Holiday Season Ebook Reader Buyers Guide

by Ebook Doctor on November 25, 2011


With quite a few ebook readers available on the market this year, making the right decision can be tough! So we thought we would run through our “top picks” to help you get the best ebook reader for your needs.

Firstly, should you choose a 5” or 6” ebook reader?

This is a frequent question we get and after using some of the most popular 5” and 6” ebook readers, we would definitely recommend opting for a 6” model.

Although the 5” screen ebook readers are comfortable to read, having that extra screen space to read your book makes for a much better reading experience. Plus today’s 6 “ ebook readers are so slim and light, and that there really is no need to opt for a smaller screen size.

The battle of the ebook readers: Lets check out the challengers

For this comparison we have taken four of the most popular ebook readers which are available in the UK:

Amazon Kindle Keyboard 3G

Price: £149 (free delivery)
Best place to buy: Amazon

Pros:

  • Excellent 6” Pearl E-Ink screen with fast refresh rates
  • Timeless design which is slim and light 190 mm x 123 mm x 8.5 mm (247g)
  • Free 3G internet access worldwide
Wifi + 3G connection with web browser
  • 1 click purchase from the huge kindle store (with over 765,000 premium titles)
Access to over 1 million free out of print ebooks
  • Great compatibility with the majority of file formats (Kindle, Mobi, PDF, Doc, Txt)
  • 4GB internal memory
Keyboard for easy text entry and web surfing
  • 1 Month battery life with 3G and WIFI turned off (3 weeks with wifi)
  • Device is pre-setup and ready to go when you open the box

Cons:

  • More expensive than some of its competitors, but is the only ebook reader to include free 3G internet access
  • No touchscreen interface

Verdict:
  Highly recommended.

The Kindle Keyboard 3G is one of the easiest devices to use, and is the only one on the market to feature free 3G internet access so you can not only buy books anytime and anywhere. Plus this ebook reader is handy when you need to check emails or internet from abroad without having to pay any roaming fees!

If you are on a budget, the Kindle 2011 is a great alternative. It doesn’t have the keyboard or 3G connection, but provides the same features at a really affordable price.

Amazon Kindle 2011 Model

Price: £89 (free delivery)

Best place to buy: Amazon


Pros:

  • Excellent 6” Pearl E-Ink screen with fast refresh rates
  • Minimalistic design which is super slim and light 166 mm x 114 mm x 8.7 mm (170g)
Wifi connection with web browser
  • 1 click purchase from the huge kindle store (with over 765,000 premium titles)
  • Access to over 1 million free out of print ebooks
  • Great compatibility with the majority of file formats (Kindle, Mobi, PDF, Doc, Txt)
  • 2GB internal memory
  • 1 Month battery life WIFI turned off (3 weeks with wifi)
  • Device is pre-setup and ready to go when you open the box

Cons:

  • No touchscreen interface

Verdict:
Highly recommended.
The Kindle 2011 is a fantastic budget e-reader and alternative to the Kindle Keyboard 3G ebook reader if you are looking to save some £££.
Although its the cheapest ebook reader in our lineup, it does not feel cheap. On the contrary, Its compact, light, and feels great reading.

Kobo eReader Touch Edition

Price: £109.99
Best place to buy: Whsmith

  • Excellent 6” Pearl E-Ink screen with fast refresh rates
  • Touchscreen interface works really well
  • Minimalistic design which is super slim and light 165 mm x 114 mm x 10 mm (185g)
Wifi connection but does not have a web browser
  • Social network built in to share reading habits
  • WIFI with web browser (with latest update)
  • Easy purchase from the extensive Kobo store (with over 2 million titles including over 1 million free out of print ebooks)
  • Great compatibility with the majority of file formats (Epub, Mobi, PDF, Doc, Txt)
  • 2GB internal memory
  • 1 Month battery life WIFI turned off (3 weeks with wifi)

Cons:

  • Great value compared to the Sony PRS 650, but cannot quite match the price of the new Kindle
  • No 3G connection, so requires a WIFI connection or  a computer to purchase ebooks

The Verdict

Great effort.
The Kobo eReader is a great effort from Kobo, and it trumps the Sony PRS-T1 in both features, and price.
But… at this price point, we would recommend spending a little bit more for the Kindle Keyboard 3G, or opting for the Kindle 2011 ebook readers.
The touch screen interface is nice, but if you are budget conscious you can easily do without. Plus the lack of 3G connection means that this ebook reader is not as versatile as the Kindle readers.

Sony Reader PRS-T1

Price:
£130

Best place to buy: Pixmania

Pros:

  • Excellent 6” Pearl E-Ink screen with fast refresh rates
  • Touchscreen interface
  • Nice premium Sony design which is super slim and light 173 x 110 x 8.9 mm (168g)
Great compatibility with the majority of file formats (Epub, PDF, Doc, Txt)
  • Easy purchase from the sony reader store (with over 2 million titles including over 1 million free out of print ebooks)
  • 2GB internal memory
  • 3 week + battery life
  • WIFI connection with web browser
  • Requires a computer to load up ebook purchases

Cons:

  • More expensive than some of its competitors
  • Ebook store is not as well integrated as the Kindle or Kobo
-Ebook store is extensive, but some titles such as the Steve Jobs autobiography were missing
  • Battery life not as good as some of its competitors

The Verdict

Looks good, but not as good value as its competitors.
The Sony Reader PRS-T1 is a great upgrade from last year’s PRS-650 adding WIFi connectivity, as well as a lighter, and slimmer design.
But…At this price point, the Kindles and the Kobo Touch are better value.

And the winner is…

Sony and Kobo have produced some fantastic ebook readers this year, but when it comes to functionality, price, and ease of use nothing quite beats the the Amazon Kindles.

The Amazon Kindle Keyboard 3G is still very much the king of the hill of ebook readers, featuring free 3G internet access, and the most convenient 1 click ebook purchasing around. The fact that you could be waiting for a flight abroad, and purchase the latest book at a massive discount within 40 seconds is simply amazing.

Click here to buy the Kindle 3G direct at Amazon where you can get the best price and free shipping.

If your budget cannot stretch to a Kindle 3G, we recommend the new Kindle 2011 which is currently one of the cheapest premium quality ebook readers around.

At £89 my guess is that Amazon are probably making a loss in an effort to get market share, and reap the rewards from future purchases. And it will become very difficult for other ebook readers to compete at this price point!

Click here to buy the Kindle 2011 direct at Amazon where you can get the best price and free shipping.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Keith Wilk s 01.02.12 at 6:01 pm

I was looking for an ebook reader for my wife. We went around the shops tried the Kindle but although the price was good it reflected the quality of the product which we felt was very ‘plastic’ and not very robust in feel. Tried the iPad but far too expensive just t use as a n ereader. Looked for the Sony but alas unable to try it. Was supposed to be available through John Lewis but they had taken it off the shelf for some reason.
Tried the Kobo and Kobo Vox. The difference in quality compared to the Kindle made it worth the extra cost. I settled in the end for the Kobo Vox and my wife is very very pleased with it.

2 harry blair 05.06.12 at 2:24 pm

A feature i like on the kindle touch is the ability to switch from reading to speach/listening. is this funtion available on any other e-reader. I am thinking of buying very soon so would verymuch like to know if this funtion is available on other machines
thanks

harry

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