If you like taking your books on the go, you’ve never had more options. The best ereaders are slim, have batteries that last for weeks, and come in both e-ink and color varieties, have multiple screen sizes to suit you, and come at different price points. Let’s look at five of the bes, based on your nominations.
Earlier in the week we asked you which ereaders you thought were the overall best—either they had the best features, the best access to books, the best battery life, or the best bang for your buck. You gave us tons of models and options, but here are the five that rose to the top, in no particular order:
Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite is perhaps Amazon’s most popular Kindle model. It’s a simple 6” e-ink tablet with a built-in backlight, a battery that lasts for weeks on end, and enough capacity to hold thousands of books. It comes in Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi/3G versions, with and without ad support ($119 with ads, $139 without.) It’s light, easy to use one-handed, syncs wirelessly with your Amazon account, and allows you to track your reading place and your book collection on multiple devices. The e-ink display is great in bright sunlight, and just bright enough to read by at night without keeping anyone else in the vicinity awake—and you can still adjust it if you want. Like any Kindle, you can take notes and make annotations in the virtual margins of your book, look up words on the fly, adjust text size and font to make reading easier on your eyes, read footnotes and references with a tap, and more. Of course, it’s also wafer thin—less than a half-inch thick, and only about seven ounces heavy.
Those of you who nominated the Kindle Paperwhite specifically noted that it’s probably the ereader against which all others are judged—even other Kindle models. It’s the perfect size for one-handed, on the go reading, small enough to be comfortable on the train or a plane but still hefty enough to enjoy holding and using. Some of you bemoaned Amazon and its DRM-laden books, but you also noted that the Paperwhite supports DRM-free titles from other bookstores (with the notable exception of ePub files), as long as you can get them onto the ereader to view. Plus, many of you noted the price is right as well, as it’s been on sale for as low as $99 in the past, and its around-$100 price point is generally a good place for an ereader. You can read the entire (massive) nomination thread here.
The Barnes and Noble Nook Simple Touch may not technically be for sale anymore (although it’s easily available—you can buy one for about $52 at Amazon and even less elsewhere) it’s still a popular option for those people looking for the most bang for their ereader buck. B&N has moved on to the Nook Glowlight as their primary e-ink ereader, but the Simple Touch is an Android-powered tablet with great software, access to B&N’s catalog of books, and perhaps most importantly, the ability to be rooted and transformed into a full-fledged Android tablet for free. Once you’ve done that, the possibilities are endless. It’s been a while since we put together our guides on the topic, but people are still rooting their Nooks, using them as B&N ereaders when they want and Android tablets—complete with Wi-Fi internet access, other ereading or comic book apps, email, books from Google Play Books and even the Kindle app for Android, and more whenever they want to. The Simple Touch has a 6” e-ink display with soft buttons on the bezels designed for one-handed use, a battery that lasts for weeks, expandable storage, and more—all in a package that’s about seven ounces.
Those of you who nominated it praised that hack-ability, and all of the great things you can do with a Nook Simple Touch once you make it yours. Many of you praised its battery life, and many of you praised Barnes and Noble’s built-in software for allowing you to do things like change font size and type, define words, customize the brightness and the scale of the display, and more. Best of all, you can switch back and forth between Android’s base UI and the B&N software on the fly once you’ve rooted it. By and large, the tone of the nominations thread is that once you get one of these and root it, you’ll have an experience unparalleled by any other ereader on the market—and one you’re in complete control of. ead all about it—and other people’s experiences—in the nomination thread.
The Kindle Voyage is Amazon’s new flagship ereader, with the highest-resolution, highest-contrast display they’ve ever built, adaptive lighting (like you see in smartphones, that gets dimmer and brightens up when necessary) a touch-sensitive display that lets you turn pages one-handed with a tap, or swipe pages away like you would a real book, a built-in backlight, and a battery that lasts for weeks on end, even considering that super-bright screen. It’s also Amazon’s priciest Kindle model, coming in Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi/3G models starting at $200 for the ad-supported model and $219 for the ad-free model. It also packs a 6” display that’s still e-ink but high-enough resolution for things like comics and manga—all into a frame with a thinner bezel that’s actually smaller than the other Kindle models in its family. It’s also thinner, about .3 inches thick, and lighter than the other Kindles, at under seven ounces. However, like other Kindles, you still get all of the software features that make Kindles popular, like one-tap dictionary definitions and Wikipedia entries, synced book catalogs and reading places with your Amazon account and services like Goodreads, the ability to take notes and make annotations, and more.
Those of you who nominated the Kindle Voyage noted that it’s likely the direction that all of Amazon’s Kindle models will go in the future, and sports the type of display that makes it just multipurpose enough to use it for more than just books, but not so multipurpose that you feel like you should have a tablet, or make you wish you could start downloading a ton of distracting apps and do other things. Many people debated whether or not the Voyage was worth the hundred dollar premium over the Paperwhite (many of you thought it was, others thought not so much), but there were plenty of you who said that the Voyage is the ereader you were waiting Amazon to make, and you didn’t regret buying one. Read more in its nomination thread here.
The Kobo Aura HD is a limited edition Wi-Fi powered Kobo model, retailing for $149 direct (although it’s long since sold out, and you’ll have to get one elsewhere, or pick up the Kobo Aura, which is $129 direct) and its release offering some of the best specs for an e-ink ereader available. It packed a 7” high-resolution display that was at the top of the market until the Kindle Voyage was released, offering both larger real estate and higher resolution in a package that was still about the same size in-hand as its competition. The Aura HD offers specific controls for text rendering, font type and size, and scaling, so you can really customize your reading experience. It supports virtually every ebook format including ePub (including Amazon’s DRM for library-loaned ebooks), and a shiny, firm plastic body that feels a bit more premium than the matte plastic of other ereaders on the market. The built-in light is adjustable for any ambient light level you want to read in, features expandable storage, can sync with your Kobo account to save your place and your book library, and more. The Aura, its slightly smaller cousin, packs a 6” screen with many of the same features, a long-lasting battery, and a similarly portable-yet-premium design. Kobo’s software is worth commending as well, with its adaptive home screen that shows you modules and options based on the things you do with the tablet. If you read magazines, for example, it’ll bump your magazines to the front and bury things like books, for example, if you don’t use your Kobo to read them.
Those of you who nominated the Kobo Aura HD praised its high resolution, big, bright display, and noted that despite the Kindle being the juggernaut of the category, Kobo’s offerings are worth a look, and in many ways Kobo’s onboard software offered a better use experience than your Kindle did. Some of you praised the Kobo’s integration with Pocket and Read It Later, and noted that the new Kobo parent company just acquired OverDrive, the company that provides thousands of libraries with ebooks to loan out for free to their customers. Many of you went out of your way to prasie the build quality on both the Aura and the Aura HD models, and the Kobo app, which gives you the ability to manage your book collection, read, and keep your place in your books on any device. Read more in its nomination thread here.
The Kobo Glo HD is a contentious nominations, but it earned the supporting votes to make the top five—namely because it’s not really out yet. Sure, Kobo has announced it, and it has the specs necessary to take on the Kindle Voyage in the high-end ereader market, but it’s not available for general purchase yet. When it is, it’ll be a Wi-Fi powered 6” e-ink ereader for $129 with a high-resolution display like you’d see in a smartphone or a tablet, but still battery-sipping e-paper. It’ll weigh about six ounces, come in at .35 inches thick, and pack Kobo’s customization-heavy software, which will give you tons of font choices, font size options, and font weight and sharpness settings. It’ll also have a built-in adjustable light, and will, like all Kobo models, support ePub and other popular ebook file formats. Also like other Kobo models, the Glo HD will learn from your reading habits, and float books you were in the middle of to the top of its UI, highlight apps that you use most often while hiding ones you don’t, and so on.
Those of you who nominated and supported the nomination of the Glo HD probably knew that the product wasn’t out yet (it’s due to hit stores May 1st, so it won’t be long now) but it’s likely going to be a top contender for people shopping to ereaders, especially given the fact that Overdrive and Kobo are under the same roof, like we mentioned above. It also helps to remember that Kobo does have its own ecosystem thanks to the Kobo app and its own bookstore, all of which make it easy to read on multiple devices if you want, or just use the Kobo when you choose. You can read more in its nomination thread here.
Now that you’ve seen the top five, it’s time to put them to a vote and determine the community favorite: