I received my Astak Ezreader Pocket Pro last Tuesday evening. Pocket-PRO-Maroon

Yes, I got the Maroon one. My 10 year old daughter got the Metallic Purple, she loves her color, as do I, and even though they have identical leather covers, they are still easy to tell at a glance, which is who’s.

We ordered from 2 different sites, we ordered hers at Newegg because that was the cheapest, with shipping, for hers at the time we ordered. We ordered mine directly from Astak, the price had dropped in between orders and I paid a few dollars less, even after paying extra for faster shipping, than we paid for hers.

Both came with the Leather cover, ear bud headphones, wrist strap and a 2GB SD card, which was unadvertised by both sites.

My daughter has had hers a few days longer than I have, she got hers for her birthday almost two weeks ago. I did open the package, pre-load her favorite books, and some music, and charge it for her, before I put it all back in the package and wrapped it. But I didn’t play with it much. I just got stuff on it and let her have it.

When mine got here, I charged it and loaded it with lots of my favorite books. I quickly realized that though it will open .lit books, it doesn’t like them much. I read large books and with many of them it will slowly, slowly open, and turn a page or two before locking up. So I took the same book and converted it to several document types to see how each one functioned.

I tried .doc, .txt, .html, .pdf, and Epub documents, and this is what I found:

  1. .doc and .html files work well, load fast, pages change fast, no real issues, but there seems to be a lot of blank space, double spacing, fonts resize well in these and it still reads to you. The spacing issues may be the software I used to convert the files, I am trying new software and will have to try these formats again.
  2. .pdf files read in 2 manners, as Adobe PDF and as Xpdf, one allows page reformatting for more zoom settings and better reading, the other allows the reader to read out loud to you. Both have advantages. Pages turn a little slower in pdf format, but not bad. I did however find that the reader only selectively shows pictures embedded in pdf’s. This makes it not wonderful for some knitting patterns.
  3. .txt files read great, lots of text sizes, reads aloud to you, loads fast, pages change fast.
  4. Epub. this reader advertizes 3-5 font sizes, in epub I had easily 8 maybe as many as 12, I didn’t count but it took forever to get back to the one I wanted when I cycled through them all. Loads fast, pages change fast, reads aloud. The only disadvantage I have seen to this format, and it isn’t the only format that does this, is no page number/ of number on the screen, you have to hit the menu button to see that.
  5. .pdb I tried to read a pdb file with this reader and it didn’t recognize it, not sure if it was my pdb or the reader.

Other things I have noticed.

When the reader reads aloud to you, it uses a computerized voice, I call it a Stephen Hawking voice, it is the only thing I can relate it to, not bad, it just takes some getting used to.

You are able to load music and have it play music to you (with headphones or a speaker plugged in, no internal speaker) while you read. This is a well loved feature by my daughter, she hides and reads with her music on, for hours.

Battery. My battery charges don’t last 2 weeks, at least not yet, partly because I had a long car trip last weekend and I had it read to me, and audio takes more battery power than just changing screens (leaving the book on the screen takes no power from what I have read, just changing pages.) It could also have to do with the fact that I read large books, things that have 2500+ pages on the reader, and I often read 2-3 books a week. since they advertise the reader as a 2 week charge and equate that to 8k page turns, simple math tells me that a charge won’t last me 2 weeks. However, I realize that I read dramatically more than the average person, and that it probably will last  the average person 2 weeks or more.

Screen… I took the reader outside and stood in the sun (despite the 100+ degree heat today) and tilted it back and forth, watching the screen for visibility and glare. It was actually easier to read than a paper book, it didn’t have the sun hitting white glare that you get off paper. I was able to tip it enough to get a glare on the screen and be unable to read it, but the screen was tilted about 45 degrees away from me to do it, not something I would normally do.

I have loaded several large book series, both large books and upwards of 20 books in the series, onto mine and I still have over 1GB of space left.

I have loaded as many books but most not as large, onto my daughter’s reader, along with quite a bit of music, and she still has just under 1GB of space on her card.

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