Guidemaster: Ars exams and picks the perfect e-readers for each price range

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Enlarge / The brand new Kindle Paperwhite.

Valentina Palladino

If you wish to not solely learn extra, however learn higher, an e-reader could also be for you. Sure, it has develop into simple to search out materials to learn and to get it on any of the quite a few gadgets now we have in our digital arsenals—smartphones, tablets, computer systems, and the like. However even in a world filled with versatile gadgets, e-readers are nonetheless favorites amongst devoted readers open to getting their palms on e-books and digital publications in some ways. Finally, it might be freedom via limitation: E-readers enable you to deal with the studying reasonably than the distractions which are oh so simply accessible via different electronics.

However that is only one perk to having a devoted studying gadget that both replaces or dietary supplements your bodily library. Whereas e-reader expertise hasn’t radically modified a lot up to now few years, corporations have up to date their hottest e-readers lately to make them much more helpful and aggressive. One e-reader additionally would not look very completely different from the subsequent, so it may be troublesome to inform them aside—however belief the devoted readers of Ars, there are notable variations inside this product class.

Fortunately, that will help you decipher the world of e-readers forward of any seashores, porches, or normal down time which will await you this summer time, Ars has been testing and tinkering. At this time, these are the perfect gadgets for every kind of readers.

Be aware: Ars Technica might earn compensation for gross sales from hyperlinks on this publish via affiliate packages.

Desk of Contents

Who wants an e-reader?

Not all e book lovers want an e-reader, however one can come in useful if you wish to learn unencumbered wherever you go. E-readers are a extra environment friendly strategy to carry your total library with you on an airplane, on the subway, and even simply down the street to the park. As an alternative of lugging round a number of hardcover or paperback books, you’ll be able to carry round an e-reader that is a lot lighter and smaller than most books.

Most corporations that make e-readers additionally make companion cell apps that may do most of the identical issues as their devoted studying gadgets. Take Amazon’s Kindle app for Android and iOS—it holds all your books bought from Amazon (and e-books borrowed out of your library), enables you to learn in your gadget of alternative everytime you need, and even enables you to change issues like font type and measurement at your leisure.

Nevertheless, these apps in all probability sit proper subsequent to Instagram, Fb, Twitter, and different non-reading apps in your cell gadget. It may be tempting to skip a studying session and browse social medial when your predominant studying gadget is a smartphone. An e-reader can present the distraction-free studying expertise that some folks want.

An e-reader may also prevent money and time. In the event you’re the kind who likes to personal the books you learn, many e-books price a fraction of what their bodily counterparts do. Constructing an unlimited e-book library not solely saves area in your house however may also prevent cash in the long term.

For individuals who primarily get their studying materials from a neighborhood library, apps like Overdrive, Libby, and Hoopla connect with most huge e-book corporations and their e-readers. As an alternative of constructing a number of journeys to the library, you’ll be able to immediately obtain borrowed e-books to your e-reader and skim to your coronary heart’s content material with out leaving your private home or spending a dime.

What to search for in an e-reader

Display screen kind, measurement, and high quality

Typical e-readers have e-paper shows made with E-Ink expertise. These non-reflective panels mimic actual paper and are extra snug to take a look at for lengthy durations of time than their LCD counterparts. However not everybody has the identical studying preferences, particularly in in the present day’s age when LCD screens are ubiquitous. Whereas we’re specializing in e-paper e-readers on this information, now we have included an LCD pill choice for many who like shiny, color-rich panels and the extra versatile gadgets that carry them.

Display screen measurement dictates the general measurement of an e-reader. Panels usually measure between 6 and eight inches diagonally, and that makes for ultra-compact gadgets which are smaller and far thinner than a typical paperback e book.

High quality can be fairly customary throughout trendy e-readers, as most screens comprise 150 to 300 pixels per inch. That stage of high quality ensures that letters and characters can be crisp and that little (if any) pixelation can be noticeable.

Display screen lighting

A superb e-reader could have lighting that may illuminate the show so you’ll be able to learn in darkish environments. However as a substitute of backlighting like LCD panels have, most E-Ink shows have entrance lighting with a bunch of undetectable LEDs sitting round them. More often than not they’re hidden within the e-reader’s design, however it is possible for you to to regulate the depth, and typically the hue, of the display’s lighting.

Most e-readers accessible in the present day have a couple of entrance gentle. Extra lights unfold alongside the perimeters of the panel be sure that your complete show receives enough gentle and that no darkish patches exist.

Some e-readers could have a combination of warm- and cool-hued lights so you’ll be able to regulate the colour of the sunshine because the day goes on. Harsh blue gentle, like that which comes from our smartphones and different LCD-display-toting gadgets, can hurt the eyes, so having a number of warm-toned lights can stability the colour out and make the studying expertise higher.


The essential design of most e-readers hasn’t modified a lot lately. These gadgets are black or white slabs of plastic dominated by their E-Ink or e-paper shows. Some older fashions used to have bodily keyboards on the base of the show, however these have been phased out now.

The one strategy to get a in a different way designed e-reader is to go for an all-purpose pill, which many readers might need to do. Android, iOS, and Home windows tablets allow you to carry round your total digital library in a single place, they usually’re additionally arguably higher if you wish to learn digital graphic novels and comics. They’re additionally extra versatile gadgets since you’ll be able to obtain non-reading apps onto them as effectively.

However conventional e-readers have a number of optionally available design options that you’re going to need to look out for, particularly Bluetooth connectivity and waterproofing. Bluetooth means that you can join a pair of wi-fi headphones and to take heed to audiobooks saved to the e-reader—if the e-reader helps such a function. Those who usually trip between the audiobook and the printed model of the identical e book might have a neater time with an e-reader that retains each variations of the e book in the identical place.

Waterproofing is self-explanatory: a water-resistant e-reader will stand up to a drop within the bathtub or the pool like a champ. Previously, solely luxurious e-readers had any kind of water resistances constructed into their designs, however now corporations have introduced that function to their extra inexpensive fashions as effectively.

Storage and battery life

You will not discover too many storage choices on most e-readers: the 2 commonest choices are 8GB and 32GB, and a few lower-end fashions could have 4GB. E-books do not take up a ton of area, so 8GB will suffice for most individuals. Nevertheless, when you’ve got an enormous digital library, many graphic novels and comics, or need to save audiobooks to your e-reader, it is best to contemplate opting for a bigger storage capability.

E-readers have a few of the finest battery lifetime of any trendy electronics. Most will final weeks on a single cost, so you may get dozens of hours of studying in earlier than they want extra juice. You possibly can even go a complete week-long trip without having to cost your e-reader (relying on the mannequin and the way a lot you employ it), making these gadgets nice journey companions.


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