In time, ebook readers could mean the end of the traditional printed book. These electronic devices can hold the text of hundreds or thousands of books, putting them at your fingertips wherever you are. Forget about having to lug heavy books when you travel. An ebook reader is all you need.
Ebook readers comparison chart for 2017
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Ebook readers explained
Ebook readers are small devices, typically around the same size as a large softcover book, but thinner. Most have a large screen on which the text of a book can be displayed. They can connect to the internet via a Wi-Fi network or 3G connection, enabling you to purchase and download books.
You may also be able to plug the ebook reader in to your computer in order to upload your own documents. Some can display PDF and HTML files, as well as plain text documents. These might include out-of-copyright books, which you can download online for free.
A key feature of an ebook reader is the screen. Many readers have a special ‘e-ink’ screen which closely mimics the properties of paper. Unlike normal computer screens, e-ink screens don’t give off light. This means they don’t strain your eyes so much and use less power (so your ebook reader’s battery lasts longer).
However, e-ink screens are impossible to read in the dark, and only display grayscale, not color. This may be a problem if you intend to use other features of your ebook reader, like viewing web pages and other documents.
Ebook reader comfort
Most people hold ebook readers like a normal book when they read them. The size, shape and weight of an ebook reader is therefore very important. You should be able to hold it easily without getting uncomfortable.
The battery life of ebook readers can vary hugely, but it’s generally best to opt for a longer battery life over lots of extra features. If you’re going to use your ebook reader for much more than reading books, you’ll be better off with a tablet computer or laptop anyway.
Similarly, ebook readers have limited storage. Books don’t take up much room compared with music or videos so even the smallest capacity ebook readers are adequate to begin with. But if you’re worried about running out of space, get an ebook reader with removable memory, so you can add extra capacity if you need it.
There are plenty of differences in e-readers and looking into it, it is hard to specify exactly what you should be looking for. Here is a general guide about what features should be on the e-reader you want, before you purchase it.
There are two different types of screens for e-readers at the moment: LCD and E Ink. LCD screens are the type you will find on tablets and some aged PC’s, as most PC’s have plasma, LED and other more powerful screens.
An LCD screen has a backlit feature so you can read more easily and reading isn’t disrupted when you are in the dark or in the sun.
An E Ink isn’t very common these days, but it almost replicates the design of an actual book. The problem is, with E Ink, there is no backlight, so you may find yourself incapable of reading in low light or high light situations.
The two things to consider are: where you read and how long you want to read without charging. E Ink generally have much better battery life and can last for weeks on end in some cases, with an LCD, you’ll most likely have to charge daily, if you read every day.
Any e-reader with Wi-Fi will be more expensive, unless the e-reader designer has had to compensate by destroying some core features. Wi-Fi allows you to connect to your home connection and download books through a wireless online bookstore, instead of adding books manually through a USB port.
In every case, Wi-Fi is an improvement, I cannot see anyone enjoying porting their books, rather than just going on the online book shop, downloading them, and then reading them.
Remember, if you are buying an unfamiliar brand of e-reader, you should look at the options available for purchasing books.
In many cases, an e-reader will have DRM on books and will only have reading capabilities of one book format. This means you can only read their books; you cannot port your own from your PC.
Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Google and Apple are the four big book stores – if you can port or use their stores, then it is advisable you do. Of course, if a e-reader declares they have millions of books on their store, it is highly likely they aren’t lying to you.
Touch-Screen & Functions
If you really want a touch-screen e-reader, then you will probably have to fork out a little bit more to get one. Kindle are one of the only brands to move into the touch-screen era of e-readers, and there newest one is pricey compared to earlier editions.
Touch-screen isn’t really that great on an e-reader, especially one with an E-Ink screen, the functions are slow and touch-screen just makes it even slower.
In truth, you would be better off getting an e-reader with a good amount of buttons that are placed in a nice order, so you can easily touch them to flip the page; check the store or open the dictionary (assuming the e-reader has the last two features).
Buttons and keypads can be hard to perfect and we’ve seen plenty of failures that look and feel awful. What you are looking for is a keypad that has large keys so you can easily touch without mistakes.
You want the buttons to be in fingers reach when holding your e-reader; the Kindle Keyboard does an excellent job of this, if you don’t understand.
This isn’t necessary to most people, but to some that read rather complex books, they may want to find out what a certain word or phrase means.
An e-reader that can both give you the dictionary term and possibly a translation (of a phrase) would be very good, some do have these, although they are meagre because they don’t use Google to find out the meaning/translation.
Around 4GB’s of memory will allow you to store thousands of books, without even faulting, if you see anything more than that, then it is really unneeded and you shouldn’t pay extra for it.
LCD books, audio books and video clips make a book or file much heftier in terms of the size; most e-readers aren’t capable of adding videos, so it is okay.
If the e-reader has expandable memory, this is a great option if you ever run out of space on your e-reader. You can either purchase or use the given SD-card to add more storage space.
A good e-reader should only cost somewhere in the range of £100 ($150), if you are spending anything more than that, you shouldn’t, unless it comes with tablet computer functionalities.
Anything cheaper than $80 should be looked at before purchasing, there aren’t that many new e-readers that come so cheap.
Kindle Touch 3G
Kobo Touch eReader
Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight
Sony Reader Wi-Fi
iriver Story HD