THE CHOSEN FEW: E-readers
Earlier this year, the head of a global book chain stated interest in e-readers was waning. This came soon after Amazon announced 30 million of the class-leading Kindle devices had been sold since the first hitting the market in 2007. Whatever the truth, e-Readers appear here to stay. So with holiday season upon us, here are five of the best devices for avowed bookworms… especially those with travel plans this summer.
1. Kindle Paperwhite
The Paperwhite has just had a bump in screen quality at no extra-cost, which made it an even more enticing proposition for consumers. The 300ppi screen now gives even more clarity for those overworked eyes. Housed in a plastic, easy-to-grip shell, the responsive 6in touch screen is a joy for turning pages late into the night. The text is pin-sharp and the white background doesn’t grate after hours of reading. You can even customise fonts to separate your Helvetica’s from your Arials, or try Kindle’s new e-reader friendly 'Bookerly' font. Battery-wise, Amazon promises six weeks reading half-an-hour a day. Still the one to beat.
Price: From AED490 (via Souq.com)
2. Nook Glowlight
A direct rival for the much-vaunted Kindle Paperwhite, the Nook Glowlight has a charm of its own. Aesthetically, it’s less severe with rounded edges, a silicon trim and soft-touch plastic exterior. At 175g, it’s also 15 per cent lighter than the Paperwhite. Nestled below the 6in display the Nook logo doubles as a home button and activates the backlight. As it’s touchscreen, it’s sleeker than e-Readers with a host of physical buttons. The Nook library is well-stocked with over three million fiction, non-fiction, magazines and periodicals and the 4GB memory should be enough for 2000 locally-housed titles, even before you start adding cloud storage.
Price: AED476 (via desertcart.ae)
3. Kobo Aura H2O
The name gives you an inkling of the Kobo’s raison d’etre. Yes the H20 – no, not the Australian pre-teen mermaid drama – is an e-Reader impervious to water and dust. This may seem fanciful but if like catching a few pages on a windy beach, it maybe a deal-breaker – and no, we don’t expect you to hold your breath and read underwater, but I suppose you can if you want. The tech is housed within an uninspiring black plastic case, leaving the undoubted star the 6.8in e-Ink screen pushing 256 pixels per square inch, meaning clarity is not an issue. There’s an abundance of fonts to sample and page turning is buttery smooth. Choice is not lacking with a class-leading 4 million titles to purchase and with a battery life that outstrips any tablet.
Price: AED1,149 (via desertcart.ae)
4. Sony Reader PRS-T2
The Sony Reader has been generally in the bronze medal position in e-Reader sales, behind Amazon’s Kindles and Barnes & Noble, with their Nook Range. The Reader T2 is a solid addition to the range, with a 6.9in screen, responsive page-turn and pinch to zoom if you want to increase font size. It weights under 6 ounces but the oversized bezel makes it a stretch to cradle in the hand and some will find it unwieldy. The matte finish on the reading screen is a big improvement on the previous, shinier version and below it has five physical buttons below it for page turning and other functionality. Other extras include a notebook that syncs with Evernote and a micro-SD card slot, to boost the memory up to 32gb so you can max-out in the Reader Store.
Price: AED949 (via www.homeshopping.ae)
5. iPad mini
That little known digital behemoth, the iPad can, among its myriad functions, cover as an e-Reader with its designated iBooks app and the huge library of classics and modern literature. Like all Apple products, it’s intuitive and easy-to-use and the screen has more real estate than most e-Readers, at 7.9in, compared to the 6in industry standard. If you want to turn off all the notifications, just put it on Airplane mode. One of the downsides is reading in the sunlight – not ideal if you’re on holiday because it doesn’t use e-Ink – the closest electronic match to the printed word. Best find a tree to sit under and relax.
Price: AED1,299 from Virgin Megastore