Amazon Kindles and Kobo tablets are some of the best e-readers you can buy, and yet neither company has a single option with built-in speakers. Of course, smaller players in the e-book reader market play by different rules and already offer e-readers with loudspeakers. The latest is the PocketBook Era.
Brought to us by Ukrainian-born but Swiss-based company PocketBook, the Era is a 7-inch e-reader that rivals up to the Kindle Oasis and Kobo Libra 2.
PocketBook is known for devices with a very specific look – rounded bottom corners that reveal a metallic color stripe and control buttons that are usually below the screen. However, the Era has its page-turn buttons on the edge of its wider side bezel – which also houses the power button – the corners of which appear to have been cropped rather than rounded.
The PocketBook Era uses the latest E Ink Carta 1200 screen technology, which improves response times by 20% and page contrast by 15% at a resolution of 300 ppi. But instead of using a layer of plastic on top like most other e-readers, the Era has a glass-finished screen that sits flush with the bezels. And more importantly, the screen’s light can be controlled in both brightness and temperature, promising a comfortable reading experience in any situation.
The agony of choice
As well as the PocketBook Era’s built-in speakers for audiobook support, there’s also Bluetooth connectivity so you can go the traditional route of pairing wireless headphones with the tablet. Additionally, PocketBook says you can pair it with car audio systems if yours has Bluetooth support, and even portable speakers if you’re so inclined.
The PocketBook Era supports 29 different file formats, including 19 for e-books, six audio files and four graphic formats. That’s a lot more than a Kindle or a Kobo eReader. There are also 22 pre-installed dictionaries that come in handy when learning a new language.
PocketBook promises that the Era comes with scratch protection – an important factor when the screen is covered by a layer of glass – and its water resistance is rated IPX8, meaning it will hold up well for up to 60 minutes in two meters of water.
There’s a 1,700mAh battery that will give you around four weeks of reading before needing a charge, with two colors to choose from – each with its own storage capacity.
The PocketBook Era is available in Stardust Silver with a maximum capacity of 16GB and in Sunset Copper with 64GB of storage. They will set you back $199 (about £159 / AU$275) and $249 (about £199 / AU$345) respectively. PocketBook devices have limited availability worldwide, but you can import them from retailers in the US like Amazon and Newegg.