Amazon Kindles and Kobo tablets are some of the best ereaders you can buy, and yet no company has a single option with built-in speakers. Of course, the smaller players in the e-book reader market follow different rules and are already offering e-book readers with speakers. The latest is the PocketBook Era.
Brought to us by the Ukrainian but Switzerland-based company PocketBook, the Era is a 7-inch ereader that is pushing competition all the way to the likes of the Kindle Oasis and the Kobo Libra 2.
The PocketBook is known for devices with a very specific look – rounded bottom corners that show a band of metallic color and control buttons normally below the screen. The Era, however, has its page-turn buttons on the edge of the wider side panel – where the power button is also located – which appears to have its corners cut rather than rounded.
The PocketBook Era adopts the latest E Ink Carta 1200 screen technology which, while keeping the resolution at 300ppi, improves response times by 20% and page contrast by 15%. But instead of using a layer of plastic on top like most other ereaders, the Era features a glass-finished display that sits flush with the bezels. And most importantly, the display light can be controlled for both brightness and temperature, promising a comfortable reading experience in any situation.
spoiled for choice
In addition to the PocketBook Era’s built-in speakers for audiobook support, there’s also Bluetooth connectivity, so you can go the traditional route of wirelessly pairing headphones to your tablet. Plus, PocketBook says you’ll be able to pair it with car audio systems if yours has Bluetooth support, and even portable speakers if you wish.
PocketBook Era supports 29 different file formats, including 19 for ebooks, six audio files and four graphic formats. This is much more than a Kindle or Kobo ereader. In addition, there are 22 preloaded dictionaries, useful if you are learning a new language.
PocketBook promises that the Era comes with anti-scratch protection – an important inclusion when the screen is covered in a layer of glass – and its waterproofing is rated at IPX8, meaning it will look good in two meters of water for up to 60 minutes. .
There’s a 1,700mAh battery that should provide around four weeks of reading before needing to be recharged, with two colors to choose from – each with its own storage capacity.
PocketBook Era is available in Stardust Silver with a maximum capacity of 16GB and in Sunset Copper with 64GB of storage. They cost $199 (about £159 / AU$275) and $249 (about £199 / AU$345), respectively. PocketBook devices have limited availability worldwide, but you can import them from US retailers such as Amazon and Newegg.