Every month Good e-Reader does a monthly series on the best e-readers to purchase or give you the most bang for your buck. September is back to school season and many people wonder what the best devices are for the classroom. Our list of e-readers this month is perfect if you are going back to high school, university or College.
Barnes and Noble Nook Color
The Nook Color may not be an e-ink like most dedicated e-readers but this allows student textbooks to shine in full color. Students can purchase most textbooks from the Barnes and Noble NookStudy platform. You can try books out for a week before you decide to purchase them and save normally 60% off their physical counterpart.
The Nook Color not only does textbooks really well but also does ebooks, magazines and newspapers. You can view most of these books in color which adds vibrancy to the experience. If games or applications are your think you can tap into the Nook Android market to download and install. Most content is free but there is paid applications and games as well.
The Amazon Kindle 3G – With Special Offers
The Kindle 3G with Special Offers gives you a solid e-ink based experience at a fraction of the cost. Amazon subsidizes the cost of the device in exchange for displaying advertisements on the home screen and screen-saver. Most of the deals are actually good and a fair number of them are for Amazon related services.
The Amazon is perfect for students because the company recently implemented their textbook rental program. Instead of actually buying the textbooks you can rent them for as little as 30 days or up to a year. If you need more time you can extend the loan period for a single day or longer. When you rent a book you can write notes and make highlights or annotations. Even when your book is returned and the loan period is over you still get the keep all of your student notes. They are stored in the Amazon Cloud more or less forever.
The Amazon Kindle 3G is a solid investment because it gives you free 3G access, you do not have to pay any monthly costs. It also gives you access to the entire Amazon bookstore. You can buy thousands of current bestsellers and tons of other content. You can even buy audiobooks and use your device to play music.
The Kobo Touch e-Reader is one of the only touchscreen based e-ink readers on our top list. It does not have access to a ton of textbooks like most of the others but it does have some great features. Being a touchscreen reader it is easier to interact with and still gives you the best grayscale images and books.
The Kobo ecosystem has close to 2.6 million books, newspapers and magazines to purchase. The is the best device if you live outside of the USA because its compatiblity in most foreign markets. You can easily buy books and everthing else in most countries in the world. The company recently opened up their bookstore in German with thousands of books available for that market. Kobo intends on opening up other stores in France, Spain and others soon.
The Kobo Touch is a new breed of e-reader that unlike the Kindle and Nook Color does not allow you to play music or record anything. The one really positive thing it has going for it is the social media aspect. It has a program called Reading Life that allows you to Tweet or share via Facebook books you are reading or specific passages. It also rewards you with special achivements just for reading books.
The Kobo development team keep this device fresh with updates and recent enhancements allow you to load in your own Fonts.
iRiver Story HD
The iRiver Story HD is the first e-reader to to tap into the Google Books ecosystem. It features a six inch e-ink display with a resolution of 768-by-1024-pixels. It employs some new technology that makes it an interesting pickup, namely the improved electronics backplane that drastically increases the resolution. The Story HD uses a Freescale ARM CortexTM i.MX508 processor, and has 2GB of built-in storage. Along the right side is a sturdy flap door covering the full-size SD Card slot, which supports SDHC cards up to 32GB.
This is a brand new e-reader and many people have claimed the interface and book experience to be a bit clunky, but it should improve over time.
The Pocketbook 360 Plus features a 5 inch Vizplex eink display with an impressive resolution of 800×600 pixels. Its backbone is a 533 MHZ Samsung Processor and it has 128 MB of RAM. The storage is quite modest at 2 GB to store your media, but of course you can further enhance this up to 32 GB via the MicroSD.
One of the most highly advertised features on this device is its ability to access the internet via the integrated WIFI. This will allow feature firmware updates to be “pushed” right to your Pocketbook. The ability to use the internet is something the direct competition (Jetbook Mini) is incapable of doing.
The best aspect of this device is how easy and portable it is, you will have no fear carrying this in your pocket or bag all day. This device is perfect for those who love to load in their own ebooks because it handles so many different formats.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.