The best ebook readers in the world today

Picking the best ebook readers in the world today is no easy task. The list of companies making these devices is as long as Marienbad My Love and as hard to get through as the autobiographical Reg Kray: A Way of Life. What with Amazon’s recent big news on the Kindle, though, we at Pocket-lint decided it was time to put on our thigh-lengths and wade our way through the mire of copy cat devices until we fished out the very best ebook readers that money can buy. These, are they.

Amazon Kindle

Price
£109/£149
Size
190 x 123 x 8.5 mm

Storage
4GB

Weight
247g

Screen
6”, 600 x 800 pixel, 167 ppi, 16-level grey scale

Connectivity
Wi-Fi or 3G & Wi-Fi


There’s no expandable storage and no touch screen but apart from that, Amazon really has laid down an offer that’s hard to refuse with the most recent incarnation of the Kindle. It’s smaller, lighter and far quicker than ever before and comes at a price point that you can't ignore. Combine all that with the 3G option, global coverage for book downloads, the Webkit browser, text to speech function, QWERTY keyboard and heavy duty book store behind it and you’ve got a real crowd-pleaser.

 

 

Sony Reader Pocket Edition (PRS-300)

Price
£130
Size
159 x 108 x 10 mm

Storage
4GB

Weight
220g

Screen
5”, 600 x 800 px, 200 ppi, 8-level grey scale

Connectivity
USB 2.0


Some might see the PRS-300 as something of a step back. It doesn't have the features that many of the Sonys or others offer and there is no memory expansion, so you are limited to the 512MB onboard. It’s not even that cheap either. The new Kindle offers more in features and function for less cash, but what’s nice about this one is that it is small and genuinely pocket-sized. It looks and feels like a quality device and does what it is supposed to do, which is let you comfortably read your books, without having to lug around a bag of paper copies.

 

 

iRex DR800SG

Price
$399
Size
193 x 149 x 10.7mm

Storage
2GB SD expandable

Weight
360g

Screen
8.1”, 768 x 1024px, 16-level grey scale

Connectivity
3G/USB 2.0


At the other end of the scale is the luxurious iRex DR800SG - the 3G update to the DR800S which impressed us in review. Sadly, this touchscreen beauty is only available in the US for the moment while a mobile carrier is thrashed out in the UK. What’s nice about this model is the bigger 8.1-inch screen, the small bezel, the control flip bar on the left and the sheer speed that the ink refreshes when you go to turn the page. It’s simply the Ferrari of ebook readers.

 

 

iPad

Price
£429-£699
Size
243 x 190 x 13mm

Storage
16-64GB

Weight
680g/730g

Screen
9.7”,  LED, 1024x768 px, 132ppi, touch

Connectivity
Wi-Fi or 3G & Wi-Fi


Reading ebooks is by no means the raison d’etre of the iPad but, to be fair, what is? The fact remains that despite the initial concern of eye fatigue from staring at a bright LED screen, there’s been no complaints yet. It’s obviously much larger and much more expensive than the rest of the competition but, with the launch of the iBooks store to go with it, there certainly seems little point in owning both an ebook reader and an iPad at the same time - unless one’s for the week and the other for Sunday best, of course. An expensive choice but it also doubles as a Scrabble set.

 

 

Your phone - yes, the one in your pocket

Price
Free
Size
Smaller than a dedicated reader

Storage
microSD expandable

Weight
Lighter than a dedicated reader

Screen
Very small - nearly big enough

Connectivity
3G/Wi-Fi/GPRS/EDGE


Not having a dedicated e-paper/ink reader is not an excuse for not quenching your thirst for the digital novel. There are millions of ebooks available for the very handset you already own, as well as the next one you buy and the one after that. Any mobile platform is capable of downloading and displaying ebooks and we can show you exactly where to get them. So, the plus side is that they’re light, portable and basically free. The downside is that screens might not be that conducive to working your way through War and Peace.

 

 

Two to look out for...

 

Skiff

Storage
4GB + SD expandable

Screen
11.5”, 1200x1600px, flexible, touch

Connectivity
3G & Wi-Fi

Availability
Unknown


Unveiled at CES 2010, flexible, small newspaper sized Skiff reader has since been bought up by News Corp according to the company blog. The marriage between this and publications like The Times, the NY Post and the Wall Street Journal would certainly make a lot of sense and the device could well become part of a subscription package in the future now that the pay walls are up. Certainly worth keeping an eye on.

 

 

Bookeen Cybook Orizon

Size
7.6mm thick

Storage
2GB

Screen
6”, capacitive touchscreen

Connectivity
Wi-Fi & Bluetooth

Availability
September


Another we saw at CES 2010 is the Bookeen Cybook Orizon from the very company who came up with one of the first readers back in 1998. It’s got a 6-inch epaper display with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth but sadly no 3G plans, but what really piques the interest is the fact that it’s set to be the world’s thinnest ebook reader at just 7.6mm - presuming it arrives before the Skiff that is. It also happens to support InCell Touch capacitive technology, which means the reader won't need a touchscreen membrane in front of the display like the Sony Readers. An intriguing prospect.

 


 

You

But which of your personal favourites have we missed out? Are you mad for the Nook or the dual-screen Android running Alex from Spring Design? Or have you gone off the idea of readers altogether? Let us know in the comments below.