The Pocketbook Era and Kindle Paperwhite 5 Signature Edition are two of the best e-readers in the world. They both allow you to download and buy lots of books and audiobooks from their online bookstores and allow you to sideload in your own digital content. Their 300 PPI screens ensure that all of the fonts look razer sharp and you can read at night via their front-lit displays and warm lighting systems. Which e-reader is better?
The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 11th generation Signature Edition features a 6.8 inch E INK Carta 1200 touchscreen display with a resolution of 1236 x 1648 and 300 PPI. It has 17 white and amber LED lights, giving users the ability to get a candlelight effect. This is the first time that Amazon brought over the warm light screen to the Paperwhite, it used to be a Kindle Oasis exclusive. This model unlike the base Paperwhite 5 has an ambient light sensor to automatically adjust the brightness of the screen. The screen is flush with the bezel, protected by a layer of glass.
The Pocketbook Era features a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen display with E INK Carta 1200 e-paper display panel. The resolution of the Era is 1264×1680 with 300 PP. It also has around 25 LED lights, making the screen cool or warm. There is no light sensor on this model, but it can dim or lighten up the screen based on the time of day. The screen is also flush with the bezel, however it has also physical page turn buttons, which is useful if you don’t want to exclusively rely on the touchscreen to turn pages.
Underneath the hood of the Kindle Paperwwhite 5 Signature Edition is a MT8113 SOC 1 GHZ processor, 512MB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. You will be able to connect it up to your MAC or PC via USB-C to charge it or to transfer digital content. Amazon has decided to not provide cellular options for this generation, so there is no LTE/4G variants for purchase. However the Signature Edition has wireless charging. The battery will last around ten weeks, which is very solid for an e-reader. It is powered by a 1700 mAh battery and the dimensions are 124.6 x 174.2 x 8.1 mm and weighs 205g.
Underneath the hood of the Era is a dual-core 1GHZ processor and 1GB of RAM. There are two different colors to choose from and each one has different storage. Sunset Copper with 64 GB of storage, and Stardust Silver with 16 GB. You can charge device and transfer data, thanks to the USB-C port. You can listen to music via the single speaker on the bottom of the reader or pair wireless headphones or earbuds and take advantage of Bluetooth 5.1. Another helpful feature for those who prefer listening to books is Text-to-Speech which turns any text into a natural-sounding voice audio track. Just two clicks and the device will read aloud any text file in one of the 26 available languages. It is powered by a 1700 mAh battery and the dimensions are 134.3×155.7.8mm and weighs 228G.
I think the Era has the slight advantage on the hardware level. It has better resolution and the physical page turn buttons are a welcome addition. The speakers and TTS system are both really solid, whereas the Paperwhite can only listen to content via Bluetooth.
The Pocketbook Era and Kindle both have online bookstores that sell audiobooks and ebooks. The Kindle has the advantage of having a better ecosystem that is populated with more titles and more Audible audiobooks. Pocketbook has some bestsellers, but primarily has royalty free audio and ebooks. You will find more value with the Kindle if you want to buy stuff. The Era has an advantage of supporting more book formats if you want to sideload stuff in. It supports 12 of them, including DRM EPUB and PDF, this means you can buy books from Google Books, Kobo or Barnes and Noble and use Adobe Digital Editions to load them in. The Era also supports manga files, CBR and CBZ.
In the end, the Era has better hardware, but the Kindle has a better bookstore. I recommend the Era if you like to have more flexibility and freedom to load in your own content, whereas the Kindle is best for ease of use. The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition retails for $169, while the Pocketbook Era starts at $199.99.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.