Greetings all! The official PocketBook blog has already had reviews of new models of the line of readers released in the fall of 2016. Specifically, the flagship PocketBook 631 Touch HD and the PocketBook 615, which is the most inexpensive backlit reader in the company’s lineup. Plus a couple of "general education" pieces – about Current situation in the readers market and about new line of PocketBook Overall.
Now it’s time to consider a specific reader, not for the mass market in the usual sense of the word. We’re talking about PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 for 17, 900 rubles. The peculiarity of the model is that it is not in the usual 6-inch, but in a large 8-inch form factor.
What does this mean? At least the fact that the PocketBook turned out to be quite large in terms of front panel area – below is a rough comparison of the PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 with a model that has a more modest diagonal – 6 inches.
Yes, the device in question already can not be shoved into a pocket, and in a tiny lady’s clutch it will not fit. But! The 8-inch display with the highest resolution by the reader’s standards – 1600 x 1200 pixels – is perfectly suitable for studying all kinds of specific literature. For example, technical or educational – where there are formulas, graphs, charts, tables and diagrams. Or business documents with charts and graphs. And thanks to the high resolution on the PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 it’s also convenient to read documents in PDF and DJVU – in most cases you don’t have to scale anything. In general, I repeat, the model is specific, but – there is a certain number of users, for whom it will be ideal this kind of large-format reader. Techs, students, engineers, accountants… business executives, and so on down the list – there are a lot of professions on it.
It’s worth recalling that earlier in the line PocketBook had even 9.7-inch readers, but the level of technology "shaggy" in 2011 – and relevant then were the displays E Ink Vizplex – did not allow to give readers extra high resolution (it was 1024 x 758). That is PocketBook Pro 902, 903, 912 and 913 were much better than their 6-inch counterparts for tables, charts and diagrams, but those models practically do not win over the new 8-inch PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 with 1600 x 1200 resolution for quality of content display with lots of small details and inscriptions. So, roughly speaking, the hero of this review is the ideological successor of the "proshki". Today, by the way, almost all manufacturers of readers produce mostly 6-inch devices. But no one is engaged in highly specialized solutions. PocketBook stands out against this background – which, in fact, is logical for the market leader of e-readers.
O PocketBook Pro 9xx
PocketBook Pro 9xx readers were perfectly suited for displaying different kinds of educational content because of their large screens with high resolution at that time. Moreover, the models of the series were quite successful in a number of Russian schools. And they also became famous for the fact that Anatoly Chubais himself compared with PocketBook Pro 902 his famous nano-reader – Plastic Logic 100. However, the latter has gone into oblivion – the project was closed without being opened. But PocketBook, unlike Anatoly Borisovich’s nano-reader, is still alive.
Well, one more point that can not be silenced. PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 is the successor of the PocketBook 840 Ink Pad model from 2014. There are not many changes in the novelty, but they are there. I suggest you start by examining the comparison table.
Now I’ll give a few explanations. In the PocketBook 840 Ink Pad, the protective glass covered almost the entire front panel, which made the reader look like a tablet. Yes, there were no so called "edges" near the screen which made it convenient to run your fingers over the display. But there was an air layer between the glass and the screen, that is, the image looked "sunk" into the surface of the case. The PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 doesn’t have such an arrangement: the screen with the glass is "sunk" into the surface, there is no air layer at all, and the image contrast has increased by 20%. That is, pictures and text are sharper and more pleasing to the eye. Well, yes, the screen appeared rims, which may interfere with someone in the control. But almost all readers have edges of the display, so it’s a sin to complain. And then : By changing the glass area to a smaller one, the reader’s weight was reduced from 350 to 305 g. For a device that you will hold for hours on end in your half-bent hand, this is a very significant "weight loss".
The second important change is also about ergonomics. The page turning keys, located on the front panel, now have a different design. In the PocketBook 840 Ink Pad the corresponding designations were simply on the body, and to change the page you had to hit the small arrow with your finger. But in the newer and smarter PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2, the buttons are made of separate – and quite large – pieces of plastic. So it’s noticeably easier to press them.
Page turning buttons in the PocketBook 840 Ink Pad (left) and the PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2. In the second case, they are noticeably more convenient, although they don’t look as spectacular
At first glance, the location of the flipping buttons under the right hand of the user seems a bit strange and discriminatory – after all, there are left-handed people in the world too. However, the screen of PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 can be rotated, so if you want, the buttons can be easily moved to the left hand, so that the reader can be conveniently operated by a left-handed person. Not to mention the fact that you can also turn pages with the touchscreen. Swiping from right to left in an open book moves to the next one, from left to right – to the previous one.
The frames around the display of the PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 are quite wide. This, of course, increases the width and height of the device, but it is convenient to hold it in your hands. Fingers do not accidentally touch the screen when it is not necessary.
The back of the PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 is made entirely of rubberized plastic, so the device doesn’t slip out of your hands – despite its weight and size. In the PocketBook 840 Ink Pad the back panel was matte with a rubberized insert on one side. It seems that this is a much less successful variant than the hero of this article. Because no matter how you take the PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2, there will always be "grasping" rubber under your fingers.
Separately, I would like to mention the small thickness of the body – only 7.4 mm. This is just a little more than the iPhone 7, which is 7.1 mm thick.
There is a power button on the top edge of the case that has a LED built into it. The latter glows green when the Pocketbook is working. At the same time in the settings you can turn it off, which is convenient. For me, for example, all these glowing diodes in gadgets annoying. Also on top there is a cap, under it is hidden the slot for MicroSD and MicroUSB port. In my opinion it is a good solution: in smaller Pocketbooks the sockets for flash cards are not covered and over time dust can accumulate in them.
There is only one element on the bottom edge of the PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 – a 3.5mm headphone jack. The model can play music (that is, act as a player, and you can listen to tracks while reading), as well as voice books. I will come back to this option below, when I will talk about the software.
Finally, I will say that I was satisfied with the workmanship of the PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2. It’s a device with a large footprint, but it’s slim at the same time. I assumed that it would easily "roll up" when screwed together, plus make squeaks. However, this is not the case, I have not been able to bend the Pocketbook, nor have I been able to make it squeak. I admit that there may be a metal frame inside, but I certainly haven’t disassembled the reader.
About it I have already said a lot above – the diagonal of 8 inches, a resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels (2 megapixels). The screen technology is E Ink Pearl. Why did they use the previous generation display and not the latest E Ink Carta like in the other models of the "fall" line of Pocketbooks? I have a couple of suggestions. First, due to the different design of the protective glass, the screen has already become 20% more contrasty compared to its predecessor, the PocketBook 840 Ink Pad. Second, I’m not sure that E Ink Corporation even offers Carta 8-inch screens with a resolution of 1600 x 1200. So Pearl displays with those parameters are on the list of options are listed at , but about the Carta variants of the screens is not said anything at all Except that it is mentioned that the maximum resolution can reach 300 ppi, but that’s how much (300 ppi) and the PocketBook 631 Touch HD with a 6-inch E Ink Carta screen and a resolution of 1448 x 1072.
However, enough conspiracy – let me tell you about my impressions. The screen of the PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 is more than decent. It looks like expensive paper, the fonts are very clear – you can see almost all the "curls" of the fonts. The background is white with a minimal gray tint – in short, a typical (and high quality) Pearl, except that it is larger than usual. Considering that the visual difference between Pearl and Carta is minimal, I wouldn’t be too sad about the penultimate generation screen. Although, of course, I personally, because of my love for the latest technology, would not give it up.
The touchscreen in the PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 is capacitive, and the presses are handled accurately. With the help of gestures, as I said above, you can turn pages. Besides, you can change the size of letters in books by pointing and spreading your fingers. And the reader is controlled with touchscreen too – the joystick (as in PocketBook 615) or a wide set of keys (as in PocketBook 631 Touch HD) is absent here. Good, by the way, that they left the hardware flipping buttons – in many models of the same Amazon they are not.
The PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 has a backlighting system; I have no complaints about it. The screen is lit evenly, the maximum brightness is such that the PocketBook can be used as a flashlight (by the way, a cool case – the light is quite a lot, given the area of the screen!) And the minimum level of backlighting is enough to read with comfort in complete darkness and not to wake up the wife peacefully sleeping nearby.
I would like to point out that from the PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 the strip on the case, with which you could adjust the brightness of the backlight, disappeared (it was in the PocketBook 840 Ink Pad). Now it is done from the reader interface, and I do not find this option a disadvantage – you can get to the brightness setting with a couple of "taps" on the screen.
In short, the PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 provides the maximum capabilities among all the company’s readers. In terms of software functionality, the device in question is comparable to the flagship 6-inch PocketBook 631 Touch HD.
The interface of the Pocketbook is in the style of the Android operating system. I’d like to emphasize that this model uses one of the Linux editions, not Android. It’s just that they tried to bring the design of the interface closer to what we see in modern smartphones and tablets. To make it easier for the users who have such devices to master the reader – and this is a logical step. So, PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 has a notification curtain, the main menu with a grid of icons, the main screen with three icons for quick access – in general, everything is familiar. At the same time, the main screen displays not icons or widgets, but the last opened and added books. Which makes sense – you can turn the device on and immediately continue reading.
Library – the section that displays the books in the Pocketbook memory – can be presented in several ways. Folders, list, shelf with books. I, for example, am most comfortable with folders – I’m such a primitivist.
Text settings are traditional for all PocketBook readers – a wagon and a small cart. There are 13 fonts to choose from, possibility to turn on/off hyphenation, to change line spacing, to adjust indentation, to change the size of letters and their lettering, to rotate the image on the screen by 360 degrees. Personally, I would not change anything – the basic settings are comfortable. But I know that there will be perfectionists who decide to fine tune everything for themselves. PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 gives such an opportunity.
I never get tired of repeating that one of the key advantages of PocketBook products is the support of the overwhelming majority of common (and even not very common) book formats. There are 18 of them: PDF, PDF (DRM), EPUB, EPUB(DRM), DJVU, FB2, FB2.ZIP, DOC, DOCX, RTF, PRC, TCR, TXT, CHM, HTM, HTML, MOBI and ACSM. I know that 2-3 formats are enough for some users, but not everyone is so advanced. Here’s my favorite example. My mom knows how to use a reader (she has an old PocketBook Pro 602), but she doesn’t understand what book formats are. The person is 56 years old and can not teach him (tried many times!). She downloads not only books, but also – most often – instructions on the exercises needed to treat her legs. These exercises can be in TXT, DOC, and DJVU. And they all open on her reader with no problem, as does any fiction. What would she do if she had the infamous Kindle with its five formats? Nothing, she’d go to her desktop to figure out which exercises to do, how to do them, and in what order. Or would yank me every time I needed to transfer another exercise saved in some exotic format to my reader.
When reading with PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 four dictionaries are available: Webster’s 1913, English-Russian by N. Korolev, English-Russian and German-Russian by PocketBook. Highlight a word and immediately get the translation. However, the dictionaries are available from the menu. It is convenient to use them: thanks to rather big diagonal keys on the QWERTY-keyboard are big. This allows you to enter words quickly and without mistakes.
PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 supports Wi-Fi (802.11n) and can access the Internet. There is a whole set of options associated with it. First, the ability to transfer books to the reader from your computer without a cable. There are four options: through the cloud service DropBox, by e-mail, from the company bookstore BookLand and with the help of PocketBook Sync service. The latter works like this: you can choose and buy books in BookLand from your computer screen (it’s more convenient for someone than from the reader’s screen), and after the purchase they are automatically downloaded and appear in your PocketBooks. Or in a Pocketbook, if you have more than one device in your account. This is convenient: you can buy one book and it will be available to all your school children.
Among other Internet-related options, I’ll highlight the following: RSS reader (a funny rudiment; does anyone still read RSS?), a simple browser and a social network ReadRate, where you can leave feedback about the works you’ve read.
Musical capabilities of PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 are in the presence of an MP3 player and the option of pronouncing books by voices of announcers. The latter (voices) sometimes make mistakes with accents and intonations, but this rarely happens. So you can listen. For example, if you want to lie with your eyes closed, but the craving for new literary pleasures can be traced. However, we should remember that the PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 has no speaker. So you have to use headphones, but they are not included. However, you probably have smartphone "ears".
You can see the full list of apps available in the PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 in the screenshot below. Not everyone seems to find them useful, but I personally (personally!) consider both toys and calendar and calculators not at all unnecessary options. Say, sometimes you need to clarify the date while reading, and the smartphone is lying somewhere else in the room. Thanks to the appropriate app, you won’t have to go get your smartphone.
I would also add here that the memory in the PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 is not very much by the standards of PocketBooks – only 4 gigabytes. For example, PocketBook 631 Touch HD and PocketBook 615 have 8 GB each, although they are noticeably cheaper. So if you plan to listen to music from the reader or store a lot of files in PDF, you’ll have to get hold of a MicroSD card.
Considering that the screen of the PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 is somewhat larger than the standard one (8 inches versus 6), plus high resolution, plus backlighting, the developers didn’t skimp on the battery. Its capacity is 2, 500 mAh – against 1, 300-1, 500 for standard 6-inch PocketBooks. As a consequence, the PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad works for five weeks if you read a couple of hours a day. If you use the backlight at a brightness level of 30-40 percent, the reader will last a full month. The result is noticeably above average.
The bottom line is simple: the PocketBook 840-2 Ink Pad 2 is the most stuffed reader in the company’s new line along with the PocketBook 631 Touch HD. If you realize why you need a large-format PocketBook with a very high resolution screen, then you should take a closer look at the hero of this piece. It is noticeably more comfortable than its predecessor, the PocketBook 840 Ink Pad, and in my opinion, it has no serious disadvantages. Well, if not to count only 4 GB of memory, which, however, can be corrected with a MicroSD card.
If you want all the same, but in a more compact format, you should look at the PocketBook 631 Touch HD. You’ll get E Ink Carta screen and 8 GB of memory. You can save a significant amount of money: 631-th costs 12 500 rubles instead of 17 900 in case of 840-th.