Photo: Ellis Hamburger
The Kindle 3 has been the champ in our minds for a while now, but two brand new touchscreen competitors just came out: the Nook Simple Touch and the Kobo E-Reader Touch.How do these e-ink readers stack up?
We have them all, we’ve taken some big pictures, and we’ll show you which one has the best page refresh rate, how long each one lasts, and which has the crispest text.
The Kindle feels great to hold because of its vertical orientation. Since it's not a touch screen, you don't have to worry about accidentally flipping the page when you hold it.
Because the Kobo is so thin and not much space is left for holding, you often end up turning the page by accident.
The Nook is a lot shorter than the Kindle, but it's a touch wider. The square shape looks kind of strange.
Reading the Nook feels less like reading a book and more like reading a futuristic e-ink tablet. Is this a good thing? We don't think so.
The Nook looks thicker than the Kindle, but it makes up for it by tapering inward on each side so it's easy to hold
The Kobo (middle) has a fancy pattern you can feel with your fingers. It has no real practical value like the Nook's ridges, however.
Here's the Kobo's plasticky power switch. The device just isn't built as well as the Nook or Kindle.
The Kobo's text looked the worst, and remnants of previous pages stay burned in for a few page turns.
Kobo: 1 month, $129.99
Kindle: 2 months, $139.99
Nook: 2 months, $139.99
A note on page-turning: while the Kindle 'flashes a black screen' annoyingly during every page turn, you get used to it pretty quickly. The Nook and Kobo only 'flash' every so often, which makes the reading experience more immersive.
But, sometimes it ends up being a distraction because the screen flashes unpredictably and contains more remnants of previous pages. It's a trade off.
One more note: the Kobo often has has to load pages so you can't turn the page for a few seconds sometimes. It's bothersome.
The Kobo store has 500,000 eBooks, and 1.8 million free eBooks
The Amazon Kindle store now has about one million eBooks, and one million free eBooks
The Barnes and Noble store has about one million eBooks, and one million free eBooks.
It's really tough to tell exactly how many each store has, however, because they often include how many free eBooks they have in their catalogues.
Want more in depth? Check out our article on why Amazon's Kindle Store is the best e-bookstore.
We think, just like with the iPhone, the best book store (or app store) is a much bigger deal than hardware when choosing a product. In this case, it's not about selection as much as it is about how personable the experience is. Also, another Kindle is likely coming out within the next couple months.
If you value a cutting-edge touchscreen, a more modern interface, and a more comfortable to hold (if distractingly odd to look at) form factor, then the Simple Touch Nook is for you. This is a very close second place, we think.
The Kobo really isn't for anybody. It has the smallest bookstore, the laggiest menu system, the blurriest screen, and the worst battery life of the three.
Touch screen e-readers may be the future, but we didn't really care much when comparing these three devices. A touch screen is not a 'killer feature' in our opinion, especially since there isn't a cool page-turning animation like on an iPad.
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