23 July 2009

The long-awaited Hanlin Review

The poor Hanlin e-reader hasn't been used much in recent times. Once the Sony PRS-700 arrived, it was dropped like a hot potato! I'm finding the Hanlin very difficult to pick up again after the touchscreen experience of the Sony - I keep hitting the screen only to remember I have to ENTER the number of the book I want! Having to enter a number to either bring up a book or even perform a function is a little out-dated I must say. In addition, the menu structure needed work. The ebooks menu, for example, would take you to another menu that appeared by format of the book. I don't recall whether a book is in mobipocket, EPUB or pdf format so I found this functionality useless. Once connected to the laptop, I reworked all the files so it came down to two basic structures - audio and ebook - and I filed everything in alphabetical order. That way when I wanted to read Bram Stoker's Dracula (yes I loaded the file on this device as well) I didn't have to remember what menu it was in. Drove me nuts one day trying to find an ebook I was reading because I didn't know what the original format was nor what menu it was hiding in! In addition, the User Manual on the device and the one that was in the box were poorly written. The translation to English really hasn't worked and you are often left to figure it out for yourself! Some of the other problems with the Hanlin include the blank pages between page changes - they are more obvious/longer than the Sony, the Go to Page function is very poor, as is searching across an ebook. God forbid you lose your page! If it doesn't open at the page you left it at, trying to find your position is a nightmare. You can't scan across like the Sony or do a text search. It doesn't have a keyboard to search on! On a positive note, one of the features I like is the ability to actually change the font. On other devices you can change the size, but the Hanlin lets you choose most times between an Arial or a Times face. The crispness of the text on the screen is better than the Sony. It's stronger. Both of the devices have a long battery life - except the Sony if you use the backlight. Don't use it folks! It drains really fast. The Hanlin doesn't have one, and that's probably a good thing. All in all, the Hanlin reads ok as a basic device, the functionality is no frills, very simple and outdated in many respects. I link it to the Mobipocket ebook portal and I think that works well when reading on the computer as well. It has a lot more functionality than the Sony portal. If only the content was better I'd be a little happier. To compare content go to mobipocket (and check out the Best of on the RHS) and then go to Sony - do you see what I mean???!!!!

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