Despite the fact that tablets have grown hugely in popularity, for most people who want to read a book on an electronic device, nothing beats an ebook reader. There are two key advantages to ebook readers. Firstly they have special E Ink displays that are much more comfortable than LCD screens for longer reading stints. Secondly, they have great battery life and run for weeks on a single charge.
If you're thinking of buying an ebook reader, there are still plenty of choices to make. Should you get one with 3G or Wi-Fi on board? Do you need a model with a built-in light? And which ones give you access to the largest library of books? To help make your decision a bit easier, we've put together a list of five of our current favourite models.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2013)
This is a worthy update to the first Paperwhite model. It uses E Ink's new Pearl 2 display and also has a next generation reading light. The result is that the screen looks whiter -- the blue tinge of last year's model is gone -- and the lighting is more uniform across the display. It's faster too, as the new 1GHz processor offers a 25 per cent boost over the CPU used in the older version. What's more, a smattering of new features enhance Amazon's already best-in-class content ecosystem. Basically, Amazon has taken an excellent product and made it about 20-25 per cent better.
Nook Simple Touch GlowLight
The Nook Simple Touch GlowLight is a great budget ebook reader thanks to its excellent screen and built-in reading light. It lacks the Kindle's integrated 3G capability, there's no support for audio and it doesn't have a Web browser, but at this price we can accept those omissions. The high contrast Pearl E Ink display looks excellent and the reading light displays uniformly across the screen. The touchscreen is responsive too, and there's built-in Wi-Fi for direct access to the Barnes & Noble store. Add in the fact it has an expansion slot for adding additional memory and you've got the best budget ebook reader on the market.
This has an excellent high-resolution E Ink display and a built-in light that evenly illuminates the screen. The screen is touch sensitive and Kobo has redesigned the user interface, so it's now more inviting and straightforward to use. As there's Wi-Fi built-in, the Glo can be used to purchase books directly from the Kobo store, but this isn’t as well stocked as some rivals. Nevertheless, as the reader supports EPUB files and is compatible with any e-book store that uses the Adobe DRM format, you won’t be stuck for stuff to read. Overall, the Kobo Glo is an excellent Kindle alternative, especially for readers seeking EPUB compatibility.
This is the entry-level model in Amazon's line-up of ebook readers and as a result it doesn't have 3G support, and the screen lacks a light and touch support. The E Ink screen is still very crisp though, and offers good readability. The Kindle can hold hundreds of books at a time and as there's Wi-Fi onboard so you can access a massive catalogue of books, magazines, and newspapers via Amazon.com's familiar online store. As with most ebook readers, it has excellent battery life too. All in all, the Amazon Kindle is an excellent no-frills e-book reader for anyone who’s willing to forego a built-in light or a touch screen.
Sony Reader PRS-T2
Sony's PRS-T2 doesn't really offer you anything you can't get from Amazon or Barnes & Noble's cheaper offerings, but it's still a fine ebook reader. The screen is very good, and in our review we especially liked its dark, inky text as well as the quick updates when you turn the page. The screen supports touch too, and has a built-in light that casts even illumination across the display. As there's Wi-Fi onboard you get access to a large catalogue of e-books, magazines, and newspapers via Sony's online store. There's support for EPUB files too, and it's compatible with any e-book store that uses the Adobe DRM format.