This March came a few new e-readers onto the retail scene such as Augen and the Infibeam Pi2. If you are thinking of buying an e-reader for the first time or just interested to see how the rankings for this month shape up, this is the list for you!
Amazon Kindle 3G – $189
Amazons flagship e-reader is leading the pack with the top content distribution online ebook store. The latest generation Kindle 3G features faster page turns, a sold 6 inch e-Ink Pearl screen. Here is a interesting fact, you can bypass the Great Firewall of China using the 3G network Amazon gives you for free with purchase.
Amazon Kindle WIFI – $139
The Kindle WIFI is more suited towards budget conscious people but still owns the market in terms of ebook and quality support. The communities behind the Kindle are the largest and both models have the ability to lend books out to people that you have purchased from Amazon. This device features faster page turns, a Pearl e-ink 6 inch screen and a full keyboard. If you want to ONLY deal with Amazon and make life easy on yourself, this is one of the best.
Barnes and Noble Nook Color – $249
The leading color e-reader has taken the USA by storm! Featuring a high resolution touch screen display and access to books for kids, magazines, ebooks and newspapers in rich color! Prices for books and content is affordable and includes a full web browser. Rumors of a incoming Adobe Flash update will allow you to get the most out of your internet experience. The one drawback is that you cannot order it online from outside the USA from B&N. One of the big saving graces of all Barnes and Noble e-readers is the introduction of the “Lendme” program, which allows you to share with other users books you bought from B&N.
Sony PRS-650 – $229
If you can find one, which is proving to be a real challenge for most people this is the cream of the crop for Sony. Packing a 6 inch touch screen e-ink Pearl display this beauty feels very slick and looks like a high end device. It does not have WIFI which costs it, although it does have a ton of flexibility in allowing users to draw, take notes and load in their own ebooks.
Entourage Pocket Edge – $349
The Pocket Edge is the worlds first dual book and really adds a new dimension to e-readers and tablets. It is a hybrid with one screen being touchscreen e-ink and the other full color touch screen Android. It is billed mainly as a device for professionals and students. It has a great ecosystem with many android apps being able to be loaded on the device, as well as alternative Google Android Markets. Entourage has put together a store where you can buy student textbooks and ebooks. It has everything you need including USB 2.0 flash drive support.
Kobo Wireless – $139
This is the second attempt at Kobo to get an e-reader right and has been a resounding success in Canada and internationally. You can directly buy ebooks from the Kobo store which currently has 1.3 million of them. You can also subscribe to newspapers and magazines and has support for many locations. Sporting a very basic design and intuitive learning curve it is not without its share of problems. It makes up for it with having tremendous application development for all operating systems with a flair for social networking elements and rewards for reading! Think of Kobo has the XBOX of e-reader achievements for ebooks.
Pandigital Novel 9 Inch – 219.99
According to many 2010 financial reports Pandigital was surprisenly the number 2 company in the USA for e-reader sales. The main reason is availiblity rather then quality, although the new 9 inch is a grand followup to the other versions of the Pandigital Novel. This company seemed very woeful to start issuing recalls because of bad hardware and firmware and finally managed to salvage their brand. The Novel 9 inch is a TFT resistive touch screen android e-reader. It comes bundled with the Kobo bookstore if you buy it in Canada and the Borders store if you buy it in the USA. Dealing with those two stores makes sure you have no lack of reading material. You can also load in your own books by installing Aldiko or other alternative ebook readers. Does not come with many apps or any way of getting new apps, must be somewhat tech savvy to get the most out of this device.
Pocketbook 602 – $199
The best entry level e-reader from Pocketbook gives you a fair bang for your buck! You get a 6 inch display with WIFI to do your business online. Does not come with that many apps or games but is great to read with. Feels firm and solid in your hands and is easy to navigate the menus. Does not have a great way to get books other then its own store which is relegated to classic books, but it comes loaded with a ton of free ones! This reader is ideal for the person who wants to load books in themselves and deal with an excellent independent company who values their customers and listens to their feedback.
Barnes and Noble Nook WIFI – $149
One of the most affordable entry level e-readers with an amazing content distribution network. Featuring a 6 inch display with a 2 inch full color touchscreen to navigate menus was an innovative e-reader at the time, but lost some of its charm with the Nook Color. You are still able to surf the web on this one, listen to audio books and tap into one of the largest ebook stores in the world!
Sharper Image Literati – $39 to $90
If you head down to Bed Bath and Beyond you can prob get a tremendous deal on one of the most affordable LCD based e-readers out there. It features a Kindle-esque display with a full keyboard and the ability to see things in full color. You do business with Kobo so you can enjoy full color magazines, books and so on. It has WIFI to connect up to the book store, but no applications, web browser, games or anything. Its about as bare-bones as you can get for an entry level e-reader. You can’t really go wrong for $39 which many people have paid to get theirs. Feels solid, its designed kinda weird, but the price is amazing and people have been scooping them up like crazy.
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.