back to article The best e-readers for Christmas

Digital reading devices separate into two basic types. On the one hand, you have the traditional e-reader, based on e-ink technology, and designed specifically reading. But now we have the 7in tablet, an altogether more sophisticated gadget, but one now starting to challenge the old-fashioned e-reader on price, especially when …


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  1. JDX Gold badge

    So basically they're all great? That could've been a much shorter review!

    1. Hieronymus Howerd


      It was more like "they're all worth considering", but which one is right for you will depend on your individual needs".

      Which seems fair.

      1. Paw Bokenfohr

        Re: .

        "Which seems fair."

        Perhaps, but equally pointless...!

    2. kb

      Frankly they can sing and dance

      As its not gonna matter, the tablets are gonna make all the eReaders other than the Kindle look as dated and worthless as 8-tracks. I mean put yourselves in the shoes of one of my customers, I tell them that for $130 I can get them a nice eReader, or for the SAME PRICE I can get them a 7 inch tablet that not only read eBooks but can ALSO play music and watch movies and plays games and even comes with Angry Birds and Cut The Rope? Its really not a hard choice for them, I have yet to have one say "I'd rather just have an eReader, thanks".

      The ONLY reason the Kindle will survive and thrive is because Amazon has spent crazy money to make it so, both with the deals with the carriers they made for the "free 3G" and by willing to take a lesser cut from authors so they have an incredible selection at cheap prices. All of the book lovers I know have switched simply because of the combination of it being cheap ( and it having such a huge selection at great prices.

      So I have a feeling this time next year the other eReaders will be toast or nothing but a standard Android color tablet with an eReader app, they simply can't compete with the Android tablets that grow ever more powerful while becoming ever cheaper. Heck I pointed a customer to one of those $70 tablets on the week of Black Friday for her grand niece, she loves it so much after seeing how nicely it ran she ended up going back and buying tablets for all her friends. Can't say as I blame her, 1.2Ghz, 512Mb of RAM, 4Gb of space, and with all the apps like FB that people want as well as a bunch of games like Angry Birds? At prices that low most of the eReaders don't stand a chance.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Frankly they can sing and dance

        I really enjoy reading from my Kindle in a way that I don't using a PC or a Tablet and while I suspect you are right in the long term i.e. colour paper screens will arrive, I suspect that the market for Tablets and e-readers are distinct. Of course, the market for people wanting devices specifically to read is probably much smaller than the sales of e-reader would suggest. But what do you expect, humans are somewhat pathetic and buy on a want not need basis.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Frankly they can sing and dance

        I have yet to have one say "I'd rather just have an eReader, thanks".

        I'm not one of your customers (I assume), but I'll say that. I have no interest in a tablet. Play music? My phone and my MP3 player do that. Watch (or rather show) movies? That's why I have a TV and DVR. Games? I rarely have time and inclination, but when I do, I have a PS2 (and an XBox I got from a neighbor, though I've never so much as plugged the thing in) and a laptop. Angry Birds? No thanks.

        My wife and stepdaughter have Kindles (and laptops, and smartphones), and haven't shown any interest in tablets. Ditto a number of my acquaintances.

  2. Toxteth O'Gravy
    Thumb Up

    Thumbs up for Nexus 7

    Runs the apps I want to run, and is now my default e-reader. Haven't picked up my Kindle 3 since I got the Nexus. Battery life not as good, sure, but it's good enough that I don't have to charge it every other day or less. Recommended.

    1. Peter Simpson 1

      Re: Thumbs up for Nexus 7

      I've asked for one for Christmas. The rest of the family has iPads.

      //independent streak

    2. Martin

      Re: Thumbs up for Nexus 7

      Don't entirely agree with you.

      My Kobo lives in my inside coat pocket, which means I always have it with me. (The Kindle 4 is exactly the same size, so works as well).

      The Nexus 7 is too heavy to carry in a coat pocket, and imho still a bit too heavy to use regularly as an e-reader.

      With the Kobo/Kindle, I only have to charge it twice a MONTH. Rather better than every other day.

      But as mentioned in the article - they are now cheap enough to have BOTH, and make your own mind up.

      1. Toxteth O'Gravy

        Re: Thumbs up for Nexus 7

        Sorry to contradict, but a coat pocket is exactly where my Nexus 7 lives when it's not in use. Fits in the big pockets on my winter overcoat; fits into the pocket inlay in my denim jacket when I'm wearing that. Likewise the inner and outer pockets of my Berghaus hiking coat.

        I charge my Nexus every week or so, but I do keep the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS (don't need this, personally) turned off. Wi-Fi goes on once a week to check for updates, and that's it.

        1. JB

          Re: Thumbs up for Nexus 7

          Mine's the one with a Nexus 7 in the pocket. :)

        2. quarky

          Re: Thumbs up for Nexus 7

          Yep, mine fits in my motorcycle jacket pocket too. For my suit jacket inside pocket, I often need to take it out of its case, but it fits fine.

    3. quarky
      Thumb Up

      Re: Thumbs up for Nexus 7

      Yep. More than 40 books this year, and 90%+ on the Nexus7 (and it's Playbook predecessor). A great multi-function device!

  3. Citizen Kaned

    any recommendations for a 70 year old with parkinsons?

    i want to get my dad a tablet for xmas.

    he loves music and has loads of audio books.

    any recommendations?

    im thinking of the nexus 7, nexus 10 or ipad. not sure how easy the buttons will be to use on the 7" tablets. the ipad mini needs a new version from what i read, not that anyone can buy them at present.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: any recommendations for a 70 year old with parkinsons?

      32gb Nexus 7 - 179 quid atm from CarphoneWarehouse. 3% cashback if you use quidco too :)

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: any recommendations for a 70 year old with parkinsons?

      I'm very much a fan of the iPad (I'm currently on my second), but it's got a rubbish speaker. If there's any background noise at all, then you won't hear it. To be fair, it's pretty decent quality, not much distortion for a little'un. I can't remember which of the 'Droids I saw reviewed that came out better - either Nexus 7 or one of Samsung's I think. Of course, if he's going to listen on headphones or dock, then I'd go iOS, because my experience of Android last year was that the music apps weren't too good.

      And iTunes (though somewhat horrible) does manage podcasts (and music) in one simple-ish place - at least for someone who's not willing to spend a bit of time setting up something better.

      1. Martin
        Thumb Up

        Re: any recommendations for a 70 year old with parkinsons?

        Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 - 10.1" screen for £258 (and a fifty quid cashback, so only £208 eventually).

        (Used to be £238 when I bought it two weeks ago from John Lewis.)

      2. Jason Hall

        @I ain't Spartacus

        The Nexus 7 may be a great tablet - but if you don't like the ipad speaker, then beware of the Nexus.

        Quiet and crap quality. This also goes for when you're using headphones/earphones too.

        Otherwise a great (cheap-ish) tablet.

        1. Citizen Kaned

          Re: @I ain't Spartacus

          cheers Jason Hall

          i think sound quality is the least of his worries!

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: @I ain't Spartacus

            Citizen Kaned,

            I wonder if it's worth looking at a Windows RT tablet? I've not played with one, so I'm not recommending it, but I do have Win Phone 7. The Metro buttons and writing get regularly criticised for being too big. Well, that's an advantage in this case, and with WinRT you can now make them even bigger.

            Onscreen keyboards are going to be a problem, but you can get one that's not too heavy with a slidey keyboard, or get the Surface with a clip-on one. That's if he wants to send emails.

            As another thing to test, I wonder if he'll find it easier to point with a stylus than with a finger? Worth an experiment. If so, full-fat Windows 8 on a tablet might be a bit of a stretch, but Samsung do a 7" and a 10" Galaxy Note.

            1. Citizen Kaned

              Re: @I ain't Spartacus

              I ain't Spartacus - cheers bud.

              yeah, i need to look into surface. is it just the metro or is the desktop available? i was thinking about that earlier.

              stylus might or might not be good. i just dont know. he used to be a draughtsman and decent artist until this bloody terrible disease.

              does anyone know of any shops that have all these tablets to look at? is surface RT available to buy offline (i.e. shops?)

              1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                Re: @I ain't Spartacus

                From memory MS aren't selling Surface anywhere except online, or in their own shops. For some idiotic reason known only to their internal bureaucracy... Oh, and I don't think they have an shops in Blighty.

                Surface doesn't have a stylus though, as I don't believe WinRT can handle them. For that you need full fat Windows 8. Again, WinRT has a limited 'desktop mode' only for MS's own apps. Basically to get the lightness and power-savings of ARM chips, MS have given you a bigger Windows Phone/Metro, rather than a cut down Windows. WinRT will be the cheaper tablets to rival the 'droids/iPad, Windows 8 is the touchscreen friendly update, and will be on the ultrabooks, convertible tablets and more expensive (heavier) kit.

                If he used to be a good penman, then it's definitely worth trying him out on something with a stylus. Also try and find the ones with the fattest stylus you can? The old HP Wacom digitiser ones were brilliant, and really comfortable to hold. Thin ones are hard for people who aren't ill to use.

                Carphone Warehouse have a decent selection of tablets, with iPad, Nexus 7 and various others. I don't remember seeing a Samsung Note one though. PC World have got some Windows 8 / WinRT ones, plus had the Samsung Galaxy Note 10", iPads and various smaller 'droids. John Lewis also have a small selection.

                1. Citizen Kaned

                  Re: @I ain't Spartacus

                  cheers again I ain't Spartacus

                  talked to dad last night and he wants office on the tablet. after looking it seems surface RT comes with basic office, which will do him.

                  also talked stylus as his right side is knackered now i think a stylus isnt going to be of any use.

                  also said a physical keyboard might be better for him. plus at least he knows how to use windows so looking like surface RT with the better keyboard might be the best option.

                  thanks for your help guys!

                  1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                    Re: @I ain't Spartacus

                    All that seems sensible. Although using WinRT isn't like using Windows. It's basically Metro, which you can see on Windows 8 laptops, or Windows Phone. Even if you can't find a Surface tablet to play with. So you might want to make sure he's aware of that. It's very easy to use, easier than Android in my opinion, but you do get less control.

                    The full fat keyboard seems like a sensible idea. On-screen keyboards are probably the worst option for someone with Parkinsons. Although saying that, it may be worth considering the Swype keyboards on Android. Because with those, you put your finger on the glass, and then slide it round, which might lessen the shaking and make it easier to control - seeing as your hand is supported by the tablet. Rather than pecking away at the normal type. But having your hands resting on the home keys of a proper keyboard seems like an even better option to me.

                    Hope it works out well.

                    1. Citizen Kaned

                      Re: @I ain't Spartacus

                      cheers again. from what i have read surface RT still lets you access windows desktop too. am i wrong here?

                      ive tried win8 pro on a laptop (non touchscreen) and it wasnt to my liking but im thinking for basic web, music, office, email etc it will be fine for him.

                      cheers for your help mate! merry christmas!

                      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                        Re: @I ain't Spartacus

                        cheers again. from what i have read surface RT still lets you access windows desktop too. am i wrong here?

                        Citizen Kaned,

                        I don't want to contradict you if you've actually done some research, which I haven't. My memory is that there is a desktop available on WinRT, but it's limited to MS programs. So I guess you might use it for the Office stuff that comes with it and possibly Internet Explorer. Everything else would go through Metro. Given how easy to use Metro is, and that you can change the size of the icons, so the ones you use most are bigger, I don't see why you'd bother with the desktop - unless maybe you were working on multiple documents. Which doesn't seem a very tablet-y thing to do. Until I've played with it, or read a full review of it, I can't be much help.

                        PC World may have a WinRT tablet from Asus or someone to play with to check out how this works.

                        I had my first little look at full-fat Windows 8 on Saturday. I'm not sure about Metro. Although, to be honest, I don't use my home PC for all that much any more anyway. It gets used for music and BBC iPlayer, managing photos, internet, a bit of very light spreadsheetery, and a very small amount of light gaming. It's years since I played an FPS or EVE Online. So I'm tempted by it, as a cheap way of saying goodbye to Vista. I don't think there's a massive amount wrong with Metro, it's just not what I'm used to, and will probably annoy me and force me to work round it. In fairness, it's probably no worse than hunting through nested menus of programs. For the 10 or so programs I now mostly use, it may actually be better than the desktop.

                        It's not going anywhere near my work PC though. But as I said, for basic use I suspect it may actually be better.

      3. uhuznaa

        Re: any recommendations for a 70 year old with parkinsons?

        The speaker in my Nexus 7 is *much* quieter than the speakers in the iPad mini. It's one of the weakest points of that tablet.

    3. Michael Sauerbrey

      Re: any recommendations for a 70 year old with parkinsons?

      My mother-in-law (93) has no parkinsons and even so it is very difficult for her to get iPad-icons to behave. Either she points at the wrong ones and is lost or she doesn't take her fingers away quickly enough so "they all start to wiggle" or something else happens - her nurse has to help her so often the iPad has no appeal. I'm not sure any device without solid knobs is fit for people with parkinsons.

      Let him try your smartphone - if he is able to open a website and navigate it you can get him a touch-thingy, otherwise look for something else. With

      1. Citizen Kaned

        Re: any recommendations for a 70 year old with parkinsons?

        good call Michael Sauerbrey

        might let him try my iphone, see how he does with a touch screen.

        he has asymmetrical parkinson's so his left side isnt as badly affected as the right. pity for him he was right handed!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: any recommendations for a 70 year old with parkinsons?

      They're not tablets, but the Sony Reader line has audio out and supports MP3 playback. If you dad likes reading it might make a good buy.

  4. LAGMonkey


    Battery life?

    1. NightFox

      Re: Sooo.......

      That's the e-ink device appeal for me, I've got both an iPad and a Kindle (recently upgraded from the original to a backlit one). You can argue to your hearts content whether an e-ink reader is easier to read than a tablet but the killer feature for me is that I can sit down on a plane, pull my Kindle out that I've not touched for 2-3 weeks and not charged for months, and the battery will still be at 80%.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Sooo.......

        Exactly. The Nexus is too heavy and eats battery; the Kobo Touch (I'm investigating the Glo this weekend) last for weeks and is half the weight.

        Different tools for different jobs; jacks of all trades rarely seem to be masters of any.

      2. D@v3

        Re: Sooo.......

        I reckon my Sony e-reader must have a duff battery. If I leave it switched off for 2-3 weeks, I can almost guarantee that next time I want to use it, I'll need to charge it overnight first. The odd thing is, not only has it always been like that, but it seems to last longer if I use it regularly.

  5. squilookle

    I'm currently using an HP TouchPad running Android for reading. It's a bit too hefty to take to work, but it's fine for around the house and was fine on the plane when I went on holiday last week.

    I use it to watch NetFlix and play the odd game too, but I'm considering a Kindle for serious and more portable reading.

  6. Marco van de Voort

    EInk: Battery and readability

    In addition to Nightfox's battery remark, for me EInk (I have a iRiver story HD) is way better.

    While backlit tablets read better in low lighting, reading a lit surface in a dark area is more fatiguing. So unless you specifically target places with bad lighting (planes mostly), I'd go for EInk.

    Between EInk devices, ask around, battery life and startup time can be worth shelling out a few tenners extra if you are a heavy user. (my old story HD takes nearly a minute to come from sleep and load the book. Not a dealbreaker, but any improvement would be great, as long as it doesn't reduce battery life too much)

  7. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Advice please.

    Can I tap the hivemind of the Commentardiat please?

    I'm helping someone with the triple play of macular degeneration, cataracts and arthritis. Looks like they can't nuke the cataracts any more without risking making the MD worse. Oops. So her eyesight is going to deteriorate further, but seems to be going slowly.

    What's the picture like for large ebook readers nowadays? I believe there's no-more Kindle 10", but are there any other decent bigger ones out there? The problem is that getting the text to a big enough size for her to be able to read it on a 5" ereader means that the words are so big you're only getting one per line. That makes it unusable.

    If I go the tablet route I'm thinking we'll have the same problem with the 7 inchers, but there's the Samsung 8-piont-someting and a mid-sized Motorola. The iPad 10" is too heavy - plastic and thin is better here. I need to get some info together before taking them to the shops for a little hands-on testing. Sadly the local charity resource centre for visually impaired people only has specialist kit, and doesn't seem to have realised that there's cheap and excellent mainstream shiny out there to do this job now.

    Any thoughts on the above gratefully received. Also she wants library books, so I've got to cope with Adobe Digital Editions DRM. Spit!

    1. frank ly

      Re: Advice please.

      I assume she'll be doing her reading at home... I'd honestly suggest that you get her a 17" laptop, rigged to start up with an e-book reader app, such as Mobipocket, etc., with font preset to a suitable size. Learning how to use a mouse should be easy and the cursor can be made big and obvious.

      "I've got to cope with Adobe Digital Editions DRM." I'm not saying anything at this point, except that you can easily manage to wrangle stuff with Calibre and do some internet driving for her every couple of weeks or so. :)

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Advice please.


        She's got a laptop, but they're very hard to manage. In order to get the screen close enough to be readable it's got to be sat on a tray table at the armchair, or she's got to be sitting at a desk. Which was why I thought a light tablet was a good idea. Also, I want to see if eInk is going to be easier on her eyes than a backlit screen. That seems to be entirely a matter of personal taste.

        Ergonomics is as much of a problem as text size / clarity. Most people with visual problems are older, and large print books weigh a ton...

        Finally you have a good point about DRM *ahem*. However I don't believe that her or her husband are going to be up to hacking their books and converting formats. They'll struggle just to authorise devices. I'm trying to persuade them to go the Kindle app route, and pay for books, just for ease of use. Otherwise my suspicion is that the difficulty of getting the bugger to work will mean no books - which is worse than fewer books due to having to pay.

        If my Mum wanted ebooks, I'd send her the Kindle route. Even though I don't totally trust it, any other option is too much hassle for people who don't want to learn more complicated processes.

        1. John Gamble

          Re: Advice please.

          Ah, this turns my usual advice upside-down.

          I normally recommend the e-ink devices, but in her case the ability to easily increase font size plus lighting the screen trumps portability and long battery charge. (Yes quibblers, I know one can increase font size on an e-reader, but it's a bit more easy and effective on a tablet.)

          Since there are Kindle, Kobo, and Nook apps for Android devices, she's covered there.

          Huh, I just checked, and Calibre has an app too, although it uses the books stored on a local wi-fi network.

          (I would be pushing Calibre as a dedicated option too -- it's the best e-book program out there -- except you said that the laptop option wasn't really for her.)

          Good luck.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Advice please.


            Thanks. Using Calibre as a wireless book server makes some sense. They've got a laptop, and they need to authorise the books with Adobe's programme on the laptop. I don't believe Adobe digital editions has a tablet version. That's another thing to check. But the 8.5" Samsung does look like a good option.

            Also, I am worried by the more limited number of font sizes on the eReaders. I'm hoping for someone with direct experience of the bigger ones to comment.

            Thanks for the suggestions guys.

    2. James 51

      Re: Advice please.

      A playbook is a decent choice (it has overdrive as an app) but if you can wait until June next year:

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Advice please.


        Interesting, thanks. I think 8" is the sweet-spot. Not so interested in colour here, but that's an interesting product. Although I'll take their June release date with a whole cellar full of salt.

  8. ssu

    Samsung Tab 7 an option?

    I had a look at small tablets in a couple of retailers and the Nexus 7 was hard to read in shop light, let alone in sunlight. The Samsung Tab 2 7 next to it seemed to be far more readable to me.

    But for ease of use and readability in direct sunlight the non touch Kindles are the best bet, Adding touch also adds a bit of a gloss surface. I have a non touch Kindle and it has been fine in the brightest of sunlight and even copes well on a yacht with the added reflections of the sun from the sea.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Samsung Tab 7 an option?

      Did you try adjusting the brightness? I was playing with a phone in the shop the other day, and it had the auto-brightness setting on. The shop was dark-ish, but there was a spot shining straight onto the screen. So I turned the brightness to manual and full - screen then looked really nice.

      I struggled with auto brightness on both Android and Windows Mobile, and ended up doing it manually.

  9. Spiracle


    To be fair you don't actually own the information in a copyrighted tree-book either, just the ink and cellulose. In practise it's fairly difficult to separate the two of course.

    Now that the e-reader market is getting mature you can pick up a reading device on eBay for £15-20 or so. Load it up with as many of your books as you like, slap on a hard password to lock down the OS and you can lend somebody your entire library. If they don't give it back (and I've lost count of the books that I've got on 'permanent loan' with somebody or other) you can deregister it from the bookseller's system and you're only down the price of a hardback. And you can still read the books yourself.

    1. Toxteth O'Gravy

      Re: Ownership

      Can't remote-wipe a tree-book unless they burn down your house. But at least with an e-book you don't have to insure your library in case of fire - if you e-reader goes up in smoke, by a new one and just re-download.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ownership

      I bet the publishers would see that as unauthorised copying of digital content - in the same way the microsoft's 'you can use this OS on x devices at home' doesn't stretch to installing on 5 machines and 'lending' them to 4 of your mates.

      If you're going to bring on the wrath of a media organisation then you may as well just 'install' copies of the book onto a USB and 'lend' that instead. If you don't get it back then you're down the cost of a cheap usb stick and don't have the hassle of deregistering a device.

      1. Mark #255

        Re: Ownership

        Not true.

        Our kobo account is hooked up to two e-readers, three tablets and a netbook. I've heard the limit is eight simultaneous devices.

  10. Christopher Rogers
    Paris Hilton

    Tablets v e-readers

    Is there a comparison to make here? 1 is a multimedia device with "an app for that" (reading) and the other is solely for displaying the written word....

    1. Toxteth O'Gravy

      Re: Tablets v e-readers

      There is. A lot of 7in tablet owners I know - and me too - use one pretty much solely for reading.

  11. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Title of the article was:

    The best e-readers for Christmas

    So it was a comparison of e-readers and tablets used as e-readers. The article then pointed out that tablets do more, and cost a bit more (though the cheapest not that much more).

    Perhaps if your tablet were a better e-reader you'd have noticed what the article was about...

    1. Christopher Rogers

      And my point is how can you compare e-ink e-readers to LCD or whatever tech tablets? Or was it just that you wanted to get a sarcastic wee comment in there cos just.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Perhaps I was over-grumpy. But the article actually covers your point. So it's not as if they hadn't thought about it.

        To put things a different way, "I have £150 to spend, what portable tech can I get for that money that I can read books on?" To which the answer is, an eBook reader or a small tablet. Then the article discusses pro's and con's. I think that's a pretty good argument to say you can compare the 2. They cost similar amounts, and do some similar things, it would be stupid not to compare them.

        I don't really understand your objection. LCDs are different to eInk screens, this is discussed, and it's then a matter of what you prefer. Obviously multi-purpose tablets do more than eBook readers, but don't do reading as well (in some peoples' opinion).

        For example, I prefer real books, but I never read outside in the sun and don't want to be locked into Kindle. I also don't find LCD screens tiring on the eyes, and would use a smallish device with web and GPS. For me the Nexus 7 is a no-brainer, should I chose to go the eBook route.

        For someone who prefers the eInk screen, good luck to them. They lose functionality, but if they only want to read, eInk is probably the correct choice. Or as the article states, at these prices, they could afford both.

        So if you're complaining about the article (did you read it?), then I think you're being unfair. It specifically covers your objections. If you're making a point that you can't compare the two types of devices, you're patently wrong. You can. This article does. Other people have. They are comparable options, with different use-cases, advantages and disadvantages. What's the problem?

  12. The Indomitable Gall

    Bedtime reading...?

    Given the constant claims that backlit screens are particularly bad for messing up melatonin production, isn't it worth pointing out that an e-ink based screen is a far better option for your wee bittie bedtime reading...?

    1. Silverburn

      Re: Bedtime reading...?

      Who claims this? Sounds improbable. Isn't melatonin linked to Vit D production, which itself - in this context - instigated by UV?

      Of course, I might be wrong - if so, cue correction in 3....2...1...

      1. Marco van de Voort

        Re: Bedtime reading...?

        Afaik the retina has some cells that are triggered by blue light that also play a part in day-night rhythm.

        IOW it should be fixable by setting your tablet background to red :)

        1. johnnytruant

          Re: Bedtime reading...?

          I used a little program called redshift on my ubuntu laptop to drop the colour temperature in the night-hours. I believe similar apps are available for other platforms. It makes a huge difference to eyestrain, haven't noticed particular impact on my (admittedly awful) sleeping patterns.

          Broadly speaking blue light wakes you up, red light makes you sleepy.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Bedtime reading...?

            Broadly speaking blue light wakes you up, red light makes you sleepy.

            Doh! That explains it!

            Now I understand why I was struggling not to fall asleep, 'afterwards', in the brothel, but was suddenly wide awake when I'd been carted off to the police station...

  13. James 51

    Next Christmas this might be a very different article with colour ereaders about to hit the mainstream.

  14. Robert Grant Silver badge

    Craziest score there: iPad Mini vs Kindle Paperwhite

    Battery life: Kindle massively wins

    Cross-device book portability: Kindle wins

    PPI: Kindle wins (212 vs 162)

    Weight: Kindle wins (213g vs 308g)

    Price: Kindle wins

    Reading in daylight: Kindle wins

    Reading at night: Draw

    Free 3G: Kindle wins (for the 3G version)

    And yet they're rated the same? Are you joking, El Reg? Probably on all of those useful eBook reader properties every device here beats the iPad Mini. Stop inflating iPad scores all the time.

    And yes, blah blah general-purpose, other apps, whatever. The review is for eBook readers. Obviously the Mini beats these readers at other tasks.

    1. csumpi

      Re: Craziest score there: iPad Mini vs Kindle Paperwhite

      I agree with everything you said, but I want to add one more point.

      Glossy screens suck. They are absolutely useless outside, semi useless inside (unless you are in a completely dark room).

      With laptops getting touch screens, it's hard to even find those with matte screens anymore. This world is going insane.

  15. Michael Sauerbrey

    I luve my BB playbook

    ... which is not even mentioned here. I have read several hundred sites of different ebooks, in bed, on train and elsewhere, used the DocumentsToGo for IT device inventory, have my favorite movie clips on it etc. etc.

    The thing is still not mature, as the Android app compatibility is nothing to boast about, but experiences seem to differ.

    And if you *really* wish to stand out of the masses - use one of them Symbian Nokia touchphones with Albite Reader ;-)

  16. Dom 3

    In praise of the codex.

    I'm reading a paperback thriller. It cost me a one pound donation to a school in Africa. I can read it in the bath. When I'm done with it I can return it whence it came. How is a Kindle better?

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Re: In praise of the codex.

      Can't speak for the Kindle but I have a Kobo touch with over 250 books loaded, yes it cost more than £1 but a lot less than £250 (including media) so per volume it's cheaper than woodpulp-tech. It also weighs a little less than a stack of 250 books.

      Another advantage is if I fall asleep and drop it while reading it stays on the same page unlike woodpulp-tech which has the "automatic random page selection" feature.

      So assuming the Kindle is much the same (reasonable assumption I think) as the Kobo, that's how an eInk reader is better, at least for me, I suppose YMMV.

  17. ContentsMayVary

    The Times Newspaper seems to like the Nexus 7...

    Seems the Times Newspaper likes the Nexus 7, since they'll give you one for £50 if you take out an 18 month sub for the newspaper. (Seems like a good deal if you were actually going to read the Times...)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tablets are NOT e-readers!

    E-readers were designed to substitute books. Books don't have to be recharged every couple of hours. Therefore tablets fall at the first design hurdle as far as a book replacement is concerned. Couple that with the increased eye-strain when bright, back-lit screens are used in darkened rooms and you have something that's a vastly inferior reading experience compared to a book or an e-ink e-reader.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. ContentsMayVary

      Re: Tablets are NOT e-readers!

      I can read on my Nexus 7 for more than 12 hours (reading, not playing games of course).

      That's more than 6 times as long as time you mentioned...

      I personally don't suffer from eyestrain when reading backlit text (I'd have a nasty time doing my job otherwise), but I do find it easier to read ebooks. I'd have thought the solution to that problem would be to, you know, not sit reading in a dark room?

      However, does anyone read actual real books in darkened rooms? With some kind of magic see-in-the-dark eyes?

      1. johnnytruant

        Re: Tablets are NOT e-readers!

        "I personally don't suffer from eyestrain when reading backlit text, but I do find it easier to read ebooks."

        So what you're saying is that you do suffer from eyestrain with transmissive screens - albeit mildly - because eInk causes less strain on your eyes? Don't worry, that's perfectly normal. Eyestrain doesn't have to mean sore eyes.

        Reading in the 'dark' was one of those things long-touted as causing eyestrain, but recent research suggests it's not actually the case. I read "in the dark" with a little clip-on led light, just enough to see by but not enough to wake up the person sleeping next to me. My personal feeling is that the difference in the amount of work your eyes have to do with different screen technologies is to do with refresh rates, colour temperature and resolution.

  19. ContentsMayVary

    Nah, I don't get any eye strain at all. I spend all day reading computer screens - I'm a software developer!

    I tell you what I do find makes the most difference - using a 10 inch tablet rather than 7 inch ones (including the Kindle). Reading on my wife's Nexus 10 is amazingly better than reading on a Kindle.

  20. ContentsMayVary

    (Can't edit my previous reply)

    I meant to mention: My wife's pretty much stopped using her Kindle at home now. She always uses her Nexus 10 instead.

    1. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re; Nexus 10 better

      Just curious as to why that is. I have a Kindle 4, which I really like, but if there's a better option out there then I'd be interested to know what the advantages are.

  21. Carrawaystick

    Using American Nooks in Britain

    Can you use a nook simple touch bought in US with a british Nook account?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    85% for all the top 3

    But clearly the Nexus 7 blows all the others right out the water. What gives???

  23. rodster

    Your nexus 7 image is a tad large....

    1,843.64 kB (1,887,884 bytes)

    2,381px × 2,239px (scaled to 640px × 602px)

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iPad Mini feels the best and if you have Kindle books you just install the Kindle app - but the point is you would either buy a Nexus 7 if you want Android or iPad Mini if you want iOS - quite why you would buy a dedicated (locked in Kindle)...?

  25. Dave Bell

    There are a lot of different tablets

    There are a lot of different Android tablets about, some of them surprisingly cheap, and with varying features. I think you still need Google Play access to get the Kindle reader app. Android 4, multi-touch screen, HDMI output, Micro SD slot: that's a quite common set of features, though the cheap hardware is thicker and heavier than a Nexus 7.

    And I know people who use mifi gadgets that use wifi to connect to your computer.

    It needs careful thought, but a useful tablet can be bought for around half the price of a Nexus 7. If you're thinking of essentially domestic use, around the house, do you need GPS or some of the other sensors? But I still would want Bluetooth.

    There is no single answer.

    1. Al Jones

      Re: There are a lot of different tablets

      You don't need a Google Play account to get the Kindle App - you can used the Amazon App Store instead, and get your Kindle App from Amazon!

  26. JB

    Tablet reading apps

    I have a Kindle 3 and a nexus 10. i tend to use the Kindle for general reading, and any reading on the Nexus is textbooks or illustrated books. A genuine question, though: which apps do you used in android to read ebooks, especially ePubs? the ones I've looked at are pretty ropey, or are linked to online booksellers.

    Incidentally, will El Reg be publishing a review of the Nexus 10? I'd be interested in their take on it.

  27. stuartnz
    Thumb Up

    Fewer distractions = more reading

    I find that when I want to get on and read, my Kindle wins hands down, not just for the quality of the visual experience, but because it's only a book. When I read on my Nexus 7, I'm always getting distracted by notifications from Twitter, Facebook and GMail. The Kindle's singular focus is great for my lazy mind, obviating any need for self-discipline, and allowing me no choice but to keep reading.

  28. Rambler88

    pixel dimensions of Nook e-reader screen; format exclusiveness

    The article implies that the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight has a "758 x 1024 panel rather than the 600 x 800 of the previous generation of E Ink-made screens".

    According to Barnes & Noble at the dimensions of the 6-inch screen are 600x800, with a resolution of 167 ppi. If this is incorrect, I'd love to know it--the specs are handy for making screensavers. Haven't had time to check with B&N yet, or to do much research. The display, in any case, is much clearer than those numbers might suggest--in fact, excellently clear, so much so that I can't see room for improvement in the resolution. (I've spent a lot of time doing QC on type, on-screen and on paper, so I'm hypersensitive to resolution.)

    As to format exclusiveness, I gather that one can download conversion software to go from Word, etc., to ePub, and vice versa. So that looks like it might be an answer the issues of format and long-term ownership of the e-book, if one has the time and a bit of know-how.

    I've only had the Nook a few days, but very impressed so far. Very intuitive interface--I figured most of it out in about an hour without looking at the manual.

  29. paulc

    bleeping LoveFilm...

    Amazon will only stream it to Kindle Fires... My Galaxy S2 is perfectly capable of handling the stream, but Amazon won't bless it... won't work on Linux either as it needs DRM and that doesn't work on the Moonlight client...

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I do hope there isn't a patent on the "e-readers with lights" thing

    Because adding lights at the side of an otherwise non-backlit display is an attachment I had for my original Gameboy.

  31. Dana W

    I carry a Kindle 3 AND a Nexus 7. I still have room for an iPad mini.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Huge Gap!

    These devices are nothing without their content, yet not a word about this topic. I can't understand how this could be omitted.

    I still cringe about the (small) iTunes app and music libray that I had to throw away when I was finally annoyed enough by Apple's crazy restrictions that I sold the iPod and went Android. Multiple format compatibility, lock-in, etc are a deal breaker to me. I was hoping to learn all about the different formats, the DRM restrictions, the different sources for e-books. Can someone enlighten me?

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