Borders Elonex is a run-on-the-mill eReader which trails far behind Amazon and Sony's offerings in our opinion. Borders was the first British chain to offer an ebook reader, the iRex Iliad, but the £400 price tag wasn't shifting units, so in June 2009 they adopted the Elonex for the much more competitive £189.
The Elonex (LNX-EBOOK-600EB) is actually a variant of the Netronix EB-600, the most copied eReader design in the world (a pity it isn't particularly exceptional). It has the same basic hardware as the the European Cybook Gen 3, the UK COOL-ER, the Russian Pocketbook 301, the Polish eClicto, the South Korean Soribook, NUUT and the US eSlick and Astak Mentor Lite.
This very light eReader does seem a bit fragile and plasticky to us. It flexes a bit if you apply pressure at the corner. The matte, rubbery finish also shows dust and fingerprints. The scroll wheel will be tricky for left-handers to use. The Elonex has 512 MB of flash memory, and a port for an
SD Card which makes it expandable up to 4GB.
The boot time is on the long side, a full 30 seconds, that little too long in our opinion. Audio is via 2.5mm headphone jacks (not the standard 3.5mm size), so you'll need to use special ones. However, the music function seems like an afterthought--you have no audio play controls unless you get out of your book and into the audio file.
The fonts have a distinct digital look unlike the more "print-like" Kindle. And the menu system seems less polished as well
Connecting: There is no wireless connectivity, quite a drawback when you can get worldwide wireless connectivity (and indeed simple web browsing) with the Kindle 2 for about the same price. Both charging and access to drag and drop ebook files is via a USB 2.0 port.
The Elonex comes preloaded with 100 classics to get your ebook collection started (a variety including Shakespeare, Kafka, and some obscure novels), and also comes with a Sudoku game. It is compatible with the e-books sold on Borders website.
Borders UK has some 45,000 ebooks, mainly bestsellers with a smattering of various genres; chances are you might not find your favourite authors there yet. Of course, you can buy ebooks from anywhere that sells the ePub format and load them manually, but it's not the integrated experience you get with Amazon.
Accessories: The Elonex comes with a charger and a USB cable. Also available is an accessory pack priced £29.99, which includes a 4GB memory card, and a leather case.
Price: The Elonex sells for £189 from Borders UK, no doubt deliberately priced 10 pounds cheaper than the Sony Reader (PRS 505), being promoted at rival Waterstones.