The 7 Best E-Readers

Updated February 16, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

7 Best E-Readers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Forget your old dog-eared paperbacks. With an E-reader, you can carry around thousands of books, magazines, games, apps, and videos with you wherever you go, in one compact and lightweight device. The models listed here represent some of the best options on the market for upgrading and modernizing your library. You'll be helping to save the environment, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best e-reader on Amazon.

7. Kobo Aura

If you want to get your hands on a high-quality screen that won't bother your eyes even after hours of reading, the Kobo Aura is one of the best options out there. Unfortunately, it suffers from some software issues that make it difficult to navigate.
  • six-inch display
  • four gigabytes of storage
  • keyboard is oversensitive
Brand Kobo
Model 121824
Weight 10.2 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Amazon Kindle Voyage

Weighing a full ounce less than their popular Paperwhite, the Amazon Kindle Voyage offers maximum portability and is ideal for taking on long trips. It still offers the same stunning quality as the other model, though, with a 300 ppi display and fingerless page turning.
  • adaptive front light
  • micro-etched glass screen
  • screen can look yellow
Brand Amazon
Model NM460GZ
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Apple iPad Mini 4

For a powerful tablet that also runs a series of apps for reading e-books, there's the Apple iPad Mini 4. It's as thick as a light book, has superior camera and video capabilities that eliminate the need to carry multiple devices, and it supports multitouch gestures.
  • available in several storage sizes
  • incredibly sharp retina display
  • strains the eyes after many hours
Brand Apple
Model MNY12LL/A
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Amazon Fire HD 8

The Amazon Fire HD 8 boasts an incredibly dense resolution as well as Dolby Atmos dual stereo speakers that can combine for a great watching experience. Its fast, quad-core processor and 1.5GB of RAM keep it moving with lightning speed for the vast majority of apps.
  • good choice for prime members
  • up to 256 gigabytes of storage
  • app store is missing key programs
Brand Amazon
Model SX034QT
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Kindle Paperwhite

The best-selling Kindle Paperwhite displays clear, laser quality text that makes it resemble actual paper. It stands out from other tablets with an integrated front light that offers comfortable reading in the sunlight as well as the dark.
  • easy to hold in one hand
  • can store up to 1000 books
  • swipe to turn pages
Brand Amazon
Model DP75SDI
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Kindle Oasis 7-Inch

The remarkable Kindle Oasis 7-Inch boasts an IPX8 waterproof rating, which means that this device can be submerged in up to a meter of water before experiencing any negative effects. It comes with internal storage of up to 32GB.
  • battery lasts weeks on one charge
  • glare-free surface
  • weighs under seven ounces
Brand Amazon
Model CW24Wi
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Amazon Fire HD 10

The stunning Amazon Fire HD 10 is more durable than an iPad Mini and comes with a 10.1 inch display with over a million pixels, giving it an incredible resolution. Its integration with Alexa makes it the ideal choice as the hub for all your smart devices.
  • 5 megapixel rear-facing camera
  • ultra-fast connection speeds
  • dolby atmos sound experience
Brand Amazon
Model SR87MC
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

This Is A Book Hoarder's Dream

While I've never been accused of being a hoarder by the popular definition, I have been called out on several occasions for what borders on an unhealthy appetite for books. I've loved just about everything a physical book has to offer since I was a child: the faintly moldy smell of the pages and bindings on older books, the scent of freshly hewn pulp wafting off of a brand new text, the feel of the pages and the hard covers, not to mention the promise of the experiences and wisdom contained in each.

Then, invariably, something would happen that would make me downsize my considerable book collection. More often than not, it would be a move. Packing hundreds of books into boxes is difficult enough without having to obsessively maintain their categorical and alphabetical order. Carrying said boxes out to a car, moving truck, or, worst of all, to the much-feared post office, is an expensive and back-breaking nightmare.

Eventually, after much deliberation and soul searching, it made sense to pare down my vast physical collection to the most important tomes, and to begin the slow, steady transfer of my library to a digital format. We'd all done the same with our music long ago; it was time I joined the 21st century.

I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised by the e-reader experience, particularly at how they got the screen to be so easy on the eyes. This is thanks to a development called electronic ink, which moves plastic granules of black and white ink through a fluid housed in spherical microscopic chambers. The white granules are positively charged and the black granules are negatively charged.

Tiny electrodes switch on or off depending on the desired ink color at a given pixel location, creating a mixture of text and white space akin to a very finely rendered Pointilism. You could almost think of it as a high-tech Etch-a-Sketch that boasts roughly twice the resolution of the average computer screen while using a fraction of the power.

The Screen And The Machine

Among the available e-readers on the market, there is a distinct division. We spent some time above discussing the technology behind what could be called a traditional e-reader, built almost exclusively for the enjoyment of books in black and white. Other e-readers, however, operate much more like tablets than anything else, but they're usually much less expensive than their full-featured relatives.

If you're more interested in a suite of capabilities, from reading eBooks to streaming Netflix series, an e-reader that's modeled more after a tablet would be a better pick. Not only would it save you the expense of additionally buying a tablet, it would also keep your total device count down by one.

The main problem with e-reader tablets is that they tend to perform much more poorly than their pricier counterparts. Their processors usually can't handle quite as much of a workload, their RAM is smaller, their battery life shorter, and their screen resolution is often lower. Also, since the screen design is closer to a typical computer or cell phone, they are much harder to use in the sun if you're reading, for example, at the beach.

What the more traditional e-readers lack in versatility, they more than make up for where the tablets fall short. They can store all the books you could ever want to read, their operating time is usually exponentially longer than a tablet's, and they're phenomenally easy to read in direct sunlight. Sure, House of Cards would look particularly weird rendered by electrophoresis (the electric ink process described above), but the novelization of the show would look great.

Papyrus On a New Platform

From the first scraps of paper made by the Egyptians over 5,000 years ago to the contact lenses that will eventually serve as our permanent augmented reality computer screens, humans have consistently innovated in the name of communication. E-readers are no exception to this innovation, though their trip to the marketplace wasn't always so direct.

Since the 1970s, writers, historians, and various literati have been collecting electronic copies of books for their future preservation and distribution. Michael Hart's Project Gutenberg is a wonderful example of this. Named for the inventor of the moveable type printing press, the project makes out-of-copyright books available digitally for anyone who wants them.

In the 1990s, a few companies offered rudimentary e-readers to consumers, but their inefficiency, poor quality screens, and small library of available titles doomed them to insignificance.

The next big experiment in e-readers came from Amazon, which launched its Kindle reader in 2007. Given the company's extensive access to publishing houses and firm placement on the web, there were soon enough titles out for purchase to make the Kindle seem like a viable option for readers.

Soon, a dozen other companies cropped up, all hoping to capitalize on the Kindle's impending success. One such company, a little giant you may have hear of called Apple, put forth its iPad in 2010, pushing the market away from traditional e-readers and more towards multifaceted tablet devices.

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Last updated on February 16, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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