By Tom Erik Dale – Sainsbury’s eBooks
With the holidays come new and improved e-readers, with better screens and more features to make reading more pleasurable. Tom Erik Dale, from Sainsbury’s eBooks, has written a helpful guide detailing the pros and cons of the three most popular new e-readers. Read on.
E-books are great. Not so much for swatting those off-putting flies, but for travel, convenience, space and geeky cool factor–they tick all the right boxes. Literary traditionalists will argue against me to the death claiming they signal the death of the book, but in reality it signals its renaissance. Endless books now sit patiently waiting at your fingertips, unrestricted by shelf space, finding time to get to a book store or what is in or out of stock. With constant advances in the way e-books are read and a healthily competitive reader market we can be sure of even greater ways to enjoy e-books in the near future. For now though we take a look at the pros and cons of three newly released highly rated readers all around the £120 (~$195) mark.
Kindle Paperwhite – £110 ($119)
Amazon is a market leader in e-book readers and the new second edition Kindle Paperwhite shows us why. While it is not perfection, it is getting there. A definite improvement and polishing of the previous Paperwhite, the aesthetic, the super crisp screen with less glare and the faster processor all add up to create an enjoyable and organic feeling reading experience. It is this focus on the experience of reading that I think sets this reader apart slightly.
The interface is very quick, especially considering its e-Ink screen, making accessing your book much slicker and faster and more like just picking up a paperback than other sluggish systems. The purchasing system though is, as you would expect, very Amazon-esque; deals of the day and recommended picks dominate the stores home screen and the store stocks fewer books than some competitors – there are, however, ways of uploading other e-book formats onto your kindle.
One downside is that due to the greyscale screen (immensely good quality mind) does not do justice to magazines, whose glossy full-colour images are central to the experience. Overall a very practical and great, classy-looking e-reader whose processor and screen are definite high points while low internal storage and Amazon’s desire to control licensing which has recently be brought into question are negatives.
Sony PRS-T3 – £130 ($180)
On picking up the PRS-T3, Sony’s newest version of its reader, its new design and cover are very appealing to the eye and touch. The new, sleeker, more rounded aesthetic with the faux leather flip-cover all create a very pleasing piece of technology. This flip cover, which snaps shut using magnets, at first glance seems like a great idea, then you open the PRS to read and you’ll find the same snap-shut magnets are not on the reverse which means you’re constantly battling the covers movements on the back of the device. This case is not changeable and gets pretty irritating after a while.
The e-ink screen, which Sony invented, has been dimmed slightly from the predecessor, rather strangely, which distracts slightly but as your eyes adjust it becomes negligible. The interface and its features outperform the Kindle in terms of usability, but Kindle’s speeds and fluidity are far superior. This is a good product but given a few niggling negatives and the fact it prices in higher than the Kindle Paperwhite, I don’t think it will be a huge competitor.
Kobo Aura N514 – £120 ($150)
The new Aura is Kobo’s competitor for the Paperwhite, pricing in the same range and with some great features this e-reader could be giving the new Kindle a run for its money. At first glance the screen appears to be smaller than the Paperwhite’s but it is the old “which circle is biggest” optical illusion; both are 6” screens and it’s the Aura’s smaller size which creates this effect. The smaller size makes a snug fit in the palm of your hand and weighs in around 30 grams less than the Kindle alternative. The reader itself has a similarly low glare screen which works almost as well as the Kindle’s and also comes with a backlight for darker situations.
The processor in the Kobo Aura is reportedly the same speed as the Paperwhite however the interface itself runs tangibly less smooth and does not have the same sleek, tablet like feel as the Paperwhite. The storage is where the Aura really outdoes the Paperwhite as it has double the Kindle’s 2GB and a micro SD slot, unlike its competitor. The Kobo Aura also does not have the same flicker that the other readers have as it is not using the same e-ink screens. The interface and store on the Kobo are also very easy to use and make sense, Kobo have clearly made some great advances in a few years on the market and have now got a great product to prove it.
Once you have decided on which eReader to buy you can purchase a wide range of eBooks from www.sainsburysebooks.co.uk.
Tom Erik Dale is a freelance journalist, writer and lover of all things literary. I have long been an enthusiastic reader of both fiction and non-fiction and a keen believer in the digital reader revolution.