Take a shelf-full of books on the road with our pick of the very best e-readers currently on the market.

For many people, a good book is one of the first things they grab before heading out on a trip. Whether you’re packing for a long-distance haul or a much-needed holiday, it’s all but essential to bring along something good to read. The problem is, books can be big and heavy – and sometimes, just choosing one to bring with you is not enough.

The solution is to switch to an e-reader. These devices are tailor-made to offer a first-class reading experience, with displays that can give the feeling of reading on real paper – unlike tablet computer screens, which are harshly backlit and uncomfortable for lengthy reading.

Here in the UK, there are two main manufacturers: Amazon and Kobo. Both offer built-in bookstores where you can buy books with a few clicks, and regular sales cab see e-books offered with hefty discounts over paper volumes. Plus, a wide variety can even be downloaded for free, including books by big-name authors.

It’s also worth mentioning e-books can be borrowed from your public library. Kobos make this process pretty simple, though some jiggery-pokery is required to get library books onto Amazon devices. That said, Amazon Prime customers can borrow thousands of books for free as part of their subscription.

So without further ado, let’s jump in and see what’s out there…

Kindle
Manufacturer: Amazon
Web: Buy it from Amazon
Price: £69.99 (with ads) / £79.99 (without ads)
When it comes to e-readers, the best place to start is with Amazon’s Kindle. Perhaps of the granddaddy of such devices, the entry-level Kindle still packs a mighty punch in terms of features. With a 167 ppi, 6 inch anti-glare e-Ink touchscreen with adjustable four-LED front light, it’s fantastic to read on during the day or night and the battery lasts for weeks. Available in black or white, you can get it for a tenner cheaper if you don’t mind ads displayed on the lock screen. A range of accessories are also offered for all Kindle models, ranging from inexpensive covers to premium leather cases.

Kindle Paperwhite
Manufacturer: Amazon
Web: Buy it from Amazon
Price: From £119.99 (with ads) / £129.99 (without ads)
Stepping up the Kindle range brings us to the Paperwhite, which for our money is the very best all-rounder e-reader on the market if you factor in form, function, features and price. Available in a range of colours with 8 or 32 GB (plus a 32GB model with free mobile connectivity, should you want to download books away from WIFI), Paperwhite’s 6 inch e-Ink screen is its star feature. With a 300 ppi resolution and five white LEDS, the display has a paper-like look in sun or shade. Plus, Paperwhite is also fully waterproof, so it won’t matter if you drop it in the bath.

Kindle Oasis
Manufacturer: Amazon
Web: Buy it from Amazon
Price: From £229.99
If you’re looking for the crème-de-la-crème of e-readers, this is it. Made for utmost luxury, Kindle Oasis is for the most diehard book-lovers. It’s large 7 inch, 300 ppi e-Ink Paperwhite screen packs in a whopping 25 LEDs for the most even illumination, and it also enables users to select a warmer (orange) glow instead of white – much better for reading at night without affecting your sleep patterns. Plus, Oasis features physical buttons for page-turning, which in our opinion is much better than tapping the screen (though you can still do it this way if you like). Like the Paperwhite, Oasis is fully waterproof and available in 8GB or 32GB flavours (plus free mobile connectivity if required). Battery lasts for weeks, it’s super-slick to operate and it’s also very thin and light. However, it’s unusual ‘ergonomic’ shape can take a bit of getting used to. But if price is no object, the Oasis should be at the top of your wish list.

kobo Libra H20
Manufacturer: kobo
Web: Buy it from Kobo Store
Price: £149.99
Amazon isn’t the only manufacturer producing e-readers, and kobo is perhaps its closest rival. Its Libra H20 model has a form factor similar to Amazon’s Oasis, two physical page-turn buttons, and a 300 ppi e-Ink display with front lighting which can also be changed from white to yellow for night reading. It’s waterproof, can be used right- or left-handed and even in landscape mode (much like the Oasis), but the price is significantly less. The downside, perhaps, is kobo’s bookstore is not quite so smoothly integrated as Amazon’s – and the selection doesn’t seem quite as wide. However, Libra can read a wide range of file formats, so it’s certainly versatile if you don’t mind a bit of faff.

kobo Clara HD
Manufacturer: kobo
Web: Buy it from Kobo Store
Price: £109
Kobo’s Clara HD is a capable mid-range e-reader that’s small, sleek and provides a smooth reading experience. Packing a 6 inch e-Ink display with 300 ppi resolution, the device also has an adjustable and colour-changing front light. Besides some gripes with its native bookstore, the major downside here is the lack of waterproofing.

kobo nia HD
Manufacturer: kobo
Web: Buy it from Kobo Store
Price: £89.99
The Nia HD is Clara’s slightly more basic sibling, offering slightly smaller feature set for a bit less money. It still has a glare-free 6 inch e-Ink display with adjustable ComfortLight and a battery that lasts for ages, plus it’s 8GB of onboard memory can store thousands of books. But again, it’s not waterproof and it’s reading experience feels pretty basic when compared to the competition.

Kobo Forma
Manufacturer: kobo
Web: Buy it from Kobo Store
Price: £239.99
Those after an e-reader with an extra-large screen should look no further than the kobo Forma. With its whopping 8 inch, 300 ppi e-Ink screen, it’s most definitely a big boy – and is less comfortable to hold in one hand as a result. But while it may feel a bit cumbersome (despite its textured back), it’s build quality is second to none. This device has a premium feel, is waterproof, offers a lit screen and has physical page-turn buttons, which are nice to use. It can also be used left- or right-handed, or landscape should you prefer. And in addition to the built-in kobo bookstore, you can also add books to the Forma by simply dragging and dropping them into a Dropbox account. Simple!

 

Articles

Kelsey Media Ltd
The Granary, Downs Court
Yalding Hil, Yalding
Kent, ME18 6AL
01959 541444
www.kelsey.co.uk

© 2021 Kelsey Media Ltd