Technology

Pocketbook IQ Review

Overview 

There is no better buy for an entry level tablet than the Pocket book IQ. It only costs $139 US and it has a great deal more functionality straight out of the box than most other low-priced tablet computers.

We really love that it provides a huge amount of content straight out of the box. You’re also able to go to different outlets for apps, and it becomes fun just looking to see what’s there and picking out the ones you like best.

In addition, because its ebooks can be sideloaded into the device and it can read such a variety of ebook formats, this device may be attractive to those who have e-ink eReaders and have already bought content from other stores. Because the 701 IQ is capable of reading just about all major ebook formats, this device may be helpful to have in addition to your existing e-reader.

A few of the disadvantages involve the technology, which is reflected in the inexpensive price of the tablet. Screen refreshes take a little longer due to the use of resistive screen technology. It’s also a little more counter-intuitive to the way you normally interact with devices that use a capacitive touch screen.

Positives 
Pocketbook IQ can read the majority of reading formats in color (txt, html, pdf, etc.) Plays mp3 and videos, youtube Wi-Fi only–no plan required. During this year it will be upgraded to Android 2.2, at which point many nice applications will be available that are currently for android phones. (Rather than reading, think about TTS!)

Negatives
Pocketbook IQ has a resistive screen (even though it’s a good one.) Limited memory for third party apps, which will be resolved with the upgrade to Android 2.2. Quality video is satisfactory for the price.

Bottom Line 
The PocketBook IQ has a dual function–ereader and tablet. It is more versatile than a normal ebook reader, as it can download and display ebooks from most major ebook stores and features free news apps, web browsers and rss readers, providing a complete reading experience.

The big issue is the LCD display and how long the battery lasts. It’s simply a matter of taste whether you prefer the reading experience on a backlit, reflective screen. As with the majority of tablets and laptops, it is certainly best for indoor use. Bright light and outdoor light make the display reflective and difficult to read.

An E Ink eReader with a paper-like display and a battery life of up to a month may be a better choice for those who do not require video or color, who wants to be able to read in direct sunlight and who do not want a reflective screen.

Hardware 
The Pocketbook IQ 701 offers a full color TFT LCD Resistive display with a resolution of 600×800 pixels and 143 DPI. It contains an internal RAM of 256 MB powered by a Samsung S3c410 800 MHZ ARM11 processor . Processing speed for Pocketbook’s first tablet PC is comparable to those of Pandigital 9 Inch and Nook Color.

This device includes 2 GB of internal storage for your data, music and ebooks, but it is expandable to 32 GB if you utilize an SD card. With the tablets we’ve looked at recently, such as the Pandigital 9 Inch Novel, 2GB is a standard default amount of Flash memory.

In addition, this device features volume adjustments on the side, a headphone jack, twin speakers and a micro USB port so that you can connect the device to your computer.

Lastly, a DC adapter is included with the device, and you must have this to charge it. You can link the Pocketbook IQ 701 to your computer, but only to transfer files, not to charge the battery.

Software 
The Pocketbook IQ 5701 is centered around the Google Android 2.0 operating system. So far, there has been no indication as to whether or not Pocketbook will issue official updates on this or if other options will be available to bring the OS more up to date.

Upon powering up the 701 for the first time, you will see the standard pocketbook graphical user interface that you may have seen on their e-ink based electronic readers. While you are reading in the digital format, this device provides statistics regarding the number of books you have read and the number of trees you have saved. Listed on the home screen is also the Pocketbook Library, as well as Notes, Dictionary, Search, Settings, Calendar, Favorites and Programs folders.

Last of all, let’s discuss the formats that are supported for content. At this point, Pocketbook is the leader in this regard because it provides so many options for reading ebooks. All of the following formats are accepted: CHM, DJVU, DOC, DOCX, EPUB, FB2, HTML, MOBI, PDF, PRC, RTF, TCR and TXT. We seldom see devices that support this many ebook extensions.

Content Distribution 
The one sour note right from the start for the unit is their unsound content distribution system. Major eBook stores like Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Borders and Kobo are not supported by this device. The eBook portal, ‘Bookland’, is used on this and their other devices. While this name might make you think that Bookland contains an overwhelming number of books that is not the case. Rather, it is confined largely to open source project Guttenberg books in different language versions.

Its e-reading software is stable and robust, with good speed in changing from landscape mode to portrait. Most eBook readers, when you’re switching between modes, have a few seconds’ lag while they reload your content.