Bookeen’s latest iteration of its Cybook Opus (originally reviewed last year) puts a little spit and polish on the original, which was one of the skinniest and lightest e-readers available. At 5.3 ounces, the new Cybook Opus retains the featherweight crown, but the current Sony Reader Pocket Edition ( ) almost matches it at 5.5 ounces—and that model offers an easier-to-navigate touchscreen. On top of that, the Opus’s $190 price remains steeper than most (though competitive with Sony).
Still, if you’re on the market for a slim and straightforward e-reader, the Opus delivers. The new version, powered by a 400MHz Samsung ARM processor and updated firmware, is snappier than its predecessor. And when you press the power button, it quickly returns you to the last page you were reading (rather than showing the library view).
The qualities we liked in the original version haven’t changed. The Opus offers 12 font sizes and four fonts, among the widest selections we’ve seen from e-readers. Its built-in accelerometer lets you switch from portrait to landscape orientation (or vice versa) in a couple blinks of an eye. Measuring 6.0 by 4.2 by 0.4 inches, it’s small enough to slip into the side pocket of most purses and backpacks.
The Opus supports paid content in the form of Adobe ePub and PDF files, as well as HTML, .txt, and FB2 (which stands for another ebook file format, HaaliReader). It also accepts JPG, GIF, and PNG image formats. The e-reader itself has 1GB of internal storage; if that isn’t enough space for you, it also has a MicroSD card slot.
Its 3-by-4-inch E Ink display delivers four shades of gray at 600 by 800 resolution. Bookeen keeps things simple with few controls for the Linux-based operating system: A five-way navigation button dominates the bezel under the display, flanked by two smaller buttons. The one on the right summons and closes pop-up menu windows, and the button on the left returns the screen to a previous state. Slender page-forward/page-back buttons occupy the right edge (or the bottom, if you choose to read in landscape mode).
You transfer ebooks to the Opus from a computer via the included Mini-USB cable, which also recharges the 1000mAh lithium polymer battery. Bookeen says that each charge should power 8000 page turns, or run the Opus for two weeks. You can buy and transfer paid material by running Adobe Digital Editions on your Mac or PC; you can drag and drop DRM-free content to the Opus on the desktop as well.
Macworld’s buying advice
Like the previous version, the revised Bookeen Cybook Opus lacks some of the frills you get from less-expensive e-readers such as the Sony Reader Pocket Edition. It has no support for wireless content downloads, and no built-in music player. And although the Opus ships with a preinstalled library of public-domain books in several languages, it offers no dictionary or annotation support. Nevertheless, it looks handsome, it’s easy to use with fairly snappy page turns, and its extensive font options and small size might make it worth its premium pricing.