A compact, colour ebook reader
In contrast to many other ebook readers, the 500EB's small size makes it easy to carry around in a pocket.
At 9x15cm, a touch smaller than the Sony Reader PRS-350, it can be held and operated quite comfortably using one hand.
It's a good weight at 190g and the back of the device is rubberised making it comfortable to hold for long periods.
There's a backlight for low-light reading but in common with other LCD ebook readers the screen is quite reflective. So while it's suited to low-light reading, under bright lights or direct sunlight it was much harder to read.
The Amazon Kindle ebook reader has its own internet connection but the E500B doesn't so books must be transferred to it from a PC using the USB connection, for which a cable is supplied. This is also used for charging.
It uses the free Adobe Digital Editions software which was fast and easy to use and supports ebooks bought from all major shops except Amazon (which only sells books for the Kindle), along with all the free ebooks available online.
Elonex offers a million free books on its own website but we found searching for a specific title or author difficult. There are plenty of free out-of-copyright books available on sites such as Manybooks.net in any case.
Once your books are on board, accessing them is a matter of selecting a title from the Library menu using the four-way navigation button. The navigation buttons are well-positioned to make page-turning easy. While devices that use e-ink screens are very slow to turn the page, on the E500B there's no delay or lag between pressing the button and the next page appearing.
Other than glare the problem with non-e-ink readers is battery life: while the Sony Reader might last several weeks, the 500EB tops out at six hours.
There are other advantages, though: it plays both video and music files and can display pictures. There's no internal speaker so headphones must be plugged in, but it played smoothly and sound had pleasing clarity.
Navigation between music tracks was slow, however. It has 2GB of storage, enough for a couple of thousand ebooks, though only enough for a few hours of video. An SD memory card slot which supports cards in sizes up to 16GB cards means this can be expanded.
A mains charger isn't included and we couldn't find any information on the Elonex website about where to get one. Despite that, the Elonex 500EB is a good all-round player for music and video as well as being an ebook reader.
Read more reviews
A well-designed, compact and cheap ebook reader with some limitations
Easy to load and read ebooks; comfortable to hold; fast page turning; cheap
Very reflective screen; poor battery life
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