Finding the Best E-Readers

Last Edited: November 29, 2017 by

The Best E-Readers

Welcome to our up-to-date buying guide to the best e-readers in retail shops today. As usual, our findings are based on expert performance and market analysis, customer feedback and critical reviews.

Before fully-functional tablets from the likes of Samsung and Apple took over the market, ebook readers were very popular. Every book lover marveled at the thought of having an entire library in a small and light device that could easily be carried around and whose content was easily accessible. Furthermore, these devices could access online bookstores and users could buy any title they desired in a matter of seconds.

Of course now we have smartphones and tablets that can do all this and much more but there is still that significant niche of traditional readers, who prefer a device that is especially tailored for books and magazines. Because of this, manufacturers of e-readers have not relented in developing new products, despite the global domination by modern multi-functional tablets. Amazon for example, has been consistent with its Kindle line of products over the years, making them the most popular e-readers in the market. However, competition from other manufacturers like Kobo and Barnes & Noble continues to rise, and ebook lovers are increasingly finding more devices to choose from. This is why we here at Tabletninja have found it necessary to inform you exactly what the e-reader’s world has to offer.
The devices analyzed here are from different companies and they differ in feature sets as well as retail prices. Are you thinking of getting yourself a reading tablet? If so, we are confident that here, you will find an e-reader that is just for you.

Tablet Buying Guide

Before you get started on your journey be sure to check out our Tablet Buying Guide for a run down on tablet basics or if you would like to learn more of the ins and outs of what makes a tablet without being confused by a ton of technical jargon.

Top Picks >> More E-Readers >>

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Best E-Readers – Top Picks

Amazon Kindle (8th Generation)

Amazon Kindle (8th Generation)

Touting itself as “A booklover’s new best friend” the 8th Generation Kindle is currently the cheapest offering from Amazon’s Kindle series. It features a functional, laid-back design that is attractive in its own way, and it is both slimmer and lighter than its predecessor. Kindle’s e-ink display creates crisp text similar to what you would get on a real book, but unfortunately, this means it is black and white. The 6-inch display is not backlit, but it offers outstanding contrast and no glare for excellent outdoor and low-light use, you will need to keep the lights on while in bed, however. Like the rest of the Kindle lineup, it boasts 4GB of internal storage that can store thousands of books from Amazon’s store, you will have to rely on Wi-Fi to download them, however, as no cellular connectivity is supported. It packs a large battery that lasts long enough to see a “low battery” warning barely ever, and combined with no notification pop-ups from e-mails, calls, and messages, the Kindle will keep you lost in your reading for ages.

  • e-ink display RAM
  • Internal Storage: 4GB
  • Removable Storage: SD card reader
  • 6 inch, 167 ppi pixels
  • Fire OS 5
  • 0.35 lbs

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Long battery life
  • Same performance as more expensive e-readers

Cons

  • Non-backlit screen

Summary

The Kindle is a great basic e-reader that offers a great reading experience at an affordable price.

Kindle 8 2016 Edition 6-inch
$79.99$59.99
Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 16-12-2017 00:56 UTC) Details

Amazon Kindle Oasis

Amazon Kindle Oasis

Amazon must have set out to create the best e-reader ever with the Kindle Oasis, and they did. It features a tapered design, where all the innards have been shifted to one edge of the device creating a kind of handle that is very comfortable to hold. The rest of the tablet is extremely thin, at only 3.4mm, significantly cutting down on its heft, weighing a mere 131 grams. Carrying from its predecessor, the Kindle Voyage, it features a high-resolution 6-inch backlit screen, but with added LEDs for extra brightness and consistency. The e-ink display makes text look as if it was printed on paper, and provides excellent contrast for outdoor viewing, but alas it remains monochrome. It now offers 2 physical buttons for page turning and a leather case that comes in three different colors. The case itself incorporates a backup battery to add to the already stellar battery life, and fits perfectly into the tapered design to create a flat back. The Kindle Oasis undoubtedly comes with a lot of bells and whistles, but the premium features and design come with a premium price tag.

  • Internal Storage: 4GB
  • Removable Storage: microSD card reader
  • 6 inch, pixels
  • Fire OS 5
  • 0.28 lbs

Pros

  • High-resolution screen
  • Lightweight
  • Extremely thin
  • Physical page-turn buttons
  • Unbelievable battery life
  • Backlit screen
  • 3G connectivity

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Average performance
  • Monochrome

Summary

The Amazon Kindle Oasis is hands down the best e-reader you can buy today if you can afford it, that is.

Kindle Oasis 6-inch
$309.99$289.99
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from Amazon.com
(as of 16-12-2017 00:58 UTC) Details

Onyx Boox N96 9.7

Onyx Boox N96 9.7

It makes sense to have a large screen on an e-reader, for easier legibility and extra content, but is the big 9.7-inch screen of the Onyx Boox N96 a little too… big? It features a dual touch screen with a stylus, and the 16-level grayscale Electronic Paper Display found on the highly popular Amazon Kindle devices. Boasting 9.7 inches in diagonal width, crisp print-like text, high contrast, and excellent viewing angles. However, it also supports audio files and a much wider range of formats than the Kindle, and can access other bookstores apart from Amazon. You get 16GB worth of storage space, which is a sizable amount for an e-reader, and an SD card slot for up to 32GB of extra storage. That is a lot of books, text or otherwise. It also packs a beefy 3000mAh that can last up to a month due to the device’s meager needs. The large size of the Onyx Boox N96, unfortunately, adds to its heft; it can in no way be held comfortably in one hand. It is heavy, 3 times so when compared to the Kindle Oasis, and while some may not mind its hefty price tag, most of us may only ever use it on an Onyx display stand, if we can find one.

  • Cortex-A9 1G Hz [View Benchmarks]
  • 1GB LPDDR2 RAM
  • Internal Storage: 16GB
  • Removable Storage: up to 32GB
  • 9.70 inches, 1280 x 800 pixels
  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 2.2 lbs

Pros

  • Big screen
  • E-ink display
  • Audio support
  • Fast performance
  • Long battery life
  • Expandable Storage
  • Backlit display
  • Stylus included

Cons

  • Expensive
  • A bit bulky

Summary

The Onyx Boox N96 9.7 has a wide range of features that make it perfect for the big reader looking for a big-screen e-book reader, if they are willing to meet the significant cost.

Onyx BOOX N96 9.7-inch
$379.99
Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 16-12-2017 01:04 UTC) Details

Kindle Paperwhite (3rd Generation)

Kindle Paperwhite (3rd Generation)

With the new Kindle Paperwhite, Amazon have once again shown how much they care about the world’s reading culture. The 2013 version was regarded by many as the best straight-forward reading tablet that year, and with impressive upgrades, this young one does well to uphold its predecessor’s reputation. The ultra-lightweight slim design is nothing short of awesome, making the e-reader super comfortable to hold. The rubber texture offers nice grip and bezels are wide enough to support your fingers as you read. E-readers do not normally have high pixel-density screens and with a 1072 x 1448-pixels resolution 6-inch panel, the Kindle Paperwhite has one of the sharpest displays in the market. The high text clarity and sharp contrast makes reading easy and it is also right enough for use in all environments. A 1GHz processor and 512MB RAM power the device, and the well optimized Amazon software ensures lagging is non-existent. And speaking of the software, tweaks both new and old make interacting with your books very easy. However, like other Amazon e-readers, the Paperwhite is very restrictive with the types of formats it supports. Kindle Format 8 (AZW3), Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, MOBI and PRC are supported natively, but you will have to go through tedious conversion processes with external software to get other formats onto your device. Nonetheless, the bookstore is heavily populated with free and discounted books, and if you’d rather own a book than read it online, you can store thousands of them in your device, thanks to a 4GB internal storage. Albeit lower than its predecessor’s 24 hours, the new Paperwhite’s 21-hour battery life is still stunning.

  • Internal Storage: 4GB
  • Removable Storage: None
  • 6 inch, pixels
  • Fire OS 4
  • 0.45 lbs

Pros

  • Ultra-light and slim design
  • Excellent display quality
  • Great performance
  • User-friendly software

Cons

  • Lack of external speakers
  • Push-ads
  • A restrictive support of ebook formats

Summary

The 3rd Generation Amazon Kindle Paperwhite offers a pleasant design, great display and an overall enjoyable reading experience. If you are looking for a quality e-reader that is less expensive than the Kindle Voyage and the Kobo Aura H2O, you will not go wrong with this one.

Kindle Paperwhite 3rd Generation 6-inch
$119.99$99.99
Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 16-12-2017 01:11 UTC) Details

Kindle Voyage

Kindle Voyage

Despite being released almost two years ago, the Kindle Voyage is still one of Amazon’s high-end ebook readers. The pleasant blend of durable plastic, the angular back-panel, a mere 6.3-ounce weight and a 0.3-inch thickness collectively make this device look and feel premium while in your palms. The Voyage uses a 6-inch display with a resolution of 1448 x 1072 pixels, resulting in a 300 PPI density. While this was a ground-breaking step in 2014, the cheaper 2015 Kindle Paperwhite features a similar 300 PPI panel at a significantly lower price. However, the Voyage has a little more up its sleeve, and that is its adaptive brightness feature. Brightness shifts smoothly in a way that won’t distract your reading, and the page is kept in sharp contrast to suit any lighting conditions. On the edges at either side of the display are pressure-sensitive PagePress buttons which serve as a replacement to the physical buttons that were on earlier Kindles. The number of page-turns depends on the amount of pressure you apply onto a button. Amazon has recently upgraded the Kindle interface across all its devices dating back to 2013, and the Voyage has benefited from this. Its interface looks better and the new typesetting engine as well as added fonts make reading more interesting. There is a wide selection of books available from the bookstore, and thanks to Amazon’s new Family Sharing system, you can share ebooks freely between two Kindles so you don’t have to buy a book twice. Multiple profiles can also be set up on the Voyage and with 4GB internal storage, every profile can be adequately populated with books. With adaptive brightness off, the battery will give you up to an impressive 24 hours of continuous reading.

  • Internal Storage: 4GB
  • Removable Storage: None
  • 6 inch, pixels
  • Fire OS 5
  • 0.39 lbs

Pros

  • Compact, light and thin design
  • Outstanding display quality
  • Adaptive brightness adjustment
  • PagePress buttons
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Limited support for common ebook formats
  • Expensive

Summary

With its attractive design, gorgeous display and adaptive brightness, the Kindle Voyage is among the best e-readers out there. However, with cheaper devices like the new Kindle Paperwhite and the Kobo Glo HD matching its display quality, it is hard to sell it as good value for the money

Kindle Voyage 6-inch
$199.99
Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 16-12-2017 20:34 UTC) Details

Kobo Aura ONE 

Kobo Aura ONE tablet

The Kobo Aura ONE, with its rubberized and textured finish on the back, is a larger e-reader, packing a 7.8-inch e-ink 1,872×1,404 resolution display. Most of Amazon’s Kindles come with a 6-inch display, so it is significantly larger than its competition, and this was a huge selling point for some. The Aura ONE, much like the Aura H20, is waterproof (IPX8: up to two meters for 60 minutes), so using it nears large bodies of water is not an issue. It comes with 8GB of storage space and a 1Ghz processor and users have noted that it’s UI is easy to get the hang of and highly customizable. Kobo’s ComfortLight PRO allows you to adjust both the  brightness and the color temperature. Some users have pointed out that there seems to be uneven lighting at times, however, which can be quite annoying. The integrated Kobo Store allows you to shop for e-books, but the list of books available is not as vast as Amazon’s, but there are always ways to convert AZW into a compatible format. CNet have also pointed out that the OverDrive also offers users a selection of books through the online library. It supports PDF, EPUB and MOBI, and HTML and comic book file format. Its desktop app will allow you easily manage your files, which you can connect to via the Micro-USB slot. Kubo mentions that the battery life can last up to a month, but most find that it is significantly reduced when connected to Wi-Fi.

  • 1 GHz
  • Internal Storage: 8GB
  • Removable Storage: None
  • 7.8-inch, 1872 x 1404 pixels pixels
  • 0.44 lbs

Pros

  • More screen real estate
  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof (IPX8)

Cons

  • Backlighting uneven
  • Library not as populated as Amazon’s

Summary

The Aura ONE offers users a larger screen and the same waterproofing as the Aura H20, however, Kindle still has a larger selection of books.

Kobo Aura ONE 7.8-inch
$257.77
Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 16-12-2017 11:39 UTC) Details

Kobo Aura H2O

Kobo Aura H2O

Among e-readers, the Kobo Aura H2O can be considered fairly large, but this is attributed to its larger screen and a design that cares more about comfort than being attractive. The device is made of smooth rubbery plastic which is comfortable to hold and gives good grip. Plastic flaps cover the MicroUSB and MicroSD slots to ensure the device remains water-resistant so that you can use it in near-water environments without worry. The display is a 6.8-inch E Ink Carta panel with a resolution of 1430 x 1080 pixels. The quality matches high-end Kindles like the Voyage and the Paperwhite, while offering more screen space and larger pages for more control over font-size and page margins. Turning pages with the touchscreen is seamless, but unlike the Kindle Paperwhite, the Aura H2O doesn’t support multi-touch gestures. The software is intuitive and easy to navigate through, but the Kobo bookstore has a relatively inadequate collection and there is no auto sync, integrated lending or book “streaming” services. Nonetheless, it is great for reading your own books, thanks to a support for many ebook formats without the need for conversion. Performance-wise, the H2O still feels slower and less responsive than a Kindle, despite having a similar 1GHz CPU. Navigating to a book and opening it will not go as smoothly, but once you’re in, page turns are quick enough and customizing both the page layout and page-turn mechanics means you can get it feeling just as you like. 4GB internal storage is adequate for storing all your books but for good measure, Kobo have included a microSD slot. With continuous use, the Aura H2O’s battery will give you up to 32 hours of life, which is remarkable.

  • 1GHz
  • Internal Storage: 4GB
  • Removable Storage: up to 32GB
  • 0.51 lbs

Pros

  • Comfortable design
  • Large screen
  • Great display quality
  • Water-resistant
  • Flexible support for ebook formats
  • Excellent battery life

Cons

  • Chunky design
  • Inadequately populated bookstore
  • Modest performance

Summary

The Kobo Aura H2O is a very good choice if you are looking for a larger ebook reader that offers a different reading experience from the more common Kindle devices.

Kobo Aura H2O N250-KU-BK-K-EP 6.8-Inch
$175.99
Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 16-12-2017 01:13 UTC) Details

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More E-Readers
Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch

Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch

Barnes & Noble have long been regarded as only second to Amazon when it comes to affordable ebook readers. It has been five years since the first Nook Simple Touch graced the market but thanks to an impressive design and a friendly interface, it still earns its place among the best e-readers out there. When you hold the device for the first time, you’ll quickly notice just how nicely it fits in your hand, in part due to a unique indentation at the back that offers remarkable grip. Display is served by a 6-inch Pearl E-Ink screen with a resolution of 800 x 600 pixels that provides high contrast and clarity to black and white text as well as images. Neonode’s zForce infrared touch is incorporated to offer a touchscreen reading experience that comes pretty close to a traditional book. Page turning is performed by dragging a finger across the screen, mimicking the flipping of paper leaves on an actual book. As expected, the software provides a fairly straightforward and enjoyable interface. To add to the fun, there is a handful of social features offered for you to share passages with friends and get book recommendations. The bookstore is easy to navigate through, and buying a book just takes a couple of clicks. There is no 3G option, but most users will find Wi-Fi just enough. Inside the Nook is an 800MHz processor that offers decent performance. Start-ups, page turns and PDF viewing are all handled quite swiftly. There is a 2GB internal storage chip on-board, which is sufficient enough and as with the battery life, Barnes & Noble claim it can go up to two months on a single charge.

  • Internal Storage: 2GB
  • Removable Storage: up to 32GB
  • 6 inch, pixels (TN)
  • Android
  • 1.1 lbs

Pros

  • A compact, thin and light design
  • Fast performance
  • Abundant online store content
  • Social emphasis
  • Excellent battery life

Cons

  • Limited tablet features

Summary

The Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch is inexpensive, offers fantastic reading experience, has great battery life and accesses Nook’s overly-populated ebook online library. If you are looking for an ebook-reader, this is still one the best in the market.

Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch BNRV300 6-inch
$59.00
Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 15-12-2017 23:43 UTC) Details

iRiver Story HD

iRiver Story HD

Other than a different interface and Google Books integration, the iRiver Story HD has little to compete with the more modern e-readers on the shelves today. Nonetheless, it is a perfectly decent and reasonably priced product. Being attractive and fairly lightweight, the 7.3-ounce Story HD is pleasant to hold and use. The 6-inch E-Ink Pearl display has a resolution of 768 x 1024 pixels, which doesn’t seem like much but still manages detailed images and sharp text. Like many e-readers released in its year, the 2011 iRiver Story HD features an in-built keyboard. To navigate menus and turn pages, there is a four-direction joystick under the screen that allows you to move around. Additionally, “enter” and “option” buttons enable you to select items from the menu or pop up a separate menu while reading for access to the dictionary and settings. The whole interface takes time to get used to, and although being no match to the touch-screen system common in newer devices, lovers of keyboard navigation will be satisfied with the experience. Reading on the iRiver Story HD is fairly enjoyable. Thanks to a speedy i.MX508 ARM Cortex-A8 processor, the device is relatively fast and pages turn quickly. You will have no problem logging into the Google eBook store with an existing Google account and for starters, some free e-books are provided for download. There is no social media integration, but a Web browser is present and the Story HD also supports free library e-book lending through the Adobe Digital Editions software. The 2GB internal storage might seem a bit low, but there is a microSD card slot present for further expansion. At about two months with moderate daily use, the battery life is very desirable.

  • i.MX508
  • Internal Storage: 2GB
  • Removable Storage: up to 32GB
  • 6 inch, 1024 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • 0.46 lbs

Pros

  • Good build quality
  • Lightweight design
  • Decent screen quality
  • Google eBook store integration
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Lacks a touchscreen interface
  • No audio capabilities
  • No social-media integration

Summary

For fans of Google ebooks, the iRiver Story HD offers a perfect reading experience by providing a decent display quality and fair performance. However, with the availability of better, newer devices, that are similarly priced, most customers will probably be better off looking elsewhere.

iRiver Story HD EB07 6-inch
$99.99
Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 16-12-2017 01:26 UTC) Details

Kobo Glo HD

Kobo Glo HD

With its polished physique and a high-resolution screen, the Glo HD is perhaps Kobo’s response to Amazon’s number one product, the Kindle Voyage. The back is coated with textured rubber and tiny indentations makes it grippy and comfortable to hold with one hand. A 6-inch Carta E-Ink touchscreen serves as the display, and with a resolution of 1448 x 1072 pixels, everything appears extremely sharp. While it lacks the Voyage’s adaptive brightness, the Glo HD’s display resembles paper much more closely and is thus more realistic. Reading is fairly pleasant. The interface provides 11 built-in fonts and 48 font sizes, and you can adjust line spacing and margins with sliders. Additionally, Kobo includes a Reading Life app that encourages your reading by monitoring your reading speed and awarding your achievements. This can be especially useful for parents to keep track of their kids’ reading. There is a lot of books, magazines and newspapers in the Kobo store and most of your titles will be available here, although books are generally cheaper on Amazon. The 1GHz processor and 512 RAM on-board is enough to offer decent performance all around. Navigating the software is swift and going through pages is an enjoyable experience. However, the Glo HD takes too long to snap out of sleep mode, a misfortune that is attributed more to the software than the hardware. 4GB internal memory will probably be enough for most users, but the lack of a microSD card slot is disappointing, since most other Kobo devices include one. Kobo claim up to two months of battery life, and whether this is accurate or not, we can safely say that keeping a charge is not a concern with the Glo HD.

  • 1GHz
  • Internal Storage: 4GB
  • Removable Storage: None
  • 6 inch, 1448 x 1072 pixels
  • 0.79 lbs

Pros

  • Thin and lightweight design
  • Sharp display
  • Decent performance
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Relatively underpopulated bookstore
  • Long wake-up time from sleep mode
  • Non-expandable storage

Summary

When you compare it to the Amazon Kindle Voyage, the Kobo Glo HD has the same ergonomics and the same high-resolution display. Amazon may have a better bookstore and the Voyage definitely looks better, but the Glo HD is significantly cheaper. This makes it a worthy alternative.

Kobo Glo HD N437-KJ-BK-S-EP 6-inch
$207.66
Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 16-12-2017 01:23 UTC) Details

Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-350

Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-350

We thought the Sony 6-inch reader was pretty when it came out, in comparison the Pocket Edition PRS-350 is simply stunning. Sony clearly isn’t pulling any punches in the looks department. It weighs a mere 5.64 ounces and measures 5.71 inches tall by 4.11 inches wide by 0.33 inches thick; it is supremely compact and just wonderful to handle. The touchscreen is an improved version of its predecessor and is now not only richer, with darker blacks and higher contrast, but also more responsive to touch. You get physical buttons for various functions like page turning, changing font size, and for navigation purposes. One major omission on the device was the lack of Wi-Fi connectivity; books have to be downloaded via the Sony desktop app and sent to your device via a USB cable. This, however, does mean that you can add EPUB books downloaded from other sites as well, adding to the extensive selection the Sony store already offers. The Sony Reader Pocket Edition also has a great two-week battery life, and despite its few shortcomings and high price, it remains a very solid and stunning device.

  • Celeron 800 Hz
  • Internal Storage: 2GB
  • Removable Storage: None
  • 5 inch, 800 x 600 pixels pixels (TN)
  • 0.35 lbs

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Very compact
  • Lightweight
  • Responsive interface
  • High-contrast display
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Books have to be added via a PC/Mac
  • Expensive
  • No SD card slot

Summary

The Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-350 is a sleek little e-book reader that packs a responsive, easy-to-use interface and a rich, high-contrast E-ink display in a compact portable frame.

Sony PRS-350SC Pocket Edition 5-inch
$64.88
Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 16-12-2017 20:32 UTC) Details

Kobo Mini

Kobo Mini

The Kobo Mini is a 2013 5-inch book reader praised for its light and compact design which makes it easy to handle or slip into a bag while on the move. Featuring pretty entry-level specs, the Mini’s performance will not blow you away, but it gets the job done. Text looks amazing due to the e-ink display, and you are allowed a variety of text customization features to meet your needs further. You also get outstanding battery life; it can go for up to a month with moderate use and Wi-Fi off. However, some users feel that the Kobo Mini could still be smaller and that while its price is modest, Kobo’s e-book selection is limited and will require you to buy books elsewhere and transfer them over via a PC.

  • 800 MHz
  • Internal Storage: 2GB
  • 5 inch, pixels
  • 0.29 lbs

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Compact
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Kobo’s selection of e-books is limited

Summary

The Kobo Mini is a very portable e-reader for the book lovers looking to read on the go.

Kobo Mini N705-KBO-W 5-inch
See Price at Retailer
Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 30-07-2017 08:13 UTC) Details

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Conclusion

With that, our buying guide comes to a close. Surely you now have enough information of what it’s like out there, and buying an ebook reader will definitely not be challenging.
Amazon Kindles are keen with the design, screen quality and populated bookstores, but most of the others strike a compromise on these things to offer better value for the money. However, since no device is perfect, each one has its own ups and downs. It is therefore up to you to weigh your choices and make a sound decision based on your needs as well as your budget. If you require more help or advice, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll be happy to assist.

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