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ezRead Electronic Reading Aid

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ezRead Electronic Reading Aid
Transforms your TV into a Visual Aid!
Model Number: DR-200
From: Carson Optical

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - December 2, 2008

The ezRead (DR-200) from Carson Optical is a hand-held reading aid that allows you to magnify text up to 12.2x. The ezRead is ergonomic designed, light weight, and a 'must-have' device for anyone who needs their reading material in a large print format, or for anyone who is simply looking for an easy means of reading fine print or looking at photos or other flat items in great detail. The ezRead connects to your television set via an extra long video cable that is included. In just a few seconds from opening the box, you will be able to use the ezRead to turn your TV into an outstanding, multi-functional, visual aid that has many uses, from enlarging instructions and general reading material - including books, magazines, and newspaper, to looking at photographs and sales receipts.

If you've ever priced electronic magnifying reading aids before, you will be pleasantly surprised to discover that not only is the ezRead one of the easiest electronic magnifiers to use - but it is also the least expensive that I've come across! Most important, it works exactly as advertised - in conjunction with your television set the ezRead magnifies just about any flat material you might want to look at, and it does it in color! It also works on non-flat things, keeping the object or material in focus up to about a half-inch away from the surface. I had some kids over and they used the ezRead to look at their hands in crater-like detail, study a few bugs, and even some strands of hair.

The ezRead is powered by an A/C power adapter that is included. It will also run on 3-AAA batteries, which are not included. Once you choose your power source, all you have to do to set up the device is to connect one end of the supplied video cable to the ezRead and the other end to your TV. Turn on your TV and then simply press the on-off button centrally located on top of the ezRead, and you're set to go. It is that simple!

When you turn the ezRead on, an internal LED light comes on. Just place the ezRead directly on top of the material you want to magnify, and the image will show up on your TV screen - in full color. Unless of course, you have black and white TV, in which case the color option is out. The image is automatically focused, and the level of magnification will depend upon the size of your TV. For example: you will get a 5.3x magnification on a 14" television, 8x on a 21" television, and 12.2x on a 32" television. There is nothing to set or mess with. It is all done automatically.

I found the ezRead very easy to set-up and use. (I'll talk more about the set up later). Once I had the device set up and working, I tried reading a magazine that I just laid across my lap. As soon as I placed the ezRead on top of the page, the image was instantly on the TV screen. The image was crisp, in focus, and wonderfully enlarged.

To read, you simply place the ezRead on top of the reading material and slide it back and forth. If you never used a reading magnifier like this before, moving the reader back and forth over the lines of text will take some getting use to it, but in no time at all you will be reading like a pro. You'll also find that reading items in columns that do not require a back and forth movement of the device to read, to be a breeze. This is especially true with double columned Bibles, telephone directories, and the like.

I have an old, black and white CCTV that I use to use for reading the newspaper and magazines. While it is a practical device, I've never liked using it for pleasure reading because I've just never been able to sit comfortably in front of it while I read. Within seconds of using the ezRead, I realized that for most uses, I'd be switching to the ezRead for my general reading needs! With the ezRead I can sit in a comfortable chair and just sit back and relax while I read. I'll grant you that reading with the magazine on my lap did not work very well. I have a rather small hand, and holding the device on such an uneven surface was tiresome and a bit awkward. However, once I moved the magazine onto a hard surface (in this case a lap table, but a regular table or other hard surface would work fine), I could handle the device without any trouble or fatigue.

Brief instructions on setting up and using the ezRead are included with the product. However, there is one thing I would like to point out that is not covered in the instructions. While you probably already know this (if you don't, I'm sure your kids do!) depending upon your television set and what input jack you use to connect the video cable to, you might need to change the input source on your TV to use the ezRead. Once you know how to do it, it is a very simple procedure and you will find it no trouble at all to set up.

For example, in my case, there is an input jack on the front of my TV, I guess for plugging in game consoles, camcorders, or portable DVD players. Being the most convenient place for me to plug in the ezRead, I did, but at first all I got was static. The reason was simple, once I took a peak at the user manual for the TV, this input jack has a different video input source designation than my regular TV signal - in this case it is called Video2. Once I figured this out, it just took two clicks on my TV's remote control to switch from my normal analog input source to the Video2. In the case of my TV, I just had to hit the TV/AV button on my remote and scroll down to the line that said Video2 and hit enter. To change it back, I just followed the same procedure. Now that I know how to do this, it takes me about eight seconds to switch between the two input sources. For me, I found the entire set-up time for the ezRead, including switching the video source, to be less than 30 seconds once I knew what I was doing.

It would be an understatement to say that I was impressed with the ezRead! It is so, so easy to use, and I like the fact that you don't have to fiddle with focus knobs, or any kind of settings. You just turn it on, and you are set to go. In the scheme of things, it is a very inexpensive product, and it does an equal if not better job than its higher priced counterparts. The only drawback to this product is that it really needs to come with some sort of storage case or protective covering - both to keep it dust free and to protect the reading surface from scratches while being stored. Searching through a drawer of stuff that probably should have been thrown away, I was fortunate to find an oversized camera bag that perfectly fit the ezRead and had a separate compartment to store the cable and A/C adapter. If you cannot find something similar to store your ezRead, I recommend that you be sure to save the box and two-part plastic sleeve that the reader comes in. Both are quite durable and will provide ample protection for your ezRead until you find something more to your taste.

Otherwise, I cannot do anything but praise the ezRead! If you normally need or simply like reading large print materials, give the ezRead a try. If you discover that you love it, like I do, you will find that you are no longer restricted to just books printed in large print. You can take any book, magazine, or newspaper, and turn it into to a large print format with the aid of your new ezRead and your own TV. I highly, highly recommend the ezRead from Carson Optical!!!

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