The Top Ten Best Ebook Readers
If, like me, you're an avid reader you may be looking at the range of ebook ereaders available and wondering if now is the time to purchase one. Are they are good value for money? Will you find it a pleasant to read from as having an actual book in your hand? Which one of the ereaders is right for you? I looked long and hard at the various options before buying one and eventually chose the Sony Digital Reader Touch Edition. I love it and have easily adjusted to reading from it although there are a few minor things that I would like to see improved.
Free ebooks are available at Project Gutenberg in a variety of formats that can be read on the Kindle, Sony ereader and the Nook.
In this hub I'll look at the different ebook ereaders and compare their features, price and how easy and comfortable they are to use. I will use my own experiences with the Sony ereader and look at customers reviews on Amazon for the others.
No 1 Kindle Wireless Reading Device - 3nd Generation (Kindle 3). Amazon's ereader is a very popular ereader that uses a wireless method for storing ebooks. Books purchased from Amazon's store are downloaded directly to the Kindle so no computer is needed. if you live in an area with 3G you can download books in less than a minute. It can also be used if you don't have access to 3G although it's a little slower. The Kindle can hold up to 1500 books and the battery lasts around a week (with wireless enabled) or two to three weeks with wireless disabled.The battery can be charged with either a USB cable or by plugging into a power outlet. You can read books purchased at the Amazon store and a few other places, such as Fictionwise on the Kindle as it uses a proprietary format although you can read them on a computer using the free Kindle apps. You can also transfer PDF and Word documents from your computer to the Kindle using the USB cable provided.
If you choose the 3G and wireless model you'll pay around $170 but without the 3G it's only around $140.
What do owners of the Kindle 3 think?
Around 600 customers at Amazon reviewed the Kindle 3 with almost 400
giving it five stars sand around 100 giving it four stars. They like the
lightweight and size and the fact that it is easy to read even in
bright sunlight. You can browse the Kindle store and read samples of
books before purchasing. The speed of downloading with 3G is as big
advantage.The screen contrast has been improved and is much better than the Kindle 2. It is very light and slim and easy to hold. The text to speech is well liked although not available on all books.
What didn't they like?
Many ebooks on Amazon are restricted to those who live in the US so if you live elsewhere (as I do!) check if the Amazon store has the books you might want to purchase. PDF files do not always come out very well formatted on the Kindle but there is a conversion option that you can use by emailing your file to your ereader. The Kindle doesn't use page numbers from the books but their own location method so you can't go to a particular page. For students using text books this is a problem as they won't be able to find a page if the teacher is using a print book. For reading novels however this probably won't be an issue.
Overall the Kindle 3 is a big improvement on the previous models. There are a few issues that might be a problem for some people such as the lack of books in the Kindle store if you live outside the US. The Kindle 3 is very well liked and good value for money.
No 2 Sony Touch Ereader Prs600s comes in Silver and Black and has a 6" screen. It is priced mid way between the Sony pocket edition (at around $125) and the Sony Daily Edition (at around $250) at around $170. I looked at the pocket edition but found the screen too small for comfortable reading but at 6" the screen on the touch edition is large enough. The overall size is about the same as a paperback book. I like to read in bed and one concern I had was if this would be comfortable with an ereader but I find the ereader easy to hold and read when lying down. It took me a while to perfect the technique of turning the pages with the touch screen. You need to be firm and I find a small swipe with the thumb works best and now it works every time. Page turning is fast.
The Sony Touch Ereader Prs600s can hold around 350 books and you can expand the memory with an MS or SD card. The screen uses E-Ink technology to emulate paper and is easy on the eyes. There is no back light which would cause more eye strain so you need to use it with an external light source. You can read a wide range of formats including PDF,TXT, Word documents, EPub, BBeB Book. This allows you to purchase books from many different sources and to read free ebooks available on the net. (see links below). This is the main reason why I chose a Sony over the Amazon Kindle as I didn't want to be restricted to those available at Amazon's store or in a limited number of places that sell ebooks in the AZW format. eBooks are transferred to the ereader via a usb cable from your computer. You can also borrow ebooks from many libraries with this ereader.
What don't I like?
There are a few things I don't like! Although I love the convenience of the touch screen it does make the screen slightly reflective. I bought theTuff-Luv
Topcoat Anti-Glare Enhanced Screen protection and found it helps a lot although there is still some reflection. It is easy to find a comfortable position to read by adjusting the angle although it is a small inconvenience. I think the contrast could be better and there's no way to adjust it.
I'd like to be able to put my books into collections on the reader itself rather than on my computer.
I love my Sony Touch Ereader and would definitely recommend it. I like the ability to buy books anywhere in many different formats and keep them stored on my computer.
No 3 Kindle DX
Wireless Reading Device is very similar to the Kindle 3 but it much bigger with a huge 9.7" screen. If you want to read newspapers, magazines, graphic-rich books, blogs etc then the Kindle DX is much better for this than the smaller Kindle 3. It is slim at just over 1/3". You can read PDF documents and there is a zoom capability for small text and images. You can also use the read-to-me facility to listen to your ebooks and magazines. The battery life is less than for the Kindle 3 but at 2-3 weeks with the wireless switched off perfectly adequate. The storage capacity is around 3500 books.
For those who use large print books the large screen is a definite advantage as there will be a lot less page turning.
What do people like about the Kindle DX ereader?
The size!! All the advantages of the Kindle 3 but the size makes it much better for applications other then reading novels.
Quote: ' However, with the DX, I was able to go to Google Maps, look up the address and had my directions in just a couple of seconds. The map was rendered beautifully and the turn-by-turn directions could be bookmarked and even if my DX fell asleep, it awoke still displaying the directions.'
What don't customers like?
The navigation buttone are all on the right hand side. Fine if you are right handed but not if you are left handed,. However there is a solution.
Quote: 'If you are left handed and really bothered by having the buttons only on the right side, you can turn the device upside down and voila -- now your buttons are on the left side.'
The price! All these advantages come at a price. the Kindle DX sells for around $380 so be sure you need these features before buying or go with the smaller ereaders if you just want to read novels.
No 4 The Sony Reader
Daily Edition is similar to the Sony Touch but has 3G wireless access and a bigger 7.1" screen. You can download ebooks directly form the Sony store to the device anywhere you have a wireless connection. It has a touch screen and you can use it in either portrait or landscape mode. It supports a wide variety of formats including PDF and ePub so you can buy books from a huge number of online stores or download free public domain books easily. It's not cheap however at around $250.
Overall the Sony Reader Daily Edition was rated at 3 1/2 stars by Amazon customers. They liked the ability to use the wide variety of formats and to be able to borrow ebooks from libraries which usually use the ePub format. The size is bigger then the Sony touch edition or the Kindle 3 but smaller than the Kindle DX. The touch navigation works well and there is very little glare on the screen. It also has a user replaceable battery unlike some other ereaders.
The contrast and resolution is good. Quote: 'First, many folks have noticed the increased resolution of the new Sony screen. The daily edition recognizes 16 shades of grey and the print is simply much more defined than either the sony touch or the kindle. Yes, the touch screen necessitates a bit of shininess on the screen, causing occasional glare, but I have never really had a problem with this.'
Overall the Sony Reader
Daily Edition works well and allows you to read a wide variety of ebooks, magazines, newspapers etc in many different formats and to borrow ebooks from libraries. The addition of wireless is an advantage if you want the ability to download directly to the ereader from the Sony store wherever you are.
No 5 The Sony Digital Reader Pocket Edition is a smaller version of the Sony ereader and cheaper than the other ereaders at under $120. It has a 5" display and fits easily into a pocket to take with you anywhere. It can hole up to 350 books and lasts for about two weeks on one charge. This model has all the advantages noted above for the other Sony ereaders. i.e. ability to display a wide variety of ebook formats including ePub which is used by most libraries. It has no wireless so ebooks need to be download to your computer first then transferred via the USB cable to the device.
Customers at amazon gave the Sony Digital Reader Pocket Edition an average rating of four stars.
Quote: 'Great form-factor: The PRS-300 really will fit in a pocket, either a jacket pocket or very comfortably in a pocket of my cargo shorts on the weekend. The PRS-300 simply feels great in the hand: it has excellent balance, and a really comforting heft that reminds me of the way a solid paperback book just rest in your hand without the need to consciously grasp it, or constantly adjust it. ' and 'The screen image of the Pocket Edition is crisp, clear, and CONSISTENTLY easy to read in both high- and medium-light conditions. The screen is non-glare'
Overall a small, fairly cheap ereader that you can easily take with you for reading anywhere.
No 6 Aluratek LIBRE eBook Reader PRO - eBook reader. Not a well known brand but this small, fairly cheap ebook ereader is well liked by those who have bought it. It has a 3 1/2 star rating on Amazon and sells for around $130. No WIFI but easy to download ebooks to your computer then transfer them to the included 2GB SD card on the reader. The pages turn very fast and there's also an mp3 player to listen to music as you read. You can create folders to arrange your books and borrow books from local libraries as it supports the ePub format.
It uses e-paper LCD technology for the 5" screen which is quite heavy on battery use but is easy on the eyes and there is no glare. A wide variety of formats are supported. An added bonus is that 100 ebooks are included free.
Quote from customer: 'Just select the file, drag it to the SD card and enjoy! You don't get wifi ability to download today's NYT or other such sillyness, but you do get a solidly well built, common sense reader!' and 'Overall, this is a no-nonsense, easy-to-use, easy-on-pocket and fun ebook reader.'
Overall a fairly small ebook ereader but a good price and well liked by users.
No 7 Barnes and Noble NOOK eBook Reader (WIFI only) has a touch screen with colored menus and book covers and wireless access for downloading ebooks directly to the ereader. You can also use AT&T hotspots or WIFI in B&N stores for free. The screen for reading has 16-level gray scale display for great contrast and no glare. You can download ebooks from the Barnes and Noble store and even pre-order books which will download automatically when published. The battery is user replaceable and supposed to last ten days although customers report it's more like five days. The Nook holds up to 1,500 ebooks which can be expanded with a microSD memory card.
You can also listen to audio books or use it as an mp3 player. Formats supported are EPUB,PDB and PDF so you can buy ebooks from the Barnes and Noble store or from many other online stores.You can even play some games on the Nook!
What did customers think about the Barnes and Noble NOOK eBook Reader?
This ereader has an average rating of four stars on Amazon. It is well liked. The only 1 star rating was from a customer who found that PDF technical documents were not rendered correctly. However this is a general problem with all the ereaders I reviewed and not specific to this model.
Quote: ' All in all I think this is a wonderful device - exactly what I wanted. I usually read about three to four books a week and being able to carry my whole library with me is great! I would definitely recommend this product.' and 'The touch interface is very nice and I like seeing my book covers in color. When you choose the Cover Flow, your books slide by with the touch of a finger and you simply tap on the book you want to read at that moment.'
What customers didn't like
The ability to take notes, highlight and bookmark only appears to work with the ePub format and not PDF's. Also PDF documents cannot have the font resized so if it is small it will be hard or impossible to read. Customers outside the US have reported that they can't download books from the Barnes and Noble store. A limited range of formats and most functions only work with the ePub format.
The Nook is less well known than the other ereaders but is well liked by many users. The color screen is a nice addition so you can now view book covers properly. There are a few issues with reading PDF documents and the ability to download internationally is a definite issue.
No 8 Ectaco Jbl-en Jetbook-lite Ereader supports a wide range of formats inclluding ePub, PDF, Mobi, TXT, RTF and DRm format trhough Barnes and Noble. It is pocket sized and can be used in both portrait or landscape orientation. There is support for a large number of languages plus dictionaries for some European languages. Customers at Amazon gave the Ectaco Jbl-en Jetbook-lite Ereader an average rating of 3 1/2 stars.
Unlike the other ereaders here this model does not use e-ink technology but has a 5" LCD screen which users find very readable with high contrast black text on a white background. There is the facility to add an SD card to increase the storage capacity and some classic books are already on the reader when purchased. It runs on four AA batteries which last for around 20 hours.
Overall the Ectaco Jbl-en Jetbook-lite Ereader seems to be well liked by its users and good value for money.
No 9 Bookeen Cybook Opus eBook Reader has a 5" screen and support for both portrait and landscape modes. It supports ePub abd PDF formats and has a user replaceable battery. Customers at Amazon gave it an average four star rating. Bookeen ereaders are popular in Non-US countries and have been around a long time. It has an SD slot for increasing storage capacity although the internal memory can hole around 1000 ebooks. It supports ePub,
Quote: 'It does what I want a reader to do--store and display books--and nothing else. That's what I like about it.'
A reasonable ereader but more expensive than most.
No 10 PocketBook 301+ Standard eInk eReader has a 6" e-ink screen and multi-format, multi-language support. It comes pre-loaded with 500 free books. and includes a cover. Support is included for Fb2, FB2.zip, TXT, PDF, RTF, HTML, PRC, CHM, DJVU, DOC, EPUB, TCR formats and has a grayscale 6" touch screen and 600x800 pixel resolution. Load ebooks onto the ereader via a USB cable to your computer.
A pocket sized ereader that supports many different formats and is easy to carry around with you.More expensive than many other ereaders however.
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