Hi Folks. Today I’m Reviewing the PocketBook Color from PocketBook which was released in June 2020. A company based in Switzerland, it’s been going since 2007 and has produced a variety of EReaders over the years. With its slim design, long battery life and most importantly its colour screen, will it stack up against the competition? Let’s jump in and find out.
Click on the video below to give you a taster of how the device looks and feels (30s long)
Let There Be Colour!
So the device supports 4096 colours to be exact. The colour feature supports 100 PPI and the Black & White mode supports 300 PPI but personally I didn’t notice much of a difference. The colours really make the book covers stand out as well as making graphic novels a joy to read. Browsing the web in colour using an EReader is also a really pleasant experience. It’s completely glare free outside which can sometimes be an issue when you’re using your phone to do the same thing. I’ll touch more on the web browser later. The PocketBook Color also allows you to highlight text in books with a range of different colours too. A useful feature if you’re studying and need to refer back to a categorized set of notes. A word of caution here though. Make sure you know beforehand what you’re exactly planning to do with the colour feature as the majority of EBooks come in Black and White anyway.
Did Someone Say Customization?
I love the level of customization you can perform with the device. At a high level here’s all the things you can customize:
- Physical buttons on the screen
- Power On/Off cover image
- The level of page refreshing
- Battery saving and auto power off modes
- Line spacing, font size, margins whilst reading
- Setting a password for the EReader
If you thought that was enough, there’s more! The PocketBook Color also supports user profiles which stores:
- Book status
- Last opened book
It even allows you to have individual settings for each EBook! I’ve never seen this level of flexibility on an EReader and I think it’s fantastic. Definitely a great move forward here in the EReader space and one I hope to see other companies imitate.
Making Reading Social
So the PocketBook Color comes with ReadRate support which enables you to share your reading experience with your friends. This allows you to share:
- Recent books
- What friends think of their current reads
- Your favourite books
- Quotes from your books
As well as ReadRate the following social media platforms ar also supported
It’s like a virtual book club which in this day and age is especially important. The one downside to ReadRate is that it’s mainly targeted towards the Russian market rather than being fully international as far as I can tell. With that said I still think it’s a great concept to try and implement to get more people engaged around reading.
International Language Support
Although the company is based only in Switzerland, its ethos is international. They have customer support in over 10 counties, support Text to Speech in a variety of languages and even give you a free collection of 50 books that you can download in 19 different languages.
These novels are from classic authors such as:
- Jane Austin
- Lewis Caroll
- Arther Conan Doyle
- Mark Twain
And many more.
You can view the full collection of titles here
Another great positive move by the company that makes them stand out from the crowd.
AudioBook Support As Standard
The device treats audio as a first class citizen. It has a 3.5mm jack and supports Bluetooth connectivity for headphones and speakers. Really happy to see the audio jack here as that’s my personal preference for listening to Audiobooks and music.
As standard it supports a whole range of audio formats:
The music player is intuitive and easy to use.
The Web Browser Is Actually Good!
I never thought I’d be writing this when it comes to EReaders and supporting the web but PocketBook have really impressed me here. Firstly they don’t call it experimental like other popular brands which highlights they’re committed to getting it right. Browsing in colour is a joy and it even has multi tab support. The one thing to call out is that it struggles to load websites such as Youtube which are very media intensive but apart from that it worked fine.
Additional Apps As Standard
The PocketBook Color comes pre-loaded with the following apps:
- Book Store
- Scribble (drawing app)
- Klondike (Solitaire)
- MP3 Player
- Gallery (for photos browsing)
- Photo (basic editing)
- PocketBook Sync
- RSS News
With the Chess game you can play the computer or also another player. An impressive collection of apps! The one downside is that you can’t add any more which you can do on Onyx devices. With that said, this is plenty to keep you going when you need a break from reading. Another nice touch here is that you can have multiple apps running at the same time. E.g. reading an EBook whilst listening to music.
Support For The Cloud
Running out of space on the EReader? No problem. PocketBook cloud allows you to store your Ebooks on their servers and download them when you need them. They also support DropBox integration which again allows you to store files elsewhere and download them when required. I think this is the first EReader which supports DropBox integration straight out of the box and I hope others follow suit here as it’s a great idea.
Let’s Chat About The Bookstore
So PocketBook’s EBook store is called bookland. Books are reasonably priced, support multiple languages and a variety of formats. There’s also a section for Audiobooks and Podcasts. They also mimicked some of features from Amazon such as allowing you to download samples before you buy and offering free EBooks too.
The only downsides are that the website can take some time to load and the collection of EBooks doesn’t compare to the vastness of Amazon although that’s to be expected given the size of the company. Given the EReader can accept a whole range of formats, you do have the option of purchasing EBooks from other providers and then loading them on via DropBox or USB. Make sure you check the format is supported before you do.
PocketBook has gone for a standard 6 inch touch screen display which supports 300 PPI (Black & White) and a plastic casing that has rounded corners at the bottom. That’s a nice touch here as it means the 4 button controls at the bottom don’t look too clunky.
The buttons allow you to go forward, backwards, home screen and load the menu screen. As mentioned earlier, these can be customized to different functions if you choose. I like the fact that they give the user the option to decide if they want to make use of the touch screen or go old skool and use buttons instead to navigate.
The device comes with 16GB internal storage which is rare for its price point and this can be expanded to 32GB with a MicoSD card. That should be more than enough to store your EBooks, AudioBooks, Music and Photos.
Want to read in landscape mode? No problem. The EReader supports this too, though you have to change this in the settings as it does not have a gyroscope.
In terms of connectivity, Wifi and Bluetooth are supported to allow you to connect to the web and your speakers. It would have been great here if they supported 4g too so you can download more content on the go but I don’t think they’ve got the infrastructure to support it unfortunately.
Moving onto the software side, the UI is easy to use and I especially like that the brightness setting can be controlled easily from a dropdown menu. Its brightness can be turned off if needed.
A whole range EBook and document formats are supported and this is one of PocketBook Color’s strengths. Currently it supports:
- ACSM, CBR, CBZ, CHM, DJVU, DOC, DOCX,
- EPUB, EPUB (DRM), FB2, FB2.ZIP, HTM,
- HTML, MOBI, PDF, PDF (DRM), PRC, RTF, TXT
It gets even better though. The device supports Adobe DRM which allows you to purchase EBooks from other stores and borrow content from your local library (if they support that service).
So I’m just going to say it. It’s not cheap. At the time of writing it’s about the same price as the Kindle Oasis which is the premium end of the Amazon spectrum. I’d recommend visiting the Amazon website to check out the latest deals.
Some Specs To Compare Against
I’ve included a summary of some of the specs that I feel are personally important to consider when looking at getting a new device. Overall it weighs less than the standard EReader and matches the quality of their displays.
|PocketBook Color||Kindle Paperwhite||Kindle Oasis||Kobo Firma|
|Size||6 inches||6 Inches||7 Inches||7 Inches|
|Display||300 PPI Black & White|
100 PPI Color
|300 PPI||300 PPI||300 PPI|
Comparing Against The Color Lux
So this isn’t PocketBook’s first colour device. A few years ago they released the Color Lux. Thankfully they have made some improvements. Back then the device weighed 300 grams! Even my first generation Kindle didn’t weigh that much! They’ve also taken on feedback that the screen just wasn’t bright enough and I’m happy to say this isn’t the case with the PocketBook Color. I do miss the hardware brightness slider which allowed you to control the brightness of the screen by sliding your finger across a panel. I would have also expected that the new EReader would have had a more extensive color palette but alas it’s the same as the Lux (4096 colours).
What I Like
For me what really stands out is the colour screen. Vibrant book covers and graphic novels just look great. I also appreciate the time and effort they’ve taken to make a functional web browser. It’s a new way to browse the web, glare free. Finally it has to be the 3.5mm audiojack. They understand that the whole world hasn’t suddenly gone wireless, nor does it want to.
What I Don’t Like
Personally, the price is a bit steep for me. No doubt this will come down as it was only released last year but it would put me off right now purchasing one. Whilst the EReader does come with some pre loaded apps, I would like the flexibility of adding more. Maybe we’ll see this in future models.
So that wraps up my review of the PocketBook Color. Packed full of features, a vibrant screen and a level of customization I’ve not seen before on other EReaders. Have you been impressed by the device too? If so, it’s available from Amazon by clicking on the button below.
Until next time
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