Tuesday, June 8, 2010

E-Book Readers

Marcie and I were considering purchasing an ebook reader at some point. While there are hundreds of options out there, a few stand above the rest. If you're looking for functionality other then reading, you'll want to consider a tablet or a smaller laptop however if the main purpose is to read, you'll want to go with the kindle or the nook. What stands out about these is their display. A computer screen refreshes constantly which isn't as easy to read. Both the kindle and the nook use a new technology called e-ink which acts like printed word. Once the screen displays, the e-ink stays on the screen till it is cleared. That is much better for your eyes and uses no battery life extending reading ability to 10+ days. Limitations of this technology seem to restrict the color to black and white but when reading, that is what you want.

Right now, the kindle seems to be the better reader. It has a crisper image, a little longer battery life, and turns pages faster then the nook. Consumer reports named this the best reader available however there are other things to consider. The nook may fall behind in some areas however I've seen the screen and it is as sharp as an LCD screen but doesn't refresh (since it uses e-ink). I can wait the extra half a second between pages if it has other features I want.

The nook does in fact have those other features that are nice. For one, it has a larger library. The kindle is restricted to the amazon proprietary books but the nook pulls from but is not limited to the Barnes and Noble library. The nook can also pull from other free libraries and other sites which will eventually lower the price of books and make more free books available. It also has a touch screen that since the most recent update has become much more intuitive. They've got some work to do to perfect it but updates are free and automatic. The two other things that stand out about the nook are battery and storage. Unlike many of the other readers, the nook's back cover comes off to reveal a replaceable battery and extra memory slot. You are not required to ship your reader off to Amazon or Apple to replace the battery. You also don't have to pay $300 more to get the extra memory. Not that you would have more then 1500 books on your reader but the memory slot makes sharing books easy. This is something the kindle and ipad can not do.

As of right now, the kindle is the better reader but the nook has more desirable features and has the ability to surpass the kindle in all areas but resolution. Since the resolution was acceptable when I was using it, I think I would go with the nook based on potential.

One thing to consider though is both the kindle and nook have AT&T wireless data that allow you to download and surf the web anywhere. Since the kindle does not support wifi, it has to do that. The nook has wifi so at some point, it may remove the wireless capability in an attempt to cut operating costs.

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