Hands-on PocketBook IQ Video Review, First Impressions

Pocketbook IQ

Yesterday morning I received two review units from PocketBook, the PocketBook IQ Android tablet/ereader and the PocketBook 602. I spent all day playing with and experimenting with the IQ and so far I’m pretty impressed.

What’s great about the PocketBook IQ is that it runs Android 2.0 and will be able to upgrade to future versions, including 2.2. What’s even cooler is that you are free to install 3rd party apps, unlike a lot of other Android-powered ereaders that restrict you from doing so.

The downside with this, however, is that Google doesn’t allow devices like this to have direct access to the Android Market. So getting apps to install can be a bit tricky. You have to use an app installer, sideload the apps, or download them using the IQ’s web browser.

Over the next week, as I continue to work on the full PocketBook IQ review, I plan on adding links to download some of the more popular free Android apps so that you can find them quickly to easily download. Also I want to mention that I am new to Android and don’t know a lot about it yet so feel free to leave suggestions and comments below.

The Touchscreen

The IQ has a resistive touchscreen. Resistive screens are notorious for being difficult to use. But surprisingly I’ve had little trouble with the IQ’s touchscreen. It’s very responsive, and accuracy is good. The only thing that doesn’t always work is swiping to turn pages. Tapping to make selections, hitting hyperlinks, and using the on-screen keyboard all work really well—no problems whatsoever.

Build Quality

The PocketBook IQ feels extremely solid. The casing is made out of metal, not cheap plastic like most other tablets and ereaders. The downside, however, is that the IQ is a little on the heavy side at about 18 ounces, which makes it more of a two-handed device. I found that reading one-handed the IQ is a leaner, meaning it’s more comfortable to hold while leaning against your leg.


I haven’t tested a lot for ereading just yet. The PocketBook reading app is due for an update shortly, so I’ll wait until that is finished to get into more details. I installed the Kindle for Android app and it works really well. I also installed Aldiko, a really good app for DRM-free EPUBs with all kinds of customizing options. I tried the Nook app but it would not work. I think it may have been an outdated version. I need to find the latest Nook APK to try out.

I did do some reading for about an hour before I went to bed and found that with the brightness turned almost all the way down the reading experience is pretty good. But I still much prefer E Ink for long periods of reading, to be honest. That’s the thing, though. The IQ is not meant to be a hardcore ebook reader. PocketBook already has several of those. The IQ is for those who want to read but also want to be able to surf the web, play videos and music, install apps for games, read color content, have access to multiple reading applications instead of just one, and so on.

Web Browsing

The installed Android web browser works well, but I decided to try installing Opera Mini and found that it works even better. It seems to load faster and it has more advanced options, like tabbed browsing, and scrolling around the page is smoother. Android 2.0 doesn’t support Flash, of course, but once the IQ gets upgraded to 2.2 that should be an option.

Closing Thoughts . . . For Now

I really like what I’m seeing so far from the PocketBook IQ. Enough so that I’m pretty sure I’m going to end up buying one. At $150 it blows away the more expensive Pandigital Novel, which is very similar from a hardware perspective. And the IQ also comes with a slip cover and 2 year warranty to boot. Yes, you read that right, 2 years. PocketBook’s ereaders all come with double the warranty of any other ereader (and electronics in general for that matter). That certainly says a lot about their company and quality of products.

Overall, the PocketBook IQ still needs some work (granted it was just released a couple of days ago), but if you are looking for a low-cost Android-powered ereader/table, the IQ certainly has a lot of upside and potential. Make sure to check the main PocketBook IQ review page for the full review and specs once I get it finished here in the next week or so.

PocketBook IQ Video Review

64 Responses to “Hands-on PocketBook IQ Video Review, First Impressions”

  1. It seems to work much better than Pandigital or Cruz. Unlocked and better software.
    I think I’m in for one of these.

  2. Question about swiping to turn pages. With my IPOD I can lightly tap the right side of the screen to turn a page. Is this a capability of a capacitive screen? Just trying to understand when a swipe is needed versus a light touch.

    Also, if I heard right, the buttons for turning pages don’t work for all reading apps. This is what I expected, but just wanted to confirm.

    • It depends on the app. With the Kindle and Aldiko app you can tap the edge (forgot to show that in the video, I think). The PB app currently doesn’t have that, except for the menu button pop-up at the bottom of the screen. The volume buttons don’t change pages with the Kindle app, but work on the PB and Aldiko app.

      I just downloaded FBReader for Android and it has both of those features too. It and Aldiko also can adjust brightness by running a finger up and down the left side of the screen.

  3. Not that it needs one, but I take it a stylus is not included with it?

    I will be curious about battery life and video performance, as well as the effectiveness of G-sensor.

    • No stylus. But the manual mysteriously refers to one on several occasions. I tried using the one from the PRS-950 but like using my fingers better.

      The G-sensor is working well for most programs but is a little slow. It takes about 2-3 seconds to switch when going from portrait to landscape and vice versa. Switching 180 degrees is about 1 second. Some apps take longer.

      The battery lasted for about 7 hours of hard use yesterday before I got the recharge warning. That was with the brightness turned down some.

  4. Thanks for the first impressions, Nathan. Looks pretty good.

    Does it have the processing power and memory to handle scanned PDF books? I don’t mind slow loading if it moves okay once loaded.

    A user over at mobileread mentioned random pages on PDFs were uncentered and off the screen. Run into that? (I think maybe he was using their reader instead of Adobe)

    Thanks again, especially for posting apps. I really hope to get one of these.

    • @Soondia PocketBook’s Reader app is the one program that isn’t working all that good yet. It’s slow to load, the g-sensor is iffy, and some things are not working right, like cutting off the edges of some PDFs, while others work fine. I think once they update here shortly a lot of the problems will be ironed out.

      The Adobe Reader app isn’t very good. There’s not even a TOC.

      I’m going to run a few searches and see if I can find a decent free PDF program for Android.

  5. I’m not familiar with Android: does it multitask? For example, can you play Pandora in the background while reading with Kindle?

    • @fjtorres I don’t know much about Android either, but it does look like it can run multiple apps at the same time. There’s a list of running apps and Pandora plays while doing other tasks.

  6. Thanks for the quick impression. Wondered if you might like to try Firefox 4 for Mobile. There’s an ARM6 version in case the processor is not ARM7 compatible, you’ll find it here https://wiki.mozilla.org/Mobile/Platforms/Android#System_Requirements.

  7. Bye-bye PRS-950, hello Pocketbook! For an Android tablet, that’s some very nice battery life, and I really like the look and abilities of the PocketBook. I’ve been veyr torn between my desire for an eReader and my desire for an Android tablet, and I really like the idea of a device that combines the two…

    I’ll wait for the full review and try and decide from that. 🙂

  8. Nathan, I’m surprised you have to purchase one. I figured review units were keepers. FWIW, it looks like they have raised the price of it to 150 on all the authorized sites selling it (though not on their main site).

    Hope that before they jack the price again they get the firmware shaped up so I can decide for sure if I’m buying

  9. Thanks for the review and video.
    I guess this is by far the first and the only review from a professional review site. 🙂

    I’d like to see an intenser review on the reader software of IQ as it seems that they finally finished the firmware. At least, some sellers have started shipping IQs today.

  10. Thanks for the great preview. I found your site via a post at MobileRead’s PocketBook forum. I placed your RSS feed into my Google Reader because I really liked the professional site you have here.

    One question about the IQ for you. Have you spent a lot of time reading on it? How’d your eyes feel over time? I’m sure it’s a very different experience from eInk devices. I’m just trying to get a feel of what it’s like. I’m leaning heavily towards buying an IQ to complement the excellent PocketBook 301+ I already have.

    • Haven’t spent much time reading yet, did read on the Kindle app for an hour or so. I personally don’t have much of a problem with my eyes when reading on an LCD display, I just simply like how much clearer and sharper E Ink is. I usually turn the brightness most of the way down, so that helps, but also makes the contrast less with the darker background. I kind of feel the same way about these types of devices that you do: I like it as a compliment to an E Ink ereader. I’d rather read novels on an E Ink reader and use the LCD reader mostly for short periods of reading and for web reading, playing videos, music, etc.

  11. i planning to use the iq as a complement to my planned pocketbook 903 e-ink device as well.
    i see it as more middle-long-term supplement (1-2 years) till the upcomming colored e-paper devices will be affordabel to a usefull price.

    so the use of i as a short-time-reader to read magazines and comics in color and the video-ability to use for travelling.

    refering to the comics,- there is a free android-comic-viewer called ‘droid Comic Viewer’ able to read the comic-formats ‘cbr/rar, cbz/zip, ACV, and single pics-formats etc’

    while u planning to get some reader-software it would be nice if u put those comic-viewer on ur download-list to make it availabe on this site as u said so.

    additionally would it be interesting to achive a better android pdf-viewer with the abillity to highlight text in different colors perhaps like the pdf-XChange Viewer’ for WINDOWS.

    • Okay. I’ll try to find the APK file to download for the Droid Comic Viewer. Let me know if you’ve got some Public Domain comics to try out.

  12. As I wait to see if the ARchos 70 will be available for sale today, I am wondering to myself if there are any advantages of buying the Pocket IQ over another android tablet assuming that there are comparable tablets with the same price, build quality, and weight ect.

    Since the Pocketbook IQ is marketed more towards the reading public, it seems to me it comes down to whether there are buttons on the case that allow alternative ways of turning pages. From what I have seen from your initial review, it does seem to have that advantage.

  13. When it comes down the eye strain issue with a LCD screen, I think people need to be reminded that most office workers stare at a LCD screen for a majority of their working day. So while the Eink is more enjoyable to read on, it is not like looking at a LCD screen on a eBook reader is a horrible experience.

  14. puplic domain comics are gettabel and linked within the website of droid comic viewer in different formats as well as zipped comic-picture archive called cbz or the rar-variant cbr.

    a list of public domain comics e.g. :

  15. additionally here is the official droid comic viewer video,- to get good impressions of the options.


    • Great video, Dolansky. I went ahead and embedded it in your comment. The funny thing is I was just in the process of using that app when I noticed your post. The app is easily available through the Andappstore on the IQ.

      I have that exact Cory Doctorow Comic shown in the video and wanted to try it out but it’s in PDF form so I found it in CBZ format and it works, which is about 29MB. I then tried the CBR. It’s 88MB. Both work well. The CBR is really nice; the images almost have a 3D quality. It takes a few seconds to load initially or if you change the orientation, but once you go along at reading speed pages load really fast.

      Here’s the downloads for those interested: http://www.archive.org/details/CoryDoctorowsFuturisticTalesOfTheHereAndNow

      I’m having some troubles with the app. The images don’t show on the pop-up in the middle of the screen–maybe they have to be set up as thumbnails–and I can’t get the app to launch to download comics from the internet; there’s always an error.


    • Bob, the price does affect the quality. The Nook has a capacitive touchscreen and the screen quality is better, with brighter colors. The Nook has a faster processor, more memory, and other upgrades. On the downside the Nook doesn’t allow for installing 3rd party apps, and I think I read somewhere that it won’t be able to upgrade to Android 2.2. Of course there will most certainly be some folks that are smart enough to hack the Nook Color to make it a full fledged Android tablet.

  17. Yeah, I ordered my Archos 70 today from their website. Another blog that has a lot of youtube video reviews for it is the archosfans.com website.

    In the meantime, I received my Sylvania 7″ tablet today which I intend to return in a couple days. I have only started playing around with it but for browsing blogs and news sites and such, I can tell I am going to like a 7″ tablet much better for web browsing than my IPOD Touch. The weight of the Sylvania is 380 grams and its pretty easy to hold with one hand, so now problem there. While it doesn’t have a G-sensor/accelerometer, there is a button for switching from landscape to portrait without much lag. I have noticed that in the default browser that comes with it, I can’t highlight a word for purposes of copying it into a clipboard–that is a feature hopefully another browser will resolve.

  18. Nathan, thanks for the nice first impressions review!

    BTW, IQs are available for immediate shipping from at http://www.PocketBookReader.com 🙂

  19. I have noticed in the Aldiko app there is no way to highlight a word in the event I want to copy it into another application or to perform a dictionary lookup. Have you come across yet any Android reading app that allows you to copy a word to the clipboard for this purpose?

  20. Nathan, the AndappStore version of Droid Comic Viewer is a previously version, the current one is only achievable in the android market.

    quote of robotcomics.net:
    “Or, if you are browsing this document from an Android powered mobile, simply click on the following link:


    Alternatively, search “Droid Comic Viewer” on the Market.

    If you don’t have access to the Android Market, you can also download previous versions of Droid Comic Viewer from AndAppStore.”

    • Yeah I saw that about the DCV; that’s how I knew where to find it. It is the same version shown in the video: 1.3.10. I don’t understand why all these apps developers can’t just make the APK file easily available for download for all the tablet-wielding people who can’t access the Android Market.

      And purcelljf, the copy text thing works in the Opera-mini browser, but I can’t think of any reading apps that have that feature. I’ve got the IQ charging right now so I’ll double check later.

  21. There is a new Adobe Acrobat Reader version (called Adobe Acrobat Reader X) availabe as well as a android version.
    It seems to enable the text-highlighting, sticking notes to text passages,- the android version additional support the Accelerometer.

    it would be nice and interesting if u include the text-highlighting and Accelerometer features in your full review.

    see: http://www.adobe.com/products/reader/features.html

  22. P.S.
    The android version of Adobe Acrobat Reader X support multitouch gestures, it would be interesting if it works on the highly response resisive touchscreen of the IQ

  23. It could be worthwhile to check out the free android Videoplayer (named Rock Player)which is able to read a couple of Video-formats {* avi* mkv* rmvb* avi* flv* mp4 *3gp* wmv* mov* asf* divx* xvid* h264, mpg1&2, realvideo/-audio, etc.}

    see a quick review:

    the android apk file is freely downloadable at http://updates.anplayer.com/rockplayer/RockPlayer-universal-1.1.47.apk

    further information about it u can achieve here:

    The only restriction about the free version is the ad and the R-logo of the company

  24. A Manager of Pocketbook Deutschland (Germany) told,- Android 2.2 will come approx. first half of Januar 2011. The current IQ(2.0) will be through a firmware-update able to get Android 2.2, which is really cool.

    By the way the traditional concept of pocketbook to be max. flexible and open and respond really quick to the users needs and built it fast and availabe thru a firmwareupdate in distinction to the other rivals on the market, impresses me over and over again.

  25. What are the odds this little apk referenced in the Archos 7 review quoted above will work?

    It seems to get Google Marketplace running fine on the Archos tablets…

  26. I found this blog posting inquiring about the ability to copy, paste and highlight text. They mention an app called ereader. I will have to give it a try.


  27. It looks like the ereader app may be in the Google marketplace, in which case I won’t be able download I don’t think.

  28. Okay,the apk is available to download here:


    However, according to the blog post the ebooks have to first be converted to PDB format using Calibre.

    I think I will pass. I want to use EPUB directly with no conversion.

  29. I tried the ereader app. Couldn’t get it to open any PDB files (shrug).

  30. I have noticed that two of my translation tools–Babylon and SpanishDict–are available for download in the Google Android Marketplace. However, the marketplace provide by Sylvania for my tablet doesn’t include them, and no one has devised a hack as of yet to get access I don’t think.

    One problem with many of these new Tablets is that since they are not yet supported by Google, we are dependent on the device manufacturer to provide the apps we want unless somebody comes up with hack.

    The other possibility–I guess–is that if the tablet being purchased has a camera then maybe it is possible to scan those barcodes like people apparently do with their smartphones (I wouldn’t know since I don’t have a one.)
    I haven’t heard of anyone using their tablet’s camera for this purpose but I am curious to know if that works.

    Anyway, I am not worried about it since I know for the Archos 70 I have ordered, somebody already has a hack for that.

    But the question is, since this blog review is about the Pocketbook IQ, what about the PocketIQ?

    • Isn’t the Sylvania tablet open to install 3rd party apps? Or is it restricted to their marketplace? With the IQ you can install free apps from the marketplace as long as they work with Android 2.0 and don’t require functions the IQ doesn’t have (like a camera). The hard part is finding the app’s install file, the APK file. Obviously the paid apps are a no go, unless possibly you own an Android phone and purchased them with it (I don’t own one either, so wouldn’t know).

      As far as I can tell both of those apps are free. I’ve been using this site to find files, but neither are listed on it. Some digging on Google might turn up something.

      I go to that site with the IQ’s browser and download the APK’s directly to the SD card and then the app install launches automatically. I just installed Google Maps and was messing with it and street view. It works surprisingly well, although no GPS.

  31. All I know is that the only market icon that was provided with the tablet is one for a “SlideME Marketplace”. I have looked around at some forums but I got the feeling that there is no access to the Google Marketplace because nobody has created a hack yet that I can install for the Sylvania tablet. I know for sure there is one for the Archos 70 since it has discussed in different places.

    Was there already an icon on your PocketBook IQ when you got it that said Google Marketplace?

  32. For instance, are you able to install the following app from the marketplace you have access to? There is a 2.0 version for it so you should.


  33. Oh, and to answer your question, I can install any apk file I can can get on my tablet. The problem is I can’t get all the apks files I want because they are only available on the Google Android Marketplace (www.android.com/market.)

    • No marketplace here either, just extras like SlideMe, but I don’t like it so I mostly just run searches on Google. I see what you mean, though. It’s frustrating trying to find the APK file. I haven’t been able to find the Kobo reading app. Actually I found one but it wouldn’t work.

  34. Tutorial:
    How To Enable the Android Market in the Google Android Emulator.


  35. I have a Mac. Have you had any trouble with any reader being compatible with a Mac? I am considering a Pocketbook or Sony at this time.

  36. Nice find, Dolansky. Have you tried it out yet?

    Carmen, I don’t have a Mac but I haven’t heard of any issues recently. That used to be a problem with some but I think pretty much everyone’s got support for Mac now.

  37. Nathan, where is the speaker on that tablet and how is the sound? On the Sylvania it is on the back. I finally played a video and quality was ok although a little pixelated. Sound was a little muffled. I think one advantage of Archos 70 is it has two speakers and they are front facing.

    • The speakers are on the bottom edge. Compared to other devices they are louder, but that’s not saying much. The sound quality is okay, better than the Nook Color, not as good as the Kindle 3.

      Dolansky, it sounds like you’ve been having some fun experimenting, although it sounds somewhat complicated. I happened to be viewing your comment with the IQ so I tried downloading that file and it worked. It seems to be the same as the other version.

  38. Nathan, yes it seem to work.
    it took a little effort to configure, but finally 🙂
    I downloaded from the market the latest droid comic viewer for test purpose. (well the market ACV-about info says: v. it seems to be no big difference to the AndApp one v.
    All the applications, the preinstalled- and the downloaded one are obviously kept within android.img files.
    Those files got a special format it is not to mix up with the cd/-or dvd img-files.

    however, to pull the single apk-files from the emulator-device into a folder the command:
    adb -s emulator-5554 pull /data/app/
    will help.
    The adb.exe can be found within the androidSDK under folder Tools.
    The commandline call: adb -s emulator-5554 pull /data/app/ will put the singel apk-files into the Tools-folder.

    I didnt have a real android device to see if the extracted apk-file finally works on it. i planned to buy the IQ next week.
    But meanwhile you are welcome to checkout the new ACV on your IQ-Device.
    Here is the recent droid comic viewer fresh from the market:

  39. Indeed, it is fun experimenting with the Android SDK.
    I grapped all the system apps of the emulator into single apk-files,- among other interesting files,- there is one to experimenting with is more promising 😉 !

    i got some doubts if it is working on the IQ-Device or other androids Tablets in general got refused by googles ridicilous device restrictions to get entry to their market.
    But otherwise every app can installed on IQ,- i would glad when u surprise me 🙂 !

    or in other words: here is the market apk.

  40. does that version working then on IQ?



  41. hey nathan, Great review!!!

    Any idea on the battery being user replaceable?…
    Does tapping on words bring up the dictionary while reading?…

  42. Nope, still not working, Dolansky.

    Mowla, I’m not sure about the battery; I can’t see any easy way to get the back off. I still haven’t gotten the new firmware so not sure about the dictionary. Right now it opens a new app, where you have to enter the word, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that change.

  43. Laputa Reader seems to be quite interesting, – has not only a nice page-turn effect, numerous public domain ebooks are availabe, including:

    * Blazer: suitable offer of english books,- will be opend within app

    * Public Domain Books: bigger offer than blazer. books in languages Deutsch, Spanish, English and french available.,- will be opend within app

    * Original Books: similar to Public Domain Books, but contains books by Hobby – authors. Beside spanish-, english- und french- one can russian books find.

    * ManyBooks: Good Collection of books

    * Gutenberg: Huge Collections of books in different languages

    Laputa got three different windows, which will be shown each of the three virtual Android-Desktop-Areas.
    epub Format can be additional importet from the sdcard

    pushing the Menu-Botton within Reading – mode, there are following options available:

    * Add Bookmark:
    * Day/Night: Change between Day- and night-mode.
    * Settings: font, fontsize, page-turn-animation, page-orientation(acclerator) and brightness adjustable.
    * Bookmark List:
    * Contents: table of content.
    * More: search (in book too!), help and donation.

    fresh from the android.google.Marketplace, i uploaded the free laputa-apk:


    • Cool thanks. I’m going to go ahead and re-post your comment under the Android Reading Apps post. (Embedded images and style have to be HTML, btw.)

      And let me know how you are exporting the APKs from the emulator. I installed it today but can’t figure out the export process, even though you explained it earlier. How do I get adb.exe to work? Also, I installed 1.6 instead of 1.5 because a lot of the apps wouldn’t show up for 1.5 because they don’t support that version. Which one are you running?

  44. when u installed the SDK u should official install every Android api version from 1.5 to 2.2 so u can freely choose which one u want to test.(& develop corresponing app if u want to)
    i downloaded the 1.5 image with the market app like the HowTo explained. see: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/21862/how-to-enable-the-android-market-in-the-google-android-emulator/
    The image-Manager to chose from the image u want to start in the emulator is called: ‘SDK Manager.exe’, well there should be recently just one the image+market u downloaded from here: http://tech-droid.blogspot.com/2009/11/android-market-on-emulator.html and copied to the AVD-Folder like the HowTo explained and reedit the path in AndEmu.ini to the the folder u put the AndEmuimage where the SDK Magnager can find the AndEmu-Image.
    i switched the 1.5 version to 2.0 like the recent IQ.
    To do so, u have to edit the AndEmu.ini to change the ‘android-3’ text-part to ‘android-5’ which means api5 stands for Android 2.0
    if u push then the refresh-button of SDK-Manager the 1.5 image turned into 2.0, if the start-button is grayed u should push the repair button for the choosen image then the start button is active to press to start the emulator with the market.
    start the market and activate it to enter ur gmail-account, if u got none u can register it within the app.
    So u got entry to the market, choose the app u want and install it, u are now able to start and test the app (by the way the android market got >170 000 apps and rising)

    ok, now u want to pull the apk u recently installed from the market to a single apk file u have access to.

    i made for simplification a bat-file u should copy it into the tools-folder of your android sdk.
    just start the bat-file and the installed-apk will appear in the tools-folder. bedside ur wished apk there are two others which are permanent also in the data/app folder within the emulator. its always ‘ApiDemos.apk’ and ‘SoftKeyboard.apk’u are free to erase them they will always appear when u pull ur apk from the emulator.

    my bat-file to be copied to the tools-folder of the android-sdk:

  45. Thank you so much, Dolansky! Your bat-file trick worked great!

    Just to clarify one point for those of you trying this, you need to have the emulator up and running for the bat-file to extract the APK files from it. Works like a charm 🙂

  46. This post is starting to get way too long so I’m going to close comments on this one and direct all new comments to this PocketBook IQ review post.



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