New e-reading devices for 2017
With so many apps, sites and hardware options at our fingertips the market for dedicated e-readers has begun to narrow. However, there are still plenty of reasons for avid readers to invest in a single-purpose device: Battery life still outperforms that of tablets and smartphones; the focus remains on reading so keeps distractions to a minimum; and E Ink technology is still hard to beat on those sunny days. Add to this the advent of Freescale’s IMX 7 dual core processors, which should be a game changer later in the year.
So, what can we expect from the current contenders?
Amazon continues to retain overwhelming market share and the Oasis is their premium entry with ergonomic design for effortless, comfortable reading. Cited to be 20% lighter and 30% thinner than its predecessors, it boasts a leather charging cover that can extend battery life by months. Prime members can also enjoy free, unlimited access to over 1,000 titles.
pros: long battery life, state-of-the-art design, 300 ppi resolution
$289.99 | £269.99
2. Kobo Aura H2O(coming soon)
This rival to the Kindle Voyage or Paperwhite has very similar specs to previous Aura models. It’s water-resistant (for up to 60 minutes in 2 metres of water), has automated light settings for day and night time reading – much like Apple’s Night Shift – and offers a generous screen size of 6.8 inches. On the downside, the battery life may disappoint heavier readers and there is no microSD card slot. It does, however, have 8 GB of on-board storage.
pros: waterproof, larger screen
cons: no external card slot, short battery life
$179.99 | £149.99
An e-reader with a difference for those who favour a larger screen that allows for reading in A4 format. It’s powered by Android 4.0 and combines 16GB of storage with a memory card slot for expansion. It also supports audio, text-to-speech and includes a stylus pen for on-screen note taking.
pros: large screen, interactive, vast on-board storage, lightweight
cons: pricey, no backlight
$679 | £569
A cut above the Paperwhite with a price tag to match, but far more affordable than the newer Oasis model. It has adaptive lighting and both touchscreen and PagePress buttons in the bezel for convenient reading.
pros: sleek design, 300 ppi resolution
cons: pricey at mid-range
$199.99 | £169.99
A smaller, lighter and cheaper option for those with access to the Barnes and Noble store and who also wish to give the Kindle a miss. It has an improved lighting system and is also water-resistant.
pros: low price, waterproof
cons: Amazon has the edge on ecosystem
Hardly a dedicated e-reader, but discerning bibliophiles who prefer a tablet may be attracted to the lower price point in comparison to Apple’s previous models. If E Ink isn’t an issue, the larger screen size and added versatility could be worth considering. This would be particularly advantageous for readers of cookbooks, comics, magazines and other illustrated publications.
pros: larger screen, great for graphics and textbooks, high resolution
cons: no E Ink
$329 | £339
Ultimately, your choice of device depends entirely on your reading style. It’s always worth considering how often you read, what you read, your preferred ecosystem and which additional functions might be relevant to your reading experience.