Aluratek Libre eBook Reader Pro Review

Those of you considering the purchase of a dedicated eBook Reader may be under the impression that your only choices are from Sony, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I’d like to show you one affordable alternative. It’s the Aluratek Libre eBook Reader Pro.

Hardware Specs

RAM: 117MB free
Display: 5″ (12.7cm) ePaper display
Supported formats: PDF, TXT, FB2, EPUB, MOBI, PRC, RTF, BMP, JPG, GIF, and animated GIF picture, MP3
Expansion slot: SD up to 32GB
Dimensions: 6.0 x 4.25 x o.5 in
Weight: 8 oz.
Battery Life: 24 hours (2 weeks standby time)

Package Contents

eBook Reader PRO
2GB SD card filled with 100 books
USB Cable
Power Charger
Hand Strap
Earphones
Carrying Pouch
Quick Start Guide
Warranty & Registration Card

Let me start out right away by telling you that the Libre Pro does not offer a wireless feature like the Kindle and Nook. You will be required to load your books manually instead of buying them through the device. Aluratek helps you out by providing an SD card with the reader that has 100 books preloaded. They are classics such as Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, War and Piece, Wuthering Heights, etc.

Books can also be purchased through ebooks.com

Having owned both the Kindle and Nook, the small size of the Libre was immediately noticeable when I first took it out of the box. The display is only 1 inch smaller though. Click the image above for a larger view.

The Libre’s case is made of charcoal colored plastic that doesn’t show fingerprints or smudges. In hand the reader feels solid and does not flex when squeezed.

The slightly recessed display takes up most of the front of the device, with buttons on both sides and below. The back of the reader has a slight ‘hump’ that holds the non-user replaceable battery.

The main controls are located below the display. On the Left is a combination page next/page prev button and next to that is a grouping of buttons that offer font resizing, screen rotation, menu, and also another set of page next/page prev buttons (left arrow and right arrow).

The Left edge of the Libre offers a third page turning method with a spring loaded sliding bar. Slide it down to turn to the next page, slide it up to go back a page. Raised ridges allow your thumb to keep a grip on this bar. I don’t like this method and find myself using the dedicate paging buttons below the screen.

On the opposite side, there are ten numbered buttons that are used to select books from the list view. These buttons are also used to enter text for search terms.

The top edge has a power status LED and an attached cover…

…which protects a mini USB port and SD card slot. The USB port is used to charge the device and for data transfer of the device itself and the inserted SD card. The Libre mounts as removable drives automatically on Windows and Mac computers.

The bottom edge has the power button and 3.5mm headphone jack.

The interface is pretty simple. Turn on the device for the first time and you’re greeted with a list of installed books. To read a book, you can either press the corresponding numbered button next to it or scroll to the desired title with the Dpad and press the OK button to select it.

The Libre does not use an E-ink display like the Kindle, Nook and Sony Readers. Aluratek calls their display ePaper. It reminds me exactly of the old days of PDAs. Specifically the Palm V. Back in the day, the Palm V/Vx was my favorite PDA because the screen was so easy to read. The Libre is just as easy… as long as you’re in a well lit room. This reader does not have a backlight. For those of you that don’t like the E-ink flashing that occurs when turning pages, this reader does not suffer from that affliction.

The display can be rotated and …

you can choose from 6 different font sizes.

The initial load time of books can take several seconds depending on the size of the book. But once loaded, there is no lag in page turning. I tested the reader with plain old text files, ePub files, PDF files and JPG images. I didn’t have any problems viewing TXT or ePUB files, but some PDF files would not display and the reader would sometimes freeze when trying to load or display some JPG images. I also encountered issues with the reader freezing when using the Find feature.

The Libre is able to bookmark pages, but it does not offer any type of annotation features. It does offer a couple of interesting features that other readers don’t offer though. It has the ability to play MP3s in the background while you read, and it also has an auto page turning feature.

I’ve been really impressed with the battery life. I’ve been reading on and off with the Libre since receiving it the 2nd week of January and it’s still going strong on its initial charge.

Conclusion

I like the size and price of the Aluratek Libre Pro eBook reader (you can find it for less than $150 at various online retailers) and I think it’s a good device for someone that doesn’t need higher end features like annotations, dictionary and wireless. I do think that the software is a bit glitchy and hope that a firmware update takes care of JPG and PDF freezing issues. Even with those occasional issues, I still recommend this little ebook reader as a good alternative to the big boys.

 

Product Information

Price:$179.00
Manufacturer:Aluratek
Pros:
  • Comes with 100 books
  • Easy to use
  • Small
  • Good display
Cons:
  • Reader sometimes freezes on JPG and PDF files
  • No word lookup (dictionary) feature
Posted in: eBook Readers, Reviews

139 comments… add one

  • Azu June 3, 2011, 4:39 am

    Hello,does the libre still having problems with pdf files even after the latest firmware update? And where could I download the latest firmware for Libre?

  • bone head June 22, 2011, 12:52 pm

    Aluratek helps you out by providing an SD card with the reader that has 100 books preloaded. They are classics such as Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, War and Piece, Wuthering Heights, etc.

    War and Piece

    Piece

  • Rik June 23, 2011, 8:45 am

    And it’s really a peace of cake to use it.

  • Chris June 27, 2011, 5:45 pm

    Jackie,
    There is a slider usually on the side of an sd card and it will say lock right above that. Slide that button the other way and it will allow you to delete the files. Barring that, you can always get another sd card too. Hope this is helpfull.

  • nellie July 15, 2011, 3:08 pm

    hi everyone,
    I would like to know did anyone ever lost their downloaded books
    after they recharged the battery, i did now my Aluratek is saying
    (failed to open file)

  • arubalou August 4, 2011, 1:18 pm

    i am new to ereaders and don’t know too much about them. is the aluratek capable of downloading books from the free ebook websites, barnes & noble, amazon etc?

    • Julie August 4, 2011, 3:25 pm

      @arubalou This eBook reader does not have built in WiFi so it can not connect to online bookstores.

  • arubalou August 5, 2011, 9:29 am

    hi julie, thank you for clearing that up. is it possible then to download onto my pc storing the books on a sd card and then putting the sd card in the e reader?

    • Julie August 5, 2011, 10:59 am

      @arubalou The Libre supports Adobe Digital Edition DRM ebooks. Before Borders closed its doors, their books were supported on this reader. Now that Kobo has taken over for Borders, I don’t think they are compatible any longer. I’m not 100% sure though. Aluratek’s site has a live chat feature that you can use to ask for confirmation.

  • Sue August 6, 2011, 11:39 pm

    where do we get the books now that Borders is going out of business.

  • Anastasia September 5, 2011, 1:59 pm

    Hi, does it support other languages: russian, german? Could you recommend me smth?

  • Rima K. September 5, 2011, 4:27 pm

    Hay, Anastasia, it does support Russian for sure, I tried. However, I would strongly suggest to get the 7″ color Aluratek ‘Libre’. Not only does it have 2 gb of internal memory and comes with 2 gb memory card, it is also very fast! The black one is very very slow! I had to return it and splurge on the ‘Libre’. Now, 8 months later, the ‘Libre’ cost less than the 5″! I have been using/reading ‘Libre’ 7″ color e-book for 9 months and still extremely happy!
    At Future shop the 7″ now is only 100$ (the last time I checked it was actually on sale for 80$).

  • Sheila November 15, 2011, 11:13 am

    I am thinking of buying the Libre Reader, but I am concerned with the review that it is hard to read in dim light. I pretty much only read in bed before sleeping and only have my side table light on, will I have trouble reading the screen, should I look for an e-reader that has a back light and any suggestions?

  • Rima K. November 15, 2011, 11:56 am

    Sheila, I strongly suggest, get the 7″ color Aluratek. YOu won’t be disappointed and you will be able to read in the dark, it has lit screen (adjustable!). It’s the most amazing reader I have come across, I have been using it for a year now.

  • Sheila November 15, 2011, 1:24 pm

    Thank you, I will check it out.

  • Sheila November 15, 2011, 1:26 pm

    Do you know anything about the Aluratek Digital Text Reader? It is cheaper and i don’t need wifi.

  • Timster November 21, 2011, 1:35 pm

    Can you download and read e-books?

  • robyn November 27, 2011, 4:20 pm

    i have an aluratek ebook reader, how do i go to different books of the bible???

  • Mary January 23, 2012, 6:35 pm

    I am a librarian trying to load country western mp3 files onto the libre pro. It is not working. What am I doing wrong? I click on the file manager and there is nothing there.

  • Paul February 27, 2012, 9:51 pm

    I purchased on these little gems at a clearance price of $60 CDN.
    I haven’t been able get and Hyperlinks in the eBook material to work though.
    On the desktop I use calibre – E-book management. It’s free software and I highly recommend it. It will download news from many sources and make it suitable for Ebook use.

  • Patty February 28, 2012, 9:54 pm

    I have the aluratek libre ereader pro and it has quite a few aggravating glitches that Aluratek needs to address. As far as ease, yes when I first received it as a gift I loved it; however, they really should just give you a site that has all those classic books on them and enough space for you to upload them if you choose to. I think that they have over loaded the reader so that when you want to load something onto it you have no space and therefore have to purchase an additional sd card. I could only load one book and had to get the sd card. Also after a period of time it stops turning pages so I reset it charged it and the last time I had to upgrade the firmware. Well, afterward the ereader went to German, then I spent the entire day trying to fix things, every time I fixed one thing two more glitches happened. I believe it needs some big time glitch fixes. It is now working again; however, it won’t be long before it again won’t turn the pages and I will be back at square one. Oh one more thing, I was told to plug it into my computer and open the files up and go to properties then to tools, and click to fix it, so I did and then when I opened the book I had been trying to read for the past two days, it came up with almost the entire book on the ereader, an ant couldn’t have read it, the font was so small. So again I had to fix it, well, again it did’nt want to fix, then after about a half hour of it on the font page it went to the largest print and stayed there for over 2 hours. Now it is working again. So glitches is an understatement. I think Aluratek needs to do some more testing for this ereader. The size, shape, feel, etc. of the ereader I am pleased with as well as the ease of use, when it works, but when it doesn’t it is the most frustrating piece of electronics I have ever owned. What do you think??? Like to hear more feedback Thanks Patty

  • Jill November 18, 2012, 9:16 pm

    I have a aluretek reader and I use kobo to download books but I always have problems with the sight it’s terrible any other sites I can get books it really frustrating

  • Beth November 20, 2012, 12:21 am

    I have the Libre Pro too… I can’t get the firmware update to work. I followed the guide on it and still doesn’t take. Can someone help me with this???

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