ViewSonic VEB620 is an ebook reader with 6in black-and-white e-paper screen and 2GB of onboard flash storage.

The Complete Guide to the iPad Air & iPad mini is on-sale now. Click here for buying information.



IDG UK Sites

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 release date, price and specs 2014

IDG UK Sites

iOS 8 features wishlist: the changes iPhone and iPad users want in Apple's iOS 8

IDG UK Sites

25 Years of the World Wide Web: Happy Birthday, Intenet

IDG UK Sites

Developers get access to more Sony camera features