Reading is one of the best ways to pass the time. Curling up with a good book is a relaxing experience. And just like everything these days, reading has long since gone digital. With an e-reader, you can have access to any book at your disposal. If you are looking to get into digital reading, you are in luck.
We’ve rounded up some of the best e-reader models for avid or aspiring readers to check out. With these devices, you may not feel or smell the physical book, but you will get the next best thing.
Best E-Reader Models That Will Make You Want to Read More
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2020
The Paperwhite is Amazon Kindle’s oldest line of e-readers since 2012. It is perhaps the most well-loved and versatile Kindle line from Amazon. This latest edition of the Paperwhite is finally waterproof. With an IPX8 water resistance rating, it can survive up to an hour of submersion. It also has the Audible integration that more premium Kindles have.
Compatible with any Bluetooth headset or portable Bluetooth speaker, you can listen to your favorite audiobooks at any time. Of course, this is only made possible by its 8 GB internal storage. You can even upgrade to a 32 GB plan for a higher price. The device also retains the old Paperwhite features that we know and love such as the X-Ray function and Goodreads integration.
Amazon recently released two new colors for the Paperwhite, Plum and Sage — a muted pink and green, respectively. This is in addition to their Twilight Blue edition. Overall, this device strikes the perfect balance of all-encompassing features at a mid-range price.
Amazon Kindle Oasis
The Kindle Oasis is Amazon’s premier e-reader model. Much like the imagery its name induces, you can take this useful device on your vacations without worrying. Thanks to its IPX8 water resistance rating, you can submerge it to up to two meters of water for up to 60 minutes. Although it probably goes without saying that you shouldn’t do this deliberately.
Amazon created the Kindle Oasis with purposeful ergonomic design for easier reading. The device has all of its bezels weighted to one side, under the page-turner buttons. The rest of the device is curved upwards for a lighter feel. Its built-in gyroscope will detect the orientation at which you hold your device and automatically flips the screen. That way, you can hold the device on either hand.
The Oasis comes in a square design, yet has a wider screen compared to other flagship e-readers like the Paperwhite. This screen contains 25 built-in LED lights for even light distribution and better contrast. Though a little on the pricey side, this premium pick is definitely worth it.
Rakuten Kobo Libra H20
Rakuten’s Kobo Libra H20 comes with a crisp, high contrast display that will make you feel like you are reading on actual paper. As a product of Rakuten, the Libra H20 is linked to the Overdrive library, which will give you a ton of books at your disposal.
Though Overdrive is not as exhaustive of a library as Amazon, there are still plenty of hidden gems waiting to be found. It also makes up for it with integration to Pocket, one of the best productivity apps in the market. The app allows you to read and save online articles for easier reading.
If there’s one major advantage Kobo e-readers have, is that it supports more file types than the Amazon Kindle. This includes open-sourced EPUB files and PDFs. What’s more, it also has great PDF integration. It has a quick rendering speed as well as a minimap when you zoom. All in all, the Kobo Libra is a great and underrated e-reader that you will surely enjoy.
Amazon Kindle Kids
With Amazon’s latest Kindle release came the Kindle Kids. Designed specifically with kids in mind, it has a vast library of Children’s and Middle-Grade Books. It also has a ton of parental controls, allowing you to shift easily between your Kindle library and your child’s.
With the Kindle Kids, everything is optimized for your little learners. There is an easy-to-follow tutorial that will help them independently navigate the device. Not to mention, you can search through books based on popular characters and themes. This allows children to find their favorite characters from Disney, Nickelodeon, Star Wars, and more.
Staple Kindle Basic features truly shine in this device. You can utilize the Word Wise and Vocabulary Builder options to help your kid learn new words. The home screen also has an Achievements tab where it lauds the kids whenever they finish reading a number of pages. Although the black and white E-Ink screen makes it harder to enjoy picture books, it is still a wonderful device that any young reader will enjoy.
Amazon Kindle Basic
The Kindle Basic is the most affordable Amazon Kindle. If you’re looking for a great e-reader when you are on a budget, this is for you. This latest edition now comes with a backlight so you can read even in the dark. Although it may have a bulkier look, it is roughly the same size as the Kindle Paperwhite. The only difference is that it has a slightly lower resolution and is not waterproof.
Otherwise, getting the Kindle Basic has a lot of benefits. The updated version allows for faster rendering of PDF files, as well as a larger dictionary capacity. You can not only press and hold to define certain words but translate them as well. This is especially great if you are learning a certain language and want to practice reading them.
At its core, the Kindle Basic offers a great, distraction-free reading experience. And really, what more can you ask for?
Rakuten Kobo Clara HD
The Kobo Clara HD is yet another versatile and useful e-reader. The device boasts a file support of up to 14 common text file types, as well as those used by digital comics. The device is extremely lightweight for its size, especially compared to earlier models. With a weight of six ounces, you can easily hold the device with one hand and carry it anywhere.
Although it’s lighter than usual, the 6-inch E-Ink screen gives off a crisp display and sharp contrast. With the Kobo Clara, you get 8 GB of storage space to fill up with any of your favorite books. The impressive refresh rate will also leave no traces of ghosting, and soon you’ll be flipping pages like a madman.
Thanks to its ComfortLight PRO technology, it automatically reduces blue light as well. Aside from reducing eye strain, this also prevents you from staying up more than you have to. Although if the story is getting good, something tells us you will stay up anyway.
Amazon Kindle Voyage
The Kindle Voyage is an underrated e-reader line from Amazon. Although the Voyage has yet to be upgraded to a new and improved version, we heard that a plan may be in the works for 2020. This model has not received the makeover the Paperwhite and the Oasis did, but it’s still a pretty reliable choice.
With a 330 PPI screen, the Voyage became the first-ever Kindle to host a 1430 x 1080 resolution display. This, however, was overshadowed by the Paperwhite 3’s release in the same year, with the same display. Nonetheless, there are many unique Kindle Voyage features that give it a slight edge.
The device can host up to 4 GB of internal storage, with 512 MB of RAM to boot. The hardware comes with side buttons that run on haptic feedback. It also has a pretty sturdy battery life, lasting from one to six months. The latter for when you barely use the device. It also pioneered the automatic light sensor that brightens or dims the display based on your current environment.
Rakuten Kobo Aura One
The Aura One is Kobo’s flagship e-reader. This device comes in a 300 PPI display with a 7.8-inch screen typically used by smart notebooks. Because of its large size, it is slightly heftier than your typical e-reader, but not by much. Like all Kobo devices, the Aura One supports a plethora of file formats not just for text, but for photos as well.
Not only does the Kobo Aura run on the warm light of the ComfortLight PRO, but it also has a night mode. This changes the contrast of the display so that there is less light coming from the device. Another small yet great feature is that there are absolutely no ads on this device. And, you don’t have to pay extra to be rid of it.
Onyx Boox Nova Pro
The Boox Nova Pro acts as both an e-reader and smart notebook. This means that it has more functionality than your typical e-reader. At the same time, it has an E-Ink screen that restricts it from certain capabilities that a tablet or smartphone has.
The device comes with a 7.8-inch E-Ink Carta HD screen with 1872 x 1404 resolution. This provides sharp contrast as well as a bigger screen. With its sleek and minimalist design, the Nova Pro has no added bezels and whistles. It has no slots for external storage or a headphone jack that typical tablets have. But that doesn’t mean you can’t listen to your favorite audiobooks.
The Nova Pro runs on Android 6.0 and is compatible with Bluetooth devices. This is perfect for listening not just to audiobooks but to music and podcasts as well. For an exhaustive e-reader that you can personalize, check out the Boox Nova Pro.
Boyue LikeBook Mars
Like the Nova Pro, the LikeBook Mars e-reader is an amalgamation of an e-reader and smart notebook. It comes with 16 GB of internal storage as well as 2 GB of RAM. It has great Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support and runs on Android 6.0
Aside from the 16 GB storage, the device also supports external storage. You can insert an SD card through the slot housing up to 128 GB for more space. Next to it is a 3.5mm headphone jack where you can insert any pair of earphones for audiobook listening. Do note that the device does not come with a speaker, though.
The LikeBook Mars also runs Google Play apps. However, it is preferable to use Lite versions of the apps for a more seamless run and minimal design. There are also limited customization options compared to the Kindle or Kobo devices. But it more than makes up for it with its PDF editing, where you can customize how darker photos appear.
Apple iPad Mini 5
Unlike the previous models, an iPad isn’t technically an e-reader. However, it is one of the most popularly used e-reader alternatives in the US. Many who venture into digital note-taking commend this useful gadget in doing so. And we can’t deny the merits of using an iPad as an e-reader.
With an Apple Pencil, you can annotate PDF texts much faster and easier. It will also become much more personalized to your learning style. Not to mention, you can appreciate graphics and illustrations on comics better with a fully colored LCD screen. An iPad may weigh a little more than your standard e-reader, but the iPad Mini 5 is a sufficiently lightweight option. Opting for an iPad Mini 5 is a more all-around choice. With this device, you can multitask much more easily. However, you might need to prevent yourself from getting distracted. Unlike typical e-readers, the iPad isn’t restricted to one library. That way, you can gain access to virtually any online library that you please.
Barnes & Noble Nook GlowLight 3
The Nook GlowLight is the flagship e-reader of the beloved bookstore franchise, Barnes & Noble. The GlowLight houses a 6.5 GB internal storage with 512 GB RAM capacity. It also comes in a neat and minimal package that is easy to navigate. The device weighs lighter than your typical e-reader, even with page-turning buttons on either side.
Like the Kobo, the Nook GlowLight also supports more file formats than the Kindle. This includes the ePub files, the most commonly used eBook format in the digital space. Although its rendering can be sluggish at times, it grows faster the more you use it.
If you are a fan of Barnes & Noble, you should definitely check this one out. It works seamlessly with the Barnes & Noble online store and has access to all of your favorite titles from the actual stores.
Why Get an E-Reader?
In the literary world, the debate over e-books vs. physical books is an ongoing feud. But don’t let the book snobs deter you, there are plenty of reasons why getting an e-reader is a great choice. In case you are having second thoughts, here are a few.
Read at any position
Every book lover’s struggle is finding the best position to read. You could be curled up with a good book, only to have to move again so you can flip the page. With e-readers, you don’t have to worry about a thing. Most models come in compact and lightweight designs. This allows you to hold the entire thing with one hand.
Not to mention, flipping a page could never be easier. All you need to do is press a button or tap the screen, and it will automatically flip it for you. On top of all of this, you can customize font and lighting settings on your device. That way, you can read in the dark without keeping your roommate awake.
Annotate and define words at ease
Annotating can be quite messy and involve defacing your favorite book. If you like keeping your physical books neat and pristine, investing in an e-book may be for you. When you read an e-book, you can highlight passages and add comments at any part of the text. This might be of particular interest to any students that need to study literary works. It is also great for anyone who simply wants a personalized reading experience.
On Amazon Kindle models, your highlights and notes are collated into one document. If you want to look back at any of your favorite passages, you can find them in one place. Not to mention, most e-readers have a built-in dictionary. If you don’t know a certain word, you can highlight the text and a definition will appear. That way, you don’t have to ruin your immersion in the book.
Take it anywhere thanks to its portability
The next time someone asks you, “What book would you take to a deserted island?” you can just say, “I’ll bring my e-reader instead.” With e-readers, you have access to your entire library of books at any time and any place.
As mentioned, e-readers are lightweight and can store a multitude of books per device. This is a vast improvement over a suitcase filled with bulky books. You won’t have to think about which book to take on your vacation, because it will all be in one place. This is also great for students who worry about bringing a lot of books on their daily commute.
Access any book at any time
More often than not, it can be hard to get your hands on a specific book. The process of hunting down a book at a bookstore, although admittedly fun, can be time-consuming. Luckily, the rise of online retail stores makes shopping for books much easier. You can find that obscure book or sold-out bestseller in no time at all.
The best part is that e-readers typically already have a built-in store you can browse. This ensures that the book gets downloaded on your device in a matter of seconds. Gone are the days of long lines and going outside, especially in these trying times.
A physical book may be cheaper than an e-reader, but an e-book is cheaper than a physical book. Buying one e-reader can give you access to bestsellers at a cheaper price. Other e-readers like the Kobo also collaborate with libraries, so you can simply borrow and return any titles you need. This is great news for book lovers or students on a budget. It’s also a great way to start going paperless.
Most online stores also offer great deals with books. Amazon has many of the classics available for free and will often offer certain books for free at a limited time. Not only can you save more money, but you can discover independently published authors as well.
If you’re more of a private person, you understand the unsettling feeling of reading at a public place. While it can often be a great conversation starter, not everyone wants to talk to strangers about the book they are reading. Especially if they are books that you don’t want to get caught reading.
Books shouldn’t be judged by their covers, even books with beautiful ones. With an e-reader, all anyone will ever see is the device you are holding. So if you want to read 50 Shades of Gray on the train, you will be spared the questioning looks and knowing smirks. There are also fewer chances for people to bombard you with unsolicited spoilers, which is always a plus.
E-Reader Buying Guide
When getting an e-reader, there are a few things you need to consider. Here are some features you might need to look out for before you get your hands on this nifty gadget.
E-Reader vs. Tablet
Before buying an e-reader, it is important to figure out what you will mainly use it for. There needs to be a distinction with whether you want to simply read, or do other things. On e-readers, you can focus solely on reading, annotating, and studying books. There are many apps you can find on a tablet that are not compatible with an e-reader.
For instance, you cannot play games or browse social media on an e-reader. You might also not have access to online articles or magazines. There are merits to both platforms. If you’re on a tighter budget and want an all-around gadget, you might want to get a tablet. You can still download an app for reading, as well as playing games or surfing the internet. Otherwise, an e-reader is a great choice, especially if you want a distraction-free reading experience.
E-readers are optimized to battle eye strain more than your standard tablet. Many of these e-reader models are backlit or use an E-Ink screen. When choosing which e-reader to get, make sure you know whether it has these features. Older e-readers tend to not be backlit at all, and still need light when reading.
While backlit e-readers are a better choice, they are likely to glare and strain your eyes more. If you don’t mind black and white, opt for models that use an E-Ink screen. The E-Ink screen gives you the illusion of reading from an actual piece of paper. Unlike those that rely on LCD, this is more resistant to any glares from a light source.
Battery-life and charging
Because of E-Ink screens and the lack of high-consuming apps, e-readers have a longer battery life than a phone or tablet. Find an e-reader with a lifespan of at least two weeks. Bear in mind that many devices that advertise long battery life typically estimate an hour or two of daily reading. If you are doing more than that, give yourself a slight allowance.
You should also take into account that many e-readers today have chargers sold separately. While they do come with a cable, this is mainly for transferring files from your desktop. The charging process might also be a bit slower in this regard. Make sure you get an e-reader with a charger bundle, or get one that is compatible with an adapter you already have.
Your life will be much easier with an e-reader that comes with an extensive library. When buying an e-reader, make sure its built-in store has a database of books tailored to your tastes. While many offer cheaper copies, others might not have the latest releases or specific books that you are looking for.
It will take a long time before e-readers can fully replace physical books. Hopefully, it never will. Physical books are more than just pieces of literature; they are also emblematic of who you are as a person. You can decorate your home with these books, or return to a well-loved copy and be reminded of a simpler time.
Nevertheless, e-readers offer a much more convenient and accessible way for anyone to be a reader. It is also a great start to a paperless lifestyle. With many types of readers consuming literature in many forms, there will be no wrong or right preference. There is no reason they can’t peacefully coexist in this world, so long as there are book lovers to enjoy them.