Besta CD-859 mini



Product: CD-859 mini
Company:
Besta

The CD-859 mini is an electronic tool to learn languages developed by a Taiwanese company called Besta, primarily aiming for Taiwanese students learning English or Japanese (I use it to learn Chinese and sometimes English). However, the device is highly versatile and can probably be used from any of the main languages (there are seven) to any other. There are countless of similar products on the market and here I’ll try to explain why I think this one is pretty good.

First let us consider what the dictionary can do. Officially, it states that it can handle fourteen diffirent languages, but this is only true for travel dictionaries and phrases; full dictionaries are “only” available in seven languages. It also has some software for English learning, although naturally I haven’t spent much time exploring these. For Chinese, it has, part from the usual stuff, a very useful Chinese-Chinese idiom dictionary which is quite comprehensive. It also sports functions to read text on the device and look up chaarcters as you read, store them and then transfer them to your computer for later use. The display is multicolour and also features a touch screen, which is indispensible if one wants to look up new characters (don’t buy an electronic dictionary if it hasn’t got a touch screen).

In addition to these functions, it has a number of small but important bonuses (such as zooming for very complex characters which otherwise would look blurred), but which would take too much time and space to list here.

There are few disadvantages with the Besta CD-859 mini, but there are a few nontheless. One of them is the Chinese character dictionary: it doesn’t have enough characters. I don’t know if this is common or that my requirements are set too high, but now and then I run into characters that simply doesn’t exist in the dictionary (no, I’m not writing them incorrectly). It’s possible to buy expansions to the dictionaries, but this feel more like a cheap trick to earn more money than a serious business strategy. However, don’t misunderstand me, all common characters are in there, only very rare ones are omitted. An additional disadvantage might be the price (I bought mine on a discount, but it still cost me roughly $6600 NT or $200 USD when I bought it in May 2009.

Generally speaking, I should have bought something like this a long time ago. I use it everyday I read Chinese and it’s literally worth its weight in gold (I’m not kidding). Imagine being able to download texts from the internet and read them at you leisure, with the option of looking up and storing difficult words or characters as you go along! Having something like this, although not necessarily the CD-859 mini, makes studying much more efficient. If you’re studying Chinese and haven’t bought an electronic dictionary yet, do it now, because you don’t know how much easier your studying could become and you don’t know what you’ve been missing until you have it.

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  1. Xhakhal’s avatar

    This is really cool O_O I actually had no idea things like these existed, but now I’m really curious. If we manage to meet before you go back to Taiwan (which I think we will, the move is drawing closer and everything seems to be solving itself!) I’d really like to see it! I love looking at new gadgets I didn’t know about, even if they’re gadgets I don’t have much use for myself (as I’m not learning any new language right now).

    Reply

    1. Olle Linge’s avatar

      I think you’ll like the dictionary. I didn’t mention it in the review, but Taiwanese people like pimped stuff (which I hate, of course), and this one is the least pimped I could find. It’s black with what looks like silvery sequins in the shape of a tree. Yes, that was the least pimped one I found.

      I had endless fun just exploring what stuff was on the device. There are so many functions a modern mobile phone looks like joke. I think you’ll definitely like it. :) And perhaps you have some horsis to spare so I can pimp it some more?

      Reply

      1. Xhakhal’s avatar

        Ooh! I’ll definately donate some horsis!

        Reply

      2. Dan’s avatar

        How do u type in the Chinese characters? Pin yin, bopomofo, or write the character?

        Reply

        1. Olle Linge’s avatar

          All three methods are available, although I’ve only really used handwriting.

          Reply