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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Finest book readers for 2023

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Any book reader will allow you to cram a Magnificence and the Beast-sized library’s value of books in your pocket, however so will your telephone. An book reader provides a extra book-like studying expertise, with fewer distractions and fewer eye pressure, and lots of embrace additional options, like adjustable frontlighting. Some actually are pocketable. Others are waterproof or supply bodily page-turning buttons, whereas a number of even allow you to take notes.

I’ve been utilizing book readers for practically a decade, and I’ve gone hands-on with dozens, from the Kindle Paperwhite to lesser-known rivals just like the Pocketbook Period. Whether or not you need one thing your child can throw towards the wall or a water-resistant, warm-glow Kindle that received’t damage your spa atmosphere, these are the perfect book readers for everybody. 

The very best Kindle

$140

Amazon’s newest Kindle Paperwhite has a 6.8-inch E Ink show with adjustable shade temperature for nighttime studying. It additionally boasts a quick processor, months-long battery life, IPX8 waterproofing, and a USB-C port.

Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.9 x .32 inches / Weight: 205 grams / Display space and backbone: 6.8-inch display screen, 300ppi decision / Storage: 8GB or 16GB / Different options: IPX8 waterproofing, Bluetooth audio assist 

If you happen to largely purchase ebooks from Amazon, you’ll need a Kindle, and the Eleventh-gen Kindle Paperwhite is your best option for most individuals. Beginning at $139.99, it’s cheaper than the Kobo Libra 2 — my high non-Amazon book reader, which I’ll dive into later — for most of the similar options. These embrace a big 300pi show and an adjustable heat white frontlight, which make for a transparent and pleasant studying expertise. The latter additionally conveniently improves sleep by slicing down on blue gentle that interrupts melatonin manufacturing. 

That heat white frontlighting is a bonus over the cool white of the $99.99 base-model Kindle, and in contrast to the bottom Kindle, the Paperwhite has IPX8 water resistance. The $189.99 Signature Edition Paperwhite additionally has an auto-adjusting frontlight and no lockscreen adverts. It additionally has wi-fi charging, which is a uncommon function to search out in an e-reader.

The Kindle Paperwhite comes with an adjustable heat white frontlight.
Picture by Chaim Gartenberg / The Verge

Amazon is the biggest on-line retailer on the planet, and it dominates the US book market, so Kindle homeowners have entry to benefits homeowners of different book readers don’t. A lot of Amazon’s {hardware} technique is dependent upon providing cut-rate reductions to tug you into its content material ecosystem. If in case you have Prime and purchase a variety of Kindle ebooks, the Paperwhite is your best option as a result of Amazon makes it extremely straightforward to purchase and skim its stuff. Its ebooks and audiobooks are sometimes on sale, and Prime members get extra free content material by means of Prime Studying. Rivals like Kobo supply gross sales, too, but it surely’s exhausting for them to supply reductions as steep as Amazon does.

There are downsides, although. The Paperwhite has lockscreen adverts until you pay $20 additional to eliminate them. It’s additionally too huge to carry comfortably with one hand. Maybe the Kindle Paperwhite’s largest flaw, although — which it shares with all Kindles apart from Hearth tablets — is that it’s not straightforward to learn books bought outdoors of Amazon’s retailer. Kindle book codecs are proprietary and solely work on Kindle. Not like Kobo and different book readers, Kindles don’t assist EPUB information, an open file format utilized by just about everybody besides Amazon. So, for instance, in case you typically store from Kobo’s bookstore (or Barnes & Noble or Google Play Books or many different book shops), you may’t simply learn these books on a Kindle with out utilizing a workaround. There are methods to transform and transfer file formats so you may learn on the Kindle and vice versa, but it surely’ll take a few additional steps and could be a trouble.

Nevertheless, in case you don’t purchase your books elsewhere otherwise you don’t thoughts procuring from Amazon, you’ll be more than pleased with the Kindle Paperwhite.

Read our full review of the Kindle Paperwhite.

The very best non-Amazon book reader

The Kobo Libra 2 options bodily page-turning buttons together with a pointy 7-inch E Ink show freed from adverts. It additionally boasts IPX8 waterproofing and 32GB of storage.

Dimensions: 5.69 x 6.36 x 0.35 inches / Weight: 215 grams / Display space and backbone: 7-inch display screen, 300ppi / Storage: As much as 32GB / Different options: Bodily page-turning buttons, waterproofing, Bluetooth audio assist 

The Kobo Libra 2 is a wonderful various to an Amazon book reader, particularly for readers outdoors the US. It’s simply as good because the Paperwhite, with most of the Paperwhite’s standout options, like waterproofing, USB-C assist, and a 300ppi show. It doesn’t work as properly with Amazon’s ecosystem, after all, but it surely provides a number of additional perks that make the e-reader, in some methods, much more pleasant to make use of.

The Kobo Libra 2 is my favourite book reader to make use of

For one factor, it helps extra file codecs, together with EPUB. It’s additionally a lot simpler to instantly borrow books from the Overdrive library system, whereas native assist for Pocket means you may learn your saved articles offline. The Libra 2 additionally comes with easy-to-use bodily buttons and begins at 16GB of storage, double the capability of the bottom Paperwhite. There are not any annoying lockscreen adverts to deal with, both. Plus, as an alternative of a flat-front display screen, the show is barely recessed into the body. I cherished that because it meant I didn’t by accident faucet the display screen and skip a web page, as I typically did with the Paperwhite. It additionally stored the display screen cleaner and — mixed with the vast facet bezel — made the Libra 2 extra snug to carry.

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The Kobo Libra 2 comes with bodily page-turning buttons.
Picture by Sheena Vasani / The Verge

The Kobo Libra 2 is my favourite book reader to make use of. I stored having to restrain myself from utilizing it on a regular basis to provide the opposite e-readers on this checklist a good likelihood.

Nevertheless, at $189, it prices $50 greater than the ad-supported Paperwhite, although it’s solely $20 greater than the ad-free Paperwhite. That hole widens much more when the Paperwhite is on sale, which it frequently is. Plus, as anyone whose digital library consists primarily of Amazon ebooks, I discovered the truth that I couldn’t simply and shortly learn my huge assortment of Kindle books irritating. You are able to do it, however you’ll must convert file codecs utilizing third-party apps, which may take time, particularly you probably have a big library. But when these issues don’t matter or apply to you, the Kobo Libra 2 provides you with the perfect digital studying expertise of all of the e-readers on this checklist.

The very best low-cost book reader

$100

Amazon’s new entry-level Kindle is actually the budget-friendly, 6-inch model of the Kindle Paperwhite. It lacks waterproofing however in any other case is comparable with the identical sharp show and USB-C assist.

Dimensions: 6.2 x 4.3 x 0.32 inches / Weight: 158 grams / Display space and backbone: 6-inch display screen, 300ppi decision / Storage: 16GB / Different options: USB-C assist, Bluetooth audio assist 

The base-model Kindle ($99.99 with adverts) is the perfect low-cost book reader. Its 300ppi decision makes textual content clearer and simpler to learn than the lower-resolution screens on different book readers in its worth vary, and its 16GB of storage is double even that of the Paperwhite. It even has USB-C for comparatively quick charging. 

Studying on its six-inch display screen feels a bit of extra cramped than it does on the bigger shows of the Kindle Paperwhite and Kobo Libra 2. Nevertheless, the flip facet is that its small measurement makes it pocketable, gentle, and straightforward for small arms to carry. Mixed with its comparatively reasonably priced worth, the Kindle can also be the perfect book reader for youths — particularly within the kids version Amazon sells for $20 extra. It shares the identical actual specs however is ad-free with parental controls, a two-year prolonged alternative assure, and a case. It additionally comes with one yr of Amazon Children Plus, which grants youngsters entry to hundreds of children books and audiobooks without spending a dime. After that, although, you’ll must pay $79 per yr.

The child-friendly model of the Kindle comes with colourful {cases}.
Picture: Kindle Children

The bottom Kindle doesn’t have additional conveniences just like the bodily page-turning buttons discovered on Barnes & Noble’s entry-level e-reader, the Nook GlowLight 4e. Nevertheless, you do get one thing extra vital: snappier responses. On a lot of the different entry-level book readers I examined, together with the GlowLight 4e, I needed to wait a number of seconds after tapping the display screen for the web page to show. The Kindle, as compared, provided no perceptive lag.

There are different tradeoffs. There’s no water resistance, not like the Paperwhite, and battery life is nice, but it surely’ll final you three weeks tops — not months, just like the Paperwhite. And since it’s an Amazon book reader, you’re additionally locked into the Amazon ecosystem and must pay additional to eliminate adverts. But when you are able to do with out all of that, the Kindle delivers the necessities for beneath $100.

Read my full review of the Kindle.

The very best book reader for taking notes

$400

The Kobo Elipsa 2E is an ad-free 10.3-inch e-reader you may write on with the included stylus. It provides an entire host of helpful options, like the power to transform handwriting to typed textual content and an amazing choice of pen sorts.

Dimensions: 7.6 x 8.94 x 0.30 inches / Weight: 390 grams / Display space and backbone: 10.3-inches, 227ppi decision / Storage: 32GB / Different options: Handwriting to textual content conversion, magnetic stylus, Bluetooth audio assist 

Of all the massive book readers I examined, the Kobo Elipsa 2E stood out probably the most due to its wonderful note-taking talents. You’ll be able to instantly write on pages, and the notes is not going to disappear, which makes for a extra intuitive note-taking expertise than the Kindle Scribe, which solely helps on-page notes on choose Kindle titles. In any other case, you’re restricted to creating annotations on playing cards which might be like disappearing sticky notes. 

It’s also possible to sync your notes with Dropbox or view them on-line, and Kobo may even convert handwriting to typed textual content. Amazon recently rolled out an identical functionality for the Kindle Scribe, however it might probably solely convert handwriting to typed textual content if you export notebooks and never as precisely. Against this, Kobo enables you to convert your handwriting not simply whereas exporting but additionally from inside a pocket book itself.

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The Kobo Elipsa 2E enables you to insert diagrams, convert handwriting to textual content, and might even resolve math equations for you.
Picture by Sheena Vasani / The Verge

The Elipsa 2E additionally provides different useful note-taking instruments. It’s even succesful, for instance, of fixing math equations for you. It’s also possible to insert diagrams and drawings, and it’ll mechanically snap it into one thing that appears cleaner and nicer. There’s additionally an amazing choice of pen sorts and ink shades. 

True, the Kindle Scribe begins at $60 much less, however the Kobo Elipsa 2E comes with twice the storage. You can step as much as the 32GB Kindle Scribe in order for you the identical storage capability, however that places it at primarily the identical worth because the Kobo. I like to recommend simply forking out the cash on the Elipsa 2E as an alternative.

I additionally suggest the Elipsa 2E over the Onyx Boox Be aware Air 2 Plus, although it, too, provides significantly better writing instruments than the Kindle Scribe. That’s as a result of it prices a whopping $449 and in addition isn’t as available within the US market. The Onyx Boox Be aware Air 2 Plus additionally comes with too many distracting extras, like an easy-to-access music participant and the Google Play app retailer preinstalled so you may obtain a number of studying apps, together with each the Kindle and Kobo apps. Nevertheless, Kindle and Kobo notes didn’t present up on the Onyx Boox Be aware Air 2 Plus — and you may’t annotate their books wherever as simply as you may on their respective gadgets.

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The Kobo Elipsa 2E comes with an included stylus.
Picture by Sheena Vasani / The Verge

Be aware-taking capabilities apart, the Kobo Elipsa 2E can also be a superb e-reader, but it surely comes with the identical strengths and weaknesses as different Kobo e-readers. There’s assist for a variety of file codecs, however you may’t simply learn Kindle books with out changing them first. Its 227ppi show can also be barely much less sharp than the 300ppi display screen discovered on the Kindle Scribe and the Kobo Libra 2. Nevertheless, the ten.3-inch display screen does steadiness issues out a bit and makes textual content simpler to learn, so it’s probably not a noticeable downside.

Different book readers that didn’t make the reduce

There are another book readers I examined that I didn’t function above however are nonetheless value highlighting. Considered one of these is the Kobo Clara 2E e-reader. If you happen to’re searching for a non-Amazon various that’s extra reasonably priced than the Kobo Libra 2, the Kobo Clara 2E is value a glance. It sells for $139 and in addition provides waterproofing in addition to a pointy, 300ppi show, but it surely lacks buttons. As I mentioned in my review earlier this yr, I additionally preferred that it doesn’t include adverts however discovered it’s not as quick because the Kindle Paperwhite. Nevertheless, now that I’ve used the e-reader for fairly a while, I discover it’s snappy sufficient, and the occasional lag isn’t as distracting as I imagined it’d turn out to be. The Libra 2 remains to be sooner, although.

I additionally didn’t point out the Kindle Oasis, which additionally has bodily page-turning buttons and which many contemplate a high-end machine. At this level, although, it’s {old} and lacks some options even the bottom Kindle provides, like USB-C assist. That makes it much less interesting at $249. If you’re keen to pay that a lot for a high-end reader, I’d check out the Kobo Libra 2 or the Kobo Sage as an alternative. The latter is $269, but not solely does it include buttons and USB-C, however you may as well use it to take notes. The eight-inch display screen feels very cramped to jot down on, although, so I wouldn’t suggest it as a major note-taking machine. 



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