February 19, 2010, 11:32 AM — If you've been waiting for a no-frills e-book reader that's scarcely heavier than an iPhone, check out the Cybook Opus from Bookeen. Available in an array of colors, and weighing just 5.3 ounces and measuring less than half an inch thick, the Opus wrests the e-reader portability crown from the Sony Reader Pocket Edition; unfortunately, its $199 price tag (as of February 18, 2010) is a bit larger.
The Cybook Opus's superskinny profile (6.0 by 4.2 by 0.4 inches) and featherlight weight aren't its only distinguishing features: It also has a built-in accelerometer that shifts the text's orientation every time you turn the device 90 degrees (alternatively, you can press a button to reorient text). Though the large-format Amazon Kindle DX has an accelerometer, too, on the Opus, no matter which way you hold it, page turning is impressively intuitive, whether you use the four-button navigational wheel or the pair of line-shaped buttons on the device's plastic case.
The navigational wheel and the select button it surrounds guide you through context-sensitive menus that pop up when you press a button to the right of the wheel (a Back button sits to the left of the wheel). The menus have a fairly simple design; you can customize them (and your books) by choosing any of 12 gradually increasing font sizes. And because the Cybook Opus supports the securable ePub e-book format, which almost all major booksellers except Amazon use, you can read a vast array of commercial content as well as the enormous Google e-book library. (The Opus also supports PDF, HTML, and .txt documents.) Its 1GB of internal memory can accommodate hundreds of books; but it has a microSD Card slot, too, in case you need more space.