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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.

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Vicente August 6, 2020 um 2:26 am

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

DaveMich August 6, 2020 um 11:06 am

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.

David August 6, 2020 um 3:56 pm

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

Nate Hoffelder August 7, 2020 um 1:24 pm

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.

Disgusting Dude August 7, 2020 um 6:19 pm

50 years?

Matthew November 6, 2020 um 7:40 pm

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.

Disgusting Dude August 6, 2020 um 11:11 am

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.

Matthew November 6, 2020 um 7:37 pm

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.

df82 January 1, 2021 um 6:38 pm

I’m both a lawyer and an engineer. I’ve been 'reading intently' on LCD screens since the 1990s, when I got my first laptop. That’s almost all I do at work and it’s much of what I do when I come home and moonlight as a fiction author. Except for one eye becoming slightly farsighted in my 30s (just like my mother), I’ve had no vision problems. I’m also not foolish enough to crank up the brightness to maximum.

Assuming your particular case is generally applicable, and declaring that anyone who sees things differently must just be stupid, really *is* idiotic.

Javi August 11, 2020 um 10:59 am

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.

Mr G August 15, 2020 um 11:59 am

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.


Nate Hoffelder August 15, 2020 um 6:26 pm

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.

Nate Hoffelder August 16, 2020 um 9:01 am

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.

New Ask The Expert: What is the Best eReader for PDFs? – Stephen's Lighthouse August 23, 2020 um 6:22 am

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

David Barnard August 28, 2020 um 2:12 pm

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

Lorraine Foord March 6, 2021 um 8:28 pm

Hi David

I would recommend Kobo Libra H2O. It’s a little over your price limit though. Just google it, you don’t have to use the wifi (after initial setup) and can use Calibre to copy them all across.

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