Ectaco JetBook Mini Review

Think Twice

The Jetbook Mini is a dinosaur compared to other ereaders. It has no built-in wireless support and users say converting EPUB and other files to the format the Jetbook Mini can read is a bother.

The JetBook Mini from Ectaco (starting at $83, Amazon) differs from the latest crop of ereaders in design and hardware, and reviews of this older model are mediocre, at best. This device features a five-inch TFT display rather than an E Ink screen, the result being that it looks less like a page in a book than like a smartphone display. Fonts appear jet black, however, and the ghosting and flashing that sometimes mar E Ink displays are absent -- qualities that draw praise in the few Ectaco JetBook Mini reviews posted at Amazon. Users also like the small size and light weight but are disappointed with the limited format compatibility and value for the money. Users' Ectaco JetBook Mini reviews grouse about having to convert almost all ebook formats to another one using open-source Calibre software, and say accessing menu items and loading books is tedious.

The five-inch screen is a nice change from the standard six inches, but the TFT display is old-school, as is the JetBook Mini's dependence on four AAA batteries, which should provide up to 90 hours of reading time. The single font can be adjusted to one of six sizes, and line spacing and line breaks can be customized. The JetBook Mini uses SD cards that can hold up to 16GB of data and it weighs 5.8 ounces, about average for an ereader. This is the only device we researched that doesn't support wireless connections, which means users must load books either through a PC or an SD card. Ectaco says the JetBook Mini supports MOBI, EPUB, HTML, PRC, RTF, PDB, and PDF formats, but they must all be converted using extra (but free) software.

The Ectaco JetBook Mini has been around for some time, and it's definitely showing its age. The lack of wireless support is almost unthinkable in today's ereaders and the need to convert pretty much every ebook format to another obscure format is a serious drawback. The TFT screen has some advantages -- text is jet black, and page turns are fast -- but overall performance is ho-hum. With a price that's hardly compelling, there's little reason to put this ereader in your basket.

Michael Sweet

Michael Sweet writes about consumer electronics. If something runs on electricity or ones and zeroes, he's interested in it. Sweet has written about PC technology and consumer electronics for 14 years.

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