When our favourite distributor AlTech took on a new line of products from Pocketbook and sent me one of the top models, the Touch, I had to wonder where the market for e-book readers is going to take us in the coming years.
With the proliferation of large smartphones and tablets, some of them as cheap as dedicated e-book readers, will there still be a market for the likes of Pocketbook Touch?
Here is my upfront bias: I read many books on my tablet. I have a 7.7 inch from Samsung with applications such as Kindle, Adobe Reader, BookShout as well as Pocket, Current and Pulse. And I also have a reasonable library of the tree killing kind....
So what are the advantages of a dedicated e-book reader?
There are some benefits but if you already have a tablet could I persuade you to fork out $100 or so and buy something like the pocketbook touch?
Here is a summary of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Otherwise known as the Excellent, the Average and the Below Par.
extremely long battery life
e- ink Pearl Technology permanent displays
supports many different formats of e-books
high contrast 6 inch screen
Here Are My Conclusions
The Pocketbook Touch is a very lightweight device which makes it excellent for reading, probably better than a tablet. It also has some dedicated controls for paging back and forward. It comes with a bevy of books in different languages, including my native Dutch, so you can start reading right away. Don't expect any bestsellers as all of these books are out of copyright and some of them are literally hundreds of years old. Nonetheless, I found an interesting one that I started reading because of its historical perspective in the area where I grew up in Europe.
E- ink is a great technology because when you switch off the power, the screen keeps on displaying without using any battery power. Undoubtedly, the use of colour will also become mainstream later on. The month long battery life will be extremely handy when the lights go out for a long time. However, because it is not backlit it will be tough reading it in the dark....
The main beef I have with this particular device and/or technology (as I'm not sure which one is the culprit here), is the annoying screen refresh when you go to a different page. The normally white pages briefly switch over to a black background before the page refreshes. The refresh is not instant. It takes more than a second to redraw the new screen and that is way too long.
Can I recommend the Pocketbook Touch?
If I were to go on a bush holiday for several weeks, away from power points, this is probably the device I will put in my backpack. It would be perfect for that.
If you already have a tablet or phablet you might be better served reading books on that device.
I will probably keep using this unit until Obreey Products, the manufacturer, will come out with a better product that addresses the screen refresh issue.
Dimensions: 175 х 114,5 х 9,5 mm
Display: 6" (15,24 cm) E Ink® Pearl
Screen material: Glass
Shades of gray: 16
Color: Black white, Black
Battery: Li-Ion, 3,7 В, 1100 mАh, 8000 pages
Processor: 800 MHz
Flash memory: 2 GB
USB-interface: Micro USB
External memory slot: MicroSD
Audio Out: 3,5 mm
Weight: 195 g
Touchscreen: Capacitive multisensor
Wireless connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Additional features: Text-to-Speech, Dictionaries, Audio Player, Browser, Calendar, Calculator, Games, Handwritten notes, Library
Casing material: Plastic, soft touch
Developer: Obreey Products