I’ve been looking to get an eReader for quite some time now. I love to read, but for various reasons (none of them good), I don’t get around to reading as much as I’d like. I think an eReader would be right up my alley. It would appease the geek in me and, to make the purchase worthwhile, I would likely force myself to read more. And so I’ve had my eye on the Amazon Kindle. A few of my friends own Kindles and couldn’t be happier with their purchases. Not to mention that the Kindle has been the go-to eReader for a while now. So now I’m finally ready to buckle down and make my purchase when what happens? Barnes & Noble and Kobo waltz into the room and make my life more difficult.
Earlier this week, both companies announced their impressive new readers, both of which seem capable of giving the Kindle a run for its money. What’s worse is that neither of them blow Amazon’s device out of the water. Why is that worse? Because now I actually have to research my options. I have a decision to make, which means I’m almost definitely going to feel buyer’s remorse at some point.
Let’s break it down.
We’re looking at the Barnes & Noble Nook WiFi, the Kobo eReader Touch Edition, and the current generation Amazon Kindle. The Kindle is the only reader that offers 3G, with that model being $189. Both the WiFi Kindle and the Nook WiFi are $139, with the WiFi-capable Kobo eReader Touch being ten dollars cheaper at $129. When you’re already dropping a hundred plus, ten bucks doesn’t really change anything.
The Kindle has the biggest onboard storage at 4GB, the Nook has 2GB, and the Kobo just 1GB. However, both the Kobo eReader and the Nook support microSD cards up to 32GB. All that being said, this talk of storage seems rather silly. These are ebooks. 1GB of space is enough to hold roughly one thousand books.
Size and Power
The Kindle is slightly bigger, both in weight and dimensions, but that’s due to its physical keyboard. The Kindle features 38 buttons, while the other two devices both feature one solitary button, with both companies claiming this streamlines the experience. All devices feature a 6-inch Pearl E Ink screen, with the Nook and the Kobo being touchscreens. The 800MHz processors on the Nook and Kobo should result in ever-so-slightly faster page turning than the Kindle’s 532MHz.
Then there’s the battery life, with each device sporting a life that’s far too long to even matter. The Kobo can go two weeks on a single charge, the Nook and Kindle two months. Granted, that’s taking into consideration certain limited reading times, which was something like 30 minutes a day. While an avid reader would likely spend more time reading, even at two hours a day, that’s still a couple of weeks on a single charge. Either way, unless you’re going on an expedition to the arctic, I don’t think you need to worry about battery power.
Finally, there’s the most important factor: ebook formats. The standard format for ebooks, at least on mobile devices, is the EPUB, short for electronic publication. This has been the standard for a while, but the Kindle defies this, instead opting for its own MOBI format, making its rise to power all the more impressive. The Nook and the Kobo both support EPUBs, which is the deciding factor for me, personally. All three devices also support PDFs, with the Kindle providing additional support for a host of crazy file types, the only easily recognizable of which being TXT files.
So in the end, it’s a pretty tight race. Myself, I think I’m going to go with the Nook WiFi, primarily due to the EPUB support, though the touch screen is appealing too. What are your thoughts on the current selection of eReaders? And if you own one, I’d love to hear what you think of it.