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Old 06-05-2010, 02:30 AM   #1
agravier
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Lightbulb Received pocketbooks 302 today. This is the review thread.

Hi everybody,

My wife and I received our PB302 today. They are currently charging as the instruction manual advices to charge the devices during 8 to 12 hours before first use. So, the first real test will be tomorrow. I'll update this post.

However, I can already comment on the non-electronic parts that come with the PB302:
  • The leather casing is great, all ports are accessible except for the round one on the side where one plugs the wall charger. The word pocketbook is embossed
  • The wall charger (version with US socket) is pretty small.
  • The wrist strap is a little less elegant, with advertisements for Pocketbook and bookland printed on it, but if you don't like it, buying a new one will for sure not ruin you. Moreover, it's just long enough to allow you holding the PB302 in most directions, and it can be used with pouch on, so it's quite convenient.
  • The warranty: There is an issue (maybe with Pocketbook USA?) that makes that the warranty cards we found in the boxes are one-year warranty cards. Our seller, tvpupsik, is currently helping us to resolve the problem by us sending the right cards.

A few pics to illustrate all that (click for bigger):

The white PB302 with the light pouch. It's charging and you can see that it can't be completely in the pouch.



The pouch of the black PB302 (next to a pencil to get an idea of the size)





The black PB302 with its strap, charging.



Running the device: First impressions

Please note two things:

First, I believe that we have the new versions of PB302, with more memory, and possibly a bigger battery. So if you have the previous version of the
Second, we updated the devices to firmware 15.2 a few hours after switching them on the first time. My comments apply only to the upgraded 302 with firmware 15.2

Reading:

Loading files is in general, fast and flawless. The default (Adobe) reader failed to properly display Polish characters in PDF files, but the other one (pdfviewer) didn't have this problem. I had to stop the crashed reader (and sometimes the browser or the bookstore) application, and that's really easy, just long press the round button. It's instantaneous, and the reader itself doesn't need to be rebooted. Linux ftw.
Books have to be read in good luminosity conditions (obviously), but even more so because the e-ink screen background is not white but grey. This is a good point in high luminosity (outside, sun) as it's less tiring than a white page. But you have to be extra careful in the evening at home.

Other applications:

Connecting to the home wifi was impossible without shortening our 63 characters WPA-PSK passphrase at home. This is ok while at home, but it may be an issue at work. A great point though (if you have some knowledge of GNU/Linux environments) is that you're able to read a system log in case of failure, which allowed me to determine that the issue was indeed the password lengh
It seems like the graphical interface that allows inputing the passphrase chokes on long strings, because the underlying wpa_supplicant complains about not receiving any passphrase.
In any case, this is not a major problem and once you're connected, it works great. You have the possibility to store several AP parameters, so if you move with your PB, no need to reconfigure everything each time. In the same vein, you can have user profiles, and several users sharing one PB will not complain about their "last open books" not being theirs, etc...

The English online (bookland.net) store is accessible from the device, with a dedicated icon in the Books section, but it's embryonic. The good point is that it's not empty, you can download project Gutenberg books directly from your device. The less good point for now is that it's all you can do. On the Ukrainian website, http://bookland.net.ua/ , you can register, login, search books or browse them by various categories and whatnot, but it's all in Ukrainian.

However, my wife found that a great news source is the Ukrainian PB website. If, like me, you don't read Ukrainian, just use Google Translate (it will pop-up automatically in Chrome, otherwise got to translate.google.com) to translate from Russian to English.
For instance, the specs page becomes: translation

Note: how to flash your 302 with the latest firmware:
1) Backup all your data.
2) Download and unzip the following file: http://pocketbook-global.com/downloa...de_ws_15_2.zip, or whichever file is the latest firmware for PB302 (there is a sticky thread about it, read it)
3) Place the .BIN file at the root of a microSD card
4) Switch off the 302, plug it to the power. insert the microSD
5) Hold down the two larger buttons ("next page" by default) on the side of the device, and at the same time switch on the device. Keep these two buttons pressed until the machine has booted and tells you that it'll update the firmware.
6) Follow the on-screen instructions. Reboot in the end. I also reset before rebooting, just in case. For that, use the stylus to press the small button on the back of the 302.

(to be continued)

Last edited by agravier; 06-16-2010 at 01:17 PM. Reason: update on the warranty issue by Tatiana
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Old 06-05-2010, 02:31 AM   #2
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More testing:

My wife and I are pretty happy with the devices.

I tried several file formats, and a few notes that I took:
  • The battery life is immense. It is really impressively long. I didn't charge yet (though I transfered a lot of files by USB, and maybe it charges the battery when using USB transfer)
  • The Wifi range is very good, better than my macbook pro (from 2006, ok, but still)
  • PDF files open correctly right away most of the time. However, not all the time, we got a collection of failures like empty pages or error messages trying to open some PDFs. But it's not a catastrophe because:
    - there are two pieces of reader software on the device, so there is a chance that the second succeeds where the other one failed.
    - you can try to save the faulty file again (meaning rewrite the PDF) if you have Adobe Acrobat, Foxit Fanthom, Apple's Preview, etc...
    - if you are using calibre (which I am not, but that's a matter of taste), i heard that you can convert PDFs to various other format.
  • RTF files are stripped of their formatting but display fine as pure text, which is ok for me.
  • The USB connection to windows and my distribution of Linux work normally, the device is recognized as a mass storage device to be ejected after use. But there is an issue on my Macintosh computer, as OS X (Leopard) recognizes the device, and can read and write it, but can't eject it properly: as soon as ejected, the device pops back. It make that you can only remove the device dirtily or shutdown the mac. Again, it may be only my computer, I don't know.
  • I have yet to find how to get a "column view mode". I thought (from reviews) that when center-touching while reading a PDF, there should be a choice of "column mode" zoom options in the zoom menu. I yet have to find this column zoom mode. I daily read journal articles which are column-formatted (e.g. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal...ature09146.pdf ) and the column mode was one of the reasons why I bought the reader. Any idea how to activate it?

Finally, I saw in the comment thread that there was a debate on the "inward buttons" that are not easy to press when the device is no the pouch. Yes, on my device the right buttons are a little covered by the pouch, while on my wife's the pouch is relatively symmetrical. She has small finger, and that with long nails make that she didn't notice any problem to use the buttons. However, it's too hard for me to use the right scrolling buttons so I mostly use the touchscreen to turn pages.

Last edited by agravier; 06-16-2010 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 06-05-2010, 09:55 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by agravier View Post
[*]The warranty: It's apparently not two years as advertised everywhere and in particular in the shop where we bought it. I guess it's a mistake from all shops, but that's quite bad because one of the selling points of PB is that they offer a two years limited warranty instead of the usual one year that other brands offer. Anyone in the same situation?

We are disappointed by the warranty issue. tvpupsik, any coment?
Hi Alex,
Warranty coupons that came with the new 302 inventory have a typo. PocketBook USA warrants all models for 2 years. I sent you the correct warranty coupon via email.
Thanks,
Tatiana

Last edited by tvpupsik; 06-05-2010 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 06-05-2010, 10:48 AM   #4
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Thanks Tatiana, I received your email and replied to you. I update the review thread accordingly.
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:33 PM   #5
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Regarding my remark about the bookstore, does anyone know when bookland.net will be as functional as bookland.net.ua? Meaning that we would be able to log in from the website and device, etc...
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:21 AM   #6
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Regarding my remark about the bookstore, does anyone know when bookland.net will be as functional as bookland.net.ua? Meaning that we would be able to log in from the website and device, etc...
As soon as webkit is up to scratch, we will have a many bookstores available on the device. Target for this is around September.
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Old 06-11-2010, 11:56 AM   #7
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That's nice, looking forward to this
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Old 06-11-2010, 03:10 PM   #8
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The case looks awesome.
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:05 PM   #9
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The case looks awesome.
Ready to order one for yourself, RahulM?
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Old 06-12-2010, 10:20 AM   #10
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The case looks awesome.

It is...... (sorry it doesn't look awesome . it IS awesome .... imho)

When I remember the hoohaa we had a couple of years ago with my Gen3 and the is it or isn't it leather - it's a welcome sight to see the PB in a leather case - and it's a very robust one that allows access to each and every port .... (bit of a dinky wrist-strap though .... )
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Old 06-14-2010, 08:38 PM   #11
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- and it's a very robust one that allows access to each and every port .... (bit of a dinky wrist-strap though .... )
It is a shame it does not allow access to the charge port though...seems a strange over-sight.
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Old 06-14-2010, 08:49 PM   #12
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Hi everybody,
Second, we updated the devices to firmware 15.2 a few hours after switching them on the first time. My comments apply only to the upgraded 302 with firmware 15.2
How did you come by the latest firmware? I received my 302 toady, and it is still 15.1.

There does not seem to be any firmware at all listed for download on the USA site.
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:03 PM   #13
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I got my 302 today, and I concur with all that the OP said.

I have found a few funny things though.

Transferring books to the internal memory with Calibre is painfully slow. It took 15+ minutes to transfer 700 books. I have only done it once - not game to have another go as life is just too short!

The touch screen is a bit funny sometimes - does not always pick up the finger movement. Works fine with the stylus though.

I have not found the screen itself to be a problem. It does not have the contrast of some eink screens I have seen - ie the background is not as white as some. But no reflective glare that some users report.

The leather case is great - I might not even need to get a screen protector. It opens up (vertically) though, which seems a bit strange. It would have been more 'book like' to open horizontally. It is not as easy to hold as a Kindle, for example because of this. Also - it is a bit hard to charge the unit - you have to remove it a bit from the case to do this. Still, it is a big selling point.

I have not been able to get the WiFi to connect yet. Dunno why. The Linux debug stuff is too cryptic to read. But I guess I will get it working eventually.

I also have not been able to get the cover images to come up in Detail listing. May have to play with the settings or something there - or in Calibre. Dunno. They come up inside the book when you open it - so the images are actually there. I am currently using FB2 format. Might try a few other formats to see which is best.

It looks a good unit.
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:24 PM   #14
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How did you come by the latest firmware? I received my 302 toady, and it is still 15.1.

There does not seem to be any firmware at all listed for download on the USA site.
You can download 15.2 from here:
PB302 firmware version 15.2
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:37 PM   #15
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You can download 15.2 from here:
PB302 firmware version 15.2
Sorry - that link gives a 404 error.
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