If you’re anything like me, you don’t make big purchase decisions (or any decisions, really) without considering all your options. If the decision before you is which ebook reader to invest in, there a lot of options to consider. In an earlier post, eBook Reader Features, I described the features you might be looking for in an ebook reading device, so you might want to read that first, if you haven’t already. In this post, I will compare four major brands of ereaders with regard to those features, laid out in table format below.
As you can see, every reader model appeals to a different market, based on the user’s needs. Contrary to popular forum discussions of “my reader’s better than yours”, it’s really about what the individual is looking for in a reading device. For example, the Kobo eReader is a basic model without bells and whistles, but Kobo is the only major ebookstore that sells to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as the U.S. and U.K. Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s original Nook both offer WiFi and free 3G options, along with snazzy features like built-in MP3 players and limited book sharing, but only the Kindle has text-to-speech capability. On the other hand, the NookColor has tts and can show children’s books, magazines, and illustrated manuals in 16 million vibrant colors, while only the Sony Reader allows stylus input for note-taking.
See where I’m going with this? There is no “best ebook reader”. It’s all about you, the end user, and what’s important for your lifestyle. If choosing an ebook reader is a decision you are ready to make, go back and read my previous post first, then study the table below to see which model you should choose.
|Feature||Amazon||Barnes & Noble||Kobo||Sony|
|Models||Kindle WiFi, Kindle WiFi/3G, Kindle DX||Nook WiFi, Nook WiFi/3G, NookColor||Kobo Wireless eReader||Reader Pocket Edition, Reader Touch Edition, Reader Daily Edition|
|Formats Supported||AZW (Amazon proprietary format) + PDF + Mobi + TXT||ePub + PDF + PDB + Adobe DRM + Microsoft Office Docs (NookColor only)||ePub + PDF + Adobe DRM||ePub + PDF + TXT + RTF|
|Countries Supported||US, UK||US||US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand||US|
|Other compatible devices||Win & Mac PC's + iPhone & iPad + Blackberry + Android + Smartphones||Win & Mac PC's + iPhone & iPad + Blackberry + Android + Smartphones + HTC||Win & Mac PC's + iPhone & iPad + Blackberry + Android + Smartphones||Win & Mac PC's|
|Screen Type||Grayscale eInk||Grayscale eInk, Grayscale eInk, Backlit Full Color||Grayscale eInk||Grayscale eInk|
|Screen Size (diagonal)||6", 6", 9.7"||6", 6", 7"||6"||5", 6", 7"|
|Dimensions||7.5"x4.8"x0.3", 7.5"x4.8"x0.3", 10.4"x7.2"x0.4"||7.7"x4.9"x0.5", 7.7"x4.9"x0.5", 8.1"x5.0"x0.5"||7.2"x4.7"x0.4"||5.7"x4.1"x0.3", 6.6"x4.7"x0.4", 7.9"x5.0"x0.4"|
|Weight||8.5 oz, 8.7 oz, 18.9 oz||11.6 oz, 12.1 oz, 15.8 oz||7.8 oz||5.5 oz, 7.6 oz, 9.6 oz|
|Human Interface||QWERTY keyboard + nav buttons||3.5" Touch Nav Area (Nook), Full Screen Touch (NookColor)||Nav buttons only||Touchscreen + Stylus|
|Connectivity||USB/WiFi, USB/WiFi/3G, USB/3G||USB/WiFi, USB/WiFi/3G, USB/WiFi||USB/WiFi||USB, USB, USB/WiFi|
|Battery Life (days, without wireless)||30, 30, 14-21||10, 10, 0.3 (8 hours)||10||14, 14, 11|
|Library Borrowing||Coming Q4 2011||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Text-to-Speech||Yes||No, No, Yes||No||No|
|Full Specs||Amazon Kindle||Barnes & Noble Nook||Kobo eReader||Sony Reader|