BeBook has been producing ebook readers for several years, offering a more affordable way to get access to a reader device without the premium asking price of some rivals.
Much has changed in recent years, with prices dropping as the market becomes more aggressive. At the same time, we've seen the growing importance of ecosystem, with the ubiquitous Kindle very much being the device to beat.
So can the BeBook Pure offer anything that can't be got at elsewhere?
Design and specification
Design is perhaps the strong point of the BeBook Pure. It's slim, only 8mm thick, and reasonably light at 188g. You won't be worried about weight, as it's lighter than a paperback book of any substance. The construction feels good too. It's solid enough and finished in a tactile matte plastic. It is easy to grip and comfortable to hold for long periods when reading.
The layout of the controls is simple, with page-turning buttons on the right-hand side, and menu, home and navigation controls across the bottom beneath the 6-inch E Ink display.
There are a range of connections across the top of the BeBook Pure: the Micro-USB is in place for charging and transferring content. You'll have to use the computer and cable method for this as there is no Wi-Fi on the Pure, so this device isn't integrated into an ecosystem as Kindle or Kobo devices are. But there is a microSD card slot, so you have the opportunity to expand easily over the 4GB of internal memory, or add a collection of books on a card.
There is a slight sheen to the BeBook Pure screen, but we had no problem reading it in direct sunlight. The contrast doesn't appear to be quite as solid as some of the rival devices we set alongside it, a Kindle Keyboard and Sony Reader. The black fonts on the BeBook Pure just don't as deep as some other displays.
But that said, we had no trouble reading with the BeBook Pure. Page turns are fast enough and you get plenty of options for font sizes. There is support for images, although they don't display terribly well, but no support for audio in this ebook reader.
The great Kindle conundrum
The lack of Wi-Fi means that the BeBook Pure arrives feeling slightly under specified. There is no store to buy content, there is no system sitting behind this ebook reader. You can authorise your device for Adobe DRM, so you'll be able to read books you've purchased only from stores such as Waterstones or WH Smith, but in modern terms, this is very much the "old" way of doing things.
Amazon has also just dropped the price of its basic Kindle device – also 6-inches and a similar size and weight to the BeBook Pure – and now also the same £69. Amazon has the advantage of being able to subsidise the hardware costs on its devices, because it then sells you the content too.
That presents something of a challenge for a device like the BeBook Pure as it's difficult to be competitive in the face of something that's a more complete offering. The advantage that the BeBook Pure offers over the Kindle is that it's not locked into Amazon's system, so if you don't want to buy your content their, or have an existing collection of ebooks, then you're better suited to an open device like this.
It's not quite that simple, however, as you could pick up something like the newly announced Kobo Mini (£59), or the larger Kobo Touch (at £79) which gives you the advantage of being both open, like the BeBook Pure, and part of a larger Kobo ecosystem.
Faced with these odds, it's a slowly narrowing section that the BeBook Pure will actually appeal to. It's for ebook purists, those who want to buy and manage their ebooks outside of their reader device. For those looking for simplicity, a PC-free, one-device solution, then look elsewhere.
Simply put, the BeBook Pure doesn't really do anything wrong. It's built well, feels nice in the hand and the display, whilst it could be better, is good enough. But then it's too costly considering the weight and features of the opposition.
If it's just a basic ebook reader you're after then consider the BeBook Pure, but if you're interested in the complete ebook experience, then choose from better connected rivals.
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