Hello Applevis community!
It’s my first review, so I apologize if there are any formatting issues or other inconsistencies. I’ve been browsing the Applevis website but didn’t find much information related to these Braille displays here or on the web, so maybe my experience will be somehow helpful for those who are picking a Braille display for their I-OS devices and would like to use their display as a standalone notetaker.
Esys Braille displays are produced by the French company called Eurobraille:
There are several models ranging from 12 to 80 cell displays, (available options are a 12, 24, 40, 64 and 80 cell display). I personally have a 12-cell model and it’s perfect for using with the IPhone or any other I-device.
Features and basic functions
The best thing about Esys is that it includes basic note taking functions and can work as a Braille display paired with your PC, Mac via USB or Bluetooth or IOS device as well as a standalone notetaker which makes it similar to the Braille Edge 40 and Perkins Mini. The set of internal programs is not as rich as it is on other Braille notetakers, but it’s a great solution for storing your notes and reading books. There is a notepad, a very basic file manager that allows you to create files and folders, rename and delete them, an agenda, an alarm-clock and a calculator. Your data is stored on micro Sd-cards. When you buy Esys a two-gb card is attached to it, but you can use micro sd cards up to 32 gb in size.
I wish there were more supported file formats though, currently TXT, BRL and BRF are supported. Nevertheless, it saves me a lot of trouble when I need to read a book or report or take notes, I can easily put it in my purse or pocket.
At the top of the unit there is an eight-dot Braille keyboard which is quite easy to use, routing cursor keys and two joysticks are below it, there is a Braille display with two thumbkeys under it serving as the spacebar and backspace keys. on the front of the unit there are two navigation wheels.
Battery life is quite durable, of course it all depends on how you use the device or whether you’re using Bluetooth, but you’re guaranteed a 15 to 20 hours performance and of course you can always use it on AC. Esys has a socket adaptor or you can charge it via USB.
Pros and contras
The display is really light and compact, easy to carry around, it would be great to get a strapped carrying case for it but I don’t know if these accessories are available.
•Excellent battery life
Battery life is not bad for a Bluetooth display, I can use it for four or five days without charging.
The two joysticks allow switching between grade I and II on the fly, and you can quickly flick through the items and rotor settings on your IDevice and scroll pages.
It’s cheaper than more advanced notetakers. Here where I am its price is nearly the same as that of Focus14. The sources I found sell it for $1495.
However, there are a few things I don’t like about Esys, but it’s all the matter of personal preference, after all I don’t think there is something called a perfect Braille display and minor inconveniences are always present:
•Typing on a Braille keyboard takes some getting used to
The keyboard is producing a bit of clicking noise, whereas in Focus it is more quiet, not a serious flaw but still. I’m generally satisfied with the layout but the Braille keyboard could be more flexible to the touch.
•The battery is not detachable, so replacing it may be problematic.
•You can choose a 24-cell model and invest some more money into it but as I have only 12 cells, I wish it could be just a tiny bit bigger, 16 cells at least. Scrolling constantly may be annoying. But if you want a portable and not very costly Braille display and you don’t read large quantities of text but enjoy reading, texting and writing on the go, Esys12 is a perfect solution for you and especially handy and productive with your IPhone.
My overall impression of Esys series is generally positive. I’ve been using my Esys for about 6 months, and it didn’t disappoint me so far. I wish I could have a chance to explore Focus14 and other mini-Braille displays more, so I can compare their speed and efficiency. If there is something that I forgot to cover in this review or if you have any questions, feel free to post your comments or write privately.
Take care, happy brailling and thanks for reading!
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