The 9 Best E-Readers

Updated June 26, 2017 by Chase Brush

9 Best E-Readers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 37 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 units 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.

9. Kobo Aura H2O

The waterproof Kobo Aura H2O is a fantastic unit that you don't have to worry about taking along with you to the beach or poolside. It's submersible up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter, but still features the same bright HD screen as the Japanese brand's other models.
  • mirco sd card slot
  • 1430 by 1080 resolution
  • cannot download nook or kindle books
Brand Kobo
Model N250-KJ-BK-S-EP
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. VTech V.Reader

Reading on the go shouldn't just be for adults. It's also great for kids to pass the time in an educational way -- which is exactly what the VTech V.Reader is for. The 3.5 inch color touchscreen displays animated books along with story narrations and exciting sounds.
  • sd memory card slot for expansion
  • comes with lots of reading games
  • batteries don't last very long
Brand VTech
Model 80-115610
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Nook Glowlight

The Nook Glowlight does a great job of evenly illuminating pages and can store roughly 2,000 books. Its laminated touchscreen can stand up to scratches against keys and pens. Coupled with the low price, that makes it a great choice for travel.
  • text is sharply rendered
  • easy to navigate user interface
  • display is only in black and white
Brand Barnes & Noble
Model BNRV500
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Kindle Voyage

Weighing a full ounce less than their more popular Paperwhite, the Kindle Voyage offers maximum portability and is ideal for taking on long trips. It still offers the same stunning quality as the other model, however, with a 300 ppi display and finger-less page turning.
  • adaptive front light
  • micro-etched glass screen
  • screen can look yellow
Brand Amazon
Model NM460GZ
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. iPad Mini 4

For an e-reader that doubles as a powerful tablet, look no further than Apple's latest iPad Mini 4. It's the size of a light book, has superior camera and video capabilities that eliminate the need to carry multiple devices, and it supports multi-touch gestures.
  • available in 16 gb 32 gb and 64 gb
  • newly upgraded retina display
  • easily reads pdf files
Brand Apple
Model MNY12LL/A
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Kobo Arc 10 HD

With a minimalist design, the Kobo Arc 10 HD is a sleek device that features the brand's signature E-Ink technology, which helps create vibrant text for a crisper reading experience. Add that to its ample viewing surface and you'll forget it's not a hardcover.
  • 4gb internal memory
  • 6-inch hd screen
  • choose from a variety of font sizes
Brand Kobo
Model N437-KJ-BK-S-EP
Weight 12.6 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. Kindle Paperwhite

The best-selling Kindle Paperwhite has clear, laser quality text that makes it resemble actual paper pages. It stands out from other tablets with a built-in front light that offers comfortable reading in the sunlight as well as the dark, and a free 3G data connection.
  • minimal screen glare in the sun
  • can hold up to 1000 books
  • lasts for weeks on one charge
Brand Amazon
Model DP75SDI
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Amazon Fire HD10

The stunning Amazon Fire HD10 is more durable than an iPad mini and includes an 10.1 inch display with over a million pixels, giving it an incredible resolution. Plus, you have access to $20,000 in apps, games and even in-app items for free with Amazon Underground.
  • 5 megapixel rear facing camera
  • ultra fast connection speeds
  • dolby atmos sound experience
Brand Amazon
Model SG98EG
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Kindle Oasis

The flagship Kindle Oasis is as thin as e-readers come, measuring just 0.13 of an inch. Its tapered back design, which puts the center of gravity in your palm, and lightweight build make it incredibly easy to hold, ensuring hours of comfortable reading without fatigue.
  • dedicated page turn buttons
  • right and left hand friendly
  • includes protective leather cover
Brand Amazon
Model SW56RW
Weight 12.8 ounces
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 June 26, 2017 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.


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