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Old 04-20-2010, 12:57 PM   #1
Freddy Bastiat
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Astak EZ Reader Pocket Pro Review

I purchased a black Pocket Pro reader a few weeks back and thought I would briefly post my impressions. In my search for an ereader I appreciated the reviews posted here so I'm returning the favor and hope my comments may be helpful to those still searching.

I had been debating between waiting for the new 6" EZ Reader to be released and getting the 5". My main concern was readability with the smaller screen. One thing that helped me was to go to Best Buy where they had two of the Sony models and looked at their screen sizes. There wasn't really a big difference to me so I decided to go ahead and get the 5". The free light offer helped to get me moving.

Once out of the box there were two things that struck me about the device. One, it's smaller than I thought it would be (even though I knew the dimensions and had a general idea - this is not a problem) and two, it was not as "black" as I thought it would be. Is there such a thing as slate black? It's a lighter black than what I pictured. I thought black was black. I was expecting a black-black if that makes sense...kind of like Spinal Tap's album cover...as Nigel Tufnel said, "It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black." But this black is not like that...it's much less black. Not a big issue, but not what I was expecting.

It is very light, which is a good thing. It is also very portable, which is more of a positive factor than I thought it might be. I take this little guy everywhere now.

It took me a while to get used to the interface, but after a couple of days I've gotten used to it and don't think about it so much now. Funny thing is that even though I know full well this isn't a touch screen (I didn't want one), I still have to fight the urge to touch it nonetheless.

I've never used eink before and I find this device pleasant to read. You have to have a decent light source though. It actually looks best in bright daylight. I don't ever spend more than an hour at a time reading, but I haven't experienced any eye strain from it. Font size 3 seems to work best for me. The page turns are quicker than I expected also. It's not distracting to me to have the "flash" with each page turn. Every now and then the buttons seem slow to respond, and I have to push the button again, which is only mildly annoying.

I downloaded Calibre and it has been great for converting books to different formats. I've been playing around with formats to see what I like best. I find that sometimes I like EPUBs for certain books and other times I prefer MOBI. PDFs aren't always great but I understand their limitations. I'm also using Calibre to grab RSS feeds and then I convert them to a MOBI format, which seems to work better with the hyperlinks for some reason. I tried FB2, but I seem to like the simplicity of EPUBs more. The Coolreader player takes a while to load and I don't like that.

I haven't placed music on it because I've got a great device for that. But I did put some audio lectures on it and the mp3 player works great. The headphones are pretty cheap though, so those have gone straight to a drawer to die a slow, tangled death. It would be nice if the player bookmarked, but like I said, I've already got a wonderful device that does that anyway (Sansa Fuze - I highly recommend it along with the Sansa Clip).

The cover was a bit stiffer than what I was expecting, but the feel should soften up over time...if it is indeed genuine leather. But it works well and I'm glad to have it.

I installed the latest firmware update with no problem. I do think it would be great to have the device come with it's own memory card with the latest firmware on it.

Overall, I'm thrilled with it and feel it was a great purchase for me...a bit more than I would like to pay for such an item, but it's competitive with the other options out there so I can't complain.

Pros:
Memory expasion
Not tied to any one book seller (big plus for me)
Supports many formats
Comes with it's own case and charger
Good product support on this forum
Supports ADE (library ebooks and possibly Sony book store)
I can drag and drop files easily
Very light and portable
I like the feel of it (didn't like the Sony, cold and hard)
Battery life is excellent
I like the clip on light - nice bonus

Cons:
Would have liked a memory card included - (not a big deal really)
Would like keys to be consistently more responsive at times
No major complaints

Good job Astak!

Last edited by Freddy Bastiat; 04-20-2010 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 04-20-2010, 01:09 PM   #2
Davimee
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Thanks for your review! I'm really enjoying mine, too! It's a great little device.
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Old 04-20-2010, 02:32 PM   #3
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Thanks for the review. I'm looking forward to the new one Astak is going to release; that may be the one that turns me into a collector of ereaders and not just a user - lol.

I second your remarks about the Sansa Fuze - great MP3 player and stands up to a lot of abuse (my 22 month old nephew thinks that it's his personal cell phone - I turn it on to the Photos, lock it down, and he's happy as a clam).
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Old 04-20-2010, 03:25 PM   #4
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Great review, Freddy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freddy Bastiat View Post
I purchased a black Pocket Pro reader a few weeks back and thought I would briefly post my impressions. In my search for an ereader I appreciated the reviews posted here so I'm returning the favor and hope my comments may be helpful to those still searching.

I had been debating between waiting for the new 6" EZ Reader to be released and getting the 5". My main concern was readability with the smaller screen. One thing that helped me was to go to Best Buy where they had two of the Sony models and looked at their screen sizes. There wasn't really a big difference to me so I decided to go ahead and get the 5". The free light offer helped to get me moving.

Once out of the box there were two things that struck me about the device. One, it's smaller than I thought it would be (even though I knew the dimensions and had a general idea - this is not a problem) and two, it was not as "black" as I thought it would be. Is there such a thing as slate black? It's a lighter black than what I pictured. I thought black was black. I was expecting a black-black if that makes sense...kind of like Spinal Tap's album cover...as Nigel Tufnel said, "It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black." But this black is not like that...it's much less black. Not a big issue, but not what I was expecting.

It is very light, which is a good thing. It is also very portable, which is more of a positive factor than I thought it might be. I take this little guy everywhere now.

It took me a while to get used to the interface, but after a couple of days I've gotten used to it and don't think about it so much now. Funny thing is that even though I know full well this isn't a touch screen (I didn't want one), I still have to fight the urge to touch it nonetheless.

I've never used eink before and I find this device pleasant to read. You have to have a decent light source though. It actually looks best in bright daylight. I don't ever spend more than an hour at a time reading, but I haven't experienced any eye strain from it. Font size 3 seems to work best for me. The page turns are quicker than I expected also. It's not distracting to me to have the "flash" with each page turn. Every now and then the buttons seem slow to respond, and I have to push the button again, which is only mildly annoying.

I downloaded Calibre and it has been great for converting books to different formats. I've been playing around with formats to see what I like best. I find that sometimes I like EPUBs for certain books and other times I prefer MOBI. PDFs aren't always great but I understand their limitations. I'm also using Calibre to grab RSS feeds and then I convert them to a MOBI format, which seems to work better with the hyperlinks for some reason. I tried FB2, but I seem to like the simplicity of EPUBs more. The Coolreader player takes a while to load and I don't like that.

I haven't placed music on it because I've got a great device for that. But I did put some audio lectures on it and the mp3 player works great. The headphones are pretty cheap though, so those have gone straight to a drawer to die a slow, tangled death. It would be nice if the player bookmarked, but like I said, I've already got a wonderful device that does that anyway (Sansa Fuze - I highly recommend it along with the Sansa Clip).

The cover was a bit stiffer than what I was expecting, but the feel should soften up over time...if it is indeed genuine leather. But it works well and I'm glad to have it.

I installed the latest firmware update with no problem. I do think it would be great to have the device come with it's own memory card with the latest firmware on it.

Overall, I'm thrilled with it and feel it was a great purchase for me...a bit more than I would like to pay for such an item, but it's competitive with the other options out there so I can't complain.

Pros:
Memory expasion
Not tied to any one book seller (big plus for me)
Supports many formats
Comes with it's own case and charger
Good product support on this forum
Supports ADE (library ebooks and possibly Sony book store)
I can drag and drop files easily
Very light and portable
I like the feel of it (didn't like the Sony, cold and hard)
Battery life is excellent
I like the clip on light - nice bonus

Cons:
Would have liked a memory card included - (not a big deal really)
Would like keys to be consistently more responsive at times
No major complaints

Good job Astak!
Dear Freddy:

Great and thorough job. Yes, this is exactly what new potential buyers need to see. It is objective and your opinion will be respected a lot better than mine.

I am happy you like the light. Eventually, you will really come to appreciate the user-replaceable rechargeable battery. To me, that is a huge plus. I cannot imagine the agony of sending a device with a sealed-in battery to a factory to change the battery. The cost and time is unreal.

I LOVE that you mentioned the MP3 function and that the page turn speed is great.

You are right. The black is more of a "slate black" or charcoal than "true midnight" black. Part of this is because SO many people on this forum suggested that the finish on the Pocket PRO NOT be gloss.

Yes, when we first talked about "feel" so many people said that "light" was not right. There were endless discussions about thickness being more important. Yet... now that people have it... every good compliment centers around the feel and the lightness. We noticed this at CES also where reviewers and attendees came up and thought it was "a mock-up" or something as it felt impossibly light. They were immensely surprised to be able to turn the page and know it was real.

Today, on my blog, I got a snotty message saying that now that the iPad is here there is no need for designated eBook Readers. I always laugh at this and simply ask them to hold an iPad for an hour... or even ten minutes. While the screen is impressive, you cannot really hold it... just set it down. And then you start remembering you have 8-10 hours total charge and that books are black on white background anyway and your reading causes eye strain. So I think your review is timely and hits all the major components of "a pleasure to read WITH".

Thank you!!
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Old 04-20-2010, 03:34 PM   #5
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Waiting for the new one

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xanthe View Post
Thanks for the review. I'm looking forward to the new one Astak is going to release; that may be the one that turns me into a collector of ereaders and not just a user - lol.

I second your remarks about the Sansa Fuze - great MP3 player and stands up to a lot of abuse (my 22 month old nephew thinks that it's his personal cell phone - I turn it on to the Photos, lock it down, and he's happy as a clam).
Dear Xanthe:

So am I. I think the EZ Reader PLUS is a perfect device as it stays light, has blazing speed, has that great 16 gray scale E-Ink screen, and now will hold up to 8,000 eBooks at USB 2.0 speed. I have wanted this for SO long. To me, I want a great 6 inch that just does what I want quickly and without a fight. I still hope they will put TTS on it (perhaps they can and will)... but it is (in my opinion) that perfect light device that reads great and feels perfect and does its job beautifully.

I am hoping we can start selling the PLUS in 4 weeks.
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Old 04-20-2010, 03:58 PM   #6
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I had actually thought the PP would be smaller and was pleasantly surprise at the wideness and overall size of it. I too could not believe how light it is! Outside the case it weighs pretty much nothing. I leave mine in the case most of the time because it feels like I am holding a very light book with it in. In fact at times I forget I am reading a ebook because the pages looks so much like a paperback to me. You do need good lighting to get the crispness of the font. I am seriously thinking of purchasing a small lamp because my place isn't lit enough in some spots and I like to read on the sofa being lazy. lol

For the keys not being responsive, if you wait for the light at the top to go off before hitting the next one you will find you wont have to press the same key twice. I just see it as it needs time to process the command given. I think we are use to computers queue up commands so the EZreader takes a wee bit to get use to because it takes 1 key press at a time. So Press key then wait for light to go off then press the next key is how it works at least on mine.

I got my PP in March and I have no complaints about it. I love it!
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Old 04-20-2010, 04:18 PM   #7
Davimee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blossom View Post
In fact at times I forget I am reading a ebook because the pages looks so much like a paperback to me.
I agree! The other day there was a bit of lint on the screen, and when I turned the page I expected it to go away. Then I remembered it was on the screen, so I just brushed it off.
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Old 04-20-2010, 05:50 PM   #8
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+1 for quoting Nigel Tufnel.

P.S. I love my Pocket Pro, too.
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Old 04-20-2010, 08:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robertb View Post
Dear Xanthe:

So am I. I think the EZ Reader PLUS is a perfect device as it stays light, has blazing speed, has that great 16 gray scale E-Ink screen, and now will hold up to 8,000 eBooks at USB 2.0 speed. I have wanted this for SO long. To me, I want a great 6 inch that just does what I want quickly and without a fight. I still hope they will put TTS on it (perhaps they can and will)... but it is (in my opinion) that perfect light device that reads great and feels perfect and does its job beautifully.

I am hoping we can start selling the PLUS in 4 weeks.

I am saving my pennies even as we speak.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggieScratch View Post
+1 for quoting Nigel Tufnel.

P.S. I love my Pocket Pro, too.
Since we are talking about Nigel...shouldn't it actuall be +11?
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