Ask The Expert: What is the Best eReader for PDFs?

This question arrived in my inbox a few days ago, and I wanted to post my answer.

I would like to buy an ereader to read PDFs. I had thought about getting the Boox Note 2, but it would hurt to make such a big investment if Amazon launched a big-screen Kindle. Do you think there are possibilities of seeing a Kindle of more than 10″ in the short time? A color kindle perhaps?

If you want a color device or large-screen device for PDFs, don’t wait on Amazon.

We have no reason to expect Amazon to launch a large-screen Kindle, or a color Kindle. I want to see one just as much as you do, but any expectation that Amazon will launch such a device really comes down to wishful thinking.

Instead, you should look at buying a device now, and keeping it for several years.

My recommendation is to buy an Android tablet or an iPad. Yes, the question concerned an ereader, but I really feel that a tablet would be better for PDFs. Not only is an Android tablet half the price of a large-screen ereader, it’s also faster and more capable. And an iPad is even better, albeit rather pricy.

In my opinion it all comes down to getting the most for your dollar. An ereader is a limited function device, with most models having functionality limited to what the manufacturer decided to include. An Android tablet, on the other hand, can install apps from Google Play, giving it an infinitely larger range of possibilities.

P.S. Yes, I am aware of Android ereaders. I am rather fond of the concept, but I still think they came in second behind a real Android tablet.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

14 Comments

  1. Vicente6 August, 2020

    But you know the controversy about sight damage or comfort from LCD screens if you’re reading long hours.

    Reply
    1. DaveMich6 August, 2020

      Much of the population spends huge numbers of hours every day staring at LCD screens. If sight damage were a thing, we would know it by now.

      Reply
      1. David6 August, 2020

        I agree. If sight damage was a thing half the population would be wearing glasses or using contact lenses.

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder7 August, 2020

          Actually, it is a thing. It’s justt that you have to spend 12 plus hours a day in front of a screen for years before the effect becomes measurable.

          Reply
          1. Disgusting Dude7 August, 2020

            50 years?

            Reply
      2. Matthew6 November, 2020

        gimme a break.

        Although actually, I do get very sore eyes, staring at LCD screens all day and am now on blue light filter glasses, otherwise I can’t do it. And there is a HUGE difference between different types of starting, with reading being the most intense. E-ink devices exist for a reason. People hate reading for long periods on LCD screens.

        Reply
    2. Disgusting Dude6 August, 2020

      Right.
      It’s a controversy because people don’t bother to control screen brightness and ereader colors.
      A cheap tablet is really better. Something like a Fire10 on sale.
      Or the cheapest iPad if aspect ratio matters.

      Depending on what else the gadget will be used for, a cheap WinTab could be even better.
      Windows Central just last week did a piece of cheap WinTabs in the 10-12 in range. Prices run around $200 give or take a sale.

      Reply
    3. Matthew6 November, 2020

      I know. The whole fkn point of E-ink devices to begin with. Anyone who reads intently on a LCD screen for anymore than 30 minutes knows all about the headache, eyeache, warped vision, etc. The author of this article is an idiot.

      Reply
  2. Javi11 August, 2020

    I was the one who asked you 🙂
    the fact is that tablets distract me and I think electronic ink is better for reading … and outdoors
    I ignored you and bought the Onyx Boox Note 2. It is very expensive compared to an iPad but it is what I was looking for. Perfect for Pdfs. I think I’m going to take advantage of it. It is a pity that these products do not have a larger market and therefore a more affordable price … oh, and a color screen. I envision this in ACeP colors and I think it would be perfect for millions of students around the world.

    Reply
  3. Mr G15 August, 2020

    When can we expect e-ink readers+notes devices with Color ink (ACeP or any tech) ?
    Onyx Book Note 2 is worth as BLACK color Device with notes.
    But Kindly suggest me UPCOMING COLOR INK devices with notes.

    TIA TIA TIA !

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder15 August, 2020

      Well, we have a decent color E-ink screen no. A better screen is going to require a breakthrough in screen resolution and another breakthrough in the number of shades supported by E-ink screens (currently it’s 16). A higher res E-ink screen means we can have a sharper color screen, and an increase in shades would give us more color options.

      Since these are breakthroughs, there’s no way to predict when they are going to happen.

      Reply
    2. Nate Hoffelder16 August, 2020

      Sorry, that didn’t really answer your question, did it?

      The only answer I can give you is that Onyx has hinted that they want to put a Kaleido E-ink screen in the Nova2. They have not committed to a release date, however.
      https://the-digital-reader.com/2020/08/10/onyx-is-planning-a-7-8-nova2-color-ereader/

      Reply
  4. […] Ask The Expert: What is the Best eReader for PDFs? […]

    Reply
  5. David Barnard28 August, 2020

    Can anyone help a senior citizen? I am looking for an e-reader that can download epub files from my lap-top.
    I hold a library of books on my computer and just want to be able to transfer them to my e-reader – I am unlikely to want to purchase ebooks as my library is vast and collected/purchased over many years. All my books are in epub files. I taught in China for many years and have been home in the UK for just over a year now. My previous e-reader was an old Chinese model that served me well for a long time but finally she has given up the ghost.
    I don’t think I can afford much more than 70 pounds as I am on a pension. I don’t mind a good refurbished mode;
    Thank you
    David

    Reply

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