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Old 01-28-2024, 02:10 PM   #1
somemail
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Pocketbook Era vs Kindle Paperwhite 2021 6.8 vs Kobo Libra 2 - Which one to get?

Hello guys!

I want to buy an ebook reader (first pourchase of ebook reader ever). So I was spending a lot of times on reviews and researching the last couple of days...

I'm not sure which one should I get
- Kindle paperwhite 2021 6.8
- Pocketbook Era
- Kobo libra 2


I'm looking for something in the 6.8 - 7 inch segment.
My top priorities are:
- Good screen and light, sharpnes and contrast - Very important because I have impaired vision
- Supporting wide range of formats - Very important because I plan to read mainly scientific literature which comes in different formats. (Perfectly aware that pdfs wont be good). Looking for smooth support mostly for Epub and mobi or if mobi is not supported I would be happy to convert the mobi files to different format if there is a reliable convertor that does not lose quality of text, layout, tables and images. Docx, doc, acsm will be a big plus.
- Would be able to install more fonts.


My thoughts after my research:

Era: I really loved the Era, the opennes of the system, the software, the supported file formats everything is so great, but I'm really worried about the screen. It does not look that sharp and contrast on the youtube reviews I watched compared to the Paperwhite 2021 and the Libra 2.

Kindle Paperwhite 2021 6.8 - I really loved the screen, contrast and sharpness, some functions of the reader are also great, it misses some of the features of the Era, but I think if the most important part(the reading of actual ebooks) is better on Kindle I may go with it. The things I'm worried about it is that it may not handle the formats I need perfectly - Epub and mobi. Doc and docx are easily convertible I think. ACSM I'm not sure how much I actually need them. The other thing I'm worried about it is that it couples me to the Amazon ecosystem and that one day amazon may decide to stop support epub, mobi or side loaded content. Another thing I didnt like on the paperwhite was that the margins had only 3 options. They cannot be expanded to the edges of the screen to have more content on a page.

Kobo libra 2: Maybe the only reason I consider this is to get a better screen, contrast an sharpnes and absolutely sure support for epub, mobi, doc, docx. But I don't like the software of it much, it also looks like a little bit cheap and plastic which also push me away. But if it is the only workaround to get my main 3 priorities I may go with it.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks!
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Old 01-28-2024, 06:46 PM   #2
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Why don't you like the Kobo software? IMO the Kobo software is much better and more customizable than that of Kindles and Pocketbooks. And you can easily install another reading software on a Kobo (KOReader, for example), which is only possible on a Kindle if you jailbreak it.

That said, the mobi support on Kobos is very primitive, so it's best to convert your mobis. Kindles, OTOH, don't support epub at all, unless you use the Amazon conversion services or convert them yourself.
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Old 01-28-2024, 07:31 PM   #3
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I have no experience with Kobo Libra 2, but have the other two.

Paperwhite display is maybe a little better (Era is very good though) but customization is nil, and it is not as friendly to side loaded books, to say the least. Send To Kindle service is usually more convenient and works well, but metadata other than author/title means nothing.

PocketBook platform is great, very friendly to third party content (I don't even know how to buy anything from their store in the US): syncs to PocketBook Cloud, works with DropBox. It does have AZW/AZW3 support, but I just feed it ePub. You can browse content by tags, series, author, format, collection, folder -- very flexible.

I can download from calibre server or cloud storage (OneDrive) using web browser. If I open with the app, it syncs and I can download to the Era after a few minutes. The apps should work with calibre server, as you can connect to OPDS services, but after connecting all I see is label 'calibre' and there is no browsing to be had (I have been meaning to debug it). But of course you can just use a web browser to connect to calibre, and then share the download with the app.

I am also a fan of text to speech (available in multiple languages), and it has built in speaker and plays audiobooks (Mp3/m4b) in background so if you have the text, you can follow along. Also a music player (also plays in background). And of course Bluetooth audio support.

On the downside, there are no justification options (I like left-justify), and there is no way to adjust font weight (apart from setting everything to Bold!).

The Android and iOS apps also have text to speech (and justification options), and have auto-scroll, which I use on my iPhone.

Both the buttons and (the 9) tap zones can be configured. You can annotate with fingertip or stylus, there's a little suite of apps and games.

Also you can install KOReader very easily, if you prefer having control over everything.

It should be possible to borrow from public library using the web browser, but I've not tried it. It generates an AdobeID that syncs between devices and apps linked to your PocketBook account (again, I've never tried it).

While the form factor is similar to Libra 2, the latter reminds me too much of the Oasis I once had, and I found the button placement uncomfortable for my hands. Era has them out of the way so I'm not pressing them accidentally, and I don't have to keep my thumb anchored to a particular location.

It does not have text to speech or a speaker, and Kobo does not provide storage for 3rd party content (I guess you can use other cloud services for this). I don't like the Kobo iOS or Android apps, compared to PocketBook or Kindle.

Last edited by tomsem; 01-29-2024 at 03:25 AM.
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Old 01-28-2024, 08:09 PM   #4
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The reading software on Kobo eink readers is the best and most flexible of the three (minus text-to-speech, which I don't use). Where the other two are better is syncing sideloaded content across different devices and apps (not possible with a Kobo at all), so if you use or plan to use more than one device/app to read your content, Kobo is not the best option. I read only on my eink Kobos and don't use any apps, so I find the Kobo software better suited for me than Kindle or Pocketbook. I don't need the cloud support either for the same reason - everything is sideloaded from Calibre and I don't need syncing.
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Old 01-29-2024, 02:29 AM   #5
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Your replies gave me some perspectives.

If I get paperwhite jailbreak it and put KoReader on it. Will I be able to read epubs on it? Also how safe is the proces of jailbreaking it? That would be a good workaround as I dont plan to use the amazon eco system at all.

Another question that came to my mind is if I put KoReader on the Era will I be able to adjust the boldnes of the text like in original kindle software, to make it more blackish and contrast but not that bold as in the original Era reader?
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Old 01-29-2024, 02:37 AM   #6
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Yes to both.

I don't know how safe it is to jailbreak a Kindle, or even if you can do it at all with a brand new device. I didn't jailbreak my Kindles when I used them, but converted my epubs to azw3.

If you're going to use KOReader anyway, then the Kobo Libra 2 has the best screen and contrast of the three.
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Old 01-29-2024, 02:47 AM   #7
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IMO there's not much point in getting a Kindle if you don't plan to ever use the Amazon ecosystem. For sideloading Kobo and Pocketbook are better options.
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Old 01-29-2024, 08:52 AM   #8
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The reading software on Kobo eink readers is the best and most flexible of the three (minus text-to-speech, which I don't use). Where the other two are better is syncing sideloaded content across different devices and apps (not possible with a Kobo at all), so if you use or plan to use more than one device/app to read your content, Kobo is not the best option. I read only on my eink Kobos and don't use any apps, so I find the Kobo software better suited for me than Kindle or Pocketbook. I don't need the cloud support either for the same reason - everything is sideloaded from Calibre and I don't need syncing.
AIUI Kobo's rendering engine for kepubs doesn't have quite as good typographical feature support as the Adobe epub engine. PocketBook uses a more recent version of the Adobe engine too, so is possibly even better in that regard.
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Old 01-29-2024, 09:16 AM   #9
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AIUI Kobo's rendering engine for kepubs doesn't have quite as good typographical feature support as the Adobe epub engine. PocketBook uses a more recent version of the Adobe engine too, so is possibly even better in that regard.
That's true, but I doubt an average user would notice the difference. MR users are far from average.

Where Kobo shines is customizability. I'm pretty fussy and I'm quite satisfied with my patched Kobo native UI, without any need to turn to KOReader. Unfortunately the lack of font weight adjustment on Pocketbooks is a dealbreaker for me, plus the lack of a good English dictionary (both Kobo and Kindle use the excellent Oxford dictionary, but I gather that's not available on Pocketbooks).
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Old 01-29-2024, 10:05 AM   #10
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That's true, but I doubt an average user would notice the difference. MR users are far from average.
Fair point!

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Unfortunately the lack of font weight adjustment on Pocketbooks is a dealbreaker for me, plus the lack of a good English dictionary (both Kobo and Kindle use the excellent Oxford dictionary, but I gather that's not available on Pocketbooks).
The font weight adjustment on Kobo is really nice. Dictionaries are a bit meh, personally, but no doubt I'd care if I was reading foreign books.
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Old 01-29-2024, 11:20 AM   #11
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If I get paperwhite jailbreak it and put KoReader on it.
If you want to jailbreak a new paperwhite be sure to get the kids edition.
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Old 01-29-2024, 11:24 AM   #12
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So the kindle is getting out of the choices. I went to the local shop to check them all in person. It didn't even start after 15 minutes in the charger plus as I compared the opinions on web there were more complains from kindle than other readers. And on top of that I will have to use a lot of things to use it thee way I like.

The thing I noticed was that on the Era the brightness was kind of blueish, greenish compared to other pocketbooks which was kind of strange (image applied). Also the pocketbooks and especially the era seemed to have much less range of gradient in terms of the brightness setting like from 95-100 it was very bright and from 0-80 almost no difference in the changing of brightness. While on Kobo like every 15% of brightness had a dramatic change. So its like Kobo have more control over the display brightness.

After the discussion that was formed I remembered that dictionary will also be a plus as I'm not a native english speaker and I plan to read books in english. Seems like Kobo is winning on that parameter with its oxford dictionary is this right?

I was also wondering If opening the dictionary with KoReader is fluent and can be done with just a tap of the word like in the native readers on both devices?
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Old 01-29-2024, 12:02 PM   #13
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The English dictionary on Kobos is very good. I'm also a non-native English speaker who reads in English and I find the dictionary to be very satisfying. It has all kinds of obscure words. AFAIK the Oxford dictionary is not available on Pocketbooks, as I've read complaints about that in the Pocketbook forum.

I don't use KOReader (tried it once, but felt no particular need to use it over the native software), so can't comment on the dictionary use there.
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Old 01-29-2024, 01:46 PM   #14
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The English dictionary on Kobos is very good. I'm also a non-native English speaker who reads in English and I find the dictionary to be very satisfying. It has all kinds of obscure words. AFAIK the Oxford dictionary is not available on Pocketbooks, as I've read complaints about that in the Pocketbook forum.

I don't use KOReader (tried it once, but felt no particular need to use it over the native software), so can't comment on the dictionary use there.
Can you install any font you like on Kobo native reader?
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Old 01-29-2024, 02:19 PM   #15
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Can you install any font you like on Kobo native reader?
Yes, you can.
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