The year of the lighted ebook reader is in full swing, so it comes as no big surprise that one of the oldest ebook reader companies, Bookeen, just announced the frontlight-equipped Cybook Odyssey HD that is coming to Europe in November.
As the name suggests, the Cybook Odyssey HD uses the higher resolution 6-inch 758 x 1024 Pearl displays from E Ink. It also uses Bookeen’s patented HSIS technology (High Speed Ink System) for faster scrolling and refreshing.
Like the Kindle Paperwhite, the Cybook Odyssey has a capacitive touchscreen instead of the more common infrared touchscreens used by most other brands. But unlike the Kindle, it has physical page-turning buttons in addition to the touchscreen.
Other than utilizing a laminated light guide film to distribute the light, Bookeen hasn’t revealed the specifics of the frontlight technology just yet, but it’s pretty safe to assume they are using small LED lights built into the frame like everyone else. One additional detail they do reveal is that the Cybook Odyssey HD’s frontlight offers a choice of twenty brightness levels with an on-screen slider.
Apparently it has a new optimized user-interface to go along with the HD screen, and PDF support has been improved upon from last year’s model as well, with the addition of PDF reflow.
The Cybook Odyssey HD has WiFi for downloading ebooks and is one of the lightest ebook readers at 180 grams (6.35 ounces).
That’s all the specifics Bookeen has offered at this point in time. It’s fairly safe to assume this new HD model will support the same ebook formats as its predecessor, which includes Adobe DRM, EPUB, PDF, HTML, TXT, and FB2. The last model also had an accelerometer, a headphone jack, 2GB of storage space, and a microSD card slot. But it remains to be seen if the new HD model has these same features.
I have always wanted to get my hands on one of these, but the whole Euro conversion/overseas shipping thing has put me off. Their screens are supposed to be amazing, and now with HD and front light, I might take the chance and order one (provided they keep all of the cool features like an SD slot and audio).
I’ve always wanted to try out the HSIS and see how it performs. I’ll try and see if I can get a loaner to review, but I won’t hold my breath.
Now that would be a review! You would likely be the only US blog to review one.
I’m curious to know how the capacitive touchscreen differs from the IR touchscreen – in terms of performance ?
Are these just different tech names or is there a performance difference – laggy behaviour or needing multiple touch actions at times maybe?
@Shaleen, capacitive touch uses a thin, touch-sensitive layer that covers the E Ink screen. In the past, this has been a disaster for contrast and text clarity. The old Sony PRS-600 and 900 models used capacitive touch, and they had, by far, the worst contrast of any eReader on the market. The added touch layer caused extreme glare and made fonts look thin and faded. You had to position yourself in a room so that light would hit the screen at just the right angle in order to read anything at all, otherwise glare would completely wash out the screen. It was incredibly annoying, and I quickly returned my device to Wal-Mart.
The developers of Bookeen and new Paperwhite Kindle eReaders have worked on new capacitive touch technology. The Kindle Paperwhite has almost no glare issues at all, depending on your lighting, even with the glowlight turned off. Text looks sharper and bolder than ever, and the old capacitive issues seem to bee conquered.
As for performance, I am noticing that my Kindle is very sensitive to touch commands, but the old infrared displays were extremely accurate as well. The Cybook has HSIS, an advanced text rendering technology that makes turning pages and sliding around the screen super fast. Multi-touch is really fast on demonstration videos I have seen on YouTube, but I have never had the chance to use one in person.
Performance in pretty similar from my experience with the Kindle Paperwhite’s capacitive screen. It does seem I have to press items more than once sometimes with the Kindle, though, so I’d give the edge to IR.
I have experienced this as well.
So how does the frontlight of the Odyssey HD compare to Amazon’s Paperwhite? Does it also have that uneven lighting problem at the bottom of the screen?
In all likelihood, Amazon may be forced to recall their Paperwhites if this problem is not in the Odyssey and admit that it was a manufacturing flaw.
Also, Amazon might release an HD version of the Paperwhite to counter Bookeen’s release.