Thinking of buying an eReader or e-book reader? Read this article before you shell out any cash. We compare the four most popular brands, cutting through the marketing hype and citing the most common feedback from consumers (including things like how easy it is to carry around, and how comfortable you’ll be while reading in bed).
Sold by Amazon for $139 for the basic model, and $189 for the 3G, the Kindle has a 6 inch diagonal display, and is much thinner and lighter than its closest rival, the Nookcolor. It also has a longer battery life: about one week if you use it with Wi-Fi and up to three weeks if you don’t.
We love the electronic ink technology, which makes it easy to read the words even under direct sunlight. This comes in handy when you’re reading on the beach or the park, or pretty much anywhere—and portability is, after all, the biggest selling point of an eReader.
Unfortunately the Kindle doesn’t have colored screens. That’s not a big issue if you’re the type who’ll only read books. Other complaints are speed (it takes a while for pages to turn) and limited zooming in/out options. It also doesn’t have a built in lightsource, so you’ll still need a lamp if you’re reading in bed.
The Nookcolor is more expensive than the Kindle ($249) but it’s bigger (7-inch) and has a colored screen. Another plus is the ability to adjust the screen brightness so you can read comfortably in different lighting conditions. Sold by Barnes & Noble, you can access a pretty big library of books, newspapers and magazines. (But honestly, you won’t want to read magazines on the small screen—unless you feel like carrying a magnifying glass with you all the time.)
The colored screen makes it excellent for children’s books, so this may be a better option if you plan to share it with the kids. Some of the books even have narration. But be prepared to pay for this: children’s books cost as much as $8, and you can get similar applications on the iPad for as low as $2. However, you can share some of the books with friends, since you have the option to let them download your purchases for free.
Unfortunately the Nookcolor has a really low, low battery life (just 8 hours, and only if you don’t use Wi-fi!) so you have to constantly charge it. It’s also double the weight of the Kindle.
Be prepared to spend: the basic iPad one costs nearly $500, and the 3G-capable models can cost over $800. But it’s got a bigger screen, so it’s perfect for reading magazines, and so much more. IN fact, you’ll find over 40,000 applications made just for the iPad, so this wins—by a mile—the race for versatility. Books, games, movies, e-books. Yes, it syncs with iTunes!
But don’t believe your kid if he begs for an iPad ‘to help with homework.’ Apple’s iBooks has far less textbooks than Amazon, so if you’re after educational reading it’s better to get a Kindle.
The iPad is also the biggest and heaviest among the tablets, so you’ll need two hands to use it (so much for sipping a cup of coffee while reading ‘War and Peace.’) And it can’t actually do everything: it doesn’t have a camera for video chatting.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab
The Tab is smaller and lighter than the iPad, and you can use it with one hand. It’s also got cameras, so you can record movies and even take photos! Many people say that its screen display is actually sharper than the iPad. Pretty good features at a much cheaper price than its competitor: just $399 if you get the two year contract.
While you can watch movies on this, the problem is that the 7 inch display makes it difficult to really do this without squinting. And while you can do video chat, the fact is that it’s cumbersome—many complain of speed when using Wi-Fi and the 3G networks.
Photo from yugatech.com