Review: e-readers

24 03 2011

Hi all.

As much as I love my big old book shelf, times are changing and the sentiment of a well thumbed paperback has made way for the convenience and storage of the eReader. They’re coming down in price all the time but which one to choose? Well I’ve trawled through the specifications and reviews so you don’t have to.

Archos 70b Android 2.1 eBook Reader – £129.95

A 7″ touchscreen e-reader shares your opinion on the book or magazine you are reading straight from the eReader itself.  The colour screen is visually very smart making it look more like a tablet than an eReader. It also runs Android™ 2.1 Éclair, meaning that you can download any of the thousands of eBooks, comics and fun applications available on AppsLib, straight to your device. cross the bottom of the eReader you’ll find the standby button, Mini-USB for syncing, a 3.5mm headphone jack and an SD card slot (up to 32GB), which will let you expand the 4GB internal memory.

Pros: Considering it was made by Archos who have a background in music and media devices, they have tried to incorporate these functions into the eReader.

Cons: The quality of materials aren’t on par with the Sony and Kindle models, with a flimsier outer casing. As screens go, the Archos 70b isn’t especially good. There are any number of capacitive tablets which will give you a clearer rendition of text.

NOOK WiFi eReader White / Grey – 148.95

The NOOK is Barnes and Noble’s offering to the eReader market. First marketed as a direct competitor to the eReader back in 2009, the NOOK is another Android enabled model with an extensive library  and speedier page turns which is a conscious improvement on earlier models. Although the Kindle is superior in terms of memory and weight, the NOOK shouldn’t be immediately dismissed as it has some functions over it’s competitor such as the ability to organise your book by category, or “shelves”.

Pros: Android and Google enabled, a refresh rate that nearly matches the Kindle and includes a seperate capacitive touchscreen keyboard so you can type searches and annotations.

Cons: No protective carrying case included; colour LCD has an impact on battery life; in-store reading and loaning capabilities come with notable limits and caveats; no support for Word or text files.

SONY PRS-650 Touch Edition eBook Reader  Silver, 2GB – 204.25

After gripes about the reflection on previous screens, the 650 edition seems to have overcome this with an E-Ink Pearl 6 inch (diagonal) display with 16-level gray scale and a resolution of 800 x 600 pixels. It’s also a stronger build than it’s competitors with an aluminium shell. At first glance, the PRS-650 looks very much like the PRS-600.  There are five buttons along the bottom of the screen that are labeled the same on both readers.

Pros: The shiny, reflective, hazy, resistive touchscreen used on the PRS-600 is gone. In its place is an IR touchscreen that introduces no glare or excessive reflection. There’s also an application that lets you make notes in the Sony PRS-650.  You can enter handwritten notes using your finger or the included stylus or use the on-screen keyboard to enter text notes. It also has great functionality, a fast processor that makes loading up books, opening and reading, a responsive touchscreen and excellent battery life.

Cons: No case supplied and isn’t wifi enabled.

AMAZON Kindle Wireless Reading Device – Wi-Fi and Free 3G – 152.00

The daddy. I’ve had a Kindle since Christmas and I love it! This latest edition has continued to get slimmer and sleeker without compromising durability. Like, the other models, the Kindle has 2GB of memory which stores roughly 1500 books. Unless it’s going to the Amazon ebook store, the Kindle is not that intuitive  but it has so many superior features.

Pros: The original and best, the Kindle has wireless downloading, a faster page turning speed than any other model on the market today as well as a really competitive battery life. It’s also lightweight, well made and it’s ridiculously easy to download books via Amazon.

Cons: No case supplied, if the battery life gets below 20% it starts freaking out and if you do get an official case, the plastic rods that hold the Kindle in place can send a static charge into it! The functionality is quite basic considering there are a lot of touch screen models coming to the fore, but what it does, it does extremely well.

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