Top 7 Best E-Readers of 2020 – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

The best Ereaders — also known as E-book Readers — have distinct advantages.

If you’re an avid book reader, you know how tiresome it is to have a pile of books lying around. Fortunately, the ebook reader solves this problem. 

Since their introduction, e-readers have been continuously improved to cover every book lover’s needs.

The most recent ebook readers are waterproof, light, and easy to use! 

Today’s models have come a long way, and we’re sharing the best ereaders available today in this comprehensive guide.

Are you ready to cross over into the world of ebook readers? Read on!

Top 7 Best E-Readers of 2020

What is the Best Ebook Reader?

People are different in many ways, so they might expect different experiences from an e-reader. 

However, the most important features you should look for are usability, pixels, screen size, battery life, sharing support, connectivity, and adjustable brightness. 

The best ebook reader for you depends on what features you are most interested in.

If you came to this post solely wondering if you should buy a Kobo vs. Kindle, you’re in for a treat. And, we have detailed information on more ebook readers than just these two.

Check out our comparisons between the most popular ereaders, with detailed information on each kind, and why you should (or should not!) buy them.

For a quick overview, this table features the very fundamental differences among the devices. Click on a product name to see the detailed review and find out why it secures a place in our list of the best ereaders 2020.
E-Reader NameBuilt-in LightScreen 
Kindle Paperwhite
(Editor’s Choice)
Adjustable6.0 inches2020 Best Ereader
Kobo FormaAdjustable8.0 inchesBest Waterproof Ereader
Kobo Libra H2OAuto-adjust7.0 inchesBest Ereader for Students
Kindle OasisAdjustable7.0 inchesBest High-end Ereader
NOOK Glowlight Plus
Adjustable7.8 inchesBest Android Ebook Reader
Kobo Clara HDAuto-adjust6.0 inchesBest Device for Nighttime Reading
Onyx BOOX Max3No13.3 inchesBest Large Ereader

1. Kindle Paperwhite – 2020 Best E-Reader to Buy

The Kindle Paperwhite is by far the most popular version of all Kindles.

There’s a reason for that, as the device offers a remarkable upgrade in terms of reading experience when compared to the Basic.

The Paperwhite is also the thinnest among the Kindle e-reader series. This eBook reader has been designed in a way that allows you to use it for a long time without experiencing any eye strain whatsoever.

For these reasons and more, the Kindle Paperwhite is our choice for the best Ebook Reader of 2020.

Pros
  • Adjustable built-in light, easy to read in the dark
  • Sleek design and a glare-free display
  • Good typography
  • Long lasting battery life (last up to two weeks)
  • Waterproof
Cons
  • Doesn’t include charger
  • Doesn’t have an adjustable warm light
  • No page turn buttons

Technical features of the Kindle Ereader family

Designed for reading

All Kindle e-book readers come with some version of e-Ink technology. Its display mimics the appearance of ordinary ink on normal paper.

The electronic paper also helps to significantly widen the viewing angle, allowing you to get comfy with your book and still see the screen sharply from a reclining position.

But it’s not only eye-friendly. Unlike many other electronic devices, the Kindle produces hardly any blue light (that’s the light that TVs and phones emit, which is said to contribute to insomnia).

Another technology that makes the Kindle a far cry from other devices such as your iPhone or tablets is its glare-free screen.

This allows you to read under the sun free from the annoying reflection usually seen in an ordinary tablet (hello, beach books!)

Glare Free Screen
A partner for the learner

If you are a language learner, you will find the Kindle ereaders extremely helpful. They not only support books in various languages, including non-Latin ones, but also work actively to enhance your vocabulary.

Whenever you look up a word, Vocabulary Builder saves it in a flashcard. You can check all the new words again later, or see instantly how they appear in different contexts.

If you want it fast, the Kindle also provides an instant translation of English words and passages into other languages.

And no more hours-long surfs in the massive internet when you google a word. You can’t surf the net anyway.[/su_spoiler]

A reminder for the forgetter
Has it ever happened to you in the middle of a novel, when you saw a name and had no idea who they are? The X-Ray feature is designed to help you in this situation. It allows you to flip back to the previous passages that contain the keyword, while “folding” the page you’re on so you can get back quickly.
4GB and a library
At 4GB storage, a Kindle can hold thousands of books. The books can be downloaded from the massive Amazon library via Wi-Fi connection.

Remember that time when you bought a book, and your partner had to wait till you’ve finished it before they can have a read too and talk about it? Or that time when they read first and spoiled the story?

The Amazon Family Library allows you to keep up with what your partner is reading. When you buy a book, family members will also have access to it from their own device at the same time. It’s never been so easy to share a book and a timely conversation with your partner about it!

Apart from the Amazon library, you can also download books from other sources. Content format is barely a problem. Be it TXT, PDF, PRC, HTML, DOC, or BMP, Kindle will support it, although some conversion might sometimes be necessary.

Barrierless for the sightless

All new Kindles support people with visual disabilities. When connected to a Bluetooth audio gadget, the device will activate its VoiceView feature.

This allows visually impaired users to browse the menu, and get the e-books read aloud at a speed and volume of their choice.

A perfect gift for the kids

Want your kids to spend more time reading independently, but worried that they might access improper contents, or make accidental purchases?

The Freetime feature blocks distractions and offers age-appropriate books. With this, the Kindle is one of the few electronic devices you’ll be happy to see your children use for long hours.

Kindle Paperwhite vs. Kindle Basic

 PaperwhiteBasic
Screen6” glare-free touchscreen6” glare-free touchscreen
DisplayBuilt-in lightBuilt-in light
Resolution300 ppi (pixels per inch)167 ppi (pixels per inch)
Weight6.4 oz6.1 oz
Battery life6 weeks (wifi off)4 weeks (wifi off)

300 ppi vs. 167 ppi: What the Resolution Difference Means

The most noticeable enhancement in the Kindle Paperwhite, as opposed to the Basic, is its excellent resolution.

A higher pixel density translates to much sharper, finer text, and cleaner lines.

You can visualize the difference in the crispness of the text displayed in the Paperwhite and the Basic as that between a modern magazine and an old textbook.

The LED Difference

Oh, to be able to read in the dark without disturbing our partners with the glare of a lamp or the sound and motion of turning pages!

The Paperwhite has Kindle’s much-loved signature glare-free screen for reading in strong light, plus five built-in LEDs. The Kindle Basic has four.

An important feature of the built-in lights is that they shine evenly onto the page instead of your eyes, as most smartphone and tablet screens do. 

This frees you for eyestrain, even after hours and hours of reading. When the lighting environment changes, you can manually adjust your screen brightness — there are 24 levels.

More points for the Kindle Paperwhite: its lighting minimizes the disturbance to those sharing the same space with you. 

You know how annoying it is when you’re asleep in a dim or dark room, and out of the blue, a phone screen flashes on. 

With its pleasant glow, this e-reader ensures you can sneak a read without getting busted for waking your bedmate.

Already an owner of a Kindle ereader? Make use of the free trials on Prime Reading or Kindle Unlimited to save big bucks while enjoying high-quality books!

The Difference in Battery Life

With five LEDs and a higher resolution screen, the Paperwhite weighs more than the Basic. However, the larger size doesn’t mean that it has shorter battery life.

In fact, it’s the opposite. Used 30 minutes a day with wireless off, its battery lasts for up to 6 weeks.

That’s 2 weeks, or more than 30 percent, longer than the Basic version.

Overall, the Paperwhite retains all of the Basic's advantages of an Amazon’s ebook reader.

It’s made with the same material, same design, and also uses e-ink technology to feel like paper to the eyes.

The library is much the same, except that you now have a Wifi plus free 3G version, which allows you to download books from where wifi connection is not available.

Nevertheless, it is a total upgrade in terms of screen resolution, lighting, and battery life. Plus, it’s sold at a very reasonable price. This is by far the best Kindle e-reader.

Read more: Kindle Paperwhite: Best Kindle Ebook Reader to Buy in 2020

Verdict: If you’re a book lover who reads often in various environments, and wants a screen display that is pleasant to the eyes, go with the Kindle Paperwhite. There’s a reason it gets the best votes among all Kindles.


2. Kobo Forma – Best Waterproof Ereader

Until recently, the most premium Kobo device was the Kobo Aura H2O, which was last updated in 2017. However, Kobo released the Kobo Forma in 2018, which has several upgrades compared to the Aura H2O.

The Kobo Forma is lighter than the Aura H2O and has a plastic screen that is more durable.

And while the Kindle Paperwhite is now waterproof, we still prefer the Kobo Forma for reading at the beach, waterpark, or in the bathtub. 

Read on to find out why this is our top choice for the best waterproof ereader. 

Kobo Forma Best Waterproof Ereader
Pros
  • Waterproof and dustproof
  • Auto blue light reduction
  • Lightweight
  • Long battery life
  • Page turn buttons
  • Large, 8″ touchscreen
  • Large storage space
Cons
  • More expensive than other Kobo ereaders
  • Ecosystem not as smooth as Kindle’s

Waterproof: Read in the Bathtub

The Kobo Forma comes with HZO Protection™ technology.

It’s coated with an extremely thin layer of special material, which protects it against damages when dipped in water for an entire hour. No more blow-drying the damp pages of a paperback!

So, stock up on Mr. Bubble, and if you happen to be outdoors and there’s a sudden rain or your spill your latte in your lap, your Kobo is the last thing you have to worry about.

And it’s also dust-proof, so it’s safe to tote it to the beach.

This tough performer is obviously kid-friendly. Juicebox spills and trips to the sandbox won't hurt it.

8-inch Screen and 300 ppi

Many book lovers prefer the Kobo Forma for its screen size.

Much bigger than the Kindle screen (which is 6”), the increase in width and length makes the Forma look more like an actual paperback.

Despite the bigger size, the Forma is surprisingly lightweight. It’s lighter than the Aura H2O at 6.9 oz or 197 g.

Like its older sibling, the Kobo Forma has a glare-free screen for reading in strong sunlight. Its resolution is an improvement at 300 PPI, which is the same as the Kindle Paperwhite. 

Incredible Storage Space

The now-discontinued Kobo Aura H2O featured an on-board memory of 8GB and held up to 6,000 eBooks at once.

However, the Kobo Forma can hold up to 32GB of storage if you purchase the 32GB option, which is only $50 more than the 8GB device. 

This gives the Forma the ability to hold more than 20,000 ebooks!

Customize to please your eyes

One of the factors that make the Kobo Forma a very desirable reader is its customizability. 

Depending on what looks the most pleasant to your eyes, you can choose among 11 different font types and 50 font sizes. Furthermore, it allows you to adjust the font weight and sharpness.

Verdict: The Kobo Forma is your best bet for a waterproof e-reader.


3. Kobo Libra H2O — Best Ereader for Students

The Kobo Libra H2O is smaller in size and weight than the Kobo Forma, but this great ebook reader comes with many of the beloved features also available in other Kobo devices. 

The lower price point, the variety of supported ebook formats, and the updated interface design all make this ebook reader our top pick for students. 

Like the Forma, the Kobo Libra provides an excellent reading experience. And like the other Kobo series eBook readers, the Libra is light and waterproof.

Plus, this e-reader has several public library options available.

Read on to learn more about why the Kobo Libra H2O is our pick for the top ereader for students.

Kobo Libra H2O best ereader for students
Pros
  • Waterproof
  • Front-lights with color-changing capabilities
Cons
  • Doesn’t support Kindle eBooks
  • The audiobooks feature is not yet available
  • Less storage space than the Forma

Not Too Big, Not Too Small 

The Kobo Libra is smaller in size compared to the Kobo Forma. With a 7” screen it is somewhat easier to carry around, but the difference is not big enough to impact the readability. 

Student-friendly Design 

Amazon devices mainly read eBooks bought through Kindle. You can convert other files using Calibre to use on a Kindle device, but this process isn’t very promising. 

However, Kobo devices can read documents in many different formats, including EPUB, EPUB3, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, and CBR. 

This feature comes in handy for students or readers who need to review textbooks, study guides, and documents in PDF or other file types. 

Kobo recently updated its interface to make the device more suitable for studying. The Libra H2O makes it easy to view all your annotations in a single menu. You can quickly and easily jump to bookmarked pages. 

While Amazon Kindle devices still reign as top picks when it comes to reading for pleasure, Kobo aims to be the best choice when it comes to “reading for understanding.” The features in the Libra H2O prove that the company is serious in fulfilling this ambitious mission. 

Students also have an option to browse public library collections on the Libra H2O.

Less Storage, Lower Price

The Libra doesn’t have the 32GB storage option like the Forma. And you can only connect to the internet through Wi-Fi at 2.4GHZ speed. The cellular connection is not available yet. 

Verdict: For its price, the Kobo Libra H2O has nearly everything a student could ask for in an ebook reader.


4. All-new Kindle Oasis – Best High-end Ereader

If you’re shocked at the cost of the All-new Kindle Oasis, you’re not alone.

We had to look twice at the price tag to make sure Amazon is really selling the 32GB version for $299.99 (without special offers). Especially considering the Paperwhite is only $129.99!

But we went immediately from “seriously?” to 100% convinced after trying the Oasis out. 

The reading experience this device offers is of excellent quality. This is an e-reader for readers who want to invest in the highest-quality device from Amazon, regardless of the price.

Best High-end Ereader - Amazon Kindle Oasis
Pros
  • Smart design, friendly to the fingers
  • Waterproof
  • Auto-rotate screen
  • Adjustable backlight
  • Thin and light
  • Long-laster battery
  • Audiobook playing feature
Cons
  • The most expensive of all Kindles

Best Ereader with a Grip

Have you ever attempted to read with an iPad or an older ebook reading device held in one hand? 

Unless it perfectly fits in your palm, which is rarely the case, you will most likely agree with me in this: it feels a little awkward.

Fun fact: the thinner the device, the harder it is to hold it with four fingers and move your thumb while reading. 

This is because our fingers' natural position is to curl up, as when you’re asleep. Our fingers are not happy having to grip a surface while stretching straight over a long period of time.

Hence the emergence of a handgrip on the Oasis. The grip helps to shift the center of gravity to your hand, its thickness allowing your fingers to curve to their natural position. 

Thanks to this, your hand will be at its comfy resting stage most of the time. Even a read of several hours won’t tire it out. 

The grip serves a visual purpose as well – it simulates the spine of a paperback. This is the closest to a real book an electronic device can get.

The Only Kindle with an Auto-rotating Screen

You may have noticed from the pictures that the page-turn buttons are only on one side of the device. What if you’re left-handed or want to use your other hand to hold the e-reader?

Here comes another distinguishing feature of the Oasis — an automatically rotating screen. 

Whenever you flip the device, the book will spin itself to match with the direction your eyes are reading. 

This is the only Kindle model that supports rotation, making it the best to be held in either hand.

The Lightest and Thinnest of All Kindles

Thanks to its smart design and square-like shape, the Oasis is by far the lightest and thinnest Kindle on the market.

Without cover, it is 28% lighter and 56% thinner than the now-discontinued Voyage. It's designed to feel the closest to a sheet of paper, Amazon says.

25 Built-in LEDs

When it comes to lighting, the Oasis is brightest and most evenly lit of all Kindles. 

It has 25 built-in LEDs. As bright as it is, it retains Kindle's magic front-light feature: the lights shine onto the ‘paper’ instead of your eyes.

The All-new Kindle Oasis also comes with auto-adjusting light sensors and adjustable warm light.

Additional Features

The Kindle Oasis is available in 8GB and 32GB. It also has an internet connection for both Wi-Fi and Cellular. 

Unfortunately, there’s no port for headphones, but you can listen to audiobooks through Bluetooth. The page turn buttons make it easier to navigate the Oasis when reading in the pool or tub.

The Oasis also supports additional ebook formats outside of Kindle such as TXT, MOBI, and PDF.

Read more: The New Kindle Oasis: What’s the Difference?

Verdict: To sum up, the Oasis is one of the best ereaders available on the market. It has all of Kindle’s traditional best features –— a lightweight device made thoroughly for reading, an eye-friendly glare-free screen, and space for thousands upon thousands of books. 

Yet, its game-changer features bring ebook readers to a whole new level. It feels so close to a paperback, takes so long to discharge, and looks so smart in your hand, reading has never felt classier. 

The Oasis is made for people who seek a first-class reading experience. If money is not that big of a concern, this is the ebook reader for you.

Check Best Price on Amazon

5. NOOK Glowlight Plus – Best Android Ebook Reading Device

At the same price range with the Kindle Paperwhite, this Android-based Nook Glowlight 3 from Barnes and Noble has features that are really irresistible to many ebook fans.

Best Android Ebook Reading Device 2020 - NOOK Glowlight Plus
Pros
  • Supports PDF and EPUB
  • Runs on Android
  • Can install third-party apps
  • Big Barnes and Barn library
  • Waterproof and dustproof
  • Page turn buttons
  • Blue-light reduction
  • Light, soft-touch plastic
Cons
  • Slippery shell, easy to drop
  • Uneven lighting
  • Doesn’t support audiobooks

Bright, Crisp Screen with Soft Glow

The Nook Glowlight Plus features a 7.8-inch screen size, making it competitive with other larger ebook readers. 

What’s more — the screen resolution is 300 dpi – the same as other high-end e-reading devices.

With the GlowLight® Illumination feature, the screen emits an ambient light that can be adjusted manually to match with the surrounding environment. 

However, the light sometimes seems uneven around the edge of the screen. It won’t affect your reading, but this is something that could be improved.

Glare-free, scratch-resistant and fingerprint-resistant, the Glowlight Plus screen promises to bring the same experience to the eye as any other fancy ebook readers.

Perfect Ereader for Poolside Bookworms

The Nook Glowlight Plus obtained an IP rating of IP67. It means the device can be immersed in up to 3.28 feet of water with no damages within 30 minutes.

The rating also indicates that the Nook is dust-tight — no dust can get inside!

This allows you to read in a variety of environments. Reading in the bathroom and on the beach is much safer with the device. 

You never have to worry about it getting damaged while you read with wet fingertips, or if you drop it onto a sandcastle. 

Supports PDF and EPUB

The Nook GlowLight Plus supports Adobe DRM ePub and PDF files, which most Kindles do not. This makes it handier for when you want to read your papers in PDF at times.

Unfortunately, while supporting PDF, the Nook doesn’t welcome many other popular text formats. It cannot read .doc, .docx, MOBI, or PRC — the common format of many new ebooks.

But that's when the Android platform comes in hand.

Android OS for Third-party Apps

Most PC users are very happy with the fact that the device operates on Android. 

This allows you to install third-party apps on the device via a USB cord. It has 6.4GB of storage that you can access, too!

So while the device cannot read PRC and other formats by itself, you can download apps to solve the problem. 

If you buy books often from Amazon, install Kindle. You can install other apps and launchers to read other file formats, too!

Hold on Tight!

One negative aspect of the Nook Glowlight Plus is the shell. While the smooth shell gives it a sleek, fancy appearance, it also makes it easier to slip and drop. 

It feels pretty insecure when you hold it in one hand. In addition, the Nook ecosystem is not comparable to Amazon. 

Then again the Android compatibility easily makes up for that.

Verdict: If you’re a casual reader and Android enthusiast, you'll most likely be happy with the Nook Glowlight Plus.


6. Kobo Clara HD — Best Nighttime Ereader

We are a little obsessed with the Kobos, and for a good reason. Rakuten Kobo develops some of the best e-readers out there today — as long as your e-books aren’t from Amazon. 

The new Paperwhite has caught up to many of the features originally offered only by Kobo devices.

However, the Kobo Clara HD is still a top choice for readers looking for a non-Amazon product. And at $119.99, it remains competitively priced lower than the Paperwhite. 

Besides supporting many different formats, the Kobo Clara HD lets readers borrow books from any U.S.-based library.

Kobo Clara HD — Best Nighttime Ereader
Pros
  • Color-changing front light
  • Reduced blue light exposure for nighttime reading
  • Light design for easy grip
  • Supports a wide range of file formats
Cons
  • Not waterproof

Front Lighting That Can’t be Beat 

While the Paperwhite has caught up to the Clara HD in many ways, the Kobo ebook reader continues to best the Kindle with its color-changing front light. 

The Clara HD’s ComfortLight PRO feature provides an orange-tinted front lighting display that makes it easy for readers to wind down before bed. 

Light as a Feather

The Kobo Clara is also the lightest ereader on our list, weighing only 5.85 ounces (166 g). 

The fact that it is so lightweight makes it a perfect ereader for travel. Easily store the Kobo Clara HD in your backpack, purse, or carry-on. 

With a 6-inch screen size, it’s large enough for easy reading but not too big to be difficult to carry. 

Additional Features of the Kobo Clara HD

You can connect to the internet through Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz) and download books of your choice. 

The reading experience is at another level. You can organize books by title, highlight and annotate text, get definitions from the dictionary, and bookmark your favorite reads. 

Verdict: If you're a bookaholic who does a lot of reading at night, the Kobo Clara HD is the best device for you.


7. Onyx BOOX Max3 – Best Large Ereader for Scientific and Technical Books

Like the ereaders on this list, the Onyx BOOX Max3 also uses e-ink and reads books.

However, when compared to the other devices we’ve reviewed in this guide, the Onyx BOOX Max3 is in a league of its own. 

When it comes to large screens, this ebook reader is king. The 13.3” screen size makes it ideal for reading technical and scientific papers.

Pros
  • Large screen, size close to actual A4 paper
  • Allows handwritten notes, audio recording
  • Can listen to audiobooks
  • Powered by Android, allows third-party apps
  • Comes with a stylus that doesn’t require charging
  • Supports nearly all file formats
Cons
  • High price tag
  • Not pocket portable
  • Prone to bugs
  • Not waterproof
  • Backlit

Exceptional Screen — When Size Matters

At 13.3 inches, which easily larger than a MacBook Air, the Max3 easily stands out among a plethora of e-ink readers on the market. 

It’s this size to serve one purpose: to read scientific papers and other academic materials in PDF.

If you’ve ever tried reading a PDF file on a Kindle or any other smaller screen devices, you’ll likely agree that it sucks. 

You can’t really adjust the font size, and even when you zoom the page, it won’t fit into the screen. The reading experience is most of the time so poor it makes better sense to opt for the physical book.

Small ereaders are cool and portable, and they are great for reading other formats, but they are simply not designed for PDF.

Therefore, if you’re a student with lots of heavy textbooks to read or a professional who has to work on big-sized PDF technical books, you will definitely get a kick out of the Onyx BOOX Max3.

It displays PDF files in a perfect way — crisp, clear, properly-sized, almost the same as the way real A4 paper does. No zooming necessary!

The only thing about the screen is that it’s backlit. This means the light comes from the back of the screen into your eyes, as opposed to front-lit ereaders where the light is reflected back in a softer glow. 

It potentially causes more strain on your eyes than a Kindle, but on the other hand, it provides more even light on the screen.

Take Notes on Your Ebook

While you read, especially when reading in a foreign language or a scientific book, there’s always a need to jot down some notes.

Sometimes to elaborate a term or to rephrase it, other times to add a remark. Or maybe you just like to doodle on the book when you're bored.

Anyway, the Onyx BOOX Max3 comes with an electromagnetic panel and stylus pen.

This allows you to take notes or sketch directly on your ebook.

Apply gentle pressure for a thin sketch and greater pressure for thicker lines, and there you go, your own handwriting and drawings on the book.

This feature makes the ereader feel like a real textbook.

The screen does not respond to finger touch, which prevents fingerprint marks. While this is a great feature that many appreciate, many readers appreciate the option of using a pen or fingertip interchangeably.

Additional Features of the Onyx BOOX Max3

You don’t pay $859 for a device simply to read some books and sketch some notes.

Onyx knows this, which is why they integrate in the device a text-to-voice feature, a speaker, and a microphone. You can listen to audiobooks, record your voice, and listen to music while you read.

The Max3 also runs on a modified Android operating system. This translates to its compatibility with various Android apps, including apps for emails and other essential office tasks. You can take notes and view multiple pages on this device. 

Don’t expect things to look as beautiful as when they’re displayed on a normal tablet, though. 

The apps are more functional than aesthetic, but handy enough to allow you to access and share information while you’re at it. 

Overall, with its incredible screen size and the ability to take notes and leave handwritten remarks, the Onyx Boox Max 3 is currently the best ereader available for people who read a lot of technical and scientific books, especially those in PDF.

Verdict: With its incredible screen size and the ability to take notes and leave handwritten remarks, the Onyx Boox Max3 is currently the best e-reader available for people who read a lot of technical and scientific books, especially those in PDF.


Why are modern e-readers made with e-ink?

Most modern e-readers are made with e-ink. E-ink is a paper-like display technology that saves your eyes from strain, and at the same time minimizes the use of the battery.

An e-ink screen is bistable, which means it keeps an image even when power is off. Such a screen uses power only when something is changing, such as when you’re turning pages.

This technology also allows light to be reflected from the screen back to your eyes, much like normal paper does.

Meanwhile, an LCD screen uses a backlight, which emits light directly to your eyes and strains them. This is why you need a separate reader, and not a phone or tablet to read your ebooks.

Thanks to the screen being bistable reflectivity, it works on very little energy. This is the reason your Kindle lasts for weeks if not months on a single charge.

e-ink Best Ereader

However, a not-so-welcomed feature of the e-ink technology is that flashes appear when turning page. In particular, there will be a “ghosting” image of the old page on the new one.

This flashing has significantly improved in the new versions, but if you’re new to e-Ink, you may find it somewhat annoying at first. Keep in mind, though, that your eyes and brain will get used to it after a while and the flashes will be barely noticeable at all.

Electronic ink is a complex technology, and you can learn more about it on Wikipedia.

What is it about the 3G version?

With the Kindle Basic being the only exception, all Kindles comes in two versions: Wi-Fi only, and Wi-Fi plus 3G connection. The 3G connection allows you to download books from places where Wi-Fi is not available.

Models with 3G always cost more: it’s an additional $70 for the Paperwhite and the Oasis.

The cool thing is, although the version with 3G is more expensive, you only pay for it once. No monthly fees or commitments needed, Amazon will pay the connection fee when you download books.

Who should buy the 3G version?

The 3G connection is built-in Kindles with the idea that a Wi-Fi hotspot connection is not always available, especially remote places like on a mountain or at a beach far away from the busy city.

This feature is of great usefulness for travelers, and for readers who spend a lot of time in places without a Wi-Fi connection. It makes sure you can still enjoy your favorite books on your way trotting the globe.

If you spend most of your time where there is a high-speed wireless connection, you should be fine with a Wi-Fi Kindle.

You can always download and store the books you want in the Kindle to read later.

What is ppi?

PPI is a term used very often to describe the screen resolution of e-readers and other electronic devices such as computer monitors, smartphones, or cameras. Sometimes, the term “dots per inch” is used instead.

PPI stands for “pixels per inch”, or the number of illuminated points on a display screen. The higher the ppi number is, the higher the pixel density should be.

Generally, on two e-reader screens of the same size, the one with greater ppi will produce crisper text, sharper images, and clearer lines, and is thus considered better.

However, most human eyes cannot tell the difference when the resolution is higher than 300 ppi. Therefore, producers of ereaders rarely make screens with more than 300 ppi.

But how much ppi should an ereader screen have for the ebooks to be readable? About 150.

Newspapers usually have a resolution of 170 ppi. At a normal reading distance, human eyes can recognize images, words and letters printed on a newspaper with no difficulty.

As e-readers are usually viewed from the same distance, a screen resolution of about 150 to 300 ppi should be efficient.

What are Special Offers?

Special Offers are sponsored ads, product recommendations, and deals that appear on your screen when you are not using the device. Kindles free from those ads cost slightly more than the ones with special offers.

Will Special Offers affect my reading experience in any way?

Not likely. As mentioned earlier, the ads will show only as screensavers when the device is in sleep mode, and won’t show during your read.

Should I pay to opt out of Special Offers?

Personally, I wouldn’t pay an additional $20 to opt-out of something that doesn’t affect my reading.

In fact, I like to look at the ads sometimes to see if there’s a chance I can buy books at cheaper prices than normal, or if there are discounts for the latest music shows.

Then again it’s a matter of personal preference, and if you really don’t like any ads on your device, $20 is not too high of a price to get rid of them.

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44 Comments

    • This review was better than most but there are still some flaws :

      1.) the picture of the kob libra h20 is not the right kobo model

      2.) The website is called ‘Hookedtoobooks’ but somehow says that not being able to play audio books is a downside to the Kobo Libra H20 meanwhile audiobooks are not real books and they are anti-intellectual if you are going blind. Also, your smartphone , which basically everyone has, is a better device for audiobooks than an eReader. An eReader is supposed to mimick a physical book more or less it is not meant to play audio it is not an mp3 player.

      3.) It also says another downside of the Kobo Libra H20 is not being able to read Kindle books. Well, this is not technically true if one is willing to strip DRM off a kindle book and use calibre to convert the file. Also, it is a con or downside that the kindle does not use epub not the other way around. The kindle is like an mp3 player that can’t play mp3 files since it does not do epub. Saying it is a downside that you can’t read kindle books on a Kobo Libra H20 is mentally retarded at best.

      • Kevin, thanks for letting us know about the Kobo Libra H2O photo, we’ll get that fixed.

        Regarding points 2 & 3, thanks for sharing your opinions, but our reviews are written for all readers, including those who want their ereader to read audiobooks. We’ll take your feedback into consideration the next time we update this article.

  • The articles look great and very comprehensive. Thank you for the detailed comparisons. I would have discounted the Oasis because it’s so expensive but you honed right on my pet peeve with my current Paperwhite. My hand spasms when I hold it for too long. The Oasis may just make ergonomic sense.

  • Hi,
    What about Tolino Vision 4HD, no so bad price 179, made in Germany, and it looks pretty good quality /price even better than kindle.

    • If an ereader is dust-proof, dust cannot get inside it.
      I’d say a Kobo Aura H2O is much better if you want a big screen, and especially if you like to read in the bathtub, in a swimming pool or on the beach. Otherwise the Kindle Paperwhite is good for you (cheaper, more lightweight, can share books with a partner).

  • I’m now on my third Kindle and my current one, the recent White Paperwhite is by far my favorite. It’s replacing a Fire HD that although I loved, it was so heavy and strained my eyes with the tablet type screen. The Paperwhite is fantastic and I find the easiest to read with by being backlit. The writing is incredibly crisp and it won’t disturb a sleeping partner either. I’d highly recommend it. Brilliant post, really handy for those who want to compare ereaders and with so many on the market it’s perfect for those wanting to upgrade.

    • Hi Heather,
      I never actually tried that myself, but I found a guide by the Geauga County Library on how to download Kindle app from a Nook:
      1) Your device should be registered with Barnes & Noble
      2) You need a working email account with a USERNAME and PASSWORD
      3) You need a Google email and PASSWORD (account for the Google Play Store)
      4) You need your Amazon account information—the email you use for your Amazon
      account and your PASSWORD for Amazon
      5) You need a library card
      GETTING THE APP
      1) Confirm that the device is connected to a Wi-Fi connection
      2) The Google Play App store should be on your Nook Tablet. It looks like a shopping bag with
      a brightly colored triangle. Tap it. When it opens, search for “Kindle.”
      Install the App.

      Source: https://geaugalibrary.net/newsite/images/PDF/AS_eDevice_Documentation/Kindle_App_for_Nook_Tablets.pdf

    • Well you kind of can. But it mostly does not work. Now what I have not tried is seeing if I can get my web browser on the Nook to navigate to the books I have online. Might give it a shot.

  • I haven’t bought an ebook reader yet, everytime I look they always seemed so similar & I was worried about picking up the ‘wrong’ one. Thanks for spelling it out like this, you just helped me make my mind up! Kindle paperwhite is the one for me… thankyou!

  • Why is NOT being locked into amazon’s book store a bad thing? The Aura one accepts almost all book formats, including epub. If you want to read books from amazon, you can by using adobe digital editions.

    • Hi Jeffery, thank you for reading the article and leaving your comment!
      Indeed, most Kobo Aura One users are happy with its stores and libraries. However, some others, especially former users of Kindle ereaders, may find it a little inconvenient that Amazon books are not always as easily readable on the Kobo. As a reviewer, we have to try our best to be objective about the products and make sure our readers are aware of all the pros and cons so they can pick the most suitable device for themselves, hence the mentioning of this issue.

  • Thanks for a really good article – the best I’ve seen by a mile about new ebook readers and highlighting features the really make a difference such as available storage capacity, blue light adjustment, formats supported and so on.
    I did a fair bit of research and went for the Kobo Aura H20 Edition 2 (2017) – great buy and a full set of features that will make it a keeper..!

  • Hi, do you think anyone is going to bring out a dedicated stand-alone colour ereader? I hate seeing black and white covers or pictures inside the books… it’s 2017, why are we in black and white? I have an iPad but don’t have the storage for my books on there, I have a Nook HD+ but it’s clunky to use.

    I just want a full colour ereader… am I asking too much? Lol… probably… 🙂

  • Hi do you know any ereader that can take up hand written note with a stylus kind of thing ? Is it gonna come anytime soon ? Anyway thanks for you great review very insightful !

  • Hello Anitya,
    My wife is a quadriplegic (MS) but is marginally able to use her fingers to lightly swipe. She has asked me for a tablet to download books, (I’d do the downloading) and to have audio when she’s unable, or too fatigued to turn the pages. I assume there are devices for reading hands free. I haven’t had an ereader before, and as such don’t know if this will apply to my wife, Kathy. We’d need a device she can use with minimal assistance as she’s in assistive care. $’s are always a consideration, although they seem fairly inexpensive.
    A little advice/direction would be much appreciated. The info you’ve already provided is fantastic. I’m hopeful that we will have her occupied with reading soon.
    Many thanks!

    • Actually the very first edition of the Kindle (1st Generation) allows for audio of the text. For some reason Amazon took this away in later versions. But I think the 2nd and possibly even the 3rd generation have it available.

  • Hi Matthew,
    Do you have a smart phone? If you do, it seems to me that the best option is to buy the Kindle Paperwhite (it’s among the most affordable ereaders with built-in lighting). Then install the Kindle app on your phone, and use Whispersync for Voice to play the audio version on the phone when she’s unable.
    If you don’t have a smartphone, I think it’s better to buy a casual tablet (iPad/Kindle Fire/Asus tablet ect), download the Kindle app, and read on it.
    Hope I answered your question 🙂

  • Hi,

    Thanks a lot for this list, I just found your site and have bookmarked it. Lots of great content! Will you be updating the list with the Onyx Boox Max2 and Max2 Pro? You also don’t list the new Sony digital paper device. Any chance you’ll be able to get “review copies” of those devices?

  • Ummm what is a the pro for Nook Glowlight Plus big “Bernes and Barn” library? I think you meant Barnes and Noble? Not sure how that would even be a typo but ok…

  • Thanks very much for the article. I have one question: in the comparison table you say that the Onyx has no built in light, but then in the detailed review you say that it is backlit? Having very sensitive eyes I am looking for an E reader that has not backlight and no LED to use as second monitor. Many thanks in advance for the clarification

    • Having a built-in light and being backlit are two separate things. A built-in light basically means that the light is directed towards the page so that there is less eye strain on the reader, while backlight is the opposite–the light is shined towards you, like it is on a smartphone, so that it causes eye strain over time. Since you’re looking for something that causes little eye strain, that means the Onyx is not for you.
      I hope that helped, and good luck in the hunt!

  • Kobo Aura One heavier than most Kindle ereaders? Are you kidding me? Aura One it’s like a feather compared to any Kindle device

  • I’m trying to find out whether an e-book reader would be a good idea for a patient suffering from macular degeneration. Would you have any advice or recommendations to offer?

    Thanks,
    Maghi

  • Thanks for the article. I’ve been looking at kindles. I’ve had one years ago. As I was reading your reports it suddenly struck me that being left handed grip and button positions are important for ease and comfort whilst reading. Thankyou for bringing that to my attention. I think I’ll head towards the voyager rather than the paper white.

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