There are a LOT of e-readers out there. I’ve tried a few and can tell you that thereis a nice variety of features out there to appeal to even the pickiest of readers. The problem with variety? There are so many choices. I have narrowed the field to what I consider my top three, and will explain why I like each. This way, you can decide what you value most and choose accordingly. NOTE: these are strictly e-readers, so I did not review apps, nor did I consider the kindle fire, Samsung nook, or iPad (sorry, iBooks people. You’re using an app. I’m talking dedicated devices here), as their ability to do other things makes them a tablet.
Best Kindle: Voyage. While I liked the Paperwhite and have a very soft spot in my heart for the short-lived Kindle Touch, Amazon makes it pretty clear when they’ve abandoned models by no longer rolling updates for them. The Voyage is their current Rolls-Royce of e-readers. They actually thought about button placement and put them both out of the way of an accidental push but in a natural enough location that you don’t have to fiddle to find them. You can read this thing in all light–there is no glare; when it is too dark, the screen lights itself accordingly and evenly. The text is incredibly clear thanks to the very high PPI (that’s pixels per inch). Plus, you get the whole Amazon ecosystem for your reading pleasure; I’ve always said that Amazon will put out amazing devices because they’re basically money gateways for their store. The major cons here are battery life (not as great as other models have been, between that awesome light and the haptic feedback feature) and the hefty price tag. You can buy a pretty nice tablet that you can do much more with for the cost of a Voyage.
Best Nook: Glowlight Plus. In case you can’t tell, I love a well-illuminated screen. The Glowlight Plus is waterproof (now you can read in the tub without fear! If, you know, you’re into that) which is a pretty cool feature. The resolution is quite good. It’s pretty cool looking—it isn’t black like every other thing out there, for a start, so when you’re using it, you feel more like you’re reading an actual book. Battery life is nice, too. But you can’t get books on it from anywhere other than B&N (or, at least, I haven’t figured out how, and that’s saying something; I’ve heard that B&N is supposedly developing a way to do it, but you never know) which means no library ebooks for you. The big problem here is B&N itself; they haven’t exactly been the best business model of late, and based on the fact that they’ve farmed out most of these devices to Samsung makes me question how long they’re going to support the stand-alone nook. If they go out of the e-reader game, you may have an electronic paperweight on your hands. A cool looking waterproof paperweight, but still.
Best of the Rest: Kobo Glo HD. This one was close. It actually has a better screen than the Voyage (and it’s cheaper). It’s lightweight and small but still features a 6-inch screen. The battery lasts about two months. You read that right. Two months. The reading light isn’t anything spectacular, but it is there. I picked the Glo over the Aura just based on people I know and their experiences with them, and because it feels so tiny and sleek. The Aura has a waterproof edition and allows for the use of a micro-sd card, a fantastic feature that I wish the Glo had. While you have to download books from the library to your computer and side load them onto this device, at least you have the option. And you can get books from anywhere that supports EPUB files. Their bookstore isn’t quite as extensive, and nobody integrates like Amazon, but prices for books are similar. So if you are looking for an amazon alternative, the Kobo is probably your best bet.
Did I miss your favorite, or does your library use something different? Let me know and I’ll check it out.