If you browse the depths of Amazon’s ebook reader section, you’ll come across a bunch of cheap no-name ebook readers with crummy software and old E Ink screens from like 10 years ago.
Most of these devices aren’t worth the time it takes to look at them, but I recently came across several listings for a 4.3-inch ebook reader that brings back memories and raises several questions about its origin.
The device looks exactly like the Trekstor Pyrus Mini from way back in 2012. It lacks the “Trekstor” logo but otherwise looks identical; it even has the buttons along the side for turning pages, which I always liked and can’t figure out why no other ebook readers have them.
One notable difference, the Pyrus Mini only had 2GB of internal storage, whereas this one says it has 8GB. You can’t trust any of the listed specs for these cheap generic models because most are clearly wrong, but in this case a picture of the back shows an 8GB sticker so that would seem to be correct.
The big question is what kind of screen does it have? One thing that made the Pyrus Mini unique was the fact that it had a Digital Ink screen instead of an E Ink screen. E Ink put Digital Ink out of business so they could continue to monopolize the epaper market without any competition. So does this new device use old Digital Ink screens that were laying around or are they using E Ink screens?
The device is being sold by several different vendors anywhere from $88-$130. One vendor claims the device is waterproof and has a frontlight with adjustable color temperature, but I don’t believe that is true.
I really like how pocketable and portable 4.3-inch ereaders are. I regretted getting rid of the Pyrus Mini for that reason, but the software wasn’t very good. Too bad there aren’t any reputable ereader companies putting out 4.3-inch models. Smaller ebook readers used to be more common 7-10 years ago. Now 6-inch ebook readers are the smallest option available, and to me they’re just a little to large to comfortably carry around everywhere in a pocket.
I’m tempted to get one of these generic 4.3-inch ereaders to try out, but the software is almost certainly awful. It’s weird to see these available again after so many years.
For me the best way to fast forward the time spent standing in line at an amusement park is to read. But sun glare and/or polarized sunglasses make it hard to use a phone there. And my Kobo Forma is great at many things, but fitting in a pocket isn’t one of them.
So yeah I’d love a 4.3″ ereader! Doubt I’ll find one at a price that’s justifiable for my purpose, though. 🙂
Why not get a Hisense A5 eink phone just to use as an ereader? For casual reading, I prefer mine to my Onyx devices. Very pocketable’
Sportbike Mike says
How is it as a phone? Serious question thinking about an eink phone when my Motorola dies.
I’m not the best person to ask about that since I don’t really use a phone very much, and when I do, I prefer a landline. However, I’m able to make calls on it and send and receive texts. I just have a pay-as-you-go SIM card in it.
As for the other features, the camera works well enough. GPS and Bluetooth work fine… Not sure what other functions are really needed for most people in a phone, but the typical Adroid features work well enough.
I got mine from the CECT Shop. Very good service.
If they had US distribution and an easy way to add Google apps I probably would get one. Until then I’ll be waiting for Onyx’s new E Ink phone…
It will be interesting to see if Onyx can improve upon the Hisense experience. At the moment, I prefer Hisense because I find it much easier to select text to look up in a dictionary than on my various Onyx devices. I do a fair amount of reading in second languages which makes that an important feature for me.
As for Google apps, I used to think that was important to me. Much less so now. The key apps which I need can be found elsewhere and sideloaded quite easily.
But I will be very interested to see what Onyx does with a phone. I quite enjoy my various Onyx devices so I will be curious to see how they translate their know how into the phone experience. They’ll have to work pretty hard to beat Hisense. I hope they’re able to do it. Competition can be a very good thing.
Watch out for the shipping date. Some of them are expected to deliver on July to August.
It implies shipping from overseas, most likely from China.
During the current crisis, it takes a lot of luck to get something shipped from overseas on time, assuming you get the package eventually.
Last time I ordered something from Amazon which was shipped from overseas, it really took a long time.
And that was before COVID-19.
“On time” for what exactly? Your summer cruise? It is a luxury device that didn’t previously exist. How can anyone be peeved at long shipping delays on a product they wouldn’t have at all any other way?
I bought this reader on April 3 from the AliExpress seller. There he is searched under the name BK4304 and has several versions with different amounts of memory. Judging by the standby screen, this is a Liro mini
Device photos are:
Cool, thanks for the pics. How do you like the software?
Hi, Natan. I have been a software quality control engineer for 20 years, for me any software is disgusting :). This software is not of the best quality, but it performs its tasks. The main thing is that this reader allows me to read books (I tried the epub, fb2, txt formats), cheap and compact. I like its size
Larry R. says
Do you know the max in terms of expandable memory? Thanks!
Larry, The documentation claims support for SD cards up to 32 GB. I have not tried it myself, I see no reason to expand the built-in memory ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
More photos of the reader: https://photos.app.goo.gl/TbFpe5yZQEWUPhmZ9
Hi Mike, the sellers on ali write that these devices have backlight. Do they?
Smutty of ONE says
Is this e-paper or some form of lcd? Ok in sunlight? How about the battery? Will it last ‘weeks’?
I dont think waiting is ever fun under any circumstance.
Also, I just received something I didn’t know was coming from overseas, six weeks later. I thought for sure it was lost and I didn’t want to lose any more money than I already have these days. plus there is a deadline from the shipping date to when you can file a dispute with the credit card company if it doesn’t arrive.
I dunno, I feel like you’re throwing out more judgement than necessary. Tommy never indicated he was peeved, anyway, he was just saying what to expect.
Only $50 from this eBay seller. May just give it a whirl.
It’s showing $59 for me but that’s still a good price.
I’ve seen these ereaders in Ebay for around 50 bucks. It is tempting, despite the long wait on shipping as they do come from China. They even offer bulk discounts. It is a temptation I am trying to fight; I have 3 ereaders going on now & am hard-pressed to justify a 4th just because if the size & curiosity.
Gayatri Ramanujam says
I still have an old pocketbook 360 which I love. I can carry it around and has a built in hard cover. But it’s slowly dying. Would love an upgraded small ereader. I wish they would add smaller screens as well as big screens….
I had a Pocketbook 360 once and that was a neat device. Very unique design.
This is why I love my smaller first generation Kindle Oasis. It fits in my pocket great.
It was hard to track down, but I recently replaced the battery, that felt good after having to put it in a drawer for a while!
Anything like the Kindle keyboard. We went through a part of creating adapted switches to press the buttons if you had a movement disability. Easy to customise.
Would you guys prefer this type of tiny ereader or a 4.3 inch inkcase on your phone? Just wondering, I really want a mini ereader.
Being very lightweight and having long battery life are definitely the main advantages of a small ereader like this.
This may be my next ereader, as it’s gotten really hard to find pocket-sized e-ink (or digital ink) devices in the US that have button-based page turning. I don’t mind minimal software features and am content to use folder structure to organize things.
One thing that’s not clear: does the epub display support italics, bold, and headings? Since it seems to strip out paragraph indents, it’s not using the internal CSS… is it reading any of the HTML formatting? Or is it plain text only? Does it even support page breaks for new chapters?
I got one. I think I have to return it. The software is so awful that I *can’t read books* on it.
I mean. I can read my choice of my three most recent uploads. But the “more” buttons don’t work. I can’t get to the library. None of the buttons on the bottom row (the navigation features) work; all of them just reload the home page. So unless I want to use it for 3 books at a time, it seems to be worthless.
Oh, and the manual doesn’t quite match the software.
It’s a shame, because the bar was very, very low for me. But “cannot load a list of books to read” is a deal-breaker.