Cybook Orizon Review

Overview

The Cybook Orizon is the newest reader that has been released by the French e-reading company Bookeen, with the aims to create a reader in the Cybook range with the most up to date technology, representing 'a new generation of e-readers'. The Cybook Orizon has new features not included in other readers in the Cybook range including touch screen interface, faster page turns, the newest eInk technology. The most unique feature about the Cybook Orizon is that it is the thinnest e-reader in the world. The reader also features classic features including the ability to change font size and typeface.

Hardware and Features

cybook orizon

The Cybook Orizon is the first Cybook reader to feature what they have labelled an 'intuitive touch screen interface'. With the touch screen interface pages can be turned with a swipe of the finger along with rotation and flip, all at the touch of a finger. The Orizon is also the first device by Bookeen to feature wireless connectivity allowing the user to connect to the internet and download eBooks straight to the device eliminating the need for a computer to transfer files to the reader. Not only this but the built in web browser on the software allows the user to browse the web on the Orizon.

Being the world's thinnest eBook the Orizon is a pioneer for the improvement of design and build, thin, sleek, robust and lightweight is how the reader has been described. All words which are perfectly fitting, even with the lightweight and thinness of the product the Orizon still feels well-built and sturdy in the user's hands.

The Orizon has also included features that have been missing from some of their previous models, including 12 different font sizes, allowing the reader to choose the perfect size font to provide the greatest ease of read possible. Along with the ability to change the typeface of books, add notes, highlight sections of text and also bookmark.

There is also an enhanced battery life on the Orizon increasing from the 8000 consecutive page turns seen on its predecessors to an impressive 10,000 consecutive page turns off one single charge.

Technical Specifications

Screen Quality: 6" eInk SiPix display with Multi-touch interface, 167 DPI, 600 x 800 pixels, 16 level grey scale and the ability to view in either portrait or landscape orientation. – The display on the reader is top of the range offering the highest contrast seen yet on an eInk display within the Cybook range along with detailed imagery due to the 16 level grey scale and high DPI, alongside the multi-touch screen giving the user a much more advanced interface. The eInk screen also allows readers to view the display even in direct sunlight and also lengthens battery life by only consuming battery when a page is refreshed.

Battery Life: Built in Lithium – Polymer rechargeable battery, up to 10,000 page turns on a single charge. – The battery life on the reader is very strong and will give the user up to 10,000 page turns on a single battery charge, however if wireless connections are enabled this will significantly affect the readers battery life.

User Interface: Bookeen, multi-touch interface, annotation, note-taking and highlighting functions. Direct access to content download platform, 12 font sizes with the ability to change typeface, Motion Sensor, Right and Left handed interface. – The touch screen interface makes the Cybook Orizon much easier for the user to navigate along with the new features of taking notes, useful for students who may be using the reader to view textbooks. The ability to change font size and typeface gives the reader the chance to completely personalise their reading experience on the Orizon.

Dimensions: Height x Width x Depth, 189.8 mm x 125.7 mm x 7.6 mm (7.5 "x 4.9" x 0.29 ") – As can be seen from the dimensions the Cybook Orizon is fairly compact making it the perfect companion for travelling.

Weight: 245g – The reader is fairly light making it good for transport and also easy to hold when reading for a long period of time.

Memory: 2GB internal memory, micro SDHC memory card slot - The internal memory on the device is large enough to store up to 1000 books and the card slot gives readers the option to expand the devices memory up to 8GB (around 8000 titles).

Software: 23 languages, Web browser – The range of languages mean that the Cybook Orizon is a possibility for many nationalities. With built-in Wi-Fi and the inclusion of a web browser in the software means that users can easily browse the internet when connected to Wi-Fi.

Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth (2.1 + EDR), Micro – USB – The wireless connectivity on the device allows the user to browse the web and also download documents straight to the device without the need to connect to a computer (Micro to USB connection). The inclusion of Bluetooth also means that files can be transferred between other devices that have Bluetooth connectivity.

Supported Formats: Adobe® ePUB/ PDF (with or without DRM), TXT, HTML, JPEG, GIF and PNG – As can be seen from the supported formats the Cybook Orizon provides the user with a range of document files including PDF (viewing documents created in the Adobe suites) and also image files so that the user can view book covers for their titles.

What's in the Box?

The Cybook Orizon comes packaged in a simple but effective cardboard box which simply features an image of the reader on the front of the box and the technical specifications and features listed on the box also. When the box is opened a white box is pulled out from the inside, when the top is opened up there is a cardboard frame which holds the reader in place and presents it to the user. This is taken out to reveal the accessories underneath. The Cybook Orizon comes with a much larger range of accessories than seen on the other Cybook readers.

In the box is the reading device, which comes with a 12 month manufacturer's guarantee, a USB 2.0 cable which connects the device to a computer in order to charge the reader and also to transfer files on to the device. The Orizon also comes with a black protective neoprene sleeve which allows the device to be protected when in transit or whilst it is not in use. There is also a quick start guide to allow the user to get the device up and running straight away without any problems and 150 free eBooks (more than 40 of these are in English) which means there is content on the reader for the user to get straight into and start working out the features of the device.

Cybook Orizon Vs?

How does the Cybook Orizon compare to other readers by Bookeen and other readers on the market?

As there is a range of Cybook devices it is important to look at the differences between the models that are currently on the market by Bookeen, the other two devices that are currently on sale are the Cybook Opus and also the Cybook Gen 3.

Cybook Orizon vs. Cybook Opus

cybook orizon vs cybook opus

The Cybook Opus is another reader currently out on the market by Bookeen and the features are very basic in comparison to the Orizon. In terms of display the Opus features a 5" eInk display, this helps improve the portability of the device which was the main purpose of the Opus however the Cybook Orizon has a much more superior with a 16 shade grey scale (opposed to 4 shade) allowing for the detail on images to be shown better. Not only this but the eInk screen on the Orizon is the newer technology with a higher contrast making the display even clearer and easier to read from.

The Opus is completely button interface and the Orizon is touchscreen, this tends to be personal preference most of the time however the touch interface does seem to be more effective and has received positive feedback from its users.

The Orizon also features wireless connectivity and a web browser, of which there is nothing similar on the Opus with it being kept very basic and solely for the use of reading eBooks and viewing PDF files. The wireless is useful as it gives the reader more freedom as books can be downloaded straight on to the device without the need to connect the reader to a computer.

Cybook Orizon vs. Cybook Gen 3

Another device which is currently on the market and produced by Bookeen is the Cybook Gen 3 (read our Cybook Gen 3 review) which covers the ground in between the Opus and the Orizon. The display on the Cybook Gen 3 is also 6 inches and features an eInk screen however the eInk screen isn't as good quality as the Orizon in this reader either as it features slightly older technology and has an 8 level grey scale, half of the Orizon meaning that images cannot be viewed in as much detail.

The internal memory on the Cybook Gen 3 is slightly less that the Orizon with only 1GB rather than 2 meaning that the Orizon can store twice as many books as the Gen 3. This is a massive benefit for users who have particularly large libraries. Both devices have SD card slots so that the memory can be expanded however the Orizon has the ability to hold much more storage capacity than the Gen 3.

The user interface is yet again a button input on the Cybook 3 in comparison with the touch screen interface on the Cybook Orizon and as there were many complaints about the buttons being unresponsive the touch screen interface seemed to go down with the consumers much better. The Cybook Gen 3 does not have the facility to connect to the internet either and therefore the only way of getting files on to the reader is to connect the device to a computer.

Cybook Orizon vs. Amazon Kindle 3

6" readers are the most popular screen size on the market and therefore there is a lot of competition for the Cybook Orizon with one of its main competitors being the Kindle 3, known to be one of the most popular readers on the market the Kindle really is the one to beat.

Both the Kindle 3 and the Cybook Orizon have built-in wireless connectivity however Kindle have been using this feature in their devices since they began and this has resulted in the Kindle 3 (read our Kindle 3 review) having a superior web browser and Wi-Fi connections. It has been reported that the Orizon is fairly slow at browsing and downloading and requires the user to be patient when this feature in user. The Kindle 3 has a very rapid web browser which would match the speed found on laptops and computers and therefore has the advantage over the Cybook in this area.

The Kindle 3 also has the option to have 3G built-in to the device which allows the reader to connect to the internet wherever a mobile signal can be achieved.

The Cybook Orizon features the touch interface whereas the Kindle 3 opts for the full QWERTY keypad input. Both of these inputs are effective and have proven to be popular within the market although it seems that in the end it is down to personal choice as to which interface users prefer. In terms of quality the Kindle's QWERTY pad is well spaced out and also includes a navigational pad for easily moving around menu's on the device. The keypad also allows the user to easily search for certain authors or titles.

The touch screen on the Cybook Orizon has also received positive reports on its responsiveness and therefore the quality of the two interfaces is fairly simple.

The internal memory on the Kindle 3 is much larger than the Cybook Orizon at 4GB however there is no facility for memory expansion on the Kindle therefore the overall storage space on the Orizon is much larger than the Kindle which is better for users who are planning to store a large library on their device.

Unlike the Orizon the Kindle 3 not only supports graphic and document files the Kindle supports audio and has a built-in MP3 player so that the user can listen to music whilst they read. This is a great advantage over the Orizon although I don't think that it is very practical as the 4GB memory won't hold many music files due to their larger size. Not only this but if the reader can't fit their library on the Kindle anyway there is definitely going to be no room to store audio files too.

The battery life on the Kindle is thought to be stronger as it is quoted at 4 weeks and the Cybook Orizon is 3 weeks. However when looking at page turns the 10,000 pages that the Orizon can support seems like much more than three weeks reading for some people therefore it is not sure that the battery life would last all users 4 weeks. With wireless turned on the Kindle 3 will last for about 10 days, the Cybook Orizon is slightly less than this with reports of battery lasting around 6-7 days with the wireless connections enabled.

The major downside of the Kindle 3 is the fact that the reader does not support ePUB files, one of the most popular formats of eBooks. This is due to the fact that the device is produced by Amazon who has their own online eBook store which is all MobiPocket format. The Cybook can support a range of document files which are much more common meaning there is the possibility of being able to buy books from a range of stores.

Cybook Orizon vs. Kobo Touch

The Kobo Touch is another newer reader on the market that is rivalling the Cybook Orizon, these two readers are very comparable due to the fact they are both 6" eInk touchscreens. The Kobo Touch (read our Kobo Touch review) also has Wi-Fi and the Kobo and the Orizon seem to be on a par with a similar browsing speed however the downloads on the Kobo are slightly faster than seen on the Cybook Orizon.

The Cybook Orizon and the Kobo touch are both touch screen interfaces and there is not much difference between the responsiveness of the two as they both use newer technology due to the two devices have a similar release time.

The Kobo Touch has 2GB internal memory and therefore holds the same amount of data internally as the Cybook Orizon. They both have expandable memory and therefore they are very similar in this area. The Cybook Orizon has a much wider range of supported formats than the Kobo which only supports ePUB and PDF which means that the Cybook Orizon has a wider range of titles available. Although the Kobo store does have over 2.4 million titles and therefore there shouldn't be any problems in finding books for the Kobo.

The two readers are very similar with the Kobo not offering users audio playback and with a battery life of 8000 page turns the two devices are pretty much identical. The deciding preference between the two seems to be design as the Kobo and the Orizon are very different looking, they are both very thin however so it is more the aesthetic aspects rather than build.

Connectivity

The connectivity on the Cybook Orizon is much better than other readers in the range due to the fact that there is the ability to connect to a Wi-Fi connection on the Orizon and this isn't available in the other models. The one downside to the inclusion of wireless connection on the Cybook Orizon is the fact that it is a new development for them and therefore it is not very developed. It has been reported to be very slow and as a result the user must be patient when they are downloading books or browsing the web.

As with the other Cybook models there is no official software to be used in correspondence with the device and therefore it works like a mass storage device by plugging the device in and simply dragging and dropping the desired files on to the file. It is always good to check that the files have transferred properly to the device before leaving the computer and taking the reader out just in case they haven't. The wireless connectivity does mean that books can be downloaded straight to the device however so the use of a computer is not a necessity unless needed for charging.

There is also the Bluetooth function on the Cybook Orizon meaning that files can be shared from the Orizon to other devices that feature the Bluetooth function, allowing eBooks and PDF's to be shared between friends and any other devices the user might have.

There is a PC freeware that can be downloaded and used with the Orizon which is called Calibre, this can be found on the web and downloaded for free and makes it easier to transfer files on to the device, it also has a function for converting eBooks to various formats so that they can be displayed on the reader.

Supported File Formats

The supported file formats on the device are centred around documents and the technical specifications lists Adobe® ePUB/ PDF (with or without DRM), TXT, HTML, JPEG, GIF and PNG as the supported formats for the Cybook Orizon. This allows the main style of eBooks to be supported on the device and therefore can support books bought from a range of eBook retailers. With the use of Calibre formats can also be converted to be suitable for the Cybook Orizon.

The one downside is that the device does not support audio files like many other readers that are currently on the market do, however this is not a necessity and if they had included MP3 playback on the device it would significantly lower battery life.

Memory

The memory on the Cybook Orizon is sufficient with 2GB internal memory (enough to store up to 2000 books) there should be enough to store most peoples whole libraries. For those who have a vast expanse of books and files to store on the device there is also a micro SD card slot so that the memory of the device can be expanded. Memory can be purchased from a variety of retailers and are fairly inexpensive.

Battery Life

The battery on the Cybook Orizon is fairly strong with 10,000 consecutive page turns, this is quoted at an estimated average of around three weeks however this will depend on how many pages the user reads per day. Not only this but the fact that the Orizon has built in wireless connections means that when these are enabled the power will be consumed much faster as they constantly require power, shortening the battery life of the device significantly.

Screen Quality

The screen quality on the Orizon is up to the standards of other readers on the market featuring the latest SiPix eInk display, the benefits of using an eInk screen are brilliant for an e-reader. The major benefit being that as the screen works by contrast rather than a backlight on the device there is no strain on the user's eyes when they are reading meaning that the user can read for long periods of time without their eyes hurting.

The Orizon has a new feature for the Cybook range which is a multi-touch screen which allows users to interact with the device and also command simply by swiping the screen. The touch screen interface has made it much easier for the user to interact the device and has allowed the inclusion of new features such as writing notes on the books. It is also easier to use the web browser on the device by having a touch screen interface.

Build Quality and Design

orizon

The build quality of the Cybook Orizon is very good, the main feature of the design is that it is 'the thinnest reader in the world' this was a risky choice as it seems to be that readers lose their feel of quality if the device is specifically thin however the Orizon feels strong and well built in the users hands when held. The buttons that are featured on the device are also good quality and are much better designed than on the other readers as they are not as loud and are easier to operate.

In terms of aesthetics the Orizon is quite attractive, particularly in comparison to some other readers such as the Pocketbook which look clumsy and cheap. The Cybook Orizon is available in a choice of either black or white giving the user a little bit of choice which is always nice as it gives the reader a bit of personality. The device looks sophisticated and modern in both colours and the device also looks very 'sleek' and this is mainly due to the fact that the reader is now so slim.

The buttons on the device are nicely designed and are placed in the centre of the device with a simple circular navigational pad which looks much more up to date and in fitting with the device than a square one would have.

The Good

The benefits of the Cybook are the advances in technology that Bookeen have made from their other readers. The inclusion of Wi-Fi has given users a lot more freedom with the device as if an adaptor is bought it means that a computer is not needed at all in the running of the reader as books and other files can be downloaded straight to the device using the internet.

The inclusion of a web browser is also a benefit as some readers include Wi-Fi but no web browser therefore it does mean that the reader has an extra feature. The design of the device is also a benefit as the thinness of the reader makes the reader very attractive. Not only this but it has also kept the weight of the device now making it easy to transport the device and to also hold it for long periods of time.

Another good aspect of the product is the battery life as 10,000 consecutive pages will last most readers a considerable amount of time and means that the reader is reliable and doesn't need to be charged all the time, which can be a pain if the user has no purchased an adaptor and has to turn on a computer in order to charge it.

The Bad

One downside of the Cybook Orizon is that because Bookeen have only just started using Wi-Fi connectivity in their devices it is not as developed as seen in some other readers and has resulted with the download of books and the browsing of the web being fairly time consuming and requiring users to be patient whilst using this function, which is never a good thing and can end up being fairly frustrating.

Another complaint that seemed quite frequent with the device, as was seen in other Cybook readers is the fact that the device tends to freeze or completely crash a lot which results in the device having to be reset. This can be frustrating, particularly if the user is in the middle of reading or downloading a book.

One downside to the product is the lack of color options after the Cybook Opus gave such a wide range that was superior to any other on the market and therefore it felt like a bit of a let-down when they did not include this feature in the new readers.

The Bottom Line

The Cybook Orizon is a decent device, it is not too expensive and offers a range of features that are expected from an e-reader. It is perfect for users who do not want to have to use a computer too much to update the device and also to those who want to transport the reader as it is not bulky and is fairly light however if your main goal on a reader is to go surfing the web then the Orizon isn't for you.

More Information

Bookeen Cybook Readers

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