When you are on the go, it makes sense to have your reading material portable and accessible. This means storing your books and magazines on an e-reader, or e-book reader, so that you can comfortably read anything, anywhere, anytime. If you have decided to buy an e-reader, our buying guide help you select the right one for your needs.
What to Look for When Buying an e-Reader
What are the factors that you have to look at while buying an e-reader? Screen resolution and portability might be two of the biggest factors, followed by battery life, extra features, technical specifications, readability, and budget. If you want to have all the features and the latest technology, with a long-lasting battery, you might need to pay more for it. Otherwise, you should be ready to compromise and settle for a smaller screen, fewer features, or less battery life.
Readability is the primary criterion when buying an e-book reader. Most e-readers have the e-ink technology and built-in light that makes readability easier at night and in dim lighting. E-readers equipped with e-ink technology reflect light like ordinary paper, resulting in lower glare and less strain on the eyes. It makes the text readable even in bright sunlight, since it does not reflect the light back into your eyes, so you can even read outdoors while sunbathing or traveling.
For an e-reader, portability is crucial. The better portability a brand offers, the more popular it's bound to be. The two main factors that determine portability are the weight and battery life. If the e-reader is too heavy, it becomes cumbersome to hold after a while; likewise, if it needs constant recharging, then it affects portability. Reasonably long battery life and a relatively light weight are the ideal features for an e-reader.
Battery life is again an important feature to consider if you want to be able to read for long hours without having to re-charge. E-readers with less fancy features like rings and tones tend to have better battery life, while web browsing and Wi-Fi on your e-reader may reduce the battery life. Opt for e-ink technology to have a better battery backup on your e-book reader.
First, consider whether you prefer a touchscreen. E-readers equipped with touchscreen technology allow you to turn pages with a single swipe. They may also have easy-to-use buttons.
Next, decide whether an LCD or e-ink screen is better for you. For a richer multi-media experience, ideal for children's books, magazines, and comics, e-book readers with an LCD screen will serve the purpose. These screens operate at a 60HZ refresh rate, but might lead to more battery drainage.
Screens with e-ink technology provide a paper-like view, resulting in less strain to the eyes and making it ideal for reading books for longer hours. These screens offer sharp readability and resistance to glare, even in bright light and out in the sun.
Mostly, screens are 5 to 10 inches in size. A screen that is 6 or 7 inches serves as a good option that offers enough reading area and a moderate price tag. E-readers that are 6 inches can easily be slipped into a briefcase or a handbag. Choosing the right size depends totally on personal preference.
Screen resolution for e-readers is typically measured in units such as ppi (pixels per inch) and dpi (dots per inch). A higher resolution will make the text more sharp and crisp. However, if you want an e-reader without Internet access or photo and video viewing capabilities, or if those are secondary to your reading needs, then you might be satisfied with an e-reader with a lower resolution. If, on the other hand, you want to be able to read while also enjoying a good movie or being able to Skype or video chat, and are looking for quality in your image, then go for a higher resolution screen. If you have young children, you might want to opt for a higher resolution screen, as it provides better video viewing.
6. Font Size
Larger font sizes can ease the strain on your eyes. E-book readers with this feature are better for avid readers who read for longer hours. Highlighting and making notes helps you remember things or mark important pieces of information. E-readers with these features are perfect for students.
Many modern e-readers, such as those that are based on Android, come with built-in Wi-Fi, 3G, and USB options. They allow for web browsing, email, apps, and more, so they can be used like an auxiliary computer. These e-readers feature multiple functions like tablets, including more storage and versatility.
A model with 3G provides greater flexibility to get new content, but it can be more expensive than the models that only provide Wi-Fi access. E-book readers that require a USB cable to load content tend to be the least expensive. You can also add content using a microSD card if your e-reader has the appropriate slot. In addition, if you are planning to use your e-reader for music or audio books, it makes sense to get one with a headphone jack.
How much storage you need depends on your reading habits. An e-book reader comes with internal memory in gigabytes. Each gigabyte can easily hold 750 non-illustrated books. Most e-book readers offer a storage space of up to 8GB to store all digital content. And, if this isn't enough, an external memory card enhances the storage capacity to up to 32GB. E-readers with 64 GB space are great for apps and storing music along with storing books.
Once you have an e-reader, you'll be able to download e-books that are in a compatible format. Formats include AZW for Amazon Kindles, ePub files for devices including the Nook and Kobo readers, and others. Thus, if you prefer a particular e-book supplier or merchant, such as Amazon, be sure to choose a compatible device. Some e-readers can accept multiple e-book formats. In some cases, there are ways to convert from one format to another, using an online tool or app on your device. Many e-readers will accept PDF files, but if you want the documents to have better readability on your device, you can find online conversion tools and apps to help. Some e-book readers come with functionality to play audio files in MP3 and AAC format.
Amazon Kindle is the dominant e-reader in the market (now available in India at Amazon.in), and there are tons of Kindle eBooks available. Other e-readers fighting for a share of the market are the Nook from Barnes & Noble, and the Kobo from Sony.
The fierce competition between brands has resulted in some amazing features for the discerning consumer. For instance, one full recharge of the Kindle allows you to enjoy the device for almost two weeks, without the constant need to recharge. The Kindle Voyage from Amazon has a better build, higher screen resolution, Wi-Fi capability, an adaptive light-sensor to automatically adjust to ambient light, free Amazon Cloud storage, built-in storage of 4GB, and Page Press sensors with haptics. The Kindle Paper White-Wi-Fi, as the name implies, offers an experience similar to reading an actual book. It provides storage of 1100 books, recharges fully in less than 4 hours, and has a 6 inch paper-white display. The Kindle Paper White Wi-Fi is built to divert the light on to the display, and away from your eyes, thereby considerably reducing eye-fatigue.
When it comes to e-book readers and accessories, there are plenty of options on the market today, so it's important to do your research.
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