We cannot say with confidence whether this concept of e-readers will actually catch on to the masses, and basically ‘replace paper’ as some eager early adopters are claiming. But the models are surely trickling into our market and we have received a Hanvon N516 model. Hanvon is one of the big names in the e-reader market only second after the Amazon Kindle. Here is the exclusive review.

The model we received was a very dark shade of brown, soft of Burnt Umber, with a leather style surface finish. It looks subdued but quite mature and classy. The buttons are all similarly colored, and strewn across, basically one set is located on the bottom right end, some on the bottom left and a vertical row of buttons numerically labeled. The power button is on the top panel, and last but not least, there is a nice rocker switch onthe left panel for scrolling and page turn. At a thickness of 12 mm, and length of 152 mm, it cannot really be carried in a pocket, it’s more a carry bag item; but weight wise it’s quite light, as in one never really notices the weight.

The product comes with a 5-inch EPD (electronic Paper display) that uses e-Ink technology. This tech does not use any backlight, plus our particular model comes with 8 shades of grey, to display text and B&W images. In landscape mode it’s a 4:3 screen, with an 800 x 600 pixel resolution. The internal memory is 350 MB, plus it comes with a 2GB SD card, expandable to 32 GB. The formats natively supported are TXT, HTML, PDF, EPUB, CHM and DOC.

User experience
Once switched on, it takes about 16 seconds to boot up and reach home menu in the UI, which is a tad slow in my opinion. It blinks a bit before reaching Home. So now come the first issues of a new technology. The issue I’m talking about is the latency in ePaper technology, its HUGE. To scroll down from one menu option to other it takes a considerable amount of time, enough to frustrate an impatient person. This Hanvon suffered from that too.

The landscape mode works much better for PDF files, and the zoom button can get fonts up to size, but then scrolling is slow as I said. What I do like about the Hanvon screen is that the max white level is quite bright, at least more than the Kindle's and this helps in creating a better reading experience. All mentioned formats play back nicely, except for some very large txt files. Files larger than 4 MB do not play well. This point is actually mentioned in the fine print.

For a cost of Rs. 17,400, this product is surely expensive. It’s obviously a new technology, so users will have to pay a premium. Those really interested in the concept of ereaders can surely try this one out. It's sleek and plays most formats, but the epaper tech itself is slow to respond. Also this one has a nice landscape mode and a bright screen which are sure positives. Product sourced from AcessInfoWorld

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