Top 7 Best Ebook Readers of 2019 – Buyer’s Guide

Ebook Readers have distinct advantages

Tired of lugging around a stack of books — but reluctant to embrace the convenience of an ebook reader due to concerns about eye strain? Those days are finally over. Today’s models have come a long way, and we’ve created a comprehensive guide of the best ereaders for our blog that we’re thrilled about.

If you’re finally ready to “cross over” into the world of ebook readers, read on:

Light and handy, today’s e-readers come to your rescue with thousands of book stored in a few ounces, while retaining the visual appeal and feel of a real paper page to your eyes. Even better? The latest models have a battery that lasts for weeks.

But which ebook reader should you buy?

You’ve come to the right place for the answer. But 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 Nook vs. Kindle, you’re in for a treat. We have detailed information on more ebook readers than just these two.

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

Top 7 Best Ebook Readers 2019

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 2019.
E-Reader NameBuilt-in LightScreen 
Kindle Paperwhite
(Editor’s Choice)
Adjustable6.0 inches2019's Best E-Reader to Buy
Kobo Aura H2OAdjustable6.8 inchesBest Waterproof Ereader
Kindle VoyageAuto-adjust6.0 inchesBest Device for Avid Readers
(Discontinued but still available)
Kobo Aura OneAuto-adjust7.8 inchesBest Ereader For the Eye
Kindle OasisAdjustable6.0 inchesBest for High-end Readers
NOOK Glowlight Plus
Adjustable6.0 inchesBest Android Ebook Reading
(Discontinued but still available)
Onyx BOOX MaxNo13.3 inchesBest Large Ereader

1. Kindle Paperwhite – 2019’s Best E-Reader to Buy

Per our observation, the 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.

Best Ebook Reader


  • Adjustable built-in light, easy to read in darkness
  • High resolution, crisper lines
  • Good typography
  • Long lasting battery


  • Doesn’t include charger
  • Not waterproof

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 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.

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 are supportive to people with visual disability. 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 the 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.

The Kindle Paperwhite in comparison with the Kindle Basic

DisplayPaperwhite Built-in lightE Ink Pearl (No Built in Light)
Resolution300 ppi*167 ppi*
WeightWi-Fi only: 7.2oz (204g)
Wi-Fi + 3G: 7.6oz (215g)
5.7oz (162g)
Battery life6 weeks (wifi off)4 weeks (wifi off)
Screen6” glare-free touchscreen6” glare-free touchscreen

*ppi stands for pixels per inch. Learn more about ppi in FAQs

300 ppi vs. 167 ppi – what the difference in resolution 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.

4 built-in LEDs vs. none – reading in the dark

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! This is where the Basic is really outperformed by the Paperwhite.

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

An important distinguishing 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!

An increase of 30% in battery life

With four additional LEDs and a screen of much higher resolution to support, the Paperwhite weighs just over an ounce more than the Basic. I had thought that it would be inferior when it comes to battery life. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Used 30 minutes a day with wireless off, its battery lasts for 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. All the improvements and it is sold at a price that can’t be any more reasonable. This is by far the cheapest Kindle with high resolution and adjustable front light.

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 Aura H2O – Best Waterproof Ereader

Since the launching of its first version in 2014, the Kobo Aura H2O has been attracting great attention from ereader fans. A waterproof ereader, finally!

And just currently, Kobo announced the New Kobo Aura H2O. It comes with loads of updates. It’s stronger waterproof, lighter, more pleasant on the eye, has more font styles, has more onboard memory than the old version. And yet the price stays just the same!

Best Waterproof Ereader


  • Waterproof + dustproof
  • Auto blue light reduction
  • Excessive storage capability
  • Long battery life
  • Flexi customization


  • Ecosystem not as smooth as Kindle’s

Let’s take a look at a rough comparison: the Kobo Aura H2O 2017 vs. the Kobo Aura H2O 2014

FeatureKobo Aura H2O 2017Kobo Aura H2O 2014
Screen6.8” touchscreen6.8” touchscreen
Resolution265 ppi265 ppi
Waterproofness60 min in 2 m of water30 min in 1 m of water
Blue light reductionYesNo
Weight7.3 oz (207 g)8.2 oz (233 g)
Storage8 GB4 GB
Number of font sizes5024

Waterproof – read in your bathtub

The New Kobo Aura H2O comes with HZO Protection™technology. It is coated with an extremely thin layer of special material, which protects it against damages when dipped water for an entire hour. That’s double the depth and double the duration it can stay safe against liquid submersion compared to the older version. Plus, no more blow-drying the damp pages of a paperback, right?

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 should 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.

6.8″ screen

Many book lovers prefer the Kobo Aura H2O for its screen size.

In fact, it’s not too much bigger than the Kindle, a difference of 0.8 inch in particular. Yet the small increase in width and length makes it look closer to an actual paperback. Despite the bigger size, the New Aura H2O is surprisingly lightweight. It’s lighter than the old one at 7.3 oz or 207 g, and weighs almost the same as the Wifi-only Paperwhite (7.2 oz).

Like its elder sibling, the Kobo Aura has a glare-free screen for reading in strong sunlight. Its supported number of pixels per inch is still 265, slightly lower than the Kindle Voyage (300). However, the difference of a few dozens of ppi is barely noticeable, and the New H2O has an awesome feature to make it up anyway…

Less blue light when you read at night

A feature that significantly distinguishes the New KoBo H2O from the older version as well as all Kindle ereaders is the ComfortLight Pro. The device automatically increases the amount of blue light emitted by its screen as the sun’s up, and decreases it as the night comes.

For the night owl readers, this is icing on the cake! You can now read in bed at night without worries about your sleep quality. As the screen brightness is adjustable, you can dim the device to make it more pleasant looking in the dark.

Doubled on board memory, removed microSD

The older version of the Kobo Aura H2O comes with a microSD card reader. This allows the user to expand its memory to several dozens GB. While the idea sounds interesting, not too many readers find it practical, especially when most use the device to only read and download ebooks.

In the new Kobo Aura H2O, the reader is removed, and it instead features an incredible on-board memory of 8GB. It can hold up to 6000 eBooks at once, a larger capacity than any Kindle can currently offer.

Customize to please your eyes

One of the factors that make the New Aura H2O 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. This is a feature paperbacks can never offer, and even on the best Kindle, the range of choices has never been so broad!

Verdict: The Kobo Aura H2O 2017 is the best bet for a waterproof ereader that is easy on both the eyes and the wallet.

3. Kindle Voyage – Ereader for the Professional

After its release in 2014, the Kindle Voyage was praised by Engadget as the best e-ink reader that Amazon had ever crafted. Today, Amazon sells it at a price equal to that of the Paperwhite plus a Basic. Wondering if the higher price tag translates into significant superiority in quality?

Best Ereader for the Professional


  • Designed to be held in either hand
  • Better visual effect with high resolution + self-adjusting lighting
  • Modern design with real book feeling
  • Long lasting battery


  • High price tag
  • Doesn’t include charger
  • Not waterproof

Read singlehandedly

The Kindle Voyage is one of the easiest e-readers to be used with one hand. It’s not the smallest nor the lightest, mind you, but its smart functions truly make a difference.

In other models, you have to touch the right side of the screen to page forward and the left side to page back. Even when the buttons are re-introduced on the fancy Oasis, they stay only on one side. You’ll have to flip the device when you want to change your hand.

Meanwhile, the Voyage comes with a pressure-sensitive line and dot on each side of the screen, which allows paging forward and backward with a subtle press of the thumb. You can set feedback to confirm the turning, which clears worries about accidental multiple flipping.

Kindle Voyage Pagepress
Kindle Voyage Pagepress

As a bed-reader who loves to enjoy books while lying on one side, I particularly appreciate this function. It minimizes movements on the lower hand, with which I hold the device, and eliminates the need to use my upper hand to turn a page.

Smartest lit Kindle with light sensor

The Voyage is by far the most enhanced version of Kindle in terms of lighting. Not only because it has 6 LEDs, 2 more than the Paperwhite does, but also because it’s the only Kindle equipped with a light sensor. Basically, the e-reader takes the burden off your eyes by adjusting itself in accordance with the surrounding environment.

Another cool thing is, some time after you start reading, the front light automatically lowers screen brightness. This matches the way the eye responds to darkness, and saves your eyes from strain. I see it as a very impressive feature of this device.

Magnesium + glass vs. plastic – enhanced classiness

Honestly speaking, the Paperwhite and the Basic do not look like fancy items. The Voyage, meanwhile, has a durable magnesium back with raised angular edges, and a specially-reinforced glass front. This gives it a sleeker and more modern appearance compared to the other two. The glass screen, despite looking shiny, has been micro-etched, which means it stays glare-free in the brightest sunlight. Put inside its origami leather case, the gadget looks even classier than the more expensive Oasis.

Compared to the Paperwhite, the Kindle Voyage is with no doubts a much more desirable ebook reader. It has a smart design for reading with one hand, flexible lighting options, and sleek and fashionable appearance. Whether those factors are worth a surge in the price, however, is a matter of personal preference.

If you’re a professional reader who opts for a higher-end reading experience but doesn’t want to break the bank, it is the device we highly recommend using.

4. Kobo Aura One – Best Ereader For the Eye

This. Kobo made it: A waterproof ebook reader with big screen and warm screen light for reading in bed at night!

Best Ereader For The Eye


  • Big screen size, close to real book
  • Adaptive front lighting
  • Reduces blue light emission at night
  • Waterproof, dust proof
  • Can connect to local library
  • Various font size (11 different fonts and over 50 font styles)


  • Heavier (8.1 oz or 230g) than most Kindles
  • Does not have Amazon’s ebook system

Real book feeling

The Kobo Aura H2O has a giant screen: it’s a 7.8” HD Carta E Ink touchscreen with a resolution of 300 dpi, the same as the latest Kindle ebook reading device. It’s pretty thin, however, at 6.9 mm, and is lightweight for its size at 8.1oz, around the weight of the Kindle Oasis in its charging cover.

To many people, the exceptionally big e-ink screen is a huge selling point. It is closer to the size of a physical book, but has all the convenience and portability of an ereader. For those who read a lot of PDFs and textbooks, it is by no doubt much more accommodative than Amazon Kindle’s 6” screen. In addition, the larger screen is also more supportive to people that read in large font sizes – it significantly reduces the need to turn page after every 3 lines!

As someone with tiny hands and short fingers, however, I’m not particularly excited about the screen size. The large but thin device makes me feel out of proportion when I hold it. I feel much better holding the Kindle Oasis in one hand. In addition, I prefer a smaller screen size because it means I don’t have to dart my eyes left and right in order to finish a line.

However, there’s another feature of the device that I’m totally sold on…

Warm glow for the night owl

The Kobo Aura One comes with nine white LEDs and eight RGB LEDs around the frame. It’s one of the very rare ebook readers on the market with RGB LEDs. And they are truly the icing on the cake!

These LEDs can combine together to yield different color temperature of the screen light. Kobo takes a great advantage of this, and set up an automatic brightness and hue change on the Kobo Aura One screen.

If you set the automatic mode on, during the day, your screen will be bright, white, and cool with a tint of blue. As the day advances into the late afternoon, the screen light starts to become softer, and the color temperature drops into a warmer shade. This mimics the changes of light in nature during a day, and minimizes disturbances on your circadian rhythms. The warm glow it emits at night helps you to get to sleep easier than normal white LED screen.


Like its sibling Aura H2O, the Kobo Aura One features HZO Protection™ technology. And it’s even more advanced: it can stay safe in the water at 2 meter deep in an entire hour.

Not that I know of anyone who likes to read under water, but the waterproofness can be extremely useful when you read at the beach or a swimming pool.

We wouldn’t recommend washing it with your bath milk, but if you accidentally drop it into your bathtub while enjoying your books, just pick it up, wipe it, and it’ll work like a charm.

Overdrive – Get free books from your local library

While many consider the Kobo’s ecosystem and library as not as great as that of Amazon Kindle’s, it has another great feature: the built-in Overdrive.

This Overdrive allows you to browse ebooks directly from your local library. All you have to do is to enter your library card number, and poof! You can now borrow, return, reborrow, and download free ebooks from the library!

While you cannot add multiple libraries to your account, there’s a workaround to it. Just keep logging in and out using different library cards, and you should be able to browse books from the libraries you want!

Sold at about $220, the Kobo Aura One is in the same price range as the Kindle Voyage. While it doesn’t have the page turn sensor or Amazon’s ecosystem, it is superior in many ways. It is waterproof and dustproof, has a larger screen, has adjustable light color temperature, and more font sizes to choose from.

If you’re a bookaholist who does a lot of reading at night, this is the best device for you.

5. Kindle Oasis – Best High-end Ereader

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

I had to look twice at the price tag to make sure Amazon is really selling it for $289.99. In their defence, it’s not that expensive for an electronic device, but still… We are all used to Kindles being incredibly cheap, aren’t we?

But I went immediately from “seriously?” to 100% convinced after trying it out on (a friend’s) device. The reading experience this device offers is of excellent quality. This is an e-reader for the top one-percent customers of Amazon.

Best High-end Ebook Reader


  • Smart design, friendly to the fingers
  • Auto-rotate screen
  • Bright lit
  • Thin and light
  • Battery lasts for months


  • The most expensive of all Kindles
  • Not waterproof

The only Kindle with grip – Read with your fingers rest

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’s natural position is to curl up, as when you’re asleep. They 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 shifting 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 for 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 new Kindle with buttons – Feeling classic

Though the touchscreen is a revolution on Kindles, many loyal users can’t help but feeling nostalgic about the buttons on the first generations of the ebook reader line. They miss the feelings of the real physical buttons on the tip of their thumb. They miss the old days when accidental multiple page turn was never an issue.

I don’t know if Amazon had that in mind when they designed the Oasis, but the re-introduction of the buttons on this device is a great move. Only this time, the buttons are longer, more dedicated, and feel better on the thumb.

The only Kindle with a rotating screen – Choose which side you’re keen

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

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 with. This is the only Kindle model that supports the 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 Voyage. It is designed to feel the closest to a sheet of paper, Amazon says.

10 built-in LEDs – adjust them as you please

When it comes to lighting, the Oasis is brightest and most evenly lit of all Kindles. It has 10 built-in LEDs, 60% more than the Voyage, the version closest to its price range. As bright as it is, it retains Kindle’s magic front-light feature: the lights shine onto the ‘paper’ instead of your eyes.

Users who have had experience with the Voyage, especially those reading in a constantly changing lighting conditions, however, may miss the self-adaptiveness of the screen brightness. We are not sure of the exact reason, but light sensor is not a feature in the Oasis. Nevertheless, you can always adjust the brightness manually. There should be at least a few among the 24 levels to please your eyes.

Charging cover – never worry about the battery

The included leather cover is definitely a bonus point for the Kindle Oasis. In fact, it’s part of the reason why the price tag is so high up. It is a power source itself, which combines with the battery of the device to top the using time up to months.

Even if you don’t fancy the cover, you can always take it off and the naked device can still last for weeks. That is thanks to the newly-introduced hibernation mode, which puts the slim ebook reader to a nap to save energy when inactive. For this feature, the Oasis the smartest device when it comes to battery.

To sum up, the Oasis is the best ereader available on the market. It has a traditional Kindle’s best features – a lightweight device made thoroughly for reading, an eye-friendly glareless screen, a space for 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 to you, this is the ereader for you.

6. NOOK Glowlight Plus – Best Android Ebook Reading Device

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

Best Android Ereader


  • Supports PDF
  • Runs on Android
  • Can install third-party apps
  • Big Bernes and Barn library
  • Waterproof, dustproof


  • Slippery shell, easy to drop
  • Uneven lighting

Bright, crisp screen with soft glow

The Nook Glowlight Plus features a 6 inches screen similar to that of a typical ereader you can find on the market today. The screen resolution is 300 dpi – the same as other high-end ereading devices. It even has crisper display than the Kobo Aura H2O!

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.
If only they made it with warm screen light to read in the dark carefree too!

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 enter it.

This allows you to read in more environments than the Paperwhite. 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.

In this respect, the Nook wins hands down over the Kindle Paperwhite!

Supports PDF

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

However, given the small screen size, I wouldn’t recommend the Nook for those whose materials are mostly in PDF format. Use a tablet instead, or if you want to stick to e-ink, the Nonyx Boox Max or the Kobo Aura One would do the job in much more appropriate manners.

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 recent ebooks.

But it is now that the Android platform comes in handy.

Android OS for third party apps

The Nook GlowLight Plus runs with a RAM of 512MB. (I feel so old writing this. Remember when 512MB used to be the norm for PC RAM?)

Most PC users are very happy with the fact that the device operates on Android 4.4. This allows you to install third party apps on the device via a USB cord. It has 2.8GB 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!

The Nook is in the same price range with the Kindle Paperwhite. In fact, since it comes in ads-free, it is slightly cheaper than the Paperwhite. And it comes with high quality screen and it’s waterproof!

One thing I don’t like that much about it 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.

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

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

(Currently Unavailable– check back soon for updates)

I am not sure it is appropriate for the Onyx BOOX Max to be in this list of ereaders. It uses e-ink, yes, and it reads ebooks, but it is just so… out of the range.

Best Large Ereader


  • Screen size close to actual A4 paper
  • Allows handwritten notes, audio recording
  • Can listen to audiobooks
  • Allows third-party apps


  • Backlit
  • Not pocket portable
  • High price tag

Exceptional screen – When size does matter

At 13.3 inches, which easily larger than a MacBook Air, the Max 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 have ever tried reading a PDF file on a Kindle or any other 6” screen devices, you’re gonna agree with me in this: 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 students with lots of heavy textbooks to read, or a professionals who have to work on tons of big-sized PDF technical books, you will definitely get a kick out of this Onyx BOOX Max. 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 is 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 cause more strain on your eyes than a Kindle, but on the other hand, it provides more even light on the screen.

Read an ebook and take notes on it

While you read, especially when reading in a foreign language or a scientific book, there’s always this need to jot down some notes. Sometimes to elaborate a term or to rephrase it, other times to add a remark. As for me, I like to draw in the book when I’m bored.

Anyway, the Onyx BOOX Max 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 handwritings and drawings on the book. This makes the ereader feel like a real textbook.

The screen does not respond to finger touch, which prevents marks from accidental brushings of your palm or fingers on the book. While this is a great feature that many appreciate, I’d certainly like to be able to use the pen and my fingertip alternatively. I’d love to be able to zoom small printed letters sometimes, without having to go to the Menu.

Additional features

Built-in Audio System
You don’t pay $700 for a device only to read some books and sketch some notes on it. Onyx knows this and they integrate in the device a speaker and a microphone. You can listen to audiobooks, record your voice, and listen to music while you read.

Android Apps Friendly
The Max 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. Don’t expect things to look as beautiful compared to when they’re displayed on a normal tablet, though. The apps stay 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 is currently the best ereader available for people who read a lot of technical and scientific books, especially those in PDF.


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 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, like normal paper does. Meanwhile, an LCD screen uses a backlight, which emits light directly to your eyes and strain 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 Ebook ReaderHowever, 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 here on Wikipedia.

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, the Voyage, 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.

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 travellers, and for readers who spend a lot of time in places without 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 high-speed wireless connection, however, you should be fine with a a Wi-Fi Kindle. You can always download and store the books you want in the Kindle to read later.

PPI is a term used very often to describe the screen resolution of e-readers and other electronic devices such as computer monitors, smart phones, 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.

For more information on ppi and how it is calculated, visit Wikipedia.

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.

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.

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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  • 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
      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.


    • 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 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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