Review of Esys Braille displays

Review Category: 

Review: 

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.

Introduction

Esys Braille displays are produced by the French company called Eurobraille: Http://www.eurobraille.com 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

•Portability 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. •Easy navigation 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. •Reasonable price-tag 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.

Conclusion

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!

Devices Accessory Was Used With: 

iPhone
iPhone

Rating: 

4 Stars

Disclaimer

The review on this page has generously been submitted by a member of the AppleVis community. As AppleVis is a community-powered website, we make no guarantee, either express or implied, of the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this review.

11 Comments

#1 thank you

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hi Maya. Thank you very much for this review. I have not had a chance to look at the EuroBraille line as of yet, and find this review helpful. We do not see too many of them here in the US, but it would seem they are worth consideration. Great review!

#2 braille displays

I haven't seen this display before but thanks for the info about it.

#3 Like what I saw

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I finally had a chance to check out the Eurobraille line of products at CSUN. I have to say that I was much more impressed by the 12 cell model display than I was with the Focus 14 Blue. The main reason is that the Eurobraille displays are very durable, unlike the Focus. The issue I have with the Focus is the terrible case that the 14 comes in and also the fact that they break easily. To put this in perspective, I've recommended abnout the same number of Braille Edges as I have Focus displays. The Edge is one that needs to be sent in for repair once in awhile, but the Focus 14 is notorious for being broken by many consumers. Sadly, the only "case" you get with the displays at the moment is a sleeve that you can slide the display in to, which doesn't have a strap and will not allow you to use the display on the go. I think, just like all other braille display manufacturers, they will let someone else produce a higher quality case to save money and other resources for themselves. Baum, Humanware, HIMS with the Braille Edge, and Freedom Scientific all seem to be now leaning toward this trend.

#4 braille display

I haven't seen this braille display before either but this is good information.

#5 Durability and cases

Club AppleVis Member

Hello, I have not heard much about the Focus 14 reliability issue. DO you have more information on this? Is it general use or is it when people drop them or otherwise bang them around? I have not had any issues with my Focus 14 for the one and a half years I've had it using it daily. I also cannot say I've seen any braille display that can survive many drops. So just curious about what is occurring. As for cases, my Focus 14 Blue came with a case which does allow for it to be held with the strap if you wish. The case clips onto some slots on the display and so appears fairly secure to me. I find it difficult to remove and insert it quickly due to the clipping process, and I prefer to not use a case as without it the display fits more easily in a pocket. I do not know if they are still shipping the case with new units however. I have some other complaints about the Focus 14, such as how it handles on/off versus standby. You can see my comments on that in the Focus 14 Review comments section found elsewhere on this site. I wanted to just mention that in case this comment appears as an endorsement of the Focus. I like it overall, but would still love to see some changes/improvements. I have to say this is much the same for every Braille display I've ever used.

#6 I appreciate your comments!

Hi everyone and Scott, Thank you for this additional information. I believe you can still put your Esys on a strap however it has to be without any case, as the original case doesn't allow it. Someone told me Esys once needed repair and cleaning so the modules had to be removed, so far mine has been working smoothly. As for the durability issue, well I didn't drop my display on purpose, but I know several people who complained about the Focus line not being very reliable, every now and then dots would stop popping up and the display would start making odd noises. Now I don't mean to criticize Focus but that's just some of the feedback I was getting from focus users.

#7 Focus vs. Eurobraille

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

HI all. I have received similar complaints like the one Maya has listed. It seems the earlier models of the 14 Blue were a bit more ruggidly built, though it could also be that more and more people are just having issues. I know that the Edge, the Refreshabraille, and several others have survived drops, as long as they weren't from too high up or as long as the drop was on a softer surface. Everyone I know who has dropped a focus, even in a couple instances on to carpet, has had their display malfunction. BY and large, the Focus 14 more than any other display has gone back for repairs. If it were 1 or 2 more, I'd say that may be by chance, but that display more than all others combined has been sent back more. It's a great little display, you just need to be sure to handle it with much greater care than any other.

#8 Esys 12

Sorry to be the weasel of this thread but there is another side to the esys 12.
I've had an esys 12 for well over a year now and I'm really very disappointed with it.
Within the first week of using it I had to reset it at least 6 times. The additional features like alarm clock ,diary and calendar do not work.
Numbers in these functions are indecipherable.
The neck lanyard which is meant to suspend the device snapped off after a month.
32 gb sd cards never worked even pre formatted ones would cause the device to freeze. Esys doesn't like much heat. Typing in the sun for just ten minutes causes some of the cells not work or stick. The keyboard is tiny so speed typing is difficult.
The best way to input into the device is via usb from my braillesense or my apex.
Connectivity to iphone or ipad is very good very responsive.
Save your money (£1,500) and get a braillepen or touch for far less.

Krish.

#9 BraillePen

Hi.
I got the braille pen from site and sound and must admit, I don't like it at all.
I've sent it back today.

things I don't like about it:
It feels cheaply made, it's casing is plastic and just feels nasty to me.
I hate the layout of the braille keys and the other keys. It makes my hand feel cramped and I couldn't type on it.

I tried paring it with my Iphone, with no luck, but to be fair on the unit I didn't charge it before trying to pair it, but I didn't know I had to do that until I read the manual.

I found that the windows phone part of the manual had spelling mistakes and words crushed together, for example, theworld instead of the word.
I find this very badly done and think that it's horrible that I'm paying £850 for a device and manual that is badly made.

I'm sorry but I have nothing good to say about the braille pen.

#10 Braille pen

Hello
Sorry about your bad braillepen experience.
Yes it is cheap and nasty but compared to my esys 12 it at least works.
I must admit iv'e not experienced any pairing difficulty with my iphone and if you think the braillepen keys are cramped you should try the esys 12 you'd need the fingers of a five year old to use it comfortably.
Braillepen is very very basic. But if you have to watch the pennies it's better than nothing.

#11 To each his own

Hi all,

Crish, sorry to hear about your bad experience with Esys. Well Braillepen and Esys can't be compared just because they have a set of different functions, you may compare BrailleEdge and Esys or Perkins mini and Esys. Braillepen doesn't have routing buttons (I know that Brailletouch has), and this is vital to me in terms of editing texts. I mentioned some inconveniences with the keyboard, and it really takes some getting used to to master typing on it, the layout doesn't seem to cram my fingers though, the display itself is tiny so the keyboard isn't very big either but fingers lay comfortably on it. Well, I believe it's all the matter of personal preference. I agree about SD cards, this has slipped away from me. The additional functions work well with me. As for overheating, you can read in any manual to any decent Braille display or notetaker that exposure to the sun is not recommended at all. Have a great day and enjoy your brailling experience with any device you choose.
Best wishes,
Maya