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The choice of eReaders is getting slimmer and slimmer, with only Amazon releasing a range of new models recently. That doesn't mean ebooks are going away. It's just that more and more people are using their smartphone or tablet to read books.
But there are plenty of reasons why investing in a dedicated eReader is a good idea. They're a lot cheaper than an iPad, for example, and they’re simply a better tool for the task in hand. They can also be lighter than a book, yet store hundreds of books, so you can read your way through a fortnight-long holiday just by taking your eReader along.
Most eReaders have a 6in E-Ink screen. It looks much like paper and is easier on the eyes than the colour LCD screen of a phone or tablet, and it won't stop you going to sleep like the blue light emitted from an LCD screen can, so eReaders are better for late-night reading.
E-Ink screens excel in bright sunlight, which can cause reflections on the glossy screens of other mobile devices. They are also an ideal size and weight to comfortably cradle for prolonged periods. Most modern eReaders have a touchscreen and weigh around 200g, so will happily slip into your bag or an oversized pocket for reading on the road.
Battery life is also much better on dedicated eReaders than phones and tablets, here measured in page turns rather than hours. So while your tablet could conk out halfway home, creating a genuine cliffhanger at the most inopportune point within your novel, an eReader could keep going for weeks or even months without needing a recharge. Also see: Best tablets 2017 UK.
Bear in mind, though, that eReaders with built-in backlights (technically they’re frontlights, but we’ll use the conventional term since everyone knows what it means) will last much less time between charges if you use the light all the time.
Content is an important consideration, as your device may be restricted to its manufacturer’s own bookstore. For example, Kindle eReaders are limited to Amazon’s admittedly very well-stocked online bookstore, while Kobo eReaders let you browse other stores.
A memory card can boost the storage capacity for ebooks and, if supported, music, video and other media. Be sure to check which file formats a device supports - not just media, but also whether it can handle ePub, PDF, TXT, RTF and other document file types.
Also consider connectivity. While your device will probably hold more than enough books to keep you occupied until you’re next in range of a Wi-Fi hotspot, a cellular connection will allow you to download content on the move. It will also add to the device’s price - by £60 in the case of the Kindle Voyage.
9 best eReaders you can buy in 2017 UK
- Reviewed on: 10 July 2017
The Kindle Voyage is without doubt one of the best eReaders money can buy. Is it worth buying though? For most people, no. The extra resolution, sleek design and page-turning buttons are all nice-to-haves but by no means essential.
You'll get a better reading experience on a Voyage compared to the current-generation Paperwhite, but only just, and the difference in price is simply too much to justify it. But if money is no object, then you won't be disappointed.
Read our Amazon Kindle Voyage review.
- Reviewed on: 15 November 2016
There's no doubt that the Kindle Oasis is technically the best eReader you can get. Amazon has done a great job with the new design which is impressively small, light and ergonomic. The cover is a nice touch too and adds additional battery life to boot. All that said, the price is a big barrier and anyone shocked at even the cheaper Wi-Fi only model will be better off with the Voyage or the Paperwhite which are comparatively budget.
Read our Amazon Kindle Oasis review.
- Reviewed on: 15 November 2016
If you are new to the eReader game or if your battered five-year old Kindle is showing its age this is the perfect choice. The 2016 Kindle does the basics just as well as the Kindle Oasis, which costs £200 more. Why not spend £200 on books instead? We highly recommend the entry-level Kindle if you don’t need a backlight and you want a clean, easy reading experience.
- Reviewed on: 25 July 2017
The Kindle Paperwhite is, by any stretch of the imagination, an excellent eReader. Brilliant display, superb design and build, and access to an unsurpassed library of eBooks. Our only minor quibble is about battery life, and it isn't the cheapest. But even now, we are delighted to recommend the Paperwhite, 2015 vintage.
Read our Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review.
- Reviewed on: 28 October 2015
The Kindle remains a great eReader, but with the launch of Amazon's £49 Fire tablet, it's hard to see £59.99 as a bargain price. If you can live with reading on an LCD screen - which effectively means indoors - then the Fire is a great deal. But if you're a bookworm and don't mind the absence of a screen light, the Kindle is still the best sub-£60 eReader out there.
Read our Amazon Kindle 7th generation review.
- Reviewed on: 3 December 2014
The Nook GlowLight is a decent eReader if you're looking for one with a backlight. It's lighter than Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite but its rival is available at the same price with more features.
Read our Nook GlowLight review.
- Reviewed on: 3 December 2014
The main reason to buy the Aura H2O is for its water resistance. And for that you do pay a premium. In fact, it’s hard to find the H2O at its recommended price of £140 – many places are selling it for £25 more. For some people, this would be a price worth paying, but the H2O’s unresponsive interface is a big problem. Unless you need an eReader that’s waterproof and has an SD slot, you’re much better off going for a Kindle Paperwhite which is both cheaper and much more responsive.
Read our Kobo Aura H2O review.
- Reviewed on: 18 December 2014
It is impossible to recommend the Bookeen Cybook Ocean in its current form. Although it has a good, and large, screen in a well-built and lightweight frame, it is a little underpowered. More importantly it connects you to a French-language book store, which is useless for UK consumers. And at £150 it is just too expensive for a device with these bugs. We'll look to revisit this review again when and if the Cybook Ocean goes on more general sale.
Read our Bookeen CyBook Ocean review.
9. Kobo Aura HD
- Reviewed on: 8 July 2013
Although rather plasticky just like the Amazon Kindle, the Kobo Aura HD felt to us like a better quality product – even with all the snags and problems we experienced getting our own books onto it. In the end comfort of reading is what e-readers are also all about, and this device can provide just that.
Read our Kobo Aura HD review.