Decision aid: the 10 best e-readers of today (December 2020)

You used to take a suitcase full of books with you on holiday. Nowadays you no longer have to drag to read for a long holiday. An e-reader that weighs about 200 grams is enough to carry thousands of books and read for weeks on a single battery charge. What do you need to know about e-readers?

Top 10 Best Routers
  • 1. Amazon Kindle Oasis 3
  • 2. Kobo Forma
  • 3. Kobo Clara HD
  • 4. Kobo Aura H2O
  • 5. Amazon Kindle Paper White
  • 6. PocketBook AQUA 2
  • 7. PocketBook Touch Lux 4
  • 8. Amazon Kindle
  • 9. PocketBook InkPad 3
  • 10. Kobo Libra H2O
Tips for your router
  • Quiet screen/a>
  • Energy efficient
  • Relief
  • Own layout
  • Buy eBooks
Frequently Asked Questions
  • Can you share eBooks?
  • Are there free ebooks?
  • Are eBooks cheaper?
  • How many books fit on an e-reader?
  • Does an e-reader have disadvantages?
  • Why does the image of an e-reader flash?
  • How do you get the best battery life?
  • How do you operate an e-reader?
  • Can you also read e-books on other devices?
  • Can you do more than read on an e-reader?

Top 10 eReaders (December 2020)

1. Amazon Kindle Oasis 3

Read books in style 10 Score 100

+ Screen and backlight

+ Build quality

+ Scroll buttons

- Little news compared to Oasis 2

The top model in Amazon's range of e-readers is the Kindle Oasis 3. The metal construction is excellent, it is waterproof and the physical buttons make reading more pleasant. The LED-lit 300 ppi e-ink screen is very good, in our experience slightly better than other high-end alternatives. Of course the screen has lighting. It is nice that the lighting supports different color temperatures. In addition to its larger screen, the oasis also stands out because of the physical scroll buttons. This allows you to read with one hand, as you can scroll with your thumb while holding the Oasis. Read our review here.

2. Kobo Forma

Comfortable reading with one hand 8 Score 80

+ Physical browse buttons

+ Nice screen lighting

+ Big screen

- Scratch-sensitive housing

With the Forma, Kobo adds a new and special top model to its range of e-readers. For example, the Forma has a nice large eight-inch screen with a resolution of 1440 x 1920 pixels. Most notable, however, is the new design with scroll buttons in the wide side bezel. The buttons are incorporated in a wide edge so that you can grip the kobo without your thumb touching the screen. Weighing 197 grams, the Forma is light enough to hold with one hand. The scroll buttons can be used in any orientation because the image rotates automatically. The Kobo Forma is an excellent e-reader with a nice large screen, scroll buttons and nice screen lighting. The most beautiful e-reader of the moment is logically not cheap and the rubber-like finish is not very nice. Read our review here.

3. Kobo Clara HD

Waterproof with color temperature 8 Score 80

+ Coverage, capacity and performance

+ User-friendly

+ Zigbee and bluetooth

- No

The Kobo Clara HD is an e-reader with a 6-inch screen. Unfortunately, the Clara HD is not waterproof. If you often read on the beach or on the water, it is a nice thought that the gadget can handle this well. The Kobo Clara HD actually offers everything you expect from an e-reader, except for a waterproof housing. And that at a relatively low price. It is gradually time for a smoother OS, but apart from that there is really little to criticize about the device. The compact design is the main reason for choosing this e-reader. Thousands of books, literally in your pocket. That speaks volumes. Do you want to know more? Read our review here.

4. Kobo Aura H2O

Reading in the bath 8 Score 80

+ Reading comfort

+ Waterproof construction

+ Lighting

- slow

As far as the name doesn't give it away: the Kobo Aura H2O is waterproof. The Kobo Aura H20 is a solid e-reader that reads comfortably. For example, the screen with a size of 6.8 inches is larger than the standard 6 inch screen. It's also nice that the color of the backlight is adjustable, so you can read in the evening without blue light. Its waterproof housing and excellent battery life are also worth mentioning. However, the Kobo Aura H20 could work a little more smoothly. The Kobo Plus range and built-in bookstore also need some attention. Read our review here.

5. Amazon Kindle Paper White

Smooth e-reader 9 Score 90

+ Water resistant

+ Backlit screen

+ Audiobooks

- No color temperature

Amazon's Paperwhite is already in its fourth generation. As far as we're concerned, the fourth iteration is the standard Kindle. The device is light, has a brightly lit screen and is waterproof. The latter is certainly a welcome addition compared to the previous variant, especially because the screen now consists of a flat plate. What we miss compared to Kobo is adjustable color temperature, but there is a smoother interface and excellent ecosystem. You do have to buy books from Amazon, you can't do anything with secure ePubs on a Kindle. Read our review here.

6. PocketBook AQUA 2

Waterproof e-reader 7 Score 70

+ Physical buttons

+ Waterproof

- Slow interface

- Less sharp screen

The PocketBook AQUA 2 is very similar to the PocketBook Touch Lux 4, with the main difference being that this e-reader is waterproof. The e-reader has a 6-inch screen, but the screen resolution is somewhat lower than e-readers with a comparable price from Amazon and Kobo. The touch screen is illuminated, but the color is not adjustable. Like the Touch Lux 4, the AQUA 2 has 8 gigabytes of memory, but in this case it cannot be expanded with a memory card.

7. PocketBook Touch Lux 4

Scroll with buttons 7 Score 70

+ Physical buttons

+ Micro SD

- Slow interface

- Less sharp

The PocketBook Touch 4 is the cheapest model of the Swiss PocketBook with a touch screen. The e-reader has a 6-inch screen, but the screen resolution is somewhat lower than e-readers with a comparable price from Amazon and Kobo. The touch screen is illuminated, but the color is not adjustable. Handy is that you can also browse with buttons. The e-reader has 8 gigabytes of built-in memory and can be expanded with memory cards. Funny thing is that PocketBook offers simple extra apps such as games and notes, unfortunately the software is sometimes slow.

8. Amazon Kindle

Finally a light 9 Score 90

+ Sturdy housing

+ Price

+ Backlit screen

- Sharpness screen

Amazon simply calls its cheapest e-reader Kindle. In 2019, Amazon's cheapest e-reader has become very interesting, because screen lighting has finally been added. Of course it is lighting in one color, but with twenty-four brightness levels it is very useful lighting. The biggest difference with the more expensive Kindle Paperwhite is the less sharp screen. For normal books, however, that doesn't matter much, while the Kindle is a lot cheaper. You do have to buy books from Amazon, you can't do anything with secure ePubs on a Kindle. Read our review here.

9. PocketBook InkPad 3

Nice big screen 8 Score 80

+ Big screen

+ Lighting with color temperature

+ Physical buttons

- Not water resistant

The InkPad 3 is PocketBook's top model and stands out because of its large 7.8-inch screen. Under the name SMARTlight, the screen is equipped with a backlight of which the color can be set. Like the PocketBook Touch HD 3, the InkPad 3 also supports audio, in this case via an adapter. Like the other PocketBook readers, the InkPad also has 3 physical browsing buttons. PocketBook stands out for its additional apps such as games and notes. It is a pity that this top model from PocketBook is not water resistant.

10. Kobo Libra H2O

Really read everywhere 8 Score 80

+ Good performance

+ Good options

+ Beautiful design

- Too expensive

The Kobo Libra H2O is very similar in specifications to Amazon's Kindle Oasis 3: a 7-inch screen with a resolution of 1680 x 1264 pixels with lighting whose color temperature is adjustable. Kobo also follows the same blueprint with the physical scroll buttons. There is only one important difference: the Libra H2O is not Kobo's top model, after all, that is the 8-inch Forma. With a price tag of 179, the Libra H2) is therefore a lot cheaper than the 229 euros that Amazon asks for their comparable reader. In short, an interesting model for those looking for a more luxurious reader.

Tips for your e-reader

An e-reader is a device that is designed to read e-books and is particularly suitable for this due to a special E ink screen. An e-reader is a compact device, weighs relatively little and has space for hundreds to thousands of books.

Despite the fact that a modern e-reader is equipped with a touch screen, an e-reader cannot do much more than display e-books or other text documents. There are water-resistant e-readers that can survive a good splash of water without any problems. Perfect for reading a book at the edge of the pool.

Quiet screen

E-books are small files and you can also open them effortlessly on your smartphone or tablet. Although a tablet like the iPad has a beautiful screen with sharp letters, you will notice that your eyes get tired or dry faster when reading than when you read a book.

With an e-reader, the reading experience is the same as with a normal book and your eyes are much less likely to hurt. The secret of an e-reader lies in the E ink screen, a screen technology that resembles paper and has good contrast. An E ink screen does not emit any light itself and, just like with normal paper, E ink is more readable when more light falls on it. As a result, an E ink screen is also perfectly readable outside in bright sunlight. And because an E ink screen doesn't glow, it's much less tiring on your eyes than a tablet's screen.

Energy efficient

An E ink screen is not only very quiet, it is also very energy efficient. This is because the screen only consumes electricity when a new image is formed. E Ink consists of cells with liquid in which black and white pigment particles are incorporated. By applying a voltage to a cell, it can be determined whether the black or white particles are displayed. Once the image is formed, no more energy is used to display the image. Although the screen uses virtually no energy, the e-reader does of course contain a processor and touch screen. Yet in battery life we ​​speak of weeks instead of hours.

Relief

Although the non-illuminated screen of an e-reader is an advantage, the screens of many e-readers today still have lighting. This is not about backlighting, but about lighting that illuminates the screen from the side thanks to a special layer.

This is less tiring for your eyes than a backlit screen, compare it to a reading lamp. The advantage of built-in lighting is that you are not dependent on an external light source, which is a big plus, especially on the road. But even if you want to read while your partner wants to sleep, a built-in light comes in handy. The latest development is lighting whose color temperature can be set. In the evening you can read with yellower light so that the lighting has less influence on your sleep rhythm.

Own layout

An e-reader has many advantages over a normal book. This way you can change the layout of the text yourself. Where with a normal book you are stuck with the typography chosen by the publisher, that is not the case with an e-book. You can change the font size, margin and line spacing on an e-reader yourself. You can also choose the font yourself and with a Kobo e-reader you can even copy fonts from your computer to the e-reader. Also handy: an e-reader remembers where you left off per book. So it is no problem to read several books at the same time.

Buy eBooks

Of course you want to fill your e-reader with your favorite books as soon as possible after your purchase. You can buy e-books in more and more places. You can usually buy them from the supplier of the e-reader itself, for example, both Kobo and Amazon have an extensive range of e-books. In addition, you can also go to well-known shops that sell paper books such as Bol.com or Bruna. Note that most stores sell eBooks in the ePub format. You can't read that on a Kindle without converting it. If copy protection in the form of a watermark is used, you can easily convert the book with the program Caliber. When DRM is used in the form of Adobe Digital Editions, this conversion is not allowed.

Extra handy is that you can usually buy e-books directly from your e-reader in a built-in bookstore. The book will be downloaded directly to your e-reader after purchase. Of course you need an internet connection via WiFi. Amazon also sells Kindles with built-in 4G that gives you free access to the built-in bookstore anywhere in the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you share eBooks?

You can't just share purchased e-books with everyone, DRM (digital rights management) is often used as copy protection that allows you to use books on a limited number of readers. For example, you can share books with your family. However, for e-books in the ePub format, there is a trend towards books without copy protection. You can then use your purchased books on any e-reader. What is also useful is that you can easily convert a purchased ePub without copy protection to mobi with the program Caliber. This way you can still read ePubs without DRM that you buy on an Amazon Kindle, so you have more choice. Amazon, on the other hand, does not offer books without copy protection. There is a but, however, because instead of copy protection, shops add invisible watermarks with which the book can be traced back to you as a buyer and which you can therefore consider as a form of DRM. So don't distribute such books beyond your own family.

Are there free ebooks?

Copyright on books expires seventy years after the author's death. Many classics from the past are therefore completely legal to download for free. A well-known website where you can go for free classics is Project Gutenberg. A Dutch website is the digital library for Dutch literature. Sometimes the bookstores where you can buy e-books also offer a selection of free e-books. What you can also look at is the normal library. If you are a member of the library, you usually also have access to a collection of e-books that you can borrow. This is only possible on e-readers that support ePub such as a Kobo.

Are eBooks cheaper?

While you may think that eBooks should be much cheaper than printed books, it isn't. Printing and distributing physical books is a smaller portion of the total cost than you might think. New e-books are therefore usually just as expensive as their physical counterparts. You can often find good offers on older e-books. In addition, both Amazon and Kobo have a subscription in which you can read unlimited books. Interesting for many readers, although such a subscription does not give you access to the entire range of e-books. This is a selection from the total offer.

How many books fit on an e-reader?

The big advantage of an e-reader is that you can carry hundreds to thousands of books in a light device (less than 200 grams). An e-book takes up about 2 megabytes of space on average. If you consider that even the cheapest e-reader already has 4 gigabytes of memory, that is enough to store about two thousand books. And the more expensive e-readers even have 8 gigabytes of memory. There are e-readers with even more memory, but that is more intended for reading (Japanese) comics.

Does an e-reader have drawbacks?

Although an e-reader is the best device for reading books, the biggest disadvantage is that it also stays with you. All e-readers that you can currently buy have a screen with a limited number of gray tones, making them only suitable for reading normal books. Images do not come into their own due to the lack of color. Compare that to a tablet on which you can watch movies, browse and use apps thanks to a color screen. In short, an e-reader is only useful if you really want to read books.

Why does the image of an e-reader flash?

Some people find an e-reader annoying because the screen flashes when scrolling to a new page. With older e-readers, the image is indeed rebuilt with every page and you see the entire screen flash for a while. The current generation of e-readers do not refresh the entire image after every page, but for example every chapter. This ensures that the next page is displayed faster and uses less energy, but can cause light 'ghost images'. If you dislike ghost images, you can usually set the image to be refreshed completely more often.

How do you get the best battery life?

An e-reader is made to read for as long as possible. There's not much you can do to stretch the battery life. Of course, built-in lighting uses a relatively large amount of energy, so set the lighting as low as possible if you do not expect to be able to recharge your e-reader for a longer period of time. Another thing you can do is turn off Wi-Fi. When you have put a number of books on your e-reader, you do not need the WiFi functionality. So turn it off to save energy.

How do you operate an e-reader?

In a book you flip from page to page, an e-reader of course has no physical pages. A modern e-reader therefore has a touch screen where the top of the e-reader consists of a flat plate. Slightly older or cheaper models still have a touch screen with a separate higher border around it. You scroll by touching the screen with a finger (usually your thumb). The screen is divided into zones to, for example, also scroll back or open the menu. You can usually set these zones yourself. Older e-readers did not have a touchscreen and had buttons. Those buttons initially disappeared with the advent of touch screens, but are now back on the most expensive models. These have buttons in the screen edge as a convenient addition to a touch screen.

Can you also read e-books on other devices?

You can also read e-books that you buy on other devices, such as your smartphone or tablet, with suitable apps. Both Amazon and Kobo have their own apps for smartphones and tablets to read e-books.In combination with books purchased from our own bookstores, reading can be synchronized between e-reader and app. This way you can continue reading on your smartphone without having to bring your e-reader with you. Of course, the WiFi on your e-reader must be turned on for this.

Can you do more than read on an e-reader?

On some models you can connect headphones to play music or audiobooks, but that is not really handy. Your smartphone is more suitable for playing audio. In addition, almost every e-reader is equipped with an internet browser that is usually referred to as beta functionality. Such a browser does not work very well, it is more of an extra because an e-reader has an internet connection due to the built-in bookstore.

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