5 E-Book Readers are Considered Best of the Bunch
For those who wish a good book could magically appear with the press of a few buttons, it may be time to finally invest in an e-book reader.
E-book readers are flat tablets that allow you to download electronically formatted books via Wi-Fi or a 3G network. These devices can also download reading material manually through a USB port. According to Avi Greengart, research director for consumer devices at market- research firm Current Analysis, the best e-readers have the backing of sizeable online bookstores, which offer an abundance of content at reasonable prices.
"There are plenty of e-readers out there, but the only ones worth talking about have an established bookstore behind them," Greengart told TechNewsDaily. "Technology is actually secondary, even though it is still an important consideration."
Greengart's list of the five best begins with Amazon's Kindle 3 ($139), a light and thin e-reader supported by the vast content catalog of the e-commerce giant. The 6-inch grayscale screen uses low-power e-ink technology in which microscopic pigment particles arrange themselves inside transparent microcapsules in response to magnetic fields.
Thanks to a screen resolution of 600 by 800 pixels, the experience is as good as reading a printed page.
Unlike tablets such as the iPad, this is not a touch-screen device. Buttons have to be pushed to navigate the unit.
By searching Amazon's e-bookstore directly from the Kindle, users can download newspapers, magazines and even blogs as well as books. The device is linked up to an Amazon account so a credit card can be used with just a click of the button to pay for purchases. The material then downloads to the device via a Wi-Fi connection and is ready for reading almost immediately.
Users who want to download books without Wi-Fi, so the books can be accessed on the go, can buy the Kindle 3G instead, for a higher price ($189).
Another device worth considering — the second one on Greengart's list — is the larger Kindle DX ($329). Its 9.7-inch e-ink screen has a resolution of 824 by 1200 pixels, and the text rotates automatically when you turn the unit sideways. The device also runs on a 3G network, so readers can access and buy books while traveling.
Third on the list is the Nook ($149), the e-reader from Barnes & Noble. Similar to the Kindle, the Nook has a 6-inch e-ink touch screen with a resolution of 600 by 800 pixels. It has a Wi-Fi connection; adding 3G brings the price to $199.
The fourth on Greengart's list is another Nook device, this one in color. The Nook Color is $249 and comes with a sleek 7-inch color LCD touch screen with a resolution of 600 by 1024 pixels.
The Nook Color can also be used in low light, and its battery life is less than the e-ink Kindle models. It connects to Barnes & Noble’s NookBooks online store only via Wi-Fi.
For his No. 5 selection, Greengart suggests the Apple iPad 2 for those who want everything in one device from surfing the Web to using front-facing and rear-facing cameras. The iPad 2, which costs $499, can use Kindle and Nook books via software apps . It has an arsenic-free 9.7-inch color LCD touch screen with a resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels.
Both Wi-Fi and 3G are available on the iPad 2.