Home Icon
cheap-ereader

eReaders drop in price, but what are you really getting?

By Leigh D. Stark | 1:59 pm 22/05/2012

This week, we were alerted to an unusually low price for an eBook reader, with just under thirty dollars for a Kindle competitor available locally. But as we tried to find a unit, we were reminded that you really can get what you pay for.

As we did our regular news browsing this week, a listing over at bargain searching website OzBargain pointed us to an interesting product Dick Smith was selling: a colour eBook reader for $29.98. The product in question is made by the relatively no-name brand MiGear, a company that produces accessories for phones and tablets, as well as small camera, eReaders, and gadgets for kids.

MiGear’s cheap electronic reader features a 7 inch LCD colour screen sporting 800×400 resolution, 2GB built-in memory, a microSD slot for more storage, and a battery capable of up to 8 hours reading. The reader can view PDF files, as well as the universal EPUB format, TXT, RTF, HTML, and play back JPEG images and MP3 audio files. No access to an eBook store is available from the device.

With a cheap price, it’s certainly worth a look, but good luck finding it. We had to run around Sydney in order to find a Dick Smith that still had stock of the bargain gadget. Some research has found an almost identical model (read: rebadged) sold by Big W under the Gear 2 Go brand.

While eBooks readers have been available for over two years, the technology hasn’t dropped far past the hundred dollar mark.

Most of the devices we’ve seen thus far rely on electronic ink, a screen technology doesn’t require as much electricity and looks more like paper than a standard LCD screen, making it easier on the eyes and more like the experience of reading a book.

This product, however, doesn’t use this well known technology, opting instead for an LCD screen that won’t offer the benefits electronic ink gains.

It’s not just the screen that has us concerned, though, as numerous reports on the web suggest that a simple firmware update from the company can break the device.

We found the WiFi Kobo at JB HiFi for $83, a reader that uses the better electronic ink technology. While there's obviously a difference in price, we'd take this model.

One of the Dick Smith stores we checked this week noted that while it did have three products in stock, all three needed to be repaired, suggesting that these devices probably don’t have the best quality behind them.

Meanwhile, retailers continue to sell some reasonably well known eBook readers, including variations of Amazon’s Kindle, the Kobo, and Sony’s own eReading devices. These devices all feature electronic ink, support mechanisms, and are generally seen as the reputable products in the marketplace, fetching at least $80 at retail, not too far above the $30 asking price of the MiGear 7 inch eReader.

There’s certainly no doubt that you can find a bargain when hunting for an eBook reader, but like always, you get what you pay for, so make sure to take that into consideration before you plonk down the dollars.

 

Latest reviews

  • Review: DeLonghi PrimaDonna Elite coffee machine

    DeLonghi’s latest machine may have a name deserving of people who fancy themselves over the top, but its quality speaks volumes enough that its actually deserved.
  • Review: Benq WiT LED desk lamp

    Benq may not be a brand you typically associate with lights, and we know it best for monitors, but your next work light could come from some neat R&D…
  • Review: KEF M400 headphones

    A brand synonymous with excellent audio, KEF is at it again with a pair of on-ear headphones that aim to bring audio to a compact and fashionable package. Does…
  • Review: Amazon Kindle Oasis

    Electronic books have already delivered a future where we can bring all of our books with us, but the next development will be one of super thin tablets that…
  • Review: Acoustic Research M2 (ARM2) media player

    While the phone has overtaken the conventional media player, those of us with special needs and high resolution audio are embracing a new generation of media devices, and Acoustic…
  • Review: Husqvarna 136LiHD45 Hedge Trimmer

    If a guy who rarely enters his backyard can use a hedge trimmer, it’s a winner, and that means Husqvarna’s battery powered 45cm trimmer wins the gold, ticking the…
  • A phone with a difference: LG’s G5 reviewed

    LG’s quest for the ultimate flagship phone has been all about constant evolution, and for its 2016 attempt, we’re seeing the best one yet. Is it enough to unseat…
  • Review: Telstra Tough Max

    Telstra's Tough Max isn't like your ordinary phone, because if you need something that feels like it has been made for Australia, this may well be it.
  • Review: Apple iPad Smart Keyboard for 9.7 inch iPad Pro

    One feature on the iPad Pro can only be used with style of accessory: the dock connector, and it can only talk to keyboard cases. Right now, Apple’s Smart…
  • Review: Aftershockz Bluez 2S Bone Conduction earphones

    Imagine if you never had to wear an earphone again and could just hear the music in your head. That doesn’t have have to be a dream, because the…

“How do you stop yourself from being caught out by these scam artists?”

Read More

Tell us…

Will you be installing an ad blocker on your smartphone?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

“There’s certainly no doubt that you can find a bargain, but like always, you get what you pay for.”

Read More