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How to Choose the Best Color eBook Reader

Updated on September 28, 2011

A Color e-Book Reader for a Better Reading Experience

There are several color ebook reader devices now available. Certainly there are a number of tablets that offer ereader apps and have great color screens too. However, they are generally larger, significantly more expensive, and don't provide quite the same reading experience as the dedicated devices.

On this page you can learn a bit more about ebook readers, discover tips on choosing the right one, and find a good color ebook reader as well.

Why Buy an eBook Reader?

People have read books for centuries, why make the switch to an ebook reader for much of your reading?

A lightweight, portable ebook reader gives users access to thousands of books, magazines, newspapers, and so forth. You couldn't possibly carry around even a tenth of what they allow you to have in your hand at any time.

The ebooks that you download to read, will cost significantly less than buying a new hardbound or paperback book. In addition, no trees will be sacrificed to create an ebook. These ebooks won't succumb to torn pages, mildew, and so forth either.

Most ebook readers also give users access to a variety of other functions. They may act as a photo or video viewer, they often provide some type of web browser, and they may also have a built-in music player.

These devices generally include many convenience features a traditional book can't offer. They may have a built in dictionary as well as adjustable font and brightness to suit your individual needs or current reading environment. In fact, if you find yourself in a place where you need your eyes elsewhere, you don't have to stop reading. With many models, you can have the device read to you.

An ebook reader gives you instant access too. You don't have to make special plans to go to the bookstore to purchase a few new titles, just click a few buttons and you'll download that book instantly.

Most of these devices offer a black and white or a grayscale screen. Just like most traditional books do. This is great unless you're wanting to view color illustrations or diagrams, content with color photography, or even photos and video. In these instances, a color ebook reader is a great choice.

Some people question buying a dedicated device for reading versus buying a tablet. In some cases, a tablet could be the right choice, especially if you are wanting more computing power. However, a dedicated reader will certainly cost less and is often more portable.

You'll find a few tips for choosing the right one lower on this page.

Buying Tips

When selecting an ebook reader, it's always important to think about size, to assure both good visibility and portability. In addition, you'll want to know what file formats are supported and which bookstores you will be able to access with it. You'll want to know the storage capacity and, since it's a device you will likely take with you while you're out and about, the battery life will be important too. Dedicated color ebook reader devices will generally consume less power than a tablet, so if battery life is critical this should be a consideration when deciding between the two.

Functions and convenience features are also critical. Being able to adjust the font, brightness, and so forth is important. Having the ability to bookmark, highlight, and take notes can be especially important for students and professionals. Other functions like a web browser and social site integration may be important for some users, while built in photo/video viewers, music players, and so forth can be found as well.

If a user wants the device to be able to read aloud, it will need text-to-speech capabilities, speakers, and ideally a headphone jack.

Readability is dependent upon a number of things. E-Ink displays are great for reading in sunlight but require an external light source in the dark. On the other hand, a backlit screen can be more difficult to read in sunlight but great in the dark. It's important with these screens to have adjustable brightness.

The quality of the display is of course important. A higher resolution screen will make text and images more crisp and defined. High resolution is important in these instances, nothing less than 800x600 is recommended.

Processing speed is important too, it can be frustrating to wait too long for pages to load and so forth. Reading user reviews and acutally putting hands on a device are the best ways to determine a given ebook readers performance.

Color ebook readers are in the minority at this time. However, the choices will probably increase in the next year or two. A dedicated ebook reader will not compete with most tablets for computing power and multi-tasking abilities, however, they do what they do very well and often provide a few additional functions.

Of course if you want full web acess in addition to basic ebook reader functions, a tablet (with ereader apps) may be the answer. Certainly they generally offer more processing power and color screens.

Barnes & Noble Nook Color

One of the most highly regarded color ebook readers is the Barnes & Noble Nook Color. It features a 7" color capacitive touchscreen. Unlike the typical e-ink displays on many eBook readers, the Nook has a backlit, LCD screen. This means that reading in the dark is easier. Eyestrain can be avoided by using the night mode and decreasing brightness. In sunlight, brightness can be increased to make viewing easier.

The Nook Color has built-in Wi-Fi, 8GB of internal storage (6,000 book capacity), a micro SD expansion slot, Android 2.2 OS, and a fast 1 GHZ CPU processor. Users can read books, magazines, newspapers, PDF files, search/browse the web, check e-mail, play games, listen to music, including Pandora radio, enjoy videos, and interact on social sites. With it's latest update to the Android Froyo OS, this color ebook reader can handle Adobe Air, Adobe Flash Player and provide full Android tablet capabilities with access to hundreds of apps.

This color ebook reader has a 3.5mm headphone jack and can also read books aloud. It offers a search function,the ability to bookmark materials, and provides adjustable text size, font, line spacing, background, and brightness. The accelerometer automatically adjust the view when held in portrait or landscape mode. Users can loan books to friends for up to 2 weeks. The Nook Color weighs just under 1lb and will provide 8 hours of reading per charge.

Nook Color Review

Pandigital Novel

The Pandigital Novel color ebook reader is another 7" color touchscreen device. The TFT backlit LCD screen offers 800x600 resolution. Users can use a stylus or their fingernail to navigate. It provides acces to library books, free web content, and the Barnes & Noble bookstore. It has built-in Wi-Fi, 1GB of built-in storage, and a memory card slot as well.

Users can bookmark and highlight material, write notes, adjust text size, font, and brightness. It has a night reading mode and allows you to zoom in on images/text. This device offers a built in dictionary, a music player, 2 built-in speakers, a 2.5mm headphone jack, and some games. The browser gives users access to e-mail, social sites, and so forth. It offers a photo/video viewer, an alarm clock and calendar function, and more.

This device weighs 19 ounces and comes with a one year warranty. It supports ePub and PDF file formats.

Pandigital Novel Review


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi there:

      I have a skytech primer, which has a calendar in it..But how do i use calendar, to post events etc? any help would be appreciated... thanks...

    • mulberry1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Christine Mulberry 

      8 years ago

      Good question. As far as I know there are none that have a DVD reader/player in them. But you could potentially load the DVD with files on your computer and download from there. It's not something I have personally done, but I think you have to convert it to ePub format (the most common ebook format) If you search for "convert PDF to ePub" you should find tools to do this.

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 

      8 years ago from USA

      mulberry1 - Here's a question. Are there any eBook readers that accept input from CD or DVD containing PDF files, or do all of the eBook readers require special input media? I didn't read about that in your fine article.

      Gus :-)))


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