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: 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…
  • Review: LG 65 inch EF950T OLED TV

    OLED TVs are finally straightening out, and now that flat is back, it's time to see if these tellies are worth your cash.
  • Slim and sexy: Apple's 2016 MacBook reviewed

    We’ve been waiting for an update to Apple’s futuristic MacBook, and it’s finally here, delivering a dose of speed in a super svelte package. Is this still what the…
  • HTC's best yet is an interesting evolution: HTC 10 reviewed

    HTC didn't quite nail 2015's flagship phone, so can the 2016 one turn the company around?
  • AppMonday: Defense Zone 2

    Strategy games haven’t quite found the same comfortable sandbox on tablets and phones that they have on Windows and Mac, but Defense Zone gives it a good thwack with…
  • VR Friday: SBS On Demand VR

    The next revolution in entertainment will probably come from 360 degree videos that immerse you in what’s going on, and one Australian broadcaster is already there. Sort of.
  • As thin as it gets: Samsung’s Galaxy TabPro S reviewed

    Samsung is returning to computers, well, sort of. Fresh off the back of new and successful smartphones in the S7 range, the company responsible for the "Galaxy" range of…
  • AppMonday: Skip

    Waiting in lines for coffee or food has never been fantastic, and so the world of mobile devices is coming to the rescue. Can an app really make your…
  • VR Friday: StreetView VR

    When you think about it, Google's "StreetView" technology seems like the perfect place to showcase virtual reality, and so someone has taken it upon themselves to make it happen…
  • Review: HP Elite x2 1012 G1

    Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 isn’t the only hybrid in town with a fabric keyboard, and the Elite x2 is showing that HP can provide a well made machine that…

“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