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The Death Of Paper And Ink: E-Reader Reviews

December 12th, 2014 by

Can e-publishing replace your page-turning this holiday season? And which e-reader is for you?

We all love getting stuck into a good book. Whiling away the hours in a different world can be a real treat after a day in the office, but carting around your favourite novels can feel like a bit of a chore. As a commuter, I often end up with damaged books from everyday wear and tear! But of course in this day and age there are many alternatives to paper and ink…

As little as five years ago, e-readers were very much a gadget on the fringe of the market, barely seen in mainstream society. E-books and e-readers have slowly crept into our everyday lives following the rise in mobile computing. Generation iPad appear to conduct their lives from technology to technology spending more hours using various gadgetry than sleeping. The insurgence of e-readers onto the mass market threatened all sorts of business models; the printed book industry was, and remains, at risk of plummeting.

E-readers are everywhere. The explosion of the internet and the digital boom have brought with them an easier way to store and enjoy your chick lit, sci-fi and Horrid Histories for the children (or even yourselves!). But which is the best portable device? Let’s take a look…

Amazon Kindle

Now, ‘Kindle’ is a pretty broad term nowadays. There have probably been more generations of Kindle than there have been series of ‘The Simpsons’. With access to millions of downloadable titles, these Amazon e-readers are certainly a great choice for the everyday bookworm. Let’s check out the most cutting edge models on the market and just why they might be a fit for your pocket:

Kindle (basic)

The classic six-inch display makes the basic Kindle light and easy to carry. It’s easily stored and carried around, and starting at £59 it’s the most cost-effective e-reader. The newest Kindle model now features a touchscreen display, positioning it as a real contender with more advanced e-readers. If you’re looking for a straight-talking, no-frills device with a readable display then you’re in the right place: the e-ink technology of the Kindle e-readers makes sure there’s no glare on your screen.

However, the functionality of the basic Kindle has come under fire in its reviews, as like your traditional paperback this Kindle doesn’t come with a built-in light. If you find yourself frequently wanting to read in the dark this may not be the one for you.

Kindle Paperwhite

This Kindle ticks off all of the shortfalls of the basic Kindle with the new-look touchscreen technology built in, and also a light. Starting from £109, the Paperwhite is a jump from its younger sibling in price, yet reviews are mostly pointing to the Paperwhite as worlds apart from the basic Kindle in terms of ease of use. However, Amazon advertise the Paperwhite as having an eight-week long battery life, based on 30 minutes daily usage. However reviews suggest in reality the e-reader lasts about a week.

At six inches, it’s still compact and light enough for life on the go; reviews suggest the jump in price is completely worth it for the new features.

Kindle Fire

A departure from the above e-readers, the Kindle Fire series of tablets is built more as a competitor to the iPad series. Although they can be used as an e-reader, the LCD screen makes for an uncomfortable read over a long period of time, and reviews are warning customers seeking an alternative to their books to move away from the Fire and more in the direction of the Kindles with e-ink, such as the Paperwhite.

The Fire ranges in price, screen resolution and size, which means you could spend anything up to £329.

NOOK GlowLight

Though lesser known than the Kindle series, NOOK’s Simple Touch GlowLight e-reader became the first to boast a backlight display back in 2012. An underdog contender on the e-reader market, the GlowLight’s reviewers commend the rounded edges and soft-touch plastic casing which make it easy and comfortable to hold for long periods of reading time. The same size as the Kindle e-readers listed above, it too boasts touchscreen technology, and at 15% lighter and a little cheaper (from £89), the GlowLight is certainly worth consideration.

The GlowLight doesn’t have a MicroSD port, and so only 4GB of storage is available (enough for about 2000 books, which is still rather a lot). You may, however, have long enough to get through these books, with battery life lasting up to eight weeks!

Binatone ReadMe Colour

A cheaper option than the Kindle and the GlowLight, the Binatone ReadMe Colour appears to be a basic budget-friendly version of the most simple Kindle. It stores 600 books, with a MicroSD card slot for you to pop in some more memory if needed. As it’s a colour device, the screen is LCD with a backlight which drains battery life, leaving you with only 4 hours usage time per charge.

All reviews seem to point more serious readers in the direction of e-readers with e-ink, as in sunlight the ReadMe will be rendered quite useless.

Kobo Touch

The Kobo Touch provides some strong competition for the Amazon Paperwhite. It comes with easy to use touchscreen technology, and a no-glare Pearl e-ink display, providing shelter from any glare. Unlike the Paperwhite, the Touch comes in four colours; choose your e-reader to reflect your personality. Among its other customisable features are a range of fonts, a zoom function for images, and the option to adjust margins, line spacing and sharpness of print. At £59.99, it seems to have all of the Paperwhite features wrapped up in the price of the basic Kindle.

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One Comment

Mike
# 16th February, 2015

Come doomsday, pen and paper will rise again.

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