Pocketbook has released their first new e-reader of 2022, the Basic Lux 3 and it retails for a paltry 99.99. Its primary competition is the entry level Kindle and the Kobo Nia. The key selling points of the Pocketbook is the manual page turn buttons and its front-light and color temperature system. It is platform agnostic, which means it does not lock you into a specific ecosystem like Amazon or Kobo does, instead you can easily sideload in all of your free and paid purchases.
The Pocketbook Basic Lux 3 features a 6-inch E Ink Carta screen with a resolution of 758 x 1024 pixels and 212 PPI. Another highlight of the Pocketbook 617 is its SMARTlight backlight feature which allows for precise control of the backlight as well as the color temperature for enhanced reading pleasure in all lighting conditions. Not only does the SMARTlight feature provide for warmer or cooler tones, but they can be blended together.
Underneath the hood is a new dual-core 1 GHZ processor and 512MB of RAM. There is 8GB of internal storage and an SD card, which can support 32B of additional storage. It is powered by a 1300 mAh battery, which is the same one the Kobo Sage employs. It has an older Micro USB port, instead of USB-C, but this e-reader is cheap and cheerful. The dimensions are 161x108x8mm and weighs 166g.
One of Pocketbooks strengths is the manual page turn buttons. Most other vendors have abandoned physical buttons, and make the customers rely on the touchscreen display. Pocketbook Basic Lux 3 has the page turn buttons on the bottom of the screen, so you can easily click those to control the ebook experience. There is also a mini d-pad in the middle of the screen, with an OK button in the middle. This lets you physically browse around the entire device, without having to touch the screen with your fingers. This is useful, since this model doesn’t have a touchscreen.
Pocketbook leads the e-reader world with the sheer number of supported ebook formats. It supports PDF, PDF (DRM), EPUB, EPUB (DRM), DJVU, FB2, FB2.ZIP, DOC, DOCX, RTF, PRC, TXT, CHM, HTM, HTML, MOBI, ACSM. This allows you to easily sideload in your own ebooks, without wasting time converting different formats. Not only can you sideload free ebooks you download from the internet, but also library ebooks and paid ebooks from merchants such as Kobo and Google Play Books. This is because Pocketbook pays a license for the Adobe Content Server and supports paid DRM EPUB and PDFS.
The Pocketbook Basic Lux 3 has renewable packaging for the box. It is made of basic cardboard stock. The front of the box has a black outline of the reader and lists a few key selling features. The sides have the Pocketbook logo in blue and the back of the box lists specs in a dozen different languages. This is because Pocketbook supports most languages in the world. Inside of the box is the e-reader, warranty card, quick start guide and a piece of paper with a QR code for further information.
The color scheme of the reader is piano black all over. This makes the page turn keys and buttons blend into the design, so they don’t really stick out. The back is made of a hardened rubber and does not leave lots of fingerprints. It feels really light. One of the downsides, is that Pocketbook did not include a USB-C cable, but stuck with Micro-USB, likely in a bid to get it below the $99 mark.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.