Cybook Opus Review

Overview

The Cybook Opus was specifically released by Bookeen to be a portable device, allowing the user to easily transport their whole library around with them. With a 5" screen the device is more compact than other readers on the market but the screen can still handle books easily with variable text size. The eBook is the lightest reader on the market at only 150g making it easy to carry around with the user, not only this but the eInk screen also allows the reader to be read outdoors. The most unique feature on this device is that it comes in an impressive range of 7 colours.

bookeen cybook opus

Hardware and Features

As briefly discussed before one of the main features of the Cybook Opus is its portability with a light weight of 150g, and compact dimensions due to the 5" screen and also the lack of a full QWERTY keyboard. The eInk screen allows the reader to be able to read outdoors as the sunlight does not affect the screen by creating a glare which would obscure the display to the user.

The Opus allows the user to store a full library on the device with 1GB internal memory, enough to store a few hundred books and also the ability to expand the storage on the device as the reader has a built in micro SD card slot. SD cards can be bought for a low price from many places therefore expanding memory on the device isn't a hardship and is also affordable. Not only this but a number of memory cards can be bought so that however much data the user wants to store can be put on cards and just swapped around and into the reader when it is required.

The battery life on the e-reader lasts for 8000 page turns which Bookeen have estimated at around two weeks for most readers which seems fairly realistic. The battery life is counted in page turns due to the eInk display only consuming battery life when the screen is refreshed.

Available in a range of colors the Cybook Opus gives users the chance to choose a reader which suits their personality and any personal preference. The choice is the most varied out of any other reader on the market, available in seven shades, green, orange, red, blue, pink, white and black.

Technical Specifications

Display: 5" eInk display (3" x 4" or 76 mm x 101 mm), Resolution of 600 x 800, 200 DPI, Black and White display with 4 levels grey-scale, portrait and landscape orientation. – The slightly smaller 5" screen makes the reader more portable as the reader on a whole is more compact with the eInk display working on contrast rather than a backlight the display doesn't strain the users eyes and also allows for reading even in direct sunlight.

Processor: Samsung ARM, 400 MHz – The processor used within the hardware of the Cybook Opus is fairly advanced allowing the reader to run smoothly without freezing or crashing completely.

Battery Life: Internal Li-Polymer Battery (1000mAh), 8000 page flips/ 2 weeks battery off one single charge – The battery life on the reader is strong allowing the user to rely on the device without having to charge the reader all the time. As the battery is interchangeable if the device is very old and the battery starts to deteriorate another battery can easily be bought to replace the old one which will prolong the devices shelf life and prevent the user having to buy a new reader.

Memory: 32MB RAM, 1GB internal storage, Micro SD slot for expandable memory – The storage on the Cybook Opus is fairly large allowing the reader to store a few hundred books comfortably on the reader with the option for expandable memory.

Software Suite: OS Linux 2.6, Adobe® ePUB/PDF reader, Multi format reader for HTML, TXT, JPG, GIF and PNG, Bouton Retour, Folder Support, USB drive.

Supported Formats: MobiPocket, PalmDoc, HTML, TXT, PDF, EPUB, PRC – The Opus has good support for document files making the reader perfect for supporting eBook files.

User Interface: Button interface, including a power button, reset button, 5 way navigational pad, menu button, back button, page forwards and page backwards button, built in G-sensor to switch display between landscape and portrait depending on the devices orientation. – The interface on the reader is simple and user friendly making the navigation of the device simple and easy.

What's in the Box?

The Cybook Opus comes packaged in a simple cardboard box featuring an image of the reader on the front of the box, the packaging is basic and simply does its job. A further plain box slides out of the outer packaging with a flip open lid, when this box is opened there is a cardboard frame holding the reader in place so that it is displayed to the user. When the device is removed from the packaging the accessories that come with the device are stored underneath. The only extras that come with the Cybook Opus are the USB 2.0 to connect the device to a computer in order to transfer files on to the reader and also a quick start guide to getting the reader up and running. I am happy to say that all the packaging for the Cybook is cardboard and therefore can be recycled.

Cybook Opus vs. ?

How does the Cybook Opus compare to other readers on the market.

 

Cybook Opus vs. Cybook Orizon

The Cybook Opus comes from a range of readers released by Bookeen and at the moment is a current device running alongside the Cybook Orizon and the Cybook Gen 3 (Cybook Gen 3 review). So how does the Opus compare to its siblings. Firstly the Orizon (Cybook Orizon review), the screen on the Orizon uses a slightly newer technology than is seen on the Opus with a SiPix eInk screen which has a much higher grey scale level giving the display greater detail when displaying images on the reader. Not only this but the screen is touch screen giving the Orizon a touch screen interface rather than a button interface that is seen on the Opus.

In terms of battery life the Opus is slightly weaker than the Orizon with 10000 consecutive page turns which is 2000 more than the Opus, however this does not take into account the battery life on the Orizon when all its features are in use. As the Orizon has a slightly bigger screen than the Opus the device is not as easy to transport and the only color preferences for the Orizon are black and white. The one major benefit that the Orizon has over the Opus is that the device has built in Wi-Fi connectivity alongside the inclusion of a web browser in the software meaning that the user can not only download books straight to the device, eliminating the need of a computer but they can also browse web pages on the reader.

One disadvantage of the wireless inclusion on the Orizon is that fact that when it is enabled it will use battery constantly and therefore the battery life on the device will be decreased significantly.

Cybook Opus vs. Cybook Gen 3

cybook opus vs cybook gen 3

The Cybook Gen 3 is the other reader currently on the market released by Cybook which features a 6" eInk Vizplex screen which yet again has a slightly higher grey scale level with 8 shades rather than 4, however in terms of screen quality there isn't much difference between the two devices only the Gen 3 will display images in a slightly greater detail. The screen on the Opus is smaller making the reader slightly more portable but this is more of a personal preference as to which screen size the user will prefer.

Both the Opus and the Gen 3 have a button interface and are therefore on a par however the Cybook Gen 3 also has the ability to support music files and playback audio for the reader which means that there are also buttons included to operate this function on the device. The battery life is also the same on both devices with 8000 consecutive page turns, the battery life on the Cybook Gen 3 will be affected by the playback of music however so if the user is using this feature a lot the battery life will be significantly lower.

Cybook Opus vs. Sony PRS 350

cybook opus vs sony prs 350

One of the most popular brands of e-readers on the market is the Sony PRS range who also have a 5" reader out on the market, the model is the Sony PRS 350 (Sony PRS 350 review) but is referred to by the majority as the Sony Pocket Edition as the smaller screen makes the device more portable. In terms of weight the Cybook Opus is lighter than the Sony PRS 350 making it easier to carry and also easier to hold for long periods of time if the user is reading for a long time.

The two readers are very similar in the fact that neither of them have wireless connectivity or the ability to playback audio, making them very comparable readers. The main difference between the two devices is the interface on the readers with the Sony being completely touch interface and the Opus being controlled by buttons. Most people find that it is a personal preference when it comes to interface however the Sony has a very responsive touch screen and can be used with the user's fingers and also a stylus making it very easy to interact with.

The Sony has a slightly larger internal memory with 2GB although only 1.4GB of this is user accessible with the rest of the memory being kept aside for firmware. The Opus has the advantage here as the reader has the opportunity to expand the memory with a micro SD card slot whereas the Sony does not offer this so once the memory is full the user will have to delete content in order to be able to add new data to the device.

The Sony does have the ability to take notes on the books however, this can be done by using freehand writing with a stylus and also with an on screen virtual keyboard. This is a major advantage as it allows users to easily annotate what they are reading as they would a real book, this is a particularly useful tool for students who may be using the reader to display text books. The Opus offers no option to take notes on the device.

The supported formats on the readers are very similar, both being completely document focused with the addition of graphic support for book covers and also screensavers. The Opus has a slight advantage over the Sony as it offers MobiPocket support which means that a wide range of Amazon's eBooks can be stored and displayed on the reader giving the user a much wider choice of titles.

The battery life on the Sony is also slightly stronger than the Opus with 10,000 consecutive page turns rather than 8000, this is only a slight advantage however and may not make much of a difference. Both devices must be charged via USB on the computer unless a separate adaptor is bought for the device allowing it to be charged from the mains.

In terms of dictionaries on the devices the Sony is far superior offering 12 dictionaries for the user to refer to if they are not sure on any words they may come across however the Opus does not have a dictionary function on the device.

The major downsides on the Sony are the lack of wireless, which makes its touch screen interface slightly redundant unless the reader is going to be taking notes on the device a lot, not only this but the Sony doesn't have expandable memory which will cause a problem for users with a large library. The Cybook Opus has its downsides too however they are the fact that the device sometimes freezes and has to be restarted. This can be a pain however Bookeen are hoping this problem will be solved in later firmware updates.

Although the Sony has a few additional features than the Cybook Opus the price of the reader is higher and therefore is to be expected to some lengths, it is a shame that the Opus does not have a notes feature or dictionaries however as the reader is completely focused on supporting books and therefore these would have been good features to include.

Cybook Opus vs. Pocketbook 360 Plus

The Pocketbook 360 Plus is another 5" eInk reader on the market which has started to gain popularity in the market. The one advantage that the Pocketbook has over the Opus is the fact that wireless connectivity is supported through Wi-Fi connections allowing the user to easily download books straight on to the device without the need to connect the device to a computer.

Just like the Opus the Pocketbook is also a button interface however the Opus seems to have an easier interface with navigation being much stronger as the device has extra buttons such as page turns whereas the Pocketbook only has a navigational pad. The memory on the Pocketbook is also larger than the Opus with 2GB internal memory as an alternative to the 1GB on the Opus. The Pocketbook also has a micro SD card slot so that memory can be expanded.

Supported formats on the Pocketbook are more varied on the Pocketbook however are all document based just as they are on the Opus, the Pocketbook does not support MobiPocket formats as the Opus does which does limit some of the eBooks that can be supported on the reader. The battery life is the same on both devices offering the user 8000 page turns off a single charge however if the wireless connectivity on the Pocketbook is activated then the battery will run down a lot quicker.

The benefits of the Pocketbook include the hard case that comes with the reader, covering the screen and protecting the device from any damage which may disturb the functions of the reader and also protects from cosmetic damage which can prevent the user from having to spend further money on a case for the device. The Pocketbook also gives the user the option to change the typeface on the book that they are reading and also has a range of apps that can be loaded on to the device. The Opus however also offers the option to change typeface and gives a wider range of text options with an impressive 12 sizes to choose from. Not only this but the support for MobiPocket DRM is a great advantage which is not seen on many readers.

The downsides to the Pocketbook are the fact that the buttons are noisy and can be hard to press which can cause problems with navigation and also leads to the user being disturbed sometimes whilst they are reading. Not only that but although the device features Wi-Fi the built in web browser and book store are fairly slow and therefore requires the user to be patient when they are using these features.

Connectivity

This is one of the areas that the Cybook Opus falls down on due to the fact that the reader does not have wireless connectivity of any form. This is a shame as the Opus was marketed as the transportable reader by Bookeen and without this it does mean that no updates can be made to the device without it being connected to a computer which does limit the freedom of the device.

The Cybook Opus does not have its own PC software and when the device is connected to a computer it is picked up as a mass storage device therefore it is a case of simply dragging and dropping files on to the reader. This is simple however it is important to check that the books have actually transferred on to the reader before you leave the computer and take the Opus out with you. There are some freeware programmes which can be downloaded on the internet such as Calibre which help the user to manage their reader and also allows for the conversion of book formats so that books can be read on the Opus that may not have been possible beforehand.

Supported File Formats

The supported file formats on the Cybook Opus are fairly basic. The reader is clearly designed for the sole purpose of displaying and storing books and it does this well. In comparison to other readers on the market the device lacks format support for MP3 files allowing audio playback, which seems to be a popular feature on e-readers on the market today, this tends to be personal preference. The technical specifications for the Cybook Opus list EPUB or MOBI, PRC, PDF, HTML, TXT, JPG, GIF, PNG as the supported formats on the device.

The main strength of the supported formats on the Opus is the inclusion of MOBI support on the reader as this opens the reader up to a much larger range of titles off various stores that only sell books in this format. It is important to check the format of the book that you are purchasing against the specifications of the device before buying it unless you are confident that you will be able to convert the file in order for it to work on your device.

Memory

As the reader only supports document files on the device then the memory doesn't have to be too big due to the fact that the nature of the files that will be supported on the device are fairly small and therefore will not take up a great deal of storage space. The Opus has 1GB internal memory which should be enough room to store a few hundred books, many eBook files are only 1MB each so working on this there could be any amount of books up to 1000 stored on the reader.

The Opus also has a micro SD card slot so that the user can purchase a memory card and expand the memory on their device if the internal memory is all consumed. One of the best features of expandable memory via memory cards is that they are fairly cheap and simply slot into the device, they can easily be removed and therefore even if the expandable memory is filled to its capacity it is not hard to buy another card, fill it with data and simply swap the cards around when different data is needed.

Battery Life

The battery life on the reader is fairly strong due to the fact that there is no wireless feature or audio playback on the device meaning that battery is only consumed when a page is refreshed on the reader. As a result the battery life on the Opus is measured in page turns and Cybook have quoted 8000 consecutive page turns. This has been reported as fairly accurate. In terms of charging the Opus does not come with a power adaptor and therefore if the user wishes to charge their device from the mains then they will have to purchase an adaptor.

The battery on the device can actually be removed and this is a major benefit which can increase the life of the product. As the battery is powering the reader, after regular use the battery can deteriorate and this is the main reason for readers needing to be replaced after a few years use. With a removable battery the user can easily just replace the battery when the readers performance starts to be affected, this is much cheaper than buying a whole new device.

Screen Quality

opus screen

The screen quality on the Opus definitely isn't its strong point and tends to be weaker than other displays on the market. The display is 5" which is the perfect size for its purpose, being a transportable reader. The eInk display on the reader has its good qualities however other readers such as the Sony PRS 350 have a newer edition of the eInk screens and also a higher level of grey scale with many having 16 shades in comparison to the Opus with only 4 shade grey scale.

Although the eInk display isn't top of the range it still does it job well, images can still be displayed on the reader, just not in as much detail as is seen on displays with a higher grey scale. The eInk screen allows the reader to read in direct sunlight without the worry of a glare that will obscure the display and disturb the users reading experience. The eInk screen also allows the reader to read for long periods of times without straining their eyes as there is no backlight.

The eInk screen works on contrast rather than a backlight meaning that the display is not visible in the dark and the screen must be in light in order to read the display, clip on lights can be bought for the reader which illuminates the screen allowing the reader to be viewed in the dark. The eInk screen also conserves the readers battery as the power is only consumed every time a page is refreshed.

Build Quality and Design

opus blue

The build quality and design of the Opus has both strong points and also weak points. In terms of build the reader is well-built being made using a solid plastic casing, however as the reader is very light it can feel as if there is no substance to the device when the user is holding it. One of the most hyped features of the design is the fact that Bookeen released this device in such a large range of colors, a range which is larger than any others on the market. Being available in 7 colors (black, white, pink, red, blue, green and orange) the Opus gives the best choice in personalising the device on the market.

The device has also been slated for looking slightly childish however which may not be helped by such bright colors being available to the consumers. This isn't a massive problem as the color options are also available in black and white which is more sophisticated.

The Good

The good features on the Opus are little touches such as the accelerometer in the device which automatically changes the view from landscape to portrait or vice versa, depending on the orientation of the device. Another advantage is the massive choice of 12 font sizes, with other competitors averaging at around half of this choice with only 6 options. Also the reader has the ability to change the typeface of the eBooks which is only available to do on a selection of other readers.

The support for the MOBI DRM format is another strength of the device as this format always seems to be forgotten on readers which is a shame as it opens the reader up to a much wider range of titles. The Size of the device is definitely a benefit if the user is planning to transport the device regularly, as is the light weight.

The Bad

The main complaint of the Cybook Opus is that many users have reported the frequency of the device freezing with some reports of the first time use getting stuck on the start-up screen. This can be a massive disappointment and also extremely frustrating and the fact that Bookeen have included a restart button makes it seem as if they expected this to happen which does make me wonder why they didn't sort it instead of just including a restart button and leaving users to get on with it.

Another downside is that some essential features such as notes, bookmarking abilities and also the inclusion of dictionaries to refer to have not been included in the device. This is a shame, particularly as the device is so centred around document files.

The Bottom Line

The Cybook Opus was marketed as a simple device that allows the reader to carry the device with them regularly and be able to take their whole library wherever they go. Bookeen have created this reader bearing this in mind and the reader does what it needs to. The slight downsides aren't so detrimental as the price of the reader is fairly low compared to competitors. The device is good but basic, and is perfect if you want to transport the device.

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Bookeen Cybook Readers

  • Cybook Orizon (Newest)
  • Cybook Opus
  • Cybook Gen3