PocketBook IQ: A Detailed Review

Pocketbook IQ

This is a quick update to mention that I posted the PocketBook IQ review earlier today.

The review isn’t exactly complete just yet; I’ll be updating and adding some screenshots to it over the next week as the new firmware is released and I learn more about the finer details of Android.

Please feel free to post any questions or comments about the PocketBook IQ below; I’ll do my best to answer them.

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60 Responses to “PocketBook IQ: A Detailed Review”

  1. Nice review and Happy Thanksgiving.

    Now I get why you guys were installing that emulator. At first I thought it was because you wanted to test android apps on your desktop.

    I take it the menu buttons on the bottom are just menu controls–not for page turning?

    Have they given an estimate as to when the Android 2.2 upgrade will be available?

    I have heard the 4:3 aspect ratio is better for reading, especially when what you are reading has structure with advanced design layout–like some pdfs or magazines do. However, it looks like the 16:9 ratio will be more common in tablets since generally speaking, people care more about watching HDTV video.

    I think one reading-related advantage of the 16:9 aspect ratio in a 7″ tablet is it results in a narrower tablet. For instance the Archos 70 I ordered has a 114mm width while the PocketBook IQ has a 144mm width. With the Archos I expect to be able to get my fingers completely around the tablet when held in vertical position. Are you able to do that with the Pocketbook IQ?

    I like that tablet for the price. I still think I would prefer a cheaper plastic case if it would bring the weight down to the 400 gram range. However, I would need to actually hold the Pockebook IQ for a while before I could fairly make that judgement.

  2. You are correct, the buttons on the bottom are just for menus, not page turning.

    One of the PocketBook developers said the 2.2 firmware will be released in December: http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.the-ebook.org%2Fforum%2Fviewtopic.php%3Ft%3D15886 (See post #3)

    When you say getting your fingers completely around when in the vertical position, what do you mean exactly? I have an IQ and when I hold it vertically, in one hand, my fingers go more than halfway across the back.

  3. Rob,
    What I mean is that when the tablet sits in the palm of my hand, I am able to clutch it with my thumb along the left edge of it and a couple of fingers on the right edge.

  4. Could someone out there with a PB IQ give me some idea on battery life on a full charge? I’m used to reading on LCD screens and particularly like reading with a back-lit screen indoors.

  5. purcelljf, you’re talking about one-handing it I suppose? Sorry, it’s hard for us to describe a 3D picture using text only! Heh! I just placed the IQ in my left hand. My thumb barely wrapped around the left edge and my fingers barely wrapped around the right edge. So yes, it would appear you can do what you’re asking about. Well, as long as your hand is at least as big as mine, that is.

    quickgrayfox, I get about 5-6 hours out of it depending on if I turn of the wifi or not. but most of that time was spent using the web browser and videos. So I suppose reading books it may even last longer since ereading isn’t so CPU intensive.

    MobileRead has a PocketBook forum and you’ll see some threads with lots of posts there about the IQ. I started a thread, in fact.

  6. Here is head spinner. The new 7″ Nook color has a display resolution of 1024×600 which from my Google searches is usually referred to as having a 10:6 aspect ratio.

    I also noticed that the bigger Archos 101 tablet (10.1″ display) also has a resolution of 1024×600. I find it sort of weird that the Archos 70 uses a different aspect ratio(16:9) than the Archos 101 (10:6).

  7. purcelljf, I mostly hold the IQ in landscape, have my right thumb over the buttons, and then use both thumbs for all touch navigation. Holding it in portrait my thumb and fingers easily wrap around both sides, but then again I have large hands so probably not the best gauge.

    quickgrayfox, for battery, I’d say I’m typically getting 6-7ish, with the brightness turned most the way down. I’m going to test it after this charge at its minimum (just ebooks, brightness turned all the way down, no wireless, etc) and see what I get.


  9. I’m looking forward to a your comments on e-reading on this and other android devices. I’m starting to think it will be very unsuitable for 1-3 hours of reading per day.

  10. The review misidentifies the Nook Color resolution, here is the text from the Nook Color spec page.

    “Incredibly clear, sharp text and images from an unsurpassed high resolution display at 1024 x 600 delivering 169 pixels per inch (PPI).”

  11. Hi Nathan, I like your review of the Pocketbook IQ, I need an e-reader for my teenage daughter, for textbooks, notes, assigned novels etc. We currently have AT&T, we also have I-Phones, I know she will want to have access to I-Tunes, and live radio streaming, is this possible? It seems fairly easy from your video to download, and use these apps, is it really that easy? I would also like a very easy and functional e-reader for my parents, they are in their 70’s, both avid readers with absolutely no internet skills. They read in bed, and in the summer by the pool in northern MN, so heat is not an issue, but sunlight is. Do you recommend the Pocketbook 360 for them?


    • There are apps for streaming internet radio like Pandora, which works well, and other apps for syncing with iTunes (I haven’t tried any of these), or you can load the MP3 files directly onto it. Getting the apps is a little complicated since it doesn’t have direct access to the Android Market so you have to use other App stores or do as outlined in the review under installing apps. This kind of stuff is usually super-easy for teenagers though.

      For your folks who aren’t internet savvy, I’d recommend the Kindle 3 because it’s the easiest to use and get ebooks for without needing a computer. Another option to consider would be the Kobo WiFi. The 360 is a good unit, but doesn’t have wireless so they’d need to use a computer with internet to download all their ebooks.

  12. some russian hacker made a funny retro-hack with the IQ.
    He installed Windows 95 on it,- the touchscreen abillity will work for win95 too, funnily enough.


  13. I purchased the 902. Are you aware of any games or extras that I can place on the 902? If so, where can I get them? I would be downloading them using a Mac.

  14. I bought three of these, as gifts, and have been working on them around the clock, literally, since they arrived on Dec. 2. I did not do any rooting or emulating–just used the straight machine. I thought your readers could benefit from my work.

    Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
    1)browser–use Dolphin HD 4, not the beta upgrade, with Skyfire for video watching. I had a terrible time finding the Dolphin add-ons, but finally used those found on Handster for HTC tattoo (I don’t actually know what any of that means, but the apk files downloaded AND ran!) I CANNOT find the youtube downloader that used to be out. Huh?!?

    2) ebook reader–I got everything except Nook to load (and I tried several versions), but the default reader does non-DRM as well as any of the others. The only way to buy current bestsellers is to download and use Kindle or Kobo. Don’t buy from B&N, because there is no way to tell what Calibre can translate and what it can’t until you actually try. And since Nook won’t run, you might have just bought a book you can’t read. You can use the free books from Project Gutenberg, Manybooks, feedbooks, and the free books from Borders, but not from Google eBooks, Books a Million, or Entourage.
    3) apps: this is tricky. Some apk files will not download. Some will download, but not install, and some will download, install, and then not run. Anything that is only on the Market, you do NOT have access to. The IQ cannot read the QR code, and the pages won’t open on either the IQ or your PC. Some of the other app markets are the same way (Android tapp, Phandroid, Androlib, androidfreeware, appBrain, AndroidZoom, Entourage). The app markets I was able to download shopping apps and download apps on are: SlideMe (but first upgrade to SAM4), AndAppStore, Androidpit–lots of trashy apps so I’m not loading that on my gifts, Freewarelovers. I have also gotten a one-month subscription to 4shared, and downloaded a lot of apk files there. Again, some of them must have originally come from the Android Market, and don’t run. (The same with the files I have downloaded from AppPlanet.) To download and install apps, you must have a SD card. Once they are installed, most of the apps don’t need the card any more.
    So! I’m just about ready to wrap these up and put them under the tree. If only I could find that youtube downloader for the Dolphin:)

    • Thanks for the detailed review. I agree 100% with everything you mentioned. You might consider installing the Android Emulator on your computer and setting up the Android Market to get apps through it. It makes it really easy to get them and then you know for sure you’re getting the latest version. Check my IQ review for the link to the comments explaining the process. It’s a bit technical to setup but if I can do it anyone can :).

  15. Nathan, the kobo book app I am running is com.kobobooks.android.apk. You can google that and download it from your favorite share site.

  16. Nathan,

    so the battery life using just the ereader function and probably the media player is about 6 to 7 hours?
    Because I just receive an answer from the webpage saying that using the tablet for reading would last me 4 hours. I feel the difference of three hours is off putting.
    Both of this without using internet.

    By the way, the notes that you can take with this tablet can you pass them to the computer and using them in a word processor?

    As a student sometimes I have to take exact quotations of books and this would be so easy to use. This way I can study while commuting to school. If not then I would probably just get a cheaper color e reader (need some color for the e texts in adobe)

    • I need to go update my IQ review. I was actually able to get over 10 hours on a single charge using FBReader to read an ePub with the brightness turned down and the wireless turned off. 6 is probably more of an accurate number if you’re using the media player. Overall I typically get 6-7, it’d say–that’s with wireless on and the brightness at about a quarter to a third most the time.

      There are numerous note apps for Android, Evernote is one of the more popular, so I’m sure there’s some that are exportable but that’s something I haven’t ventured across just yet. The PB app puts the page in a note app for modifying. but I haven’t found any way to export it save copying and pasting the text.

  17. I have purchased an IQ 701 as a gift for my mother and am trying to set everything up before putting it under the tree. The reason I went with this device is because it had e-mail and was in colour. (My mom’s miffed about never seeing anyone’s pictures because they are no longer printed).
    Anyway, I am having an awful time setting up the ability to buy books from Kobo and wondered it someone could guide me along (the manual is useless in my estimation). Here is my understanding of what I need to do. Please feel free to jump in and correct anything I have misunderstood.
    From what I gather, I need to install the Kobo free app using an SD card. Before I can do so, I must install the Adobe Digital Edition v1.7.1 (also through an SD card).
    Once I do this, where on the IQ devise do I find if it loaded properly?
    After all this is completed, do I set up folders or shelves to store downloaded e-books from Kobo?
    And last but not least, where does SlideMe come into play?
    Any help I can get will be GREATLY appreciated!
    Thanks from the Great White North!!!

    • Yes, you get the Kobo app and put it on the IQ’s SD card (here’s a whole pack of Android reading apps if you don’t already have the Kobo app). Adobe Digital Editions isn’t for the IQ it is for a desktop computer–but you don’t need that anyway because Kobo has their own desktop software if your mom wants to read ebooks on a computer or manage her library that way.

      Use the File Manager to navigate to the Kobo’s APK file to install it. You’ll need WiFi connected for this app. The easiest way to set up a new account is to use a computer. Visit Kobo.com to set up an account. You can do it over the IQ, but it’s easier to just open the Kobo app the first time and sign into your account. The app takes care of the shelves and folders–everything gets stored in a folder on the SD card.

      As for SlideMe, it’s for downloading apps from the SlideMe app store. I don’t like it, never use it. I just use an Android Emulator on my PC to get apps from the Google Market.

  18. Thanks Nathan.
    I have WiFi set up and I have created a Kobo account. Is there a choice of which download to choose with respect to the app or does it know once I have the SD card inserted? Kobo e-books gives you the choice of WEB/MOBILE/EPUB when downloading a book. Would I choose EPUB? I am not familiar with the difference between them.

    Oh, and by the way, my mother will not be ‘managing too much’. She is a pretty spry individual and worked with legacy computers in her working years, but she is turning 88 years now. We are giving her this IQ so she will have some books to read when she flies over to England in March. She uses a digital picture frame to look at her pics. E-mailed pictures come in great on the IQ so she will enjoy that. Speaking of which, do all pictures have to be saved on an SD card or will they save in the internal storage?

    • The apps don’t give an option. Once you select an ebook it will sync and show up in your library and then give you an option to download. You should try experimenting with a couple of their free ebooks. You can save whatever you want–ebooks, video, photos, etc–on the internal memory, but most apps will need to save everything to the SD card.

  19. Well, I downloaded the kobo free app on the SD card and inserted it into the IQ. File manager tried to download the file and stopped stating their was not enough space. Any suggestions as to why I am getting this message.

    • Means you have to uninstall some apps to make room. There’s only 50MB of space for installing apps. This is shown under SD and memory in the settings, and you uninstall apps by going to manage applications in settings.

  20. I have the most recent 701 but don’t understand how to get youtube installed. Any help? I have tried but the browser states that there is no application to run youtube.

    • Most versions of YouTube don’t seem to run on the IQ. I’ve got version YouTube-v13.apk and it works pretty good, sometimes it stops. I get this question a lot so I’m going to do a post about it tomorrow to put up a link for the apk file.

  21. Interesting. I don’t have any apps loaded yet. The device is telling me I have roughly 34MB’s of space (internal). I don’t have the device with me at the moment, but I don’t recall seeing anything under manage apps in settings. I seem to recall the ‘space’ message came up before when I tried to load something directly from the IQ. The only thing I have loaded was the upgrade to Eclair (and I do believe that was a zip file). Should the Kobo free app be a zip file format?

  22. Just thought I might relate the apps that I have found helpful since I purchased the IQ. For reading I enjoy the Kindle App that allows access to the volume button for page turns and also allows me to have access to the Readers Digest. Ihe Overdrive App allows me to take out books from my local library. Palmary for weather, BI Notes for writing notes, Google Map Address for contacts, Pandora for music, You Tube, Aldkido for epubs, YouVersion Bible and VirtueBible. Still looking for Audible APK.

  23. I have loaded the Kobo app and downloaded a free book. I thought once it was downloaded that it stored on the IQ. Do I always have to have the SD card loaded? If they can be stored on the IQ internal memory, how do I do that?

  24. So does the same hold true for pictures, etc? As I am new to the android world, I am trying to understand the logic. If I do understand what you are saying, and please correct me if I’m wrong, the apps pre-installed on the IQ are just the ‘vehicles’ used to be able to access the data (which is all stored on the SD card). The approx. 50 MG internal memory is available just to put more apps. onto the device.

    • No. You can put ebooks and such on the IQ’s main storage (is has like 2GB, probably about 1GB available, and there are already a number of folders set up for various content) and access it with the apps, but as far as I know most apps want to save their data to an SD card in part I think because of the limited amount of space most cellphone have internally (Android was created for phones, not tablets). I tried installing apps without an SD card installed and they would not install because I think that is part of Android’s behavior, is needing an SD card. I don’t know. I’m just now learning Android too :).

  25. I am a little lost. I follow all of the instructions on how to set up the emulator and have several apps downloaded there. I copied the pullapp link into the tools of the adk like stated. However, I can’t extract those apps onto my IQ. What am I missing?

    • Sounds like you’ve got the hard part down, now just transfer the apks to the IQ’s SD card and then manually install them with the file manager. Note that not all will work, vending for instance.

  26. 1) Sometimes when you are trying to install an apk and it says there isn’t enough room, try again and it will run. Other times, it is code for “your version of Android can’t handle this app” and you need to find a different apk.
    2) When getting three of these ready for gifts, one of the first apps I installed was Launcher Pro. That gives a very nice home page instead of the grey book shelf. Then you can add shortcuts to the library and still get to the e-reader.
    3) Have you found a nook apk that the IQ will run yet?

  27. Bad news, according to the mobileread forum, the IQ price will soar this coming january first.

    They will up the prices up to 30 dollars. Since I’m still unsure about what ereader I want to buy, this will put the IQ out of competition. Or I would have to buy it now…

  28. Some why i can’t pull out .apk’s using bat file you provided in http://blog.the-ebook-reader.com/2010/11/17/hands-on-pocketbook-iq-video-review-first-impressions/#comment-1147.
    I am using Windows 7.

    • There’s an alternate method a few comments above that one using the command prompt. Also, you might double check to make sure the emulator is open and the bat file is in the proper location.

  29. I just purchased a Pocketbook IQ and have been unable to install the 2.3 firmware following the instructions on Pocketbook’s website. I followed the instructions and tried it 3 or 4 times but it just doesn’t work. I read a comment from someone on the Pocketbook website who said you have to install the 2.2 firmware first and then the 2.3, but there isn’t an option to download the 2.2. Can anyone help with this? I plan to call customer support but in the meantime I am very frustrated! Also, the IQ came with 1000 pre-loaded books but about 80% of them are in German or Russian! Anyone else received these and what did you do about it? Thanks!

  30. Jo, there is a strong Pocketbook Forum at Mobileread.com that can help you set-up your IQ.

    The 2.03 update doesn’t require the 2.02 update.

    However, it is usually distributed as a zip file inside a 7z package. You need to extract the zip file from the 7z package (7-zip is a free D/L, WinRar and other apps also work) and copy it to the root of an sd card *as-is*.
    At that point, you hold the volume+ button and turn on the IQ. Keep holding the button in until the droid animation progress bar is well under way.

    The generic PD books?
    Move them to a PC, delete them, or ignore them as you prefer. They’re just a marketing gimmick; Pocketbook is a world-wide operator so they load up on sample PD books for all their major markets in a single configuration.

  31. In general,
    if u got already the firmware 2.0.3, u can extend the storage-restriction to install, those unofficial small patch:

    The remarks by a pocketbook-manager says,- it is unoffical and take it by ur own risk and backup ur data, the new patch version is the 04.

    anyhow it works perfectly for me, no more storage restriction, so i installed a lot more than before and still got free internal space.

    by the way it installed a SuperUser to manage apps for root-rights

    great patch!

  32. if u got the patch above mentioned, u can do a small trick to fake Android 2.2 on the IQ to install apps like Aldiko 2, ezPDF, or like Adobe Reader X and other apps which are for Android 2.1 and Android 2.2.

    U must be aware that the Froyo Android 2.2 libs are still not on the device but anyhow u can install the apps and check if it runs for u smoothly enough.

    to do so, u need root-rights, to edit the system-file: build.prop which u can find in the system folder
    u simply have to change the line : ro.build.version.sdk=5 to ro.build.version.sdk=8

    it fakes Android 2.2

    the smoothest way to change it is the app Root Explorer and mount the system-folder with (mount R/W). Root Explore comes with an inbuild editor. of course u have to save ur changes.

    additionally it is useful to isntall the app z4root to get temporarily or permanent root rights.

    Restart IQ after ur changes and u will be able to install Android 2.2 apps.

    Therfore u can install everything on the IQ with no more restrictions

    P.S. For those of you to understand german i explained it a little bit in detail on:


  33. …forgot to mention, u have to install the patch like any firmware


  34. Thank you for your response about my Pocketbook IQ. I still haven’t been able to successfully install the firmware update, however.I called the customer support at Pocketbook today and they sent me additional directions. I really think I am following the directions exactly but it just doesn’t work and I am very frustrated! The droid animation starts and looks to be downloading correctly and then changes to an error symbol (per customer service, a triangle with an exclamation point inside). Any other advice? I have searched the forums at Mobileread.com but after following the instructions it still won’t work. Could I have a defective ereader? Thanks.

  35. Jo, It could be a defective reader or a bad/corrupted download file or it could be an SD card issue.
    Re-downloading can’t hurt, right?
    If it doesn’t help and trying with a different SD Card still fails then you may have a bad unit. It is not impossible. Pocketbook support is very good so you should have no trouble getting an exchange if it comes to that.
    I would suggest holding the volume+ button longer during the update process. It can’t hurt and it might help.
    Good luck!

  36. Jo,

    the difference between the official firmware-update, u got from the Pocketbook Website, and the official dealersupdate is,- the first remains ur own adjustments but the dealersupdate reset the IQ completetely to factory-default,- will all the books and stuff, but with 2.0.3.


    be sure there is no other firmware-file on ur SD-Card, just dealersupdate (it will work for US also)

  37. …open the zip file,- inside is the dealersupdate firmware. called: dealerupdate091210_EU_PB701SWUPDATE.zip, you should copy to your SD-Card

    and inside is a manual how to install a firmware, u already know:

    How to update FW?

    1. Copy firmware update file to SD-card (optional);
    2. Remove SD-card with new firmware update and insert it into PocketBook IQ 701;
    3. Turn off the PocketBook IQ 701 by pressing ‘On/Off’ button and choosing ‘Turn off’ option from
    context menu;
    4. Press and hold ‘Volume +’ button and, keeping it pressed, push the ‘On/Off’ button;
    5. Release all buttons and wait until installation of the firmware is complete. After that the device
    will reboot automatically;
    6. To check a firmware version, select ‘Settings’ ⇨ ‘About device’.

  38. Nathan,
    I am downloading apps on the Android emulator. No problem there. I downloaded and installed your bat file in the tools folder. I ran it while running the emulator. It seemed to work okay, but when I go to look for the .apk files on my c drive, I can’t find them. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  39. Not sure why they are not showing up there, but I was actually able to open up my google email on my tablet and them email the .apk files to my email account by using the ES File Explorer I downloaded in the emulator. It was probably the more complicated way, but it worked. I appreciate the response. 🙂

  40. Jill, if u got the new android sdk installed,- the old tools-folder to put the ‘pulTheApps4me.bat’ before, is newly moved to the folder: ‘platform-tools’ to put then the bat-file and find the apk-files you pulled from the running emulator.

  41. Hey, Im looking to buy my first e reader / tablet. I was wondering if I could install Documents to Go on this tablet and actually use it. Usually for short notes on word documents or a couple of corrections on an excel sheet.

    Also I was recommended to buy a Coby Kyros MID7015 instead of the IQ 701.
    Have you heard of this tablet? What do you think? and what its best?

    • Yeah it’ll work with those types of apps. There’s office suite too. Gets kind of tedious for extended use with the resistive screens needing more pressure to type. If you plan on using it a lot you might be better off with a device that has a capacitive touchscreen because they are easier for typing. Don’t have any experience with the Coby.

  42. Hey, sorry was trying to read through all the other remarks as to not repeat, but just do not have the time, so sorry if you have had to answer this question before. On the PB website they state that IQ supports CHM format however in your review you do not mention it. I absolutely need a reader that will support CHM as almost all of my textbooks are in CHM format? Can you please clarify?

    • The IQ is listed as supporting CHM files but I tested a CHM file awhile back for someone on the IQ and it would not work so I removed CHM from the supported files list. The CHM file worked fine on the PocketBook 602 however. There are other apps that might work on the IQ. Cool Reader says it supports CHM, among others. You might try posting a question on the PocketBook forum at MobileRead to see if anyone has tried CHM on Cool Reader.