PocketBook has announced a new model, successor to the iconic PocketBook Inkpad 3. We really liked the Inkpad 3, with its good quality/versatility/price relation. What about the Inkpad 3 Pro? Marketing proposal or real improvement?
Hardware: Inkpad 3 without SD port and waterproof…
The changes between the Inkpad 3 Pro and its predecessor Inkpad 3 are not many: the Inkpad 3 Pro is very similar to the “classic” Inkpad 3, but treated to be waterproof. This involved removing the SD port, which was still a plus for those who wanted to carry a lot of books or read mainly manga.
The screen is indeed quite similar to the “classic” PocketBook Inkpad 3, like the size and most of the parameters, as can be seen on the comparison on the official PocketBook site.
The big difference is the water protection (IPX8) and its metallic grey color. It weighs 15 grams more than the “basic” Inkpad 3, and has a little more storage on the integrated flash chip (16 GB instead of 8 GB), which is more than enough for most uses (as would be 8 GB, even without a MicroSD port!).
We therefore refer you to our test of the “classic” Inkpad 3, the qualities and flaws of this e-reader being very similar to the Inkpad 3 as far as the user experience is concerned, the only difference being that it is waterproof, which, while it may be useful in some cases, will make the e-reader more difficult to repair and does not allow the use of a MicroSD card.
PocketBook, TEA, Vivlio… How to decide?
For copyright reasons, PocketBook could not market its e-reader under this brand name in every country. In France for example, a first reseller was born, under the name of TEA “The eBook Alternative”; it is now Vivlio who sells PocketBook e-readers on the French market. In all three cases the product is the same! The difference is at the software level: TEA and Vivlio e-readers include a French library, while the default PocketBook library is international, and mainly oriented towards English books. The images when the e-reader is on standby also change. And that’s it. This is true only when you buy it, because when you use it, there is a difference.
As far as updates are concerned, while it’s easy to find updates for the Inkpad 3 on the PocketBook site (classic and pro, both sharing the same base), updates at TEA and Vivlio are slow to come. The e-readers that remain with the original firmware (the internal software) are necessarily on an old version of it. However, some updates correct problems that can be annoying to use, for example the time that tends to be out of sync during standby.
It may therefore be relevant, in order to benefit from all the updates, to install an official PocketBook firmware on your Inkpad e-reader, rather than staying with the firmware delivered by a possible French retailer. The advantage of buying on Amazon or eBay is that you should end up with a PocketBook e-reader, supplied directly with the original software. However, it is not difficult to update your e-reader to use the official PocketBook software, but then you lose the original integrated library.
In any case, for those who are looking for a high-performance device with the best quality/price relation to read books bought right to left, in different formats, without being chained to a format or vendor, an Inkpad 3 (classic or “Pro”), proves to be a relevant choice.