Pocketbook 302 review: Preconceptions

pb302_4 Sometime this coming week, I should be receiving a Pocketbook 302 e-book reader to review—and Joanna, nee Ficbot, will be reviewing the smaller Pocketbook 360. We have mentioned Pocketbook a few times already; it is a Ukrainian/Taiwanese company that uses e-ink-based hardware from Netronix (the OEM that makes the Cybook, COOL-ER, and others) with its own Linux-based firmware.

The 302 is Pocketbook’s most advanced model so far. It seems to be a pretty standard 6” e-ink reader (with the standard USB interface), with the addition of wifi and some apps including RSS, Sudoku, and—according to the Nate’s Ebook News review of it—a web browser. It has 512 megabytes internal storage, accepts an up-to-32-gig SD card, and reads the most common e-book formats including Mobipocket, EPUB, and PDF. It supports ADEPT DRM.

The display supports 16 shades of grey, rather than the 8 that prior readers I’ve reviewed support. Like the PRS-700, it has a touchscreen. I’m not sure whether it’s the same (glare-inducing) kind. Either way, it should be all right to read on judging from my past experiences with e-ink screens.

Pocketbook devices seem to be getting generally positive reviews, especially for their light weight and overall swiftness in tasks such as opening books, navigating menus, and page-turning. I look forward to seeing this for myself. After I finish reviewing it, I might loan it to my non-technophile father to try out for a while, and get his thoughts on it.

The one thing that gives me pause is the $340 list price for the 302—$100 more than a Kindle, and only $160 less than the cost of an iPad. (The smaller Pocketbook 360 costs $240 with accessories.) Is the 302 a good-enough gadget to justify spending that kind of hard-earned money when a Kindle or Nook is so much cheaper?

I look forward to finding out.

7 Comments on Pocketbook 302 review: Preconceptions

  1. All the touchscreens are glare-inducing. This might be a technological limitation, or maybe not, but either way, this is a show stopper for some people, me included.

    Just like with notebooks, anti-glare screens were not invented just to be “uninvented” two decades later, only because a bunch a morons want a 1:100000000000 contrast!

  2. NOTE: In fact, the glare-inducing laptop screens have HIGHER contrast, whereas the glare-inducing e-Ink screens have LOWER contrast! Isn’t that funny?

  3. Béranger, some of the new e-ink devices have their sensor layer behind the e-ink screen so it is much less prone to glare.

  4. Felix Torres // March 13, 2010 at 6:35 pm //

    When you get the reader, make sure to try out the latest version of this:
    http://code.google.com/p/fbreader-pockebook/

    And check out some of the replacement themes; they don’t just reskin the GUI, but also enable different behavior.

    I really love my PB360; i’ts rock-solid stable, fits in my pocket, and can be operated entirely with my thumb.
    Best ergonomics I’ve seen on any reader out there.

  5. That’s so funny about your father, Chris. One of my plans was to give mine to my mom and stepdad for a test drive :)

  6. Felix, I think your “t” key is going. :)

  7. Felix Torres // March 13, 2010 at 7:11 pm //

    Not just the ‘t’; I’m getting weird keybounce (dupes and skips) all over. Going to force me to actually read what I post. 😉

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