Best Ebook Readers of 2015
It may seem odd that dedicated e-book readers like the Kindle and Nook still exist in this age of multi-purpose tablets and big-screen smartphones. But just as golfers tote many clubs, each finely engineered for optimal performance on different shots, serious bibliophiles like to have an e-book reader that is specifically designed for reading text. Read on for my notes on the best e-readers available now...
The Best E-Book Reader for You?
An ideal e-book reader must meet specific criteria that heavy readers are very finicky about. It has to render black-and-white text crisply; mimic the “look” of print on paper closely, including page-turning; be easy on the eyes under all lighting conditions, including darkness; allow bookmarking and annotations; and its battery must last a lot longer than a typical tablet or smartphone.
E-book readers have to be inexpensive, too; after all, they’re one-trick ponies competing against multi-function mobile devices whose prices keep falling. Even the fanciest e-book readers cost no more than about $200, and there are many readers in the sub-$100 range.
The reigning champ of e-readers is the Amazon Kindle Voyage, in the opinions of many reviewers and users. It has a 6-inch display that most people can hold in one hand while reading. Text resolution is 300 pixels-per-inch (ppi), on par with high-quality printer output. A built-in front light adapts to ambient lighting conditions automatically, providing ideal illumination of the E-ink text indoors or outdoors. It’s the thinnest Kindle ever – only 7.6 mm, less than 5/16 of an inch. PagePress technology built into the left and right bezel edges enables turning pages with a slight thumb press, while Page Flip lets you skim pages or skip ahead without losing your place. The battery lasts for weeks, not just days.
With 4 GB of flash storage, you can carry a lot of e-books; and, of course, you can access your cloud-based Kindle library via the Internet. You can even share e-books with other Kindle members, borrowing or lending titles for up to 14 days.
The Voyage with WiFi-only connectivity will set you back $199. Add 3G cellular connectivity for $69. Eliminating the ads that Amazon displays on the home screen and lock screen (but not while you’re reading) costs another $20.
Amazon’s classic PaperWhite Kindle got a boost to 300 ppi in 2015, but it costs significantly less than the Voyage ($119 WiFi-only, 3G $69 more, $20 ad-free). If you already have a 2013 PaperWhite, the gain in resolution probably isn’t worth buying a new one. The PaperWhite lacks the PagePress and adaptive front light of the Voyage, and it can only be charged via a micro-USB port. On the other hand, you only need to charge it once a month. It has the same 4 GB of storage as the Voyage.
Barnes & Noble’s second-generation Nook Glowlight lists for $99. You can find refurbished first-generation Glowlights on Amazon (how ironic) for even less. The Nook comes ad-free without paying $20 extra. The latest Nook is 15% lighter than the Amazon Paperwhite (6.2 oz. or 175 grams) while matching the latter’s 6-inch screen, but it comes only in white which can get grimy after a while. The integrated Glowlight is brighter than in previous models.
Unlike any Kindle, the Nook can read e-books published in the open-source EPUB format. That opens up a universe of third-party (non-Amazona and non-B&N) publications. A certain segment of the e-book community does not like to be tied to the proprietary Amazon ecosystem, so the Nook and other EPUB-compatible readers appeal to them.
The Kobo Glo HD is strictly EPUB. At $129 for a WiFi-only reader (cellular data is not an option), the Glo costs more than Kindle Paperwhite but compares favorably with the more expensive Voyage, according to many Glo fans. Kobo’s lineup of e-books is smaller than Amazon’s or B&N’s, but users can read titles from any third-party source that supports EPUB.
The very cheapest e-reader may be the mobile device you already own. Any iPad or Android tablet can be loaded with the Amazon Kindle app. If you don't already own a tablet, Walmart offers an RCA 7-inch, 8 GB Quad Core tablet http://www.walmart.com/ip/RCA-7-Tablet-8GB-Quad-Core-with-Keyboard-Case/38693704 for just $47.99. This four-star model comes with a detachable keyboard and free shipping.
What's your favorite gadget for reading ebooks? (Or are you sticking with old-school paperbacks and hardcovers?) Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 17 Aug 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Best Ebook Readers of 2015 (Posted: 17 Aug 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved