Walt Disney once mused that "there’s more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island". Sadly, once you’ve packed a few tomes in your holiday bag, it generally weighs about the same as a gold-filled chest, too.
This is where eBooks come into their own, with their lightweight forms, eink to display text, and storage for hundreds of books in one handheld device. But can Borders’ wallet-friendly Elonex eBook rival the mighty Sony Reader?
There’s no need to install special software or Adobe Digital Editions with the eReader as you can treat the Elonex as an external hard drive and drag and drop files.
It plays a wide variety of formats, including the all important ePub, RTF, TXT and PDF files, but we found it rather sluggish at actually opening them.
The refresh rate through the pages is pretty quick, though, and the 512MB internal storage can hold around 500 novels.
At 180g the Elonex weighs less than a Nokia N81, and is 80g lighter than the Sony Reader. The device’s rubber casing makes it feel incredibly tactile in the hand, though it’s not the prettiest reader on the market.
We like the rainbow start-up screen that demonstrates the greyscale levels, and 8 levels of eink means the text is crisp and clear to read.
The onboard menu is designed for ease of use, and the bookmarking feature is very intuitive, allowing you to mark a wide number of pages in one novel, with easy access to checking them out again.
We like how you can navigate through files using image thumbnails of the books, which helps replicate the library experience.
Browsing the library is quite frustrating, though, as it feels time-consuming to click through the pages. You can read in landscape or portrait mode, but reading in landscape really detracts from the ‘book’ experience.
We’re disappointed Elonex has only included one set of page turn buttons as an extra set on the spine would have helped provide a more authentic and intuitive experience. The sticker that labels the functions looks rather cheap and dog-eared on our model after a weeks use.
The font changing buttons on the right-hand side are handy, though, as it makes it easy to scroll through the eight different sizes.
The included AC charger is a bonus for those traveling without a computer, but the lack of a jacket means this eBook reader is liable to get bumped.
There’s also the option to play Sudoku, a slightly strange inclusion but good for those wearied by War and Peace.
The eReader is certainly a worthy contender in a sea of eReaders, with the best display on the market, an easy-to-use menu system and friendly price tag, could yet steal a march on Sony’s trailblazing Reader.