If you’re looking for a great e-reader for reading e-books, then you’re going to have to decide between two exceptional devices. The first is the Amazon Kindle. It’s already the standard-bearer for e-books, and is one of the top-selling devices for reading e-books. The Kindle is well-known for its crisp, clear display and intuitive user interface, but its battery life is often a sticking point. If you want a replacement battery, you’ll need to buy one separately. The second device is the Barnes & Noble NOOK. It’s an excellent e-reader, but it’s not a revolutionary one. In fact, it’s a very standard-issue model. It lacks the Amaz
E-readers are still the best way to access content on the go—and they’re not going away any time soon. At least, not until the price of e-ink drops below that of LCD displays. The best e-reader currently available is the Amazon Kindle Oasis, but the hardware is so good and the experience so high-quality that it’s hard to justify buying a dedicated e-reader over an iPad, no matter how much cheaper the devices cost.
If you have too many books at home or just want to digitize your library to take with you on vacation, now is the time to invest in an e-reader for reading at home and on the go. The screens are optimized for reading and without distracting messages, games and videos you get a deeper reading experience. We tested nine e-reader models last month, and two stood out:
The best reader in the world
With access to Amazon’s vast library, a well-fitting screen that allows for effortless reading in almost any light, user-friendly controls, and a user-friendly design, the Kindle Oasis is the best e-reader we’ve tested.
The best e-reader for a low price
The Kindle Paperwhite gives you most of the benefits of the Oasis, with a smaller, simpler, but still very readable screen, at an affordable price.
In short, the Kindle Oasis is a reader’s dream. During our testing, we kept coming back to this device because it feels nice in the hand, has well-placed buttons to turn pages, and offers different settings for brightness and color temperature to help us read in different conditions. Thanks to the Oasis’ 2-inch thick frame, your hand has a place to rest and won’t accidentally touch the touchscreen, a problem we’ve had with other e-readers we’ve tested. The square design is also comfortable enough to hold with one hand for hours. (Seriously, our hands never got tired of holding that thing).
While you don’t technically need an Amazon account to use Kindle Oasis, you probably want to sign in to access millions of books in your Kindle library. Setting up the e-reader will ask you to log into your Amazon account, if you have one, and set up a Wi-Fi connection, which only takes a minute. You can then search for books directly on the device. Amazon Prime subscribers have access to Prime Reading, which includes about 1,000 free titles that change regularly, but you can also sign up for Kindle Unlimited ($9.99 a month), a separate subscription that gives you access to more than a million books and audiobooks. If you’re not an Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can still buy single books from the Kindle Store. We could easily find all the books we were looking for, even the new ones on the day they came out.
Kindle readers do not directly support Overdrive, a free service that lets you borrow books using your library card. However, you can easily access e-books through Overdrive on your computer or the Overdrive app on your tablet or phone and read them on your Kindle – just follow these instructions. We had no problems borrowing and returning books after creating an Overdrive account with our library card. You can also read MOBI and PDF files on your Kindle by emailing them to the device itself, and EPUB files by converting them to MOBI files with free online software. Kobo readers allow you to download books directly from Overdrive, making them a good choice if that’s your main interest in an e-reader (though we so prefer Kindles that we generally find it worth the slight inconvenience of borrowing another device).
One of our favorite features of the Oasis is the warm mode brightness setting, which is not available on the other Kindle’s we tested. We were able to adjust not only the brightness of the screen, but also the color temperature of the light, filtering out the blue light that can have a negative effect on the eyes at night. It may seem like a small addition, but it really helped our eyes adjust to the light. Reading in bed while your partner is trying to fall asleep is also a good way to not disturb them.
The Oasis’ 7-inch e-ink charta screen is waterproof and anti-reflective. We took the e-reader out in the sun, on the train, and to the pool, and we had no problems reading the text on the screen. We’ve even dipped it in the pool and taken it out in the rain with no problem. Oasis also offers many ways to customize your reading experience, including 14 font size options, five bold options, nine fonts (including one for those with dyslexia), two alignment options, three margins options, two alignment options, and three spacing options, not to mention the ability to highlight favorite passages and connect to a Goodreads account.
Since the Oasis is equipped with Bluetooth, you can also connect wireless headphones to the device and listen to audiobooks through them. It only took a few seconds to connect our Pixel Buds to Oasis and start listening.
Finally, the Oasis’ battery charges from 0 to 100% in just one hour, and lasts about 50 hours with brightness 12 and airplane mode on. This is the best battery life of any e-reader we’ve tested and should last the average reader several weeks, even if they read for an hour every night.
The Kindle Paperwhite is an excellent e-reader that should be suitable for anyone on a budget. It has the same features as our top-of-the-line model: Accessibility, waterproofing and touch screen. However, it does not have the Oasis keys for scrolling and the E Ink Carta’s screen is slightly smaller (6 inches). It’s a highly portable device that stands out from the competition for its extensive library, ease of use and ideal screen size. It also seems to be of better quality and more comfortable than the more plastic Kobo’s. It charges the battery to 100% at 0% in two hours and lasted several weeks in our test.
We spent several hours over a month reading different books on each e-reader, looking at features like water resistance, but also accessibility, ease of navigating the interface, overall design, screen size, library support, and battery life. Below are the criteria we used to evaluate each reader:
Platform/library support: We noted the size of each e-reader’s library, the file formats that can be played on these devices, and the ease with which these formats can be transferred.
Screen: We evaluated the overall quality and responsiveness of each reader’s screen by using touch controls to buy books, navigate the interface, and flip through pages. Shiny and smooth or matt and rough? We also tested the glare by exposing each reader to the sun.
Software/user interface/performance : We determined how intuitive the user interface is and what accessibility features are built in.
Design: Is the design of each e-reader practical? Is it easy and comfortable to hold for a long time? Is it sturdy or is it plastic and cheap?
Battery: We used the 5 watt USB power adapter and cable that came with each book to charge each device, keeping track of the time it took each book to charge from 0 to 100%. We then read each device overnight for an hour with the brightness set to 12 and airplane mode on, to see how battery performance declined over time.
Warranty: We have checked the duration of the warranty on each unit and what it covers. All e-readers tested had a one-year warranty, resulting in nine draws in this category.
Kindle ($89.99; amazon.com)
The original Kindle e-reader is a solid device, but we noticed slow buffer times, short battery life and blurry cover images during our test. We recommend choosing the lower-priced Paperwhite model because of its water resistance (which the Kindle doesn’t have) and better resolution.
Kindle Kids ($109.99; amazon.com)
If you’re looking for an e-reader for little readers, check out the Kindle Kids Edition. It has a user-friendly interface and many parental control settings, so you can make sure your child or children don’t go where they’re not supposed to. A colorful case is also included to protect the device. Note, however, that this reader is not foolproof. So, if you have a particularly messy child, it may break if not properly maintained.
Kobo Forma ($249.99; walmart.com)
The Kobo Forma has a similar design to the Kindle Oasis, with two scroll buttons on the frame and a large screen. However, the buttons feel cheap and hard to press, and the 8-inch screen is almost too big to read comfortably. It’s also 0.3 ounces heavier than the Oasis, which seems insignificant, but combined with its larger size, it’s slightly less comfortable for extended use.
Kobo Libra H2O ($169.96; walmart.com)
Kobo Scale H2O
The Kobo Libra H2O is our favorite among Kobo readers. So if you need a device that allows you to search and borrow books from the library via Overdrive, this might be the e-reader for you. The design is similar to that of the Forma, but the 7-inch screen is better suited for prolonged reading. It is also, as the name suggests, completely waterproof. However, the Kobo Libra H2O loses points for its plastic casing and hard-to-press page-turn buttons, which are not as comfortable as those of the Oasis.
Kobo Clara HD ($115.21; walmart.com)
Kobo Clara HD
We love the Kobo Clara HD’s bright screen, which looks great inside and out. We also tested different brightness settings to filter out blue light and bring in what we call natural light. Overall, however, we preferred the Kindle Paperwhite for its convenience, ease of use, and battery life.
Kobo Nia ($99.99; walmart.com)
The Kobo Nia is an affordable e-reader, similar to the original Kindle. The 6-inch screen seems a bit small, and the battery life was shorter than the competition. We preferred the Kobo Clara HD screen for those who prefer Kobo over Kindle devices.
Nook GlowLight 3 ($119.99; barnesandnoble.com)
Barnes & Noble
Nook Bulb 3
The Nook GlowLight 3 is the least popular reader we tested, with a cheap design and extremely slow response time. Only the buffering of pages makes this e-reader awkward to use, and we found the Kindle and Kobo libraries to be cheaper and more reliable than what Barnes & Noble offers.
Read the rest of the CNN Underscored practice test:
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best ereader 2021?
The best ereader in 2021 is the Amazon Kindle Oasis.
Will there be a new Kindle in 2021?
Yes, Amazon is expected to release a new Kindle in 2021.
Which is the best e book reader?
The best e book reader is the Amazon Kindle.
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