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The Best Portable Ebook Reader For 2012

Updated on September 17, 2012

I'm very demanding when it comes to picking the right portable Ebook reader. While I love the idea of mobile categorized literary compendium, it needs to meet several benchmarks in order to feel as natural and fluid as a traditional paper-back.

If you're anything like me, then either you find that 90% of all eBook products are ill-suited to your needs or you've never even considered one to begin with. Without the advent of a fortuitous gift, I probably would have never started using them in the first place. Now, however, there's no going back.

I've written this article in an attempt to provide surfers with a list of E-book readers which I find are the current best offers in terms of price, aesthetics and features. As always, my articles are irredeemably subjective, so if my suggestions don't fit the bill, I wish you the best with your research!

In Brief - What Attributes am I looking for?

Firstly, the reader needs to be highly portable, and by this I mean you can comfortably have a read on a relatively cramped train ride. Anywhere you can read a traditional paper-back you should be able to do the same with you eBook.

Secondly, with regards to aesthetics, I am a big fan of minimalism. I don't want the brand's logo sprawling across the design. I want a functional, elegant design that doesn't distract from the text. My desire for easy-of-use and elegance must reflect not only the hardware, but also the software. There's nothing worse than flashy scripts and flighty multi-colored menus in my book. Speed and taste -- speed and taste!

And last but not least, we come to the price. While I understand that eventually, with an eBook, I may be cutting costs and finding a degree of karma at saving paper, it is important to remember that I am not out to buy a gaming laptop computer. I understand that many people would like their readers to serve as Mp3 players and what have you, but I'm in it for the literature. Being quintessentially male, my ability to multi-task is not as great as it could be.

Minimalistic, large display, elegant.
Minimalistic, large display, elegant.

Amazon Kindle DX Review

Quality and flexibility are the names of the game here. On the heels of the slightly disappointing Kindle 2, the Kindle DX is a triumph of simplicity and rich in features, just the way I like it.

So what's different from the original kindle? Well, to begin with, the screen size has been made larger, from a 6" diagonal to a 9.7" diagonal. The picture to the right should give you an idea of how big it actually is. Despite the size, it is pretty light, clocking in at 18.9 ounces (0.5 kilos) making it perfectly portable despite the size of the display.

The DX hosts a veritable horde of cool features, such as auto tilting. If you tilt the Kindle sideways, the text will re-align horizontally, which may suit certain texts and graphical data (if you're intent on using one primarily for work). Other nifty features include:

  • The DX is fully wireless and does not necessitate a computer
  • A singly battery charge can last a week with wireless on (double that figure if you disable the wireless connection)
  • Build-in speakers
  • 4GB storage (3500 books -- more than double the old version)
  • Ability to natively read PDF files (note: Proprietary Microsoft extensions such as .docx cannot be read!)
To me, the Kindle is something of a dream machine that I would buy if I could afford it. It makes the transition between paper and electronic paper more than just painless, it makes it noticeably advantageous. The only con I can think of is the fact that the price may be a bit steep for people on a budget. But if you can afford it, it is well worth the investment. 

Did I mention I love minimalism?
Did I mention I love minimalism?

Sony Digital Reader Touch Edition

Sony have become a familiar and trusted brand when it comes to portable eBook readers. While, overall, I prefer the Kindle as a stand-alone product, the Sony Digital Touch, at half the price, may be a better return on investment for many. And hey, perhaps you'll even prefer it -- you certainly have reasons to.

Let's begin with the fact that this model costs less than half the price. All the essential ingredients pass the test with flying colors. Sony's reader reads .PDF files effortlessly and crisply, the design is simple, elegant and clear. Interact is made even easier with the ability to change page with the swipe of a finger.

The display size is the same as the old Kindle, a respectable and immersive 6" frame that allows touchscreen navigation. For commuters used to the animalesque metro rides in the wee hours of the day, this model may be more manageable than the kindle (and at 9 ounces, weighs less than half!).

While the Kindle is a superior machine in terms of performance and flexibility, you have to ask yourself whether you can make do without the Kindle's features. Sony's reader, for instance, can house around 350 books to the Kindle's 3500. But how many books do you need stored at a time. If you need need an eBook reader as a portable reference, then perhaps investing in the Kindle is a better idea. If you need a go-between, or if you simply want to read, then Sony's alternative should prove a better overall investment. 

white version also available
white version also available

Aluratek LIBRE eBook Reader PRO

I'll start off by saying that I'm not a fan of this design, but I added it because it is relatively popular and it's 80's retro look (the same attraction I believe many felt towards those early 90's casio watches) may appeal to many.

Apart from the unique aesthetics, the Aluratek LIBRE is cheap and offers solid features (summarized by Amazon).

  • Supports PDF TXT, FB2, EPUB, MOBI (non-DRM only), PRC (non-DRM only)and RTF electronic book format
  • Supports BMP, JPG, GIF, animated GIF picture format
  • Includes 2GB SD Card and 100 free eBooks (better than the Sony!)
  • Content search for easy navigation between books and pages
  • Bookmark and auto page turn function
The real advantage may come from a different angle. For users who are tired of the "rights" war, or juggling contracts and software, know that the Aluratek provides relief. The overarching promise is a cheap, functional (is highly stylized) product that delivers exactly what it sets out to accomplish without an pomp. 


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    • Dr Rockpile profile image

      Dr Rockpile 6 years ago from USA

      If I were buying an eReader I think I'd go with the Kindle.

    • nancybotwin profile image

      nancybotwin 7 years ago from San Jose

      yes, i agree with john. i've been thinking about getting a reader. I wonder what you think of the new Barnes and Noble reader. Have you checked it out yet??

    • John B Badd profile image

      John B Badd 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Great review Dallas. I have not purchased a reader yet, but it is only a matter of time. Your info is very helpful.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      I am in the early stages of research for a Portable book reader. Your hub provided lots of information.

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 7 years ago

      Wow..thanks for the review and the great recommendation.