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Aug
23

Pocketbook 302 eBook Reader review

by Russell Barnes

The Pocketbook 302 is the latest Linux-powered eBook Reader from GreenReader.co.uk. With a touch screen, Wi-Fi and more than a dozen extra apps, it’s one of the most feature-rich models on the market…

This article originally appeared in issue 90 of Linux User & Developer magazine.Pocketbook 302 eBook Reader review Subscribe and save more than 30% and receive our exclusive money back guarantee – click here to find out more.

Details:Pocketbook 302 eBook Reader review
OS: Linux derivative
Processor: Samsung S3C2440 (400MHz)
Memory: 64MB RAM, 512MB ROM
Dimensions: 130 x 190 x 13.8mm
Weight: 280g
Display size: 6” (E Ink Vizplex)
Display resolution: 600×800 (16 shades of grey)
Expansion: microSD, microSDHC card (max 32GB)
Connectivity: mini-USB, Bluetooth, WLAN
eBook formats: FB2, FB2.zip, TXT, PDF, RTF, HTML, PRC, CHM, DJVU, DOC, EPUB (inc. DRM), TCR
Price: £233
Buy Direct: GreenReader.co.uk

Pros: It’s an eReader featuring the full gamut of capabilities – touch screen, Wi‑Fi, Bluetooth, web browsing, RSS feeds and more
Cons: At 280g it’s quite heavy and the addition of wireless and touch-screen functionality create some unwanted side effects

There is currently only one other eBook reader on the market that can match the functionality of the PocketBook 302, and that’s Amazon’s Kindle. It’s certainly an impressive display of know-how from what’s essentially a small and relatively unknown company from Ukraine. We first came across Green Reader back in issue 88, where we reviewed the PocketBook 301+ Comfort. It was received very well (scoring an impressive four out of five), thanks to the quality of the screen (second-generation E Ink Vizplex electronic paper), the simple but very comfortable chassis design and the staggering battery life it offers.

The 302 is quite sleekly designed with a minimalist approach that sees just five buttons on its front and a power button on its top bezel. By default the central button beneath the screen acts as a menu button (when reading, it takes you back to your book list), while the twin left and right sets of buttons act as forward and back page-turners. From the options menu, however, it’s possible to reassign all the keys to different functions – a useful touch that you rarely see elsewhere.

Since the PocketBook 302 features touch-screen functionality, it comes bundled with a telescopic stylus that fits snugly in the top bezel. This makes navigating by touch really quite easy, though the device can be quite slow to respond to commands. While you can’t tap or double-tap a page to turn, this does call up the options menu, which is a useful feature for changing fonts or altering the text size.

While usability and compatibility is just as good as with the 301+ and the specs look fantastic on paper, the 302 fails to live up to expectations in testing. One of our main gripes is the weight of the unit. All this extra functionality comes at the cost of bulk and while the 302 is far from fat, it’s just that bit too heavy for our liking. While this could be considered subjective, what isn’t is the sheer amount of reflectivity introduced by the touch-screen layer over the E Ink display. This almost completely negates the advantage of having E Ink in the first place. A real shame, and something we hope Green Reader can remedy with a technical refresh.

Verdict: 3/5
While the spec is one of the best you’ll find, the 302 is let down by screen glare and the extra bulk that Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and touch-screen technology has introduced.

Also Consider:
Pocketbook 301+ Comfort
We reviewed the PocketBook 301+ (Comfort edition) back in issue 88 of Linux User & Developer. It was really well received thanks to its low weight, excellent screen (readable even in bright daylight) and stunning battery life

Click here for more reviews from Linux User & Developer, or follow the link to see what else featured in issue 90

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