Like most LCD-based ebook readers, the Elonex 500B eBook is picking a fight with the wrong products.
On paper, it has several advantages, including full colour and resilience – with its protected screen, you're more likely to forgo an expensive case.
Playing with it in person though, it's simply not a good experience as a mini tablet or a substitute for real books. The standard LCD problems apply here – a very short battery life (six hours promised in this case, compared to the weeks or month offered by e-ink devices), weighing more than it feels like it should, and backlighting/screen reflection issues.
Oddly, the eBook's main problem was at the other end of the spectrum – even at 100 per cent brightness, the screen remained dark and dingy, with a terrible contrast ratio. We were squinting to read text on it, and even at full zoom the screen is simply too small for comfortable reading.
Little comfort issues – like the clicker to switch pages only being found on the right-hand side of the unit – didn't help, especially for the left-handed members of the team.
The UI is slow and clunky, hitting its nadir when it started taking two seconds just to move the selection cursor between the 'Continue reading' and 'Library' sections of its main menu, and several seconds to flip between that and a barely stocked File Manager screen.
E-ink systems at least have an excuse for being sluggish. The technology behind the eBook gives it features like video playback and colour. However, its power feels nowhere near that of the average tablet, and as a dedicated reader it lags far behind the Amazon Kindle.
Follow TechRadar Reviews on Twitter: http://twitter.com/techradarreview