The Pocketbook 360: The Mini e-Reader that Packs a Maxi Punch

The Pocketbook 360 offers most people what they really want in an e-reader – a means to download and then read a book with the minimum of fuss and bother, and not to require a degree in physics to get the thing to work. They don’t want to pay a fortune for features they don’t understand, let alone know how to use, and simple want a good-looking portable pocket eBook reader. That will also enable them to accept magazine and newspaper subscriptions (uploaded from their computer).

 

The Pocketbook 360 was designed exactly for that – the majority of users that are neither technophobes nor technophiles and don’t want to have to buy a load of add-ons to make the best of their reader.

 

With a 5″ screen and weighing 5.3 ounces, the Pocketbook 360 is a genuine pocket e-reader, and is even fitted with a snap-on cover avoiding damage to the screen when in your pocket without you having to go to the expense of purchasing a separate cover.

 

This is a no-frills e-reader, ambidextrous and that automatically senses whether you are holding the screen in portrait or landscape mode and adjusts the text accordingly (hence the ’360′). It is available in both black and ivory, and both look extremely smart with a nice clean design. At 12mm (0.47″) thick it is good to hold, with a nice feel to it while you are reading and scrolling.

 

The simple stuff such as changing font sizes, accessing menus and bookmarking are all very simple to learn, and uploading eBooks is a snip. It is what is known as ‘intuitive’, meaning there is really no need for a manual because it is obvious what is needed to carry out a certain function. You could take this e-reader out of its box and start using it, and few months later come across the instructions still fresh in the box.

 

Scrolling through books is as simple as it should be, page turning is very simple, and you can very easily bookmark a page and return to it later – either when you start a new reading session or if you want to refer back later on in the same session. 

 

The Pocketbook 360 supports a wide range of formats, including ePub, PDF, HTML, FB2, TXT,  RTF, DOC, TCR and more. This is great machine to dodge the problems that DRM that cause you. DRM, digital rights management, is the system that enables publishers to prevent their books being read on any but the e-reader formats they choose. For example, according to the article “An Introduction to Popular eBook File Formats” (dbReaders), Amazon Kindle-1 recognizes only DRM protected AZW format, and other formats should be translated into AZW before they can be read through Kindle device.

 

The main DRM schemes are run by Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Adobe, and ePub and PDF are the main formats, though Mobipocket is also used by Amazon. The Pocketbook 360 can read Mobi if it is not DRM encrypted.

 

Apart from all this, the 360 has no Wi-Fi, since it is Pocketbook’s basic model but is designed to do just what an e-reader should do:  read documents and books. Its bookstore, bookland.net, offers over 70,000 books free, mostly in English, and has plans for a paid store with over 250,000 titles.  However, there is no indication when. If you want Wi-Fi look at the Pocketbook 302. The 360 is designed as a simple machine for people that simply want to read books, documents and magazines using an e-reader, though they have to upload them manually from a computer.

 

In conclusion, the Pocketbook 360 looks good and at 5.5″ x 4.6″ is suitable for larger pockets.  It offers very fast scrolling in use, and connects with a USB connection that can be used as a flash drive for downloading books or to charge the battery (2-4 weeks of reading on average).  Its OS is Linux and it has an internal memory of 512 Mb.

 

As a simple e-reader for a user that has no use for all the bells and whistles that come with more highly priced machines, the Pocketbook 360 offers all you could ask for, but the price of $ 239.99 possibly lets it down. This will possibly come down in order for it compete against the Sony pocket machine  but its 2 year warranty makes the price seem not so high if you don’t want to be befuddled by all these posh extras the others have.

Marco Gustafsson writes for high-tech blogs devoted to comparison of eReaders, Apple iPad, digital readers, etc. Please visit Digital Book Readers to see more of his articles.

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