Comparisons of E-readers

22 Jun

Previously I talked about whether or not buying an e-reader would even be worthwhile, so today I thought I would compare the different e-readers.

As with anything, what e-reader you should buy depends on what you want. If you want a device that has multiple applications and book-reading capabilities then maybe you should buy the iPad, but if you’re buying an e-reader strictly for reading purposes then you would be much happier with a Kindle.

The iPad is nice because it does give you the opportunity to do a lot more than just read books. It has a large touch screen, it allows you to browse the Internet, play games, watch videos, download music, and more.

But there are some drawbacks to the iPad when it comes to reading. The backlit LED screen means you can’t read your books in bright sunshine or bright lights in general because you won’t be able to see the words on the screen. The backlit screen also means after a while it may begin to hurt your eyes. Also the battery life of the iPad only lasts about 10 hours for reading, which is only a fraction of the battery life of a Kindle. So if you were wanting to take it with you to read on long trips, just remember you’ll have to charge it fairly frequently. Plus, the iPad is much more expensive, starting at $499.

For those who want an e-reader to use just for reading, then the Kindle is the better choice of the two. Kindle uses E-Ink technology and no backlighting so the words can be read in bright daylight and from extreme angles, it’s also supposed to be easier on your eyes than a computer screen or other devices with backlighting. It doesn’t have any of the extra features or color screens, so if you get the Kindle, it’s black and white, closer to having a book.

If you decide to get an e-reader just for reading books, then the top choices you should consider are the Kindle 2, the B&N Nook, the Bebook Neo, and the Sony Reader Touch Edition PRS-600. Most of them are priced between $200 to $300. The Kindle DX is the only exception, and that is $489.

Right now Amazon and Barnes & Noble are on the verge of a price war, however. Both companies have slashed the prices on their e-readers this week. Barnes & Noble is now selling their Nook at $199 and Amazon is selling its original model Kindle for $189, both dropping the prices from the original $259 cost.

Of the four e-readers, the Sony has the best look of all of them. It has a smooth metal case that makes it look sleek and expensive, and it has a finger-swipe touch screen. The Sony still has a few kinks (what are the kinks?) with the screen it needs to work out, but it’s easy to use and a good product.

The Bebook Neo has a touch screen as well, but it uses a special stylus instead of being finger- activated because fingers are too big to have the same kind of accuracy. One of the benefits of the Bebook Neo is it is not limited to one store; it is an open source so it can draw from e-book sites all over the world. Internationally,this is the better e-reader but Amazon and Barnes & Noble have thousands of books so it doesn’t seem like much of a drawback to only draw from one site.

The B&N Nook has a touch screen on the bottom for the menu but the top of the Nook is button- activated. This means you have to click a button to turn the page but the bottom uses touch technology, which can become confusing switching between the two. The Nook also has color screen technology which for right now makes it pretty but has no real practical purpose to it since most books don’t have pictures in them. The Nook has the best quality screen display; it was less likely to have a glare than its competitors. It also allows for five different font sizes so readers can adjust the font smaller or bigger, whichever is easier for them to read. The Nook has both Wi-Fi and 3G wireless download capability for easy downloads which is good, and it has in-store capabilities anytime you walk into a B&N store with it.

Finally the Kindle. The Kindle up-to-date has been the best e-reader because of its long battery life, quick page turns, and all the books available to it. The Kindle does not rely on Wi-Fi hotspots of 3G coverage, instead it uses Amazon’s Whispersync technology which basically allows it to connect to the Internet using cell phone signals with no additional cost or contracts involved. The Kindle 2 does not need to be connected to a computer to sync with the Amazon library, and downloading books is incredibly easy. The Kindle 2 also allows you to subscribe to blogs, newspapers, and magazines and when new content becomes available the Kindle 2 will automatically download it and have it available to you. However, the Kindle doesn’t have a touch screen.

All of these e-readers have good qualities about them but because the Kindle is so widely used, it has a greater level of convenience. If you prefer touch technology, you might want to give the Sony or the BeBook a try. If you prefer Barnes & Noble’s to Amazon then maybe the Nook would be better for you, but I don’t think any one of these e-readers would cause buyers remorse.


4 Responses to “Comparisons of E-readers”

  1. Ben Park June 22, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    “The Nook also has color screen technology which for right now makes it pretty but has no real practical purpose to it since most books don’t have pictures in them.”

    You almost had me there.
    I thought someone had finally got colour e-ink working, but no – it’s just a small separate colour LCD panel at the bottom for menus and typing and whatnot.

    I’m still of the viewpoint that while these things are only showing monochrome text, they’re always going to be a niche product. Nobody is going to want a newspaper or magazine in monochrome.
    Even technical engineering manuals have coloured sections and photographs.
    I agree regarding the iPad. An LCD screen is great for movies, but not so great for reading War and Peace before bed.
    The e-book mass market (if there is one) is still anyone’s for the taking.

  2. Book Publishers July 4, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

    ipad is the best!


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