Review of Esys Braille displays
IntroductionEsys 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 functionsThe 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.
ConclusionMy 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
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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.
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.
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.
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.