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Old 04-30-2010, 06:55 PM   #1
Sylver
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My first impressions of Pocket Pro

Hi, everyone, have had my pocket pro for a week or so and just managed to replace the logon screen with this customized one (the red Chinese character seal is actually scanned from a real ex libris seal I carved myself more than 20 years ago, and the cursive Chinese character is "tiger" the year I was born): - it shows as grayscale of course but looks good on the unit.

I did some research and finally settled down on this one based on one major factor - Chinese support (both simplified and traditional characters). In general, I am pretty happy with the purchase.

The size/weight is about right and I like the feel of the device, not as slippery (and not distractingly shiny as) the piano-paint-like nook I played in the store.

The Chinese text support is excellent and I can change to whatever fonts I put on the SD card - although for the most part, the default system font works great for both traditional and simplified Chinese.

It's relatively simple to navigate through my own folder structure; the mp3 quality is average but acceptable. And you can tell I like the way the logon and logoff screens can be customized.

However, here are some observations that I wish you guys can help me understand better:

1. the contrast ratio is not satisfactory: am I looking at a different generation of e-ink technologies than the nook or kindle? Both the nook and the kindle I saw have whiter backgrounds and the "ink" looks more outstanding and darker than PP (at least that's my impression). Both the background of the screen and the foreground font colors of Pocket Pro have a little bit green tint making it not as crisp as the nook and the kindle. Is this a hardware issue or I have a defect unit? Is this fixable via future firmware updates? It's OK during normal daylight, but I really doubt if, say, inside a plane, it can still be comfortably readable with a passenger light 3 feet above. Anyone has experience using Pocket Pro on a flight?

2. the text-to-speech function works OK for both simplified and traditional Chinese, but the TTS sound quality is still too poor to be really useful (I can live with the mechanic feeling of the voice, but somehow the system generated sound is with very low bitrate and barely livable to the ears). Is there any way to download an alternative TTS voice and make it work?

3. anyone knows how to install at least an English dictionary on this? I cannot imagine it does not have one out of box (I know a Chinese dictionary may be too much to ask, but an English one, C'mon, how hard that can be?).

4. battery is one of the reason I chose an e-ink device, yet I am most disappointed in this one. I read somewhere that says pocket pro lasts for 2 or 3 weeks with 7000+ page turns. I had mine charged overnight when it arrived, and it died on the fifth day, I had about 20 books on SD card, although I flip through the books a lot, but on average not more than 20 pages each book, so at most I had only 400 page turns - I did leave the device on which I was told is not eating up the battery. How long does the battery last for you guys? I know it will probably take several charges for it to reach the optimal performance, but before it died, the battery bar was still showing full mark, so I am very puzzled. And I am so confused reading different articles/manuals regarding LiPo batteries, some say you will need to charge/fully discharge at least several times, some say you need to do it always, some say there is no memory effect for LiPo batteries, you dont have to wait and can charge any time you want, any thoughts on that?

Thanks a lot. Even though I came from China, this is the first Chinese brand (well sort of) that surprises me in a good way at first sight.

Last edited by Sylver; 04-30-2010 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 04-30-2010, 07:21 PM   #2
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Smile Welcome Sylver!! Nice post!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylver View Post
Hi, everyone, have had my pocket pro for a week or so and just managed to replace the logon screen with this customized one (the red Chinese character seal is actually scanned from a real ex libris seal I carved myself more than 20 years ago, and the cursive Chinese character is "tiger" the year I was born): - it shows as grayscale of course but looks good on the unit.

I did some research and finally settled down on this one based on one major factor - Chinese support (both simplified and traditional characters). In general, I am pretty happy with the purchase.

The size/weight is about right and I like the feel of the device, not as slippery (and not distractingly shiny as) the piano-paint-like nook I played in the store.

The Chinese text support is excellent and I can change to whatever fonts I put on the SD card - although for the most part, the default system font works great for both traditional and simplified Chinese.

It's relatively simple to navigate through my own folder structure; the mp3 quality is average but acceptable. And you can tell I like the way the logon and logoff screens can be customized.

However, here are some observations that I wish you guys can help me understand better:

1. the contrast ratio is not satisfactory: are there different generations of e-ink technologies out there? the nook and the kindle I saw both have whiter backgrounds and the "ink" looks more outstanding and darker than this one. Both the background of the screen and the foreground font colors of Pocket Pro have a little bit green tint making it not as crisp as the nook and the kindle. Is this a hardware issue or I have a defect unit? Is this fixable via future firmware updates? It's OK during normal daylight, but I really doubt if, say, inside a plane, it can still be comfortably readable with a passenger light 3 feet above. Anyone has experience using Pocket Pro on a flight?

2. the text-to-speech function works OK for both simplified and traditional Chinese, but the TTS sound quality is still too poor to be really useful (I can live with the mechanic feeling of the voice, but somehow the system generated sound is with very low bitrate and barely livable to the ears). Is there any way to download an alternative TTS voice and make it work?

3. anyone knows how to install at least an English dictionary on this? I cannot imagine it does not have one out of box (I know a Chinese dictionary is a lot to ask, but an English one, C'mon, how hard that can be).

4. battery is one of the reason I chose e-ink, and I read somewhere that says pocket pro lasts for 2 or 3 weeks with 7000+ page turns. I had mine charged overnight when it arrived, and it died on the fifth day, I had about 20 books on SD card, although I flip through the books a lot, but on average not more than 20 pages each book, so at most I had only 400 page turns - I did leave the device on which I was told is not eating up the battery. How long does the battery last for you guys? I know it will probably take several charges for it to reach the optimal performance, but before it died, the battery bar was still showing full mark, so I am very puzzled. And I am so confused reading different articles/manuals regarding LiPo batteries, some say you will need to charge/fully discharge at least several times, some say you need to do it always, some say there is no memory effect for LiPo batteries, you dont have to wait and can charge any time you want, any thoughts on that?

Thanks a lot. Even though I came from China, this is the first Chinese brand (well sort of) that surprises me in a good way at first sight.
Dear Sylver:

Thank you for posting and for your good comments and things you would like better. I work for Astak!

FINALLY work is procceding on dictionary support for the Pocket PRO and EZ Reader Basic. It took the combined effortsof Dale DePriest, myself, and our Program Manager to finally get the factory moving after countless false starts. It appears to be for real this time and the PM is pushing it. The factory has assigned the engineers and they expect 4-6 weeks to complete. Then it will come out as a Firmware Upgrade for free!

The battery on the Pocket PRO takes a while to LEARN what is full and what is empty. You do have to go 2-3 times before the gauge starts to really work well. Yes, you should get 2-3 weeks of Battery Charge Life on average.
I always recommend charging when the Battery Charge Life shows just below 1/2 charge. Do not wait for it to get really low. Also, when you charge, make sure you do not stop charging when the light turns green. Charge at least two hours past the start of "green". I recommend a solid "overnight" when you do recharge.

I fly with my PocketPRO all over the world. Long trips to Taiwan are a pleasure with the Pocket PRO. During daylight outside the plane there is no problem. When it gets dark the overhead light is fair for reading but I recommend the Mighty Bright UltaFlex2 eBook Reader light. They are easy to find on Amazon for $14-$19. That is a double LED so you eliminate "bright spots".

You cannot change the contrast ratio BUT you can change the Font Style. Press the large "OK" bitton when the unit is "on" and it will bring up 6 choices. Press #6 for "settings". Then push #3 for "replace font". You will be amazed how a darker and bigger font can help a ton!

Welcome to our merry band of Astak lovers!! I LOVE your login screen!!
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Old 04-30-2010, 07:43 PM   #3
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The idea of dictionary support is a little more difficult than just having a dictionary. If you just want to have a dictionary to read you can download one from our web site in the eBook download area. There are several available in different formats. If you want one to interact with the book you are reading then you will have to wait a bit.
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:03 PM   #4
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Thanks, Robert and Dale. I am not sure where is the ebook download area, will do some exploring.

I just brought this PP with me to the store and compare to the sony reader there, mine definitely has a darker (and a little bit yellowish/greener) screen, but I guess I can live with it.
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Old 04-30-2010, 09:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylver View Post
Thanks, Robert and Dale. I am not sure where is the ebook download area, will do some exploring.

I just brought this PP with me to the store and compare to the sony reader there, mine definitely has a darker (and a little bit yellowish/greener) screen, but I guess I can live with it.
We have a whole section of the site devoted to free downloads of eBooks. It is a great resource for the site. If you look in the top banner you will see E-books or you can just scroll down a bit and you will find the section. These are mostly hand built corrected eBooks and are the best you will find anywhere. They are not just packaged machine scans like you find from google.

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Old 04-30-2010, 09:41 PM   #6
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Try our new Astak eBook Store

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylver View Post
Thanks, Robert and Dale. I am not sure where is the ebook download area, will do some exploring.

I just brought this PP with me to the store and compare to the sony reader there, mine definitely has a darker (and a little bit yellowish/greener) screen, but I guess I can live with it.
Dear Sylver:

As you are new you may not have gone to: www.EZread.com. I think it is going to be the best. The prices are quite low (in many cases the absolute lowest) and interesting and we have both 200,000 "pay" titles and the entire Google Free Library also. The only formats on this site are EPUB and PDF... perfect for your PP and ideal for Adobe Digital Editions... the PP main DRM format. What sets it apart is what is coming: a book FORUM on there where you can interact with our eBook Specialists, read reviews, ask for your favorite authors and more. It will also have a "Meet The Author" page; and we are going to Book Festivals to bring in a lot of really incredible Independent Authors and Publishers.

In a short time you will love that screen. It is easier on the eyes, causes no eye strain, and works beautifully in bright sunlight or shade. The screen on the Sony may look "whiter" but this is the same Grade "A" screen as the Sonu uses and the features, by comparison to the Sony PRS-300, are almost unbelievable. The PP is a five times better device and you will soon realize that.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:43 PM   #7
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The colour difference is because the PP screen is manufactured by PVI while the Sony screen is manufactured by LGPhillips.

It is the same as an LCD panel on a laptop, all panels, but different manufacturers will have a slightly different look to their panels even if they all perform to the same spec.

For the contrast, you're going to have to use a different font. There is a beta firmware that just came out that has a setting that may also improve things. More on that later.
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