A Review of The Top 7 Ebook Readers
“Ebook” is fast becoming the Word of The Day among techies and consumers alike. For those who love to absorb as much information as possible with as little effort as possible an ebook is certainly an appropriate and savvy way to keep up with your reading and with some of these devices, your own writing. As with any purchase, you get what you pay for and the following list of ebooks reflects what you can expect to pay for what you can hope to receive. Many of these products utilize the same technologies in different combination’s and with different results, so knowing what you want is key. One common feature is E-Ink. This makes glare a thing of the past by replicating an actual paper page. The drawback seems to be possible reverse screen flashes causing the screen to pause momentarily and turn black on white.
Amazon’s Kindle Ebook Reader is at the top of this list for a number of reasons. It is the most accessible ebook and virtually everyone compares itself to the Kindle. The latest generation offers an international 3G network making it extremely usable to anyone, anywhere. Because of this feature you have no need to use a PC or MAC to upload books and store them. The ebook itself is very attractive and lightweight. The keyboard is delicately featured with petite round keys. The library available to you is affordable and larger than most since Amazon.com is a leader in the online book world. An interesting feature is it’s ability to read content to the user, making it very appealing to those who enjoy books-on-tape, young children and those who cannot read, or those who study from the content and take notes. It has 2GB (1.4 usable) of memory and can hold up to 1,500 books. You can find this reader on Amazon.com and the prices seem to range between $260 and $359.
iRiver Story is a new ebook available in the States since the end of January 2010. This has some nice features that the Kindle does not offer including an MP3 player that allows you to enjoy the music of your choice while enjoying your favorite book! This feature is appealing to anyone who likes to read but noise around them (in a cafe perhaps) distracts them from the literary world within. It boasts a long battery life of up to 9,000 pages on a single battery charge. Akin to the Kindle, it features 2GB memory, a 6″ screen and access to a large catalog of books, in fact, the first two books downloaded are free of charge. The device is sleek, with a nice keyboard. It comes with a matching folder case to protect it. You can find this at iRiverinc.com. The price for this bad boy runs just under $300.
Next up is the Samsung E101. Their ebook has a unique feature in that it contains a hidden keyboard panel. This is wonderful for those who want to keep their ebook functions separate from their reading duties. With Google Books as it’s library source, there is a large catalogue that you may find not as variational as Amazon’s. Another unique feature of this ebook is the screen handwriting capability. This allows a reader to annotate material, draw and write directly on the screen. A downside to the E101 is that it has no 3G, however it is WiFi and Bluetooth capable which may enough for some. The battery life is exceptional – running as long as two weeks after just a few hours of charging. It is not backlit, so the power usage remains low. This device comes in two sizes currently for two hefty prices: the 6″ ebook is $399 while the 10″ is $699 making it the most expensive ebook so far. Samsung will release these early this year so keep an eye out as it becomes available.
Bookeen is a French company that makes an adorable little ebook called the Cybook. There are two generations, both are smaller than other ebooks but seem to weigh more. They use the same technology as the iPhone to choose screen direction (portrait or landscape) known as G-Sensory. There are some good qualities, though not as many as the Kindle, iRiver or E101. For starters, it only has 1GB memory – you can purchase an SD card that holds 2 more GBs. It uses Linux OS, which seems to be unique in this field. A positive feature is it’s long battery life capable of up to 8,000 pages per charge. On the downside there is no WiFi or 3G making it purely a reading device. Don’t expect to check your email while reading Tolstoy! There is very limited key usage with this device since it’s main function is to find and read books. You can buy this device directly from their website and can pay two prices: $350 gets you the ebook alone and $450 gets you that plus a case, headphones and the SD 2GB card. Check out Booken.com for orders and information.
Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-300 is a long name for a short product. With a 5″ screen it’s slightly smaller than the others, and it only holds 350 books at a time. You will need a PC or MAC to upload content. The battery lasts slightly less than it’s competitors – 7,500 pages per charge which is still quite impressive. This device brings into play a fun feature – color. Sony offers three color choices: Silver, Navy Blue and Rose. This may be fun, but it may be a way to appeal to an audience more concerned with appearance than functionality. Consumer reviews are very split for this ebook, many of whom are siting technical issues such as frozen screens and a cheap quality to the device itself. The library selection is poor and the device is already marked down from $299 to $179 at Sonystyle.com.
Interead Cool-er is an unfortunate name for an unfortunate device. Again using color and cuteness to distract the less tech savvy consumer, it is available in eight colors. It boasts some similar qualities as it’s better competitors such as a slender lightweight frame (it weighs almost half what the Kindle does) and 8,000 pages per charge. However with only 1GB internal memory, room for an SD card, and no WiFi, for the price ($249) you are better off purchasing one that has more to offer than a cool color. The keys are hard to use and the consumer reviews are across the board pretty bad.
Last and least we have the Elonex ebook reader. This UK based device was available through Borders books online. Now you can find it at Buyingcheap.co.uk if that gives you any indication that this may be a “buyer beware” deal. It features a lightweight body and many of the same features as it’s competitors such as 8,000 pages per charge and it even includes 100 books preloaded through Borders eLibrary. If it has these positive attributes, why does it get such bad reviews among consumers? Like the MP3 player which is not accessible unless you back out of the reader screen to change the music. The majority of consumer reviews point to negative issues including Borders refusing refunds and tech service under warrenty. it costs 189 British Pounds ($320 USD) and for that price you know what the right thing to do is.