The ereader market isn’t especially crowded, but when they all have essentially just one job to do it can still be hard to stand out.
Despite that some ereaders have risen to the top through a combination of slick performance, stunning screens and attractive prices, while others wallow at the bottom, bogged down by cumbersome interfaces, high costs and disappointing displays.
With that in mind we’ve had a sift through and brought you the top ereaders around, so you can choose the best and stop you buying a clunker.
Kobo eReader Touch
The Kobo eReader Touch is getting on a bit, but with prices starting at around £60 it’s also one of the cheapest ereaders on the market.
While its price tag is the main reason to choose it, that’s not the only thing the Kobo eReader Touch has going for it. For one thing the Kobo store has over 4 million ebooks, so you shouldn’t be in danger of running out of things to read.
The Kobo eReader Touch also has an attractive interface and numerous fonts and options, so you can customise the device to your liking and while there’s only 1GB of useable memory built in, a microSD card slot ensures you can store your entire library on it.
But its lack of a backlight or 3G hold it back when compared to more recent ereaders. It could be easier to use too, as the design makes one-handed use awkward.
Kobo Aura HD
The Aura HD is Kobo’s premium ereader for anyone who can live without waterproofing. That premium ethos starts with the roughly £130 price tag and is evident in its sleek, ergonomic design, high resolution screen, backlight and two month battery life, not to mention its 4GB of storage backed up by a microSD card slot.
It’s not a home run though and its problems also start at its high price tag and continue through to its sluggish interface and unresponsive touchscreen. It might look like an ereader for the discerning book connoisseur, but its performance doesn’t quite match up.
The Kobo Glo was Kobo’s first attempt at a built in reading light and though it’s since been superseded by the Kobo Aura HD and the Kobo Aura H2O, the Kobo Glo is still available.
It’s also more affordable, as it’s priced at around £80. Its ComfortLight works well, despite being a first attempt and it has a sensitive touchscreen, 2GB of storage and a microSD card slot.
It also benefits from some of the same features as other Kobo’s, such as the ability to read books and documents in various different formats, including PDF’s and EPUB’s.
At two weeks its battery life isn’t the best around and there’s no 3G variant, but it’s a solid option for well under £100.
Nook Simple Touch GlowLight
The Nook Simple Touch GlowLight hit the scene at around the same time as the Kobo Glo and to similar effect, though now available from just around £50 so it’s far better value.
It has a reading light of course, or a GlowLight if you work for Barnes & Noble. Its 6-inch anti-glare screen is comfortable to read and with over 3 million books its store is competitive. It also benefits from expandable storage and a lightweight design.
It’s not got all the bells and whistles of the latest Kindle’s but for £50 it’s hard to complain.
The Kindle Touch, or simply the Amazon Kindle as it’s now known, is Amazon’s basic 6-inch touchscreen ereader. It’s got a cheap and chunky design, there’s no 3G version, no backlight, no microSD card slot and no keyboard, but it gets the basics right.
At just £59 it’s competitively priced and with its intuitive interface, good screen and wide book selection it’s the perfect companion, whether reading at home or on the tube. The Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Voyage have it beat, but they also cost more.
Not to be confused with the Nook Simple Touch GlowLight, the Nook GlowLight is a more recent reader from Barnes & Noble and it’s a solid Paperwhite competitor, with a bright, clear 6-inch screen and a light and portable design, making it ideal to shove in a bag and take everywhere with you.
It’s got good battery life too, but like its Amazon rival there’s no microSD card slot and its touchscreen is disappointingly sluggish. Still, at £89 it’s also £20 cheaper than the Kindle Paperwhite.
Kobo Aura H2O
It’s almost surprising that we’ve had to wait this long for a water and dust proof ereader, given that baths, swimming pools and beaches are popular reading spots, but Kobo has finally delivered one with the Aura H2O.
That’s not all it’s got going for it either, as a bright LED-lit e-ink screen that only needs to be refreshed every six page turns ensures it’s got the basics down too and a long battery life and microSD card slot don’t hurt.
Sadly it’s not perfect, thanks to a distinct lack of power which can leave it feeling sluggish, especially when viewing PDF’s.
There’s also no 3G option, while its £139.99 price tag puts it in high end company. But as the only waterproof ereader it’s the ideal choice for anyone who can’t help but reach for a book when in the proximity of water.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Amazon’s ereaders have always been successful and while that’s partly down to brand awareness it’s also because the company genuinely makes some of the best readers on the market.
The Kindle Paperwhite is a prime example of that, with its sleek design, slick performance, good backlight and screen and up to two months of battery life.
Amazon’s even gone above and beyond, with extras like X-Ray, Kindle Page Flip and Smart Lookup added into the mix.
With only 4GB of storage and no microSD card slot we could certainly ask for more space for our library and while it’s nice that Amazon’s included a browser it’s barely functional, it’s not the cheapest option either at £109, but all in all this is one of the best ereaders around and well worth the money.
Amazon Kindle Voyage
The Kindle Paperwhite was once the top of the heap, but it’s been bettered by another Amazon offering, the Kindle Voyage.
It’s essentially a perfected version of the Kindle Paperwhite, with the same interface and features but an even better 300ppi screen, a uniform backlight, an ambient light sensor and PagePress buttons, which allow you to navigate a book without lifting a finger.
It’s even got a sleek 7.6mm thick build making it the best looking Kindle ever. All that comes with a high price tag that starts at £169 and like other Kindle’s the Voyage lacks a microSD card slot, but this is still arguably the most premium and certainly the best ereader that money can buy.
If you read a lot and, crucially, have the money to spare this is the clear choice.
- It’s not actually an ereader, but the iPad mini 3 is still pretty good for reading on.