Kogan eBook reader

Kogan eBook reader review: The e-Ink display and touchscreen are a good combo, but Kogan's e-reader is expensive and slow

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Kogan eBook reader
  • Kogan eBook reader
  • Kogan eBook reader
  • Kogan eBook reader

Pros

  • No nonsense, plenty of formats supported
  • Solid construction
  • Touchscreen is convenient

Cons

  • The excellent Kindle is cheaper
  • Interface speed is slow
  • Text input is painful

Bottom Line

Kogan's eBook reader has a capacitive touchscreen for its 6in eInk display, giving it a functional edge over the Amazon Kindle. The Kindle enjoys a better book-buying experience with its Wi-Fi and Amazon store, though, and it's the same price (or even cheaper for a similar spec). The advantage of the Kogan eBook reader is its ability to read a wide range of eBook formats, as well as handling music playback and photos on its 16-level greyscale screen.

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The Kogan eBook reader has an excellent 6in e-Ink display with a useful capacitive touchscreen. Combined with its diverse file format support, the touchscreen makes the Kogan eBook reader powerful and easy to use. However, it's not quick to operate due to screen lag, and it's more expensive than it deserves to be.

Kogan eBook reader: Design and specifications

The Kogan eBook reader's 6in, 16-grayscale-level e-Ink display means the device is slightly smaller overall than a garden variety paperback of your favourite airport fiction. It's 17.6cm tall and 11.8cm wide, but impressively less than a centimetre thick at 96mm. This means it's easier to slip into a briefcase, purse or backpack than said paperback, and its 4GB internal capacity stores around 4000 books. A SD card slot at the Kogan eBook reader's base supports a maximum card size of 32GB — more than enough storage space for books. Since you can also use the Kogan eBook reader for playing music files (MP3s, but FLAC files are also supported) the option to add extra storage is useful.

The e-reader itself is well built and seemingly solid; we weren't worried about breaking it and we happily kept it in a backpack without a carrycase. The touchscreen of the Kogan eBook reader means you don't need to use physical buttons to navigate the e-reader's menus. This is convenient (there's a lot in the menus to navigate, and said navigation would be painfully slow, but more on that soon) even though the touchscreen is possibly a bit too sensitive.

The Kogan eBook reader recharges its battery, which lasts for 10,000 page-turns, through the mini-USB port in the e-reader's base. 10,000 page-turns translates to three months' battery life if you're reading one 500-page book a week. There's also a headphone jack for listening to music, but no internal speaker. Like most eBook readers, the Kogan doesn't have a backlight, so you can't read it in the dark. When you're reading a book, you can choose one of six text sizes — we opted for one of the smaller sizes, to compensate for the smaller-than-paperback 6in screen. The screen itself has an 800x600pixel resolution, so even smaller text sizes look clean and not grainy or pixelated.

The Kogan eBook reader ships with 1500 free books courtesy of Project Gutenberg Australia. They're not all titles we've heard of before, but there are some gems in there. Once you get bored of the free books the Kogan is able to decode the book formats used by all major eBook stores — it will handle everything from ePub to MOBI to standard HTML pages, TXT files and PDFs. We couldn't find a regular eBook file or text file that the Kogan eBook reader couldn't display. In this respect it's superior to the Amazon Kindle, which can't read ePub files and requires some other files to be converted before use. Unlike the Kindle, there's no wireless or 3G connectivity in the Kogan eBook reader, so you can't buy any books on the device directly. You'll need to connect it over USB to load it up with more books, which you can buy from a wide range of online sources including Amazon.

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