E-Reader Buyer’s Guide
It’s easy to see why E-Readers have become so popular in today’s technology-centric world. In the past, if you wanted to read a book, you actually had to leave your home and go to a bookstore or library and find the book on a shelf. If it wasn’t on the shelves, you had to order it. You then had to carry that book with you if you thought you might have time for a little reading – home, work, your daily commute or wherever.
With an E-Reader, almost all of those concerns have vanished. Not only do you not have to leave your house to pick up the latest title that you’ve been waiting for, but you also don’t have to worry about availability. You can buy books instantly and start reading.
Instead of carrying a backpack filled with books along on your vacation, you can carry hundreds of thousands of books on a device that resembles a thin notebook. It’s important to remember when shopping for an E-Reader, however, that not all models are created equal. Likewise, not every model will necessarily fulfill all your specific needs the way you need it to.
Here’s a guide to finding just the right E-Reader for you.
The biggest difference between the latest E-Readers comes down to features. When choosing a particular model, you’re going to have to decide if you want your fancy new electronic device to just read books or to also do a whole lot more. Apple’s iPad, shown at right, is a completely worthwhile E-Reader thanks to first-party applications, like iBooks, and third party applications.
Its high definition, full color screen is capable of reading all types of materials, from regular books to magazines to comic books and more. However, the device was not designed primarily to be an E-Reader. It also allows you to watch movies and television shows, listen to music, browse the Internet and more.
As a result of these additional features, you’ll pay more money for an iPad than you would for something like the basic version of the Kindle, shown at right. The Kindle device is designed to be a dedicated E-Reader and little more.
When it comes to the various types of E-Readers available, the one main thing to look at is just how you get your books onto the device. Certain devices, like the Kindle, use a proprietary file format which means you can’t transfer them to other devices without the proper software. Other E-Readers, like the iPad, are capable of reading books in a wide variety of different file formats including common PC formats like the Adobe PDF.
There are two main things you need to concern yourself with when it comes to the size of any E-Reader. The first is the physical size of the unit, which is largely dependent on the size of the screen itself. E-Reader screens are measured diagonally, similar to the way you would measure a television set. The larger the screen, the larger the overall size of the device.
The second aspect you should consider is the size of the internal hard drive. The size of that drive is directly related to the total number of books that you can carry around with you at once. If you only plan on taking a few dozen books with you wherever you go, any size will do. However, if you have a large and expansive electronic book collection and plan on taking the whole thing with you wherever you go, you’ll need a hard drive of several gigabytes or more. You’ll also need a device with a large hard drive if you plan on reading magazines or comic books, both of which are larger in file size than traditional electronic books.
The final thing to think about when picking an E-Reader is the performance characteristics of the model you choose. If you want a model with Internet connectivity, for example, you’re going to want to take a close look at just how that device gets online. Certain devices, like Apple’s iPad, can use both cellular data and Wi-Fi networks so you always have access to the Web to download books on the go.
Other models may only connect via a Wi-Fi network, which means that you wouldn’t be able to purchase and download a new book unless you were at home, at the office or in a public place that offers free Internet access to patrons, like a coffee shop.
Another important aspect to look at is the screen. Many E-Readers, like the Nook HD+, shown at right, have glossy screens that are similar to a computer monitor. These screens are necessary to display high definition content like videos. However, it also means you’ll likely be battling glare from the sun every time you try to read outdoors.
Other E-Readers, like the kinds that are designed to read books and do little else, have screens that are specifically designed to allow you to read in almost any environment and actually mimic the look and feel of traditional paper in both texture and appearance.