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Best eBook Readers of 2015

A couple days ago I published an open topic post where I invited readers to ask any question they wanted.

One reader asked me which device I thought was the best ereader on the market. That’s really not the type of question you can answer in a comment, so today I sat down and jotted out a few notes on what I think makes for the best ereader.

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Hardly any new ereaders were released this year, but there are enough new and old models on the market that the few best devices stand out from their competition.

I haven’t covered all the possible bases, though; some questions, like the best cheap ereader, are difficult to answer. And then there’s the title of best Android ereader, a topic which I don’t feel I can answer (I’m not happy with any of the models I have tried).

Do you have a recommendation for best Android ereader?

Best All-Around eReader

kindle paperwhite 2013

This was an easy one.

Amazon’s newest Paperwhite, with its 300ppi screen, is hands down the best all-around ereader.

Its solid hardware is supported by reading software that combines very adequate formatting options with useful reading features like X-Ray, Wikipedia look-up, shared notes and highlights, vocabulary builder, Goodread integration,

The Paperwhite (2015) has the same screen resolution as on the Kindle Voyage, only for $80 less. That price difference also means you don’t get the Voyage’s flush glass screen, sleaker design, or its auto-adjusting frontlight, but I’m just one of many who think the tradeoff is worth it.

 Best Premium eReader

I think the Kobo Aura H2O is the best ereader among those with a $180 and up price tag.

aurah2o_blk_headon_single_home_ukI know that most people would go with the Kindle Voyage as the best premium ereader, but I’ve had my hands on both the Voyage and the Aura H2O, and I have to say that I prefer the latter.

The Aura H2O has a 6.8″ screen and provides the best balance of performance, software features, and hardware. It covers all the basic features, including highlights, notes, and bookmarks.

Also,the Aura H2O offers more formatting options than the Kindle Voyage, including margin and line with, setting custom font weights, and even installing your own fonts. And of course the Pocket integration means you can also read news articles with very little effort.

Plus, the Aura H2O waterproof, and has a microSD card slot (two features the Voyage lacks).

Best Large-Screen eReader

pocketbook inkpadOver the past few years I have reviewed several large-screen ereaders, including models from Onyx, Bookeen, and Pocketbook.

The Pocketbook InkPad 840, with its 8″ screen, is far and away the best ebook reader larger than 6″. It has the best mix of features, speed, and format support. While it doesn’t run Android like the i86 HDML, the Inkpad is still faster, is nicer to hold, and has an all around better design.

Alas, it is also difficult to acquire unless you live in Europe or Russia.

Best Cheap eReader

question-markNow this is a question which I don’t think I can answer. This title is a fast moving target which depends almost as much on which device is on sale this week as on hardware and software features. While I have tried several cheap ereaders over the past year, I don’t know that I can recommend one over any other.

Their chief value comes from their price, and not from software or hardware. While I found last year’s basic Kindle to be very usable, I don’t know that I would say it’s still the best cheap ereader – not when another model could go on sale in the next few months. (It is a safe choice, though.)


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Geoffrey Kidd November 28, 2015 um 4:46 pm

My own personal answer to your question about best cheap ereader is "Marvin" (which replaced Stanza when the Dread Pirate Bezos killed it) on my iPhone and iPad.

I need a phone anyway, and it’s a reader which saves me from having to carry around one more [cursing redacted] gadget to weigh me down or get lost/forgotten/stolen/strayed. At one point, I had the rough equivalent of fifty pounds of hardcovers in my phone, and those books added nothing to my carryaround mass.

Note, the software costs only a few bucks, and you can’t include the phone cost because I need one anyway.

poiboy November 28, 2015 um 4:57 pm

i have owned every ereader they make in north america. there is no question that kobo can’t hold a candle to amazon. amazon destroys them in customer service and it is ebook interface: faster, more touch reactive and more polished. the voyage has no equal. its the lightest, quickest and stylish ereader so far out there. i keep giving kobo a try but find i can’t handle how sluggish the interface is.

among budget ereaders, i would agree that the paperwhite is a great value. 300dpi and a great screen. you can’t go wrong with it. it was even on sale for american black friday deals at a great price.

Basem November 28, 2015 um 9:42 pm

"The Paperwhite (2015) has the sane screen resolution as on the Kindle Voyage, only for $80 less"

Think you meant the "same"!

Anyway, agree with most of this, other than the best cheap e-reader. The basic Kindle is the best entry level e-reader due to its software, which offers near identical features you get with the more expensive Kindles. For me, Amazon wins with its feature rich software more than hardware.

Nate Hoffelder November 28, 2015 um 10:18 pm

Thanks, Basem, I fixed it.

Linda November 28, 2015 um 9:59 pm

We have many ereaders. Between my teen kids, my husband, and myself we have: Simple Nook, Nook HD, Kindle, Kobo Mini, Kobo Glo, and two tablets for reading, the Samsung Galaxy 8.0 (has Octo processor as compared to quad) and new Fire tablet. For the new Fire I read the instructions on this website and loaded Mantano Lite to read books. I prefer the 2 tablets even though they are a tad heavier. The processors are robust and both of the tablets accept microSD cards for boosting storage. The tablets have lit screens which is so helpful. I think there are still some books that are only found in epub format so have stayed away from Kindle for my own reading. The Kindle is very sturdy and the least expensive so my kids read on the Kindle.
Thanks Nate for your opinion on ereaders. I think I have a lot of these but you have many more!

Name (Required) November 29, 2015 um 2:00 pm

> Paperwhite … very adequate formatting options …
I have to disagree.
– They still have hyphenation only for limited number of books,
– there is arbitrary list of font sizes,
– you can choose from three margin sizes — large, extra large and ridiculously large
– you can not set justification – it is either left for some purchased books or full justification for the rest
– you can not side-load your own font

Or … did I miss some significant changes in the new firmware?

Nate Hoffelder November 29, 2015 um 2:25 pm

No, you didn’t miss anything. I described the formatting options as very adequate because they are minimal.

Steve H November 30, 2015 um 10:24 am

I think my current Voyage is awesome. What I like is that you gave a real opinion! With valid reasons for picking the Kobo H2O.
Why do you think Amazon and Barnes and Noble have not replicated the font/font control and formatting options that the H2O features?-It seems like an easy thing to do. I do like that 6.8″ screen and SD card feature. In my opinion they should have put it on sale! A missed opportunity to snag some new users.
Do you predict that Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Kobo will put out an 8″ e-reader for 2016 or do you think there is too little demand??

fjtorres November 30, 2015 um 11:17 am

Best cheap reader would be the Basic Kindle when goes on sale, which is increasingly common, no? 😉

It hit $49 just last week. Hard to beat that for a new reader.

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Amir December 3, 2015 um 8:25 am

That`s very interesting!Some say in eight inches and above, only ONYX is better.You say only pocketbook is better.Some say none is better!Who knows really which is better!

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