The greatest e-reader for you is one among two wonderful choices

by akoloy

This story has been up to date. It was initially printed on April 25, 2020.

E-book readers are one of many clearest indicators the long run is now—having an entire library in your pocket powered by a battery that nearly by no means runs out is precisely what my seven-year-old self was dreaming of (sorry, iPhone).

If you like studying however are nonetheless new to e-readers, you’re in for a severe deal with. It’s by no means been simpler to hold round what could be a big hardcover to learn in your commute or your trip. And if you happen to’re caught with an outdated e-book reader and need to improve, now is an effective time to do it. Unlike smartphones, the e-book panorama shifts glacially, however there are just a few nice choices that weren’t out there just a few years in the past.

The library conundrum

E-book readers aren’t actually standalone units—they’re the {hardware} expression of a complete software program ecosystem. This signifies that relying on the place you purchase your e-books (Amazon, Google Play, Barnes & Noble, the Kobo retailer, and so forth.), you’ll solely be capable of learn your e book on units with a selected working system.

Buy Little Women on iTunes and also you’ll solely be capable of open it on the iBooks app in your Apple units. Porting the identical file to your Kindle (Amazon), and even studying it on the Kindle app for iPadOS or iOS, isn’t a easy course of and requires breaking the digital rights administration (DRM) seal that protects the file.

If you’ve already amassed a large e-book library and need to replace your e-reader, crucial characteristic to search for is compatibility. If you will have a Kindle, persist with Kindles, and when you have a Kobo, persist with Kobos. Switching working programs includes altering your whole ecosystem; if you happen to achieve this, be ready to purchase your whole library once more.

[Related: Keep your brain in shape by reading more books]

If you’re shopping for an e-reader for the primary time, you’ll positively have extra freedom. But nonetheless, selecting which retailer you need to go together with is a significant determination since you’ll must keep it up at the very least for the foreseeable future.

Since the phrase “Kindle” is now synonymous with “e-reader,” it may appear Amazon has already gained the e-book struggle, however the on-line retailer just isn’t the one possibility. There are two different main selections with devoted {hardware} out there: the Kobo Store, and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Store.

There’s not lots of distinction between these options. If there’s an unbiased writer you like they usually solely publish on one retailer, that could be a cause to decide on one over the opposite, however past that, all shops largely inventory the identical array of titles and let indie authors self-publish.

Barnes & Noble’s Nook Store raises just a few purple flags, although. After pulling out of the UK in 2016 (and leaving current clients in a little bit of a bind), they’re now solely out there within the US. Plus, they replace their {hardware} much less often and customers have flagged their plastic construct as inferior to that of Kindles and Kobos.

If you’ve already invested in Nook and haven’t any issues accessing their retailer, sticking with it’s not a nasty thought, however given these circumstances, it’s positively arduous to advocate shopping for one as your first e-reader.

The Kindle is by far the most well-liked line of e-readers. If you’re getting an e-reader for the primary time, going for a Kindle is a protected guess. Amazon is clearly dedicated to its roots as a bookseller and is extremely more likely to stick round and hold offering assist on your gadget.

If you dislike Amazon’s enterprise mannequin, query their ethics, or just don’t need to give much more cash to a billionaire like Jeff Bezos, then a Kobo is a straightforward selection. Their {hardware} is each bit nearly as good as Amazon’s, and their wide selection of obtainable titles will certainly fulfill all of your studying wants.

The straightforward selection: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

An Amazon Kindle Paperwhite e-reader on a mossy surface. Some consider this the best e-reader.
Is the garden moist? Worry about your pants. The Kindle Paperwhite is waterproof. Jingda Chen/Unsplash

For most individuals, the Kindle Paperwhite is the e-reader to purchase. Sure, there are cheaper units on the market, however this one hits the center floor between value and efficiency completely. And with Amazon’s enormous e-book retailer, you’ll by no means be wanting one thing to learn.

It’s arduous to not find it irresistible. It contains a flush 6-inch, 300ppi E Ink touchscreen show that appears nice, and at 6.4 ounces—concerning the weight of three Snickers bars—it’s straightforward to hold round. The gadget is IPX8 waterproof rated, so just a few splashes by the pool, or perhaps a fast dunk, gained’t hurt it. The LED entrance gentle makes it straightforward to learn wherever, whether or not in direct daylight or curled up subsequent to a flickering fireplace. If you will have an Audible account, you possibly can join a pair of Bluetooth headphones and hearken to audiobooks.

[Related: Simple Amazon Kindle tricks that’ll optimize your e-reading]

An 8GB Kindle Paperwhite with Special Offers (Amazon’s euphemism for these personalised advertisements that seem on the block display screen) is $130, though it’s often on sale for as little as $80. The 32GB model with worldwide mobile service and no advertisements goes for $180.

The contender: Kobo Clara HD

A person holding a Kobo Clara HD while sitting outside with their feet up.
The display screen on the Kobo Clara HD resembles pure gentle relying on the time of day. Perfecto Capucine/Unsplash

If you’re already tied into Kobo’s ecosystem, the Clara HD is a good improve to older fashions just like the Glo or Touch 2.0, and if you happen to’re in search of a brand new e-reader, it’s positively the very best non-Amazon possibility—although it’s arduous to advocate it over the Paperwhite for every other cause.

It’s received the same 6-inch, 300ppi front-lit E Ink touchscreen show, which is tremendous straightforward to learn on. What units the Clara HD aside (aside from the truth that it’s not tied to Amazon) is that it’s barely smaller and lighter, however these variations are minimal and don’t have an enormous impact on consumer expertise. One good contact is that the display screen tints extra towards yellow because the day goes on, however not like its Kindle counterpart, it’s not waterproof and doesn’t have Bluetooth capabilities.

The 8GB Clara HD is $120, though it’s typically on sale for $100, and doesn’t include any euphemistically titled advertisements.

What else is on the market?

The Paperwhite and Clara HD are the very best merchandise of their respective lineups, however they aren’t the one ones. If neither of our options be just right for you, you’re not out of luck.

More Kindle choices

Amazon additionally sells the Kindle—an entry-level mannequin—and the Kindle Oasis, however each miss the mark for completely totally different causes.

At $90, the Kindle is simply too shut in value to the Paperwhite to be well worth the tradeoffs. It’s not waterproof and solely has a 167ppi display screen, so textual content will look noticeably fuzzier. The display screen feels much less premium, because it’s noticeably recessed—the bezel casts a slight shadow and it seems like a kind of old-school ATM contact screens you needed to thump to get it to easily register a contact. If you’re unsure whether or not you’ll use a Kindle or not, it may be a very good taster, however it’s an inferior gadget.

The Kindle Oasis, however, begins at $250 and contains a cool uneven design, aluminum physique, an robotically adjusting 7-inch display screen, and bodily web page buttons. It’s an absolute delight to make use of, however it’s arduous to justify the $120 value enhance over the Paperwhite, particularly since I’ve discovered its battery life to be considerably worse.

[Related: Your e-reader can display more than just books]

Keep in thoughts that Amazon additionally carries its line of Fire devices, and although they can be utilized to learn books, they’re strictly tablets, not e-readers. You can at all times attempt one among these, however they’re a completely totally different product.

More Kobo choices

The Kobo Libra H2O, at $170, is value a glance. Like the Kindle Oasis, it has a 7-inch display screen and an uneven design with bodily buttons to show your pages. It’s additionally IPX8 waterproof and, at solely $40 greater than the Clara HD, the premium options don’t include the Oasis’ ludicrous price ticket.

With 7.8-inch and 8-inch screens, respectively, the Kobo Aura One ($280) and Kobo Forma ($250) simply gained’t slip right into a jacket pocket or small bag, so that they’re nearly too huge to hold simply. Other than the larger display screen (which finally ends up being extra of a fuss than a plus) there’s no solution to justify their costs over the Libra H2O.

Nook choices

The drawback with Barnes & Noble’s Nooks isn’t the units, it’s the ecosystem itself. Considering its fluctuation in size, if one of many three huge e-book reader makers fall, odds are it’ll be Barnes & Noble. With that mentioned, if you happen to’re in search of a Nook, you will have two choices.

The Nook GlowLight 3 is huge, plasticky and, regardless of having the same display screen and the added page-turn buttons, seems like a less expensive knock-off of the Paperwhite. It’s a good e-reader, however at $120, the GlowLight3 is identical value because the Clara HD and not possible to advocate over it.

The GlowLight Plus has a 7.8-inch display screen and IPX7 waterproofing, however is in any other case largely the identical because the GlowLight 3. At $200, it’s a bit dear and, similar to its older brother, merely arduous to advocate over anything.

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