Notes on the Gear 2 Go ebook reader

I bought myself the fuschia pink version because… well just because. And I read the Whirlpool discussion about its various preincarnations and was pretty sure I knew what I was getting into.

To whit: If it won’t turn on, hold the button in longer. And if it still won’t turn on, hold the button in for even longer. And reckon on 8 hours to charge the battery fully – rule of thumb is the amount of time you’ve spent reading on it is the amount of time for the battery to recharge.

What I wanted was a simple device with good battery life (> 3 hours by my definition) and no third-party nonsense. I was not in the market for a Kindle or Nook, in other words. And it had to be easier to read books on than my phone (Nokia Xpress Music). (Leaving aside the very good free ebooks I downloaded early last year from Ovi, a couple of Jane Austen and Arthur Conan Doyle titles.)

So I’ve had the device for a couple of weeks now and I can tell you these things:

  • I thought it was dead on arrival, but yeah, I just had to hold the button in for ages.
  • The wall charger is the best thing ever. Eight hours recharge time? I’m asleep anyway! (Though if you only ever let it go down a bar or so of battery it doesn’t take that long to charge up.)
  • Name your files like this: “Name of Book – Author” because the ebook list is generated off the file name, not metadata or the actual name of the book. eg. Our Mutual Friend – Dickens.txt (or “zName of Book – Author” for your special interest literature so that unlike me you don’t have an embarassing moment where you’re trying to show off your Pink eReader Of Awesome and your captive audience goes “Ooh! You’ve got ’120 Days of Sodom’!” because of course numbers come up first on the alphabetically ordered bloody list.)
  • Set the brightness on 1 (lowest) if you can – it’s plenty bright enough and you’ll get more battery life. Preset standard level is 3 (out of 6).
  • .txt files with ASCII encoding definitely work (ASCII format .txt files require some digging in PG if you source ebooks there).
  • .epub files with images will crash the reader (instant shutdown).
  • .pdf files with full-page images may crash the reader.
  • .html files should have as simple formatting as possible. The <QUOTE> tags don’t work, and indeed any text inside them will just vanish when you view the file on the reader.
  • .rtf files can sometimes be spilt over two pages, with only 1.5 pages of actual text, on default magnification. It’s a formatting issue. I don’t know how but I fixed it by converting my failed .html format files into .rtf (copy html file text and paste into new rtf document).
  • .txt files with line breaks (most if not all ASCII files from Project Gutenberg, for example) might have text that looks

like this

in the default magnification. Two solutions are possible.

Solution 1) If you don’t mind swapping smaller text for better formatting, and you want a fast fix, press the magnification button three times. The first two times will make it bigger and the third resets it somehow so it magically stops

breaking

lines like this and bugging the crap out of you.

Once you’ve sorted out the line breaks with the magnification, you can then rotate the viewer and magnify up again until you’re happy with the text size.

Solution 2) Strip those bleeding surplus line breaks out using a WYSIWYG/source code html editor (MS Word or Open Office Writer will both let you do this – detailed instructions to follow in a seperate post). Of course you can delete each line break manually, but come on, do you really want to? I’ve done it. It’s a waste of time and you end up ruining the ending.

Verdict: It cost ~$100 AUD and I think it was worth it. It’s a joy to carry around and I’m actually having fun working out all the little kinks and unexpected hiccups. And I’m reading a lot more and branching out into authors I’ve never read.

About Ms Prue

Ms Prue is fictional for the purposes of real life but real for the purposes of the internet.
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13 Responses to Notes on the Gear 2 Go ebook reader

  1. Helen says:

    Ms Prue – you go girl – thank you for making the unintelligble understandable – you dumbed it down and I understood. ! Bought the Gear2Go eReader and am relly happy with it. I’m not Gen Y so it’s really easy to use and there’s something so right about listening to music and reading a book – all from the same device.
    H

    • Ms Prue says:

      Hi Helen! Thanks for reading, I’m glad you found it useful! I haven’t tried listening to music and reading at the same time yet – does it affect the battery life a lot?
      Cheers, P.

    • Bill hunt says:

      Hi Helen
      Have a Gear2Go and like listening to audio books on it too but can’t find a way to bookmark it!! Can you help?
      Thanks Bill

  2. marmalade says:

    Helen, great post – I bought one yesterday and it is still charging overnight having left it for about 12 hours. Is this normal? Can you say more about your experiences with the battery? Ive changed from the wall outlet to usb on computer, and I will see how it goes over the day.

    How does it handle pdf’s of scanned books, the sort of stuff you find via archive.org? Your note about crashing doesnt inspire me with confidence on that, and part of why ive got it is to read such texts.

    You might want to know the digital library of india has opened up a big store of digital downloads, and it has copyright laws that go up to about 1961 for the death of the author.

    Thanks, -M

    • Ms Prue says:

      Hi Marmalade – how’s the battery charging going? I’d suggest unplugging it from the charger and turning it on to see what the battery indicator says. I’ve noticed that the blue LED in the corner flashes while it’s charging up but stays solid blue when it’s fully charged.
      I’ve not tried pdfs of scanned books yet, or not the raw scans, anyway. I’ve got a couple that have been through OCR software after scanning and they’re fine, just a bit too big for the screen size is the main headache. If you’ve got books scanned as images that haven’t been converted to text, there are some free OCR programs like this one you can use to convert them, if you’re willing to spend the time cleaning the text file up again afterwards.
      I’ve found pdfs that are mostly text but with some images work fine.
      And thank you for the links – it’s nice to have some more options for free books!

  3. Lea BELL says:

    Hi our Gear to Go overlaps the page (to the right) when you enlarge the font – any advice woulkd be appreciated

    • Ms Prue says:

      What format book are you having problems with? It sounds like you’re dealing with a pdf. In that case the document is a set of page images, and instead of enlarging the font all the ereader can do is enlarge the page. You could try converting it to a different format like txt or epub (you could use calibre). Then the ereader will be able to enlarge the font size directly, and will reflow the text so it fits on the screen.
      Hope that helps!

  4. michelle dawson says:

    Hi I cant seem to get it started had it about a year but cant do the first initial set up when i put the usb cord in it just says its charging and nothing comes up on computer

  5. Simone says:

    Hi there, I can’t get my laptop to recognise it as a device

    • Glenda Bull. says:

      I received one for my birthday,mind you i am now 58 years old and i my laptop won’t recognize it either i am having heaps of trouble…have you had any success yet would love your opinion…

  6. Jackie says:

    Hi,
    Iam having same problem.I did get it to recognise my eBook once & was able to down load a book to my reader,but now it wont recognise it again. I have tried everything & am slowly going dolally,any help would be really appreciated.I have sent off 2 emails to e3style support team without a reply.
    Jackie

  7. Trish says:

    I have lost my instruction manual. Have read one book and can’t work out how to get that book back to the beginning (other than page by page 900pages in all). Took a long time to work out how to load purchased books

  8. Jen says:

    Hi Miss Prue, I’m actually planning to buy one for a gift because it’s cheaper than kindle. I’m giving it to a person who is in med school. You think it’s a good choice? because it’s the only cheap “colored” E-reader that I can find. I’ve also discovered a colored kindle online but it’s too expensive that it can go up to A$250-A$300. Can you please give me any advice if this is really worth buying than the black and white ones? thank you. :)

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