Best eBook Reader Gadget


Something I’m asked about frequently is which is the best, must have eBook Reader (ereader) on the market today and which should I get for my needs. Well here I review my top eBooks currently available in the UK and US with rating and specifications – an ideal Christmas gadget.

Kindle 2 eBook Reader

The Kindle 2 is a great overhaul from the original Kindle. The Kindle 2 is now thinner than an iPhone but that is nothing compared to the other new features like USB charging, text to speech, increased battery performance, 3G wireless, 20% faster browsing and a much more impressive grayscale display. For people who want something larger but with all these new options Amazon have the Kindle DX (see below).

The new navigation is the first thing you notice about the Kindle 2 and is arguable one of the best point and makes it’s usability much improved over the older model.

The web browser is probably the worst part of the device as it is slow and very basic (no Flash) and without a touch screen, navigation of sites is poor.

Kindle 2 Specification:

Weight: 289g

Display: 6″ (600 x 800 pixels)

Grey levels: 16

Touch Screen: No

Battery Performance: 2 weeks (4 days using wireless)

Recharge time: 4 hours

Memory: 128MB RAM, 2GB Flash (not upgradable)

Wireless: 3G (International version only)

Supported file formats: Kindle (AZW / TOPAZ), PRC, Limited MOBI (non DRM), TXT, MP3, Audible (format 4, Audible Enhanced AAX), MP3, PDF, DOC, HTML, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP

Content: Dedicated Content Service, Newspapers, Magazines, Blogs

Text to Speech: Yes

Price: $259

Rating: 8/10

Buy UK* / Buy US

*Amazon are shipping the Kindle 2 to the UK from the US.

Images of Kindle 2:

Kindle DX eBook Reader

With all the features of the Kindle 2 but with a bigger screen this e-reader has been hailed as a killer newspaper device. The bigger screen really makes it easier on your eyes than the Kindle 2 and also isn’t too bulky. It has a nice auto-rotating landscape / portrait screen and very sleek and simple navigation.

The Kindle DX is one of the most expensive eReader which along with the poor web browser and missing touch screen are only weakest points.

Kindle DX Specification:

Weight: 536g

Display: 9.7″ (1200 x 824 pixels)

Grey levels: 16

Touch Screen: No

Battery Performance: 2 weeks (4 days using wireless)

Recharge time: 4 hours

Memory: 128MB RAM, 4GB Flash (not upgradable)

Wireless: 3G (International version only)

Supported file formats: Kindle (AZW / TOPAZ), PRC, Limited MOBI (non DRM), TXT, MP3, Audible (format 4, Audible Enhanced AAX), MP3, PDF, DOC, HTML, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP

Content: Dedicated Content Service, Newspapers, Magazines, Blogs

Text to Speech: Yes

Price: $489

Rating: 8/10

Buy US

Images of Kindle DX:

Sony Reader (PRS-700BC)

The Sony eReader PRS-700 has a very sleek eBook design and one of the most rugged. It has a number of nice features like a blacklit LED which makes it viewable in any kind of lighting (including bright sunlight) and a touch screen (which should be standard on these devices now). The benefits of the touch screen means that a keyboard is not needed and so is a much more compact design. There is an included stylus but for the most part selecting text, making notes and navigating works extremely well without it. Another feature which makes this stand out is it’s searching features which is very intuitive and quick. The battery life can still do 2 weeks like the Kindle if not a little bit more.

The Sony reader does however fall short on the number of books it can hold on its internal memory, that being only 350 books – but you can use removable memory sticks to add more storage if needed, so not really a big issue. However it does lack wireless – for some this would be an issue but I don’t think it will bother most people especially when you only get about 4 days battery on a Kindle when you use the wireless. I am happy to download content to a memory stick on a PC and transfer especially when it prolongs the life of the battery.

There is a dedicated service called the eBook Store which has a very wide selection or books, newspapers and magazines. You can also view DRM free content like PDFs, Word, HTML and all the other popular book formats.

Sony PRS-700BC Specification:

Weight: 283g

Display: 6″ (600 x800 pixels)

Grey levels: 8 (Backlit LED eInk)

Touch Screen: Yes

Battery Performance: 2 weeks

Recharge time: 1 hour

Memory: 512MB Flash (expandable with memory cards – Supports MMC/SD/SDHC, Memory Stick Pro Duo)

Wireless: No

Supported file formats: BBeB (LRF/LRX), PDF, EPUB, TXT, RTF, JPG, BMP, GIF, PNG, MP3, AAC, DOC, HTML

Content: Dedicated Content Service, Blogs

Text to Speech: Yes

Price:

Rating: 9/10

Buy UK / Buy US

Images of Sony PRS-700:

Conclusion

If I had to choose one of these for me it has to be the Sony. I can live without the wireless features and text to speech in favour of the touch screen and backlit screen (particularly as with the removable memory stick option I can transfer files simply). I also think the eInk displays better on the Sony for long periods of use. If you can’t live without wireless then without doubt the Kindle 2 or Kindle DX is the device for you.

Others eBook Readers to consider:

Barnes and Noble eBook – Nook

This looks like the main contender, although not yet available. The problems with the pre-release model is that it has a clumsy interface and is very slugish – great shame as it has such potential.

Here are the stats:

  • 0.5 inches thick / 317grams
  • 2GB of storage (1,500 eBooks, eNewspapers and eMagazines)
  • Micro SD slot
  • 1 million titles through dedicated store
  • 16 Grey levels
  • 3G and Wifi (802.11b/g)
  • 6″ reading screen
  • Colour 3.5″ touchscreen (no keyboard)
  • Recharge 3.5 hours (USB & Power adaptor)
  • 10 days battery life
  • Supported files:
    • EPUB and eReader Formats
    • PDFs load easily and look great
    • PDFs, MP3s and graphics load to your nook from your computer or micro SD card
    • Use JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP files to create personal screensavers

More info…

iLiad 2nd Edition

iLiad 2nd Edition from Rex technologies is probably the best reviewing and comment eBook currently with the use of Wacom pen technology. But is let down by poor storage, battery performance and limited document formats that it can read. More info UK / US

Cybook Gen 3

With one of the best eInk readers on the Market the Cybook Gen 3 is a great eBook and boast some great functions. It has one of the quickest page turns I have seen. It is currently let down by a lack of tech Support albeit it does come with a good warranty and if you are really stuck there is a good online community. The Cybook Gen 3 is let down by not having a dedicated store – albeit as with the other devices that don’t have a store you can use the host of other service providers to get the content you need like mobipocket and google books. More info UK / US

COOL-ER Classic

The COOL-ER isn’t packed with features but it does a good job of reading books. If you want a device that does other things like newspaper or magazines then look else where. It comes with it’s own eBook store and supports MP3s. However it is further let down by slow responsiveness and has poor navigation. More info

iRex Digital Reader

The iRex Digital Reader is something of a business animal since it accepts all the office files you will likely come across. It has a great list of features including touch screen, wireless and is super thin. It is somewhat let down by no dedicated content provider and a battery life of just 24 hours. More info