Picture of the original Victor Reader Stream eBook player, model 303, front view, horizontal.

Victor Reader Stream First Generation Gripes

The first generation (original) version of HumanWare’s  Victor Reader Stream   portable player is great. But it has a couple shortcomings that surprised me.

Disadvantages, Problems, Cons, and Limitations

Very slow USB port.  For one, its USB port behaves as, and transfers data as slowly as a USB1.1 port, even though USB 2.0 has been the standard since around 2002. Also, USB 2.0 is hot-pluggable. That is, when you connect a USB 2.0 device to your computer when that device is already switched on, the computer should automatically recognize the device and add it to its list of drives accessible to Windows Explorer. But the Victor Reader requires that you connect it when it’s turned off only, then turn it on afterwards. This needlessly complicate the procedure and could have been eliminated if the Stream designers would have built in a fully-compliant USB 2.0 port.

Picture of the front of the Victor Reader Stream Audio Book Reader, Model 303.
Victor Reader Stream Audio Book Reader, Model 303

No clock.  The original Victor Reader Stream also lacks an internal clock, so that the 3gp files it creates when you record a note are assigned no timestamp; the Access Time, Creation Time, and Modification Time fields are left blank. This makes it hard to keep track of when a file was created; a real handy feature this would be when you’re using the Victor Reader to record classes or to make entries in an audio journal like I do.

USB chargers do not charge this eReader.  Another curious thing about Victor Reader is that it requires a separate adapter for charging; it cannot charge from the USB port like iPods do.  Perhaps the charge current is too high for USB cables to handle.

Low audio output volume.  Even at full volume, the thumbnail sized speaker in the original Stream did not play loudly enough to be heard clearly above even moderately quiet household noises, like fans running, air conditioners whirring, and other people talking nearby.

No wireless connectivity.  Offered no direct access to the Internet via Wifi.  In order to update its firmware, you needed an Internet-connected computer, and to populate it with eBooks also required computer downloading.

Key panel becomes sticky as it ages.  We’ve owned our original Stream since early 2009, and noticed in 2014, that the black rubber-like keyboard developed a tacky feel to it.  We’ve seen this phenomenon occur on aging belts, rollers, and other rubberized components.  Hopefully in the new generation stream, they built the front panel from more stable materials.

The original Victor Reader Stream was quite the accessible device for anyone needing it. But while it was a great initial product offering, it certainly did need improvement. Indeed, the next version, the New Generation Victor Rader, has indeed address these USB port and clock problems, along with numerous others.

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Revision History

  • 2015-12-15: Added more appropriate tags.
  • 2015-10-06: Added appropriate tags.
  • 2015-01-17: Tweaked content and rearranged tag and category assignments.
  • 2014-12-10: Added picture.
  • 2009-04-22: Originally published this piece.