Should You Buy a Knock-Off Brand eReader?

Nook and KindleA reader wrote in to ask our advice on whether they should buy a lesser-known eReader from a website selling directly from China and we felt the answer was worthy of sharing with everyone (you can ignore if you already have this subject covered).

Our reader wanted to know if they should consider buying an iBex tablet from a Chinese ‘sourcing’ company called ChinaGrabber. Sourcing companies essentially sell products made in China that are typically knock-offs or variations of popular items.

For starters, the iBex Flytouch 3 is an Android-based tablet computer (a la iPad or Xoom), and not strictly an eReader. Granted the $215 price tag is much cheaper than either an iPad or Motorola Xoom, but nothing in life is really that ‘cheap’ – there are always caveats. For starters, what happens if something goes wrong? Who do you call or send it back to? If you take one look at that website, all sorts of warning bells should sound. You may just be stuck with a dead piece of electronics. [I wrote a guide on safe shopping online that helps you avoid these types of issues.]

Let’s put aside the question of warranties and repair for a second and address our reader’s real concerns. They would like an eReader to replace all of those textbooks while they go to school and are concerned about the storage, in particular pointing to the Flytouch’s 8GB.

First of all, if you would simply like an eReader and are looking at this tablet as merely an eReader and not as a tablet computer, then you should look at the price tag and realize that you’re overpaying for an eReader as the top products in this category (Kindle, Nook, etc) are well under $200 now (Kindle 6″ is now $139, $114 with ads).

Second, even 1GB of storage can hold about 1000 ebooks. Perhaps textbooks may take up a bit more space, but if you had to plow through even 500 textbooks in school, you have bigger problems!

A related concern that has to be looked at on almost a case-by-case basis is whether or not the textbooks you must get are even available in eBook format.

And by the way, I’ve never heard of the iBex brand. Try doing a search for it – you won’t come up with much which is another warning sign, a non-existent or extremely small company/brand.

So our general advice is that if you’re in the market for an eReader, stick to the better-known brands. If you’re still confused about which to get, check out eReader Comparison Guide or just sign up below.

2 thoughts on “Should You Buy a Knock-Off Brand eReader?”

  1. I realize this article was written six months back, but since it came up on Google…….

    Just bought my second Ibex, this one a 10." 512M RAM, 8Gig Facepad from China Grabber.for well under $200. It has two USB ports, HDMI, a 1.3M camera that isn't anything special but serviceable, a micro SD slot, GPS and is 3G capable with a Dongle and a . Yeah, the screen is resistive and not multi-touch but is responsive enough for the purpose. It runs Android 2.2 and Flash natively. I had an issue with the AC adapter on the first one and they immediately replaced it in 4 days via priority shipping. Apad, who is the manufacturer, has an active user community with a plethora of custom ROMs and help. The build is decent quality for the price, and I'm pretty satisfied.

    It's not an iPad, but I knew that going in. It also isn't $500 and I can upgrade it to Android 3.X once the source code is released as Open Source, but I doubt I will since it doesn't have a discrete GPU.

    At any rate, I agree if all you want is an ereader that a 10" tablet is a bad idea. And you should definately do your research, as I did before I bought mine.

    See, I got that one to replace a 7" Pan Digital Novel my wife bought me from QVC for Christmas where the screen broke simply from tossing the padded case 6 inches onto a couch a month after I started using it. And if you do a Google or Ebay search you will find page after page of people with the same broken screen problem. Pandigital refused to do anything about what was obviously a manufacturing issue.

    Since my wife paid more for it than my Ibex, did I get what I paid for? The truth is the cost of my Ibex puts it into the category of essentially disposable, to be relegated to the kitchen or bathroom or handed off to a friend or teen to be replaced in a year or so with something with much better hardware for the same or lower cost.

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