HipStreet E-Reader Review… plus some

Well, I was in the local Wal-Mart the other day and spotted this little device in the E-book reader section. It is the HS-M700-4GBBK version of this particular device. Here’s a shitty picture.

It’s a reasonably well laid out device. It seems to function reasonably well but has some problems. Remember though, it has quite a low price of $78 so it was a reasonable purchase. First, let’s state the features stated on the product listing and write a review on each of the features:

7″ TFT Screen (800×480 res.)

Well, this was a bit of a disappointment. The screen works ok but it is pretty dim. Any kind of ambient sunlight, even near dusk, will render this screen dark.

The touchscreen itself is pretty bad too. Well, it’s not the touchscreen per say but the responsiveness of the software is pretty poor. When switching through stuff especially when running an app, the software doesn’t seem to register hits very well. That said, it does respond just well enough to function but it is frustrating.

4GB of internal storage

Yep, it does have that and the transfer rates seem reasonable. not much to say on this.

Built-in rechargeable battery

The battery is quite large as you’ll see in the pictures later. I haven’t been able to test it’s battery life but I would say it’ll last quite some time just playing music.

Loud internal speaker

Yes, they described it as loud. the speakers aren’t bad for how small they are and play loud enough so you can hear what’s being played. A point for Hipstreet.

Dual 3.5mm headphone jack

Yes, it has dual jacks. I suppose thats for if you have a friend that wants to listen in on another set. Both jacks appear to work fine for both line out uses and headphone.

USB 2.0 interface

Yes, it runs at USB 2.0 speeds, not much to say about this.

MicroSD slot (up to 16gb)

This too appears to function adequately.

Multi-task operation compatible

Yes, you can play music and browse through the menus or photos. not much else really to do. It does become a bit slower while this is occurring.

Ebook reader functions: TXT, PDF, EPUB, FB2, HTML

Ok, here is the real crux of the issue, the EBook capabilities. Let’s just say the reading is less than stellar for PDFs. While it does render them more or less properly, you can’t make it zoom page-wide . That means that even if you set the tablet to read sideways along the long portion, it’ll simply squish the pdf page into a smaller space. With a standard pdf you have two choices, barely readable and unreadable unless the text is large print.

With TXT, EPUB and PB2′s it seems to render OK, however the rendering is really slow. flipping pages can sometimes take quite a bit of time. Changing the font size with the +/- keys can take some time too, especially with a larger text file. Though, I must say, reading with it in the dark is quite OK.

So, in closing with this feature. Don’t use pdf’s.

Music: MP3, WMA, WAV, FLAC, AAC, APE, OGG

As one might expect with a device like this, the music playing is actually quite good. I tried MP3, WAV and OGG. They all played flawlessly. There is some lag between songs but it’s acceptable.

Video: MPG, AVI, MOV, RM

I tried some MPG’s and AVI’s. They played flawlessly. Some high resolution or low compression formats seemed to lag the player but it would get over it’s hiccups eventually. The player itself is decent, however, again, the screen is really dim so it’s really only good as a nighttime player.

Photos: JPG, BMP, GIF, PNG

Well, not much to say here, it displays all of those formats fairly well and has a slide show format. The interface isn’t terribly intuitive for panning but other than that, it is a picture viewer.

Voice recorder

Can you say “WSHHHHHHHsdgfsdgklfsdgjlfdg” That’s about all you’ll hear. The mic really suck so the recording suffers. Why they include these features is beyond me. Nobody uses them.

File Browser

Yes, you can cut, copy paste and delete. not a bad feature actually. Though there is no directory creation so I can’t fathom any real reason why you’d want to perform any of those operations.

Calendar

It really is just that. A calendar. No days of interest, no scheduling. Time and date. Nothing more. meh.

Summary

For a little under $80 bucks it’s not a bad device. If you have some EPUB books or something this might be OK. It does differ from the Kindle in the fact that you can use it in the dark, this may be it’s only redeeming feature in the EReader market. However, it does excel at playing music and video files so I suppose it has its charm there. So I give this device a 6/10 . I only give it a 6 because it was so cheap.

Plus some!!!

So decided to crack this puppy open. Here are some pics


This is the full unit open to the elements. As you can see the battery is quite large and the circuitry is quite minimal.

This thing is the CPU. I tried digging up info on the BOXCHIP F15 and it was unable to find a manufacturer. It looks as though this is a very common device for pre-packaged music/video players on the market today. It probably contains both a CPU and a bunch of decoding hardware for various file formats. While it’s running it does run somewhat warm to the touch but not very. must be quite efficient.

This is the K9GBG08u0a 4gb nand flash chip. this is what provides data storage. looks like you could put another chip on and extend the storage.

This is the K4H511638J-LCCC. It is a 64MB SDRAM chip. This of course provides the working ram for the BoxChip CPU.

Well, there ya’ go. The HipStreet Ereader.

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39 Responses to HipStreet E-Reader Review… plus some

  1. Rob says:

    This thing seems to work great if you use it as intended…
    I was actually hoping to install it in the face of an antique radio I’ve had some plans for for some time now.
    Just wanted it to be the business end of things, basically to play mp3′s, and output to a set of computer speakers inside the radio case, and this touchscreen seemed to be exactly what I needed.
    Unfortunately, it seems that it mainly runs in portrait mode, unless you are reading e-books, or playing videos. I need it in portrait mode.
    I was really hoping that it would have a decent gui, and maybe even a visualization as the music played.
    Too bad, it’s just not going to work for me, they cheaped out on what could have been a nice looking gui.
    It has 800×480, they could have made it look really good, but you should see it, it’s on screen is very ugly.
    Wish someone would hack this thing to run android, or rewrite the software that is on it…so much lost potential.
    Back to Walmart I guess

  2. C. Smythe says:

    well geeze! get a $500 – 700 ipad then!
    what do you expect for unner $100?
    if it works at all it would be pretty good.
    DOES it? work pretty good?
    battery dead in half an hour? or so so?
    useless review if you ask me.
    walmart has em for $58, gonna has ta try one out.
    my sony hurts my thumbs . . .

  3. C. Smythe says:

    oops this was a reply for rob . . . sorry Steve . . .

  4. Sanjay says:

    The speaker is terrible. it is located at the back of the ereader which means if you rest it against something you can hardly hear it.

    And its a single speaker .. no stereo.

  5. Andre B. says:

    Found it at Wal-Mart for $48! So I got one for me and 5 more for my friends. I got the HS-M701 model. It works ok, nothing outstanding, but for that price, what do I expect? One more thing: I use it mostly to read the paper, which in epub format usually has over 300 pages on the reader. When I use the “goto” function (the red dots at the top that look like a progress bar), if I go too far ahead, the reader will stop responding and reboot. Weird. Also, since I never had a touchscreen anything before, I thought it was just me who didn’t know how to touch it properly, but I agree it could be better. And book selection is not that easy when there are many books. I put over 400 Star Trek books on it and when I downloaded the newspaper this morning, I had to scroll all the way down to the end of the list, which took me like 2 minutes. Once I found it, I immediately put it in Favorites, so it would be faster for me to get to it.

    I saw that same device at Best Buy for $99.99. I wouldn’t have paid that much for this reader.

  6. C. Smythe says:

    well I got one . . . mostly crap. epub works badly, resize text badly. If you can convert to txt and read at the small font then whole page will display properly. I prefer back lit. quirky os has almost sent it flying out the window several times. just barely readable but txt works. my $400 Sony is killing my thumbs so I’ll try not to dash the thing against the wall. For $60 ??? I’ve read 6 books so far guess I’ll keep it but you guys . . . don’t expect great things, OK???

  7. C. Smythe says:

    so sue me . . . I forgot . . . I get 7.5 to 8 hrs on a full charge, what I expected. this was watching clips 2hrs and reading a book the rest of the time. Over several charge cycles.

  8. Emilios says:

    Stopped working today. Bought it in May 2011. Called tech support at 9 AM EST today, left message, no response as of 15:30 today. What more can I do?

  9. Gardoglee says:

    Thanks for the reviews. Groupon sent out an offer today for this unit for $60. Apparently the unit is worth 25% more if you buy it unseen from Groupon than if you can actually see and touch it at WalMart. I’m not planning to use it as an iPod replacement, so I think I’ll keep saving up for something which reads well.

  10. Rod H says:

    This unit does have TWO speakers. The guy on the production line soldering the second speaker didn\’t. First unit, returned, and second one both only had one speaker functioning. On the second one I cracked it open to find wires not attached to second speaker. Probably was the same on unit I returned. I soldered the wires to the speaker and now we have STEREO! Quite loud too!

  11. smackaay says:

    Yes, they probably did that for power consumption reasons

  12. Jennifer Lauletta says:

    I’m heartbroken. All I wanted for Christmas was an e-reader. I even told the whole family to get it from Groupon. I got it and was so excited. Now, the computer won’t even recognize it. Was there supposed to be software included? If so, I didn’t get any in my package. Anyway, I need the drivers or whatever will make this this communicate with the computer (Windows XP). And, yes, I have plugged it into the USB port and all that stuff. I’ve done this kind of thing before, so I’m not a complete nitwit. Thanks for any help you can give me. Jennifer

  13. Katherine says:

    How can I find out if one or both speakers are working?

    Got this for xmas, love the idea of it but yes, it does lag on certain demands.

    Also, can’t for the life of me, figure out how to put a ebook into favorites…..did what the maual said to do with no luck!

  14. smackaay says:

    To be honest, all I did was plug it into my computer and accessed it like a regular drive. I then dragged documents and movies over. Sorry I can’t be any more help than that.

  15. smackaay says:

    As far as the two speaker thing goes, it does have two speakers but one of them is disabled (A poster previously mentioned that). You can hook it back up by opening the case up and soldering it. However, I suspect they did that to improve battery life.

  16. Grneyes says:

    I got the 701M ereader a couple weeks ago and the speaker worked once and hasn’t since. Support suggested some ways to try and get it working but that didn’t help and I’m not going to drive 3 hours and a 1/2 a tank of gas to exchange it. lol. Other than that, I love it. I’ve had no other problems with it and I’ll just use headphones if I need sound which it’s rare that I will need to anyway so not a big deal.

  17. Grneyes says:

    I got the 701M ereader a couple weeks ago and the speaker worked once and hasn\’t since. Support suggested some ways to try and get it working but that didn\’t help and I\’m not going to drive 3 hours and a 1/2 a tank of gas to exchange it. lol. Other than that, I love it. I\’ve had no other problems with it and I\’ll just use headphones if I need sound which it\’s rare that I will need to anyway so not a big deal.

  18. Kelly Anderson says:

    Well had the thing for 3 day and screen cracked no warranty they said for physical damage I did nothing to it no dropping or anything and yes whe you enlarged the print it went funny missed paragraghs sent out funny lettering and squiggles no help on the phone lines no one answers will not buy again

  19. David says:

    Come on people, the 701 is not a Rolls; yet it has four wheels and an engine with brakes.

  20. alex marr says:

    Got an E-Book reader for xmas gift. Only keeps charge for 2hrs. not enoigh time to read a book!!! the buttons work in reverse. Difficult to download books. Woohoo!!!! Hoping to get a refund!!! What chance do I have???? I live in the U.K.

  21. smackaay says:

    honestly, I have no idea. sorry man!

  22. Lori says:

    Just got my ereader as a deal for buy a Dell laptop (haven’t even fired it up yet – just charged it). Unfortunately, it’s not exactly as shown on the website – it’s white.
    Has anyone seen an ereader cover that protects and flips open for reading that fits a Hip Street? When I Google, all I find is Kobo and Kindle covers and they don’t look like they would fit.

  23. smackaay says:

    myself, I haven’t seen a cover for it. The white device appears to be a newer revision than the one I reviewed.

  24. Tammy says:

    NOT impressed! I wanted a ereader, and could not figure out how to upload books, i tried to download a amazon and kobo app, nothing worked not capatable, WHAT these are the biggest sellers for online books and i cant access it!!! I dont pretend to be great at computers but i can usually figure these things out! I called customer sevice 3 times no response? It has a card in the box that says stop call us before you return this iteam, what? I tried to return it to sears and because my mom bought it for A xmas present the 2 week return policy is over, this sooo sucks, i just wanted to read some books, can anyone help, i would be so gratefull!

  25. Wonderful website. A lot of useful info here. I am sending it to a few friends ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks for your sweat!

  26. jc says:

    Do not buy this unit.

    No technical support other than return it.

    Does not have any factory reset capability manually or by software.

    Rating = 2 (0 lowest – 10 highest)

  27. Ghering says:

    Mijn Hipstreet e-reader is net binnen, in Nederland, lezen we het liefst nederlands, er zit geen vertaling bij.
    Het is alleen in het Engels en in het frans.
    Ook weet ik niet of Micro SD card er los bijgeleverd wordt of er al in zit.
    Moeilijk mijn computer accepteert de e-reader ook nog eens niet,Help

  28. Chantal says:

    I bought this reader last month. I had to return the 1st one because it wasn’t charging. The new one lasted 2 weeks. I was charging it and it just died. Customer service is horrible and so is the product. DO NOT BUY!!!

  29. Teressa says:

    I have a hipstreet m700 e-reader and my computer will not reconize it. and it is frozen and I would like to put it back to factory specs. they said i cannot do this as my computer will not reconize it. Do you know how i can fix this problem.

  30. Teressa says:

    they will not take it back

  31. Mrs M says:

    i am wondering why the menu for using my stylis stick only works when i have the book in small print and not any larger??? I need to see what i am circling right.

    Got this for Christmas and loving it.

  32. clara says:

    Bought this e-reader last Christmas. It has taken me a year to try and figure this out. No customer service help this is the WORST device on the PLANET!!!! I bought it at WALMART and they will not take it back. I am so irritated by this thing, even when i see it! Who ever is responsible for selling this crap should be ashamed!! Im so jealous of the real e-reader KOBO

  33. clara says:

    I hate it ….I HATE IT ….I HATE IT… PIECE OF SH*#!!!!
    I WANT TO THROW IT ON THE FLOOR AND STEP ON IT. DISGUSTING!!!!! WALMART WILL NOT TAKE IT BACK!!! WHY WOULD THEY!!!!

  34. clara says:

    I HATE THIS DEVICE. WHAT KIND OF CRAP IS THIS 75.00 HIPSTREET E READER CRAP!!!! I HATE IT . WHY WONT WALMART TAKE THIS DEVICE BACK.

    HIPSTREET!! YOU TOOK 75.00 OFF OF ME !!! I WILL NEVER BUY ANYTHING FROM YOU AGAIN.

  35. pat says:

    I dropped my e-reader model M700 and cracked the glass inside. Still turns on and off and displays everything but thats all. Any idea where or how to get it fixed. I really like this product. Thanks

  36. smackaay says:

    I would imagine getting it fixed would be more expensive than simply buying a new one.

  37. Chris says:

    what can i say? my friend gave me one i traded him a ds.Everything was fine.the next day i take it to school.After school i open my damn bag and the damn thing is cracked.Still turns on displays but have to use the buttons.Worst device ever.I had the same problem with aq small hipstreet mp3.the whole company sucks.btw now the software is messing up it reboots on its own and doesent respond to any button presses.DO NOT BUY ANYTHING LIKE THIS

  38. Andre van den Ancker says:

    Ik heb het ding gekocht voor 60 euro en heb vastgesteld dat het zeer gebruiksonvriendelijk werkt de lettergrootte veranderen is me 1 x gelukt daarna nooit meer,Ik denk er over het hele ding weg te doen en een fatsoenlijke E-reader te kopen.

  39. Dog Mom says:

    Junk!! I bought two of these e-readers as Christmas gifts for my parents a year ago. We are still unable to download books. My sister is a technology teacher and cannot get them to work. We bought them through Amazon and they wouldn’t refund our money either. Hipstreet was no help. They gave my sister the complete run around. They gave her a couple of different websites to try to download books, none of which would work. And they only stayed charged for 20 minutes. I promised Hipstreet I would give negative reviews every chance I can get. So… don’t buy this crap!

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