So you are ready to step forward into the digital age and jump on the eBook reader bandwagon. BUT you find yourself on a budget. What is a tech-lover to do? Well, late last year, Aluratek released the Libre Color for a fraction of the cost of the NOOKcolor.
First and foremost this is a tried and true eBook reader to enjoy Adobe EPUB and Adobe PDF eBooks, with added support for MP3s and video. Since the device doesn’t have Wi-Fi or direct downloading, you’ll need to first download your checked out eBooks to Adobe Digital Editions and then transfer them to your Libre Color.
The actual reading experience on the Color is good. It has a very fast refresh and page turn. I also thought it was great that the buttons on the side of the device to turn a page are the perfect size. It was comfortable to hold even though it weighs in at 11.9 ounces. The 7” TFT color LCD screen brightness can be adjusted to your personal preference, which is nice although it is a feature that should be standard on these types of devices. Colors of cover images and other embedded pictures were sharp but not quite at the level of other LCD eBook readers I’ve seen.
The Libre Color comes equipped with a mini USB port, DC jack to charge without a computer, and a SD card slot for additional memory. You will find the device has 2 GB of internal memory already provided. It also comes preloaded with 100 classic eBooks like Dracula, A Tale of Two Cities, and 98 more.
Navigating through the interface was fairly easy. The main screen simply lists your titles and there are several tactile buttons along the front bottom: menu, zoom, directional keypad/enter, play, and return. Use the directional keypad to scroll through your titles and click the enter button to open. Once open, you have several options, such as bookmarking, changing font sizes, and even the ability to auto flip pages at different speeds.
I do want to point out that the Libre Color, although very attractive in price, does not have all the features that other devices I’ve mentioned or reviewed have. Most notably, it does not have Wi-Fi, a web browser, or direct download capabilities. I did find that a few other things were missing, as well. For instance, I found it odd that it would not save my font size preferences. I wanted to test out the audio controls while listening to The Abandoned by Douglas Clegg, and I was surprised to find that the device does not have tactile volume controls. Lastly, I was unable to find much information on the battery life expectancy. For me, it seemed to last for about 6 hours or so with continuous use.
Bottom line, at right around $100, the Aluratek Libre Color is a great value for the price. I even found it for as low as $99 on one website. As long as you keep in mind that this is not a tablet and if you are looking with a budget in mind, the Libre Color will satisfy you as you start to get digital.
Megan Greer is an account specialist for OverDrive.
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