Having tested a ton of e-readers, we've looked for the best mix of screen resolution, portable size and durability to find the best Kindles for you, with Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite (which is now waterproof) coming out the best tool for the task. If you're on a budget, though, its new entry-level Kindle will do, providing access to most of the same library and features.
You'll get the most out of the device with an Amazon Prime subscription, as it provides for the "over a thousand books, magazines and comics" with Prime Reading.
Latest News and Updates (April 2019):
- If you're hankering for a redacted document and prefer eBooks over PDFs, you can buy The Mueller Report from Amazon.
- Check out our review of the new Kindle, which features lighting, which Amazon's never included in its entry-level model.
- Amazon's Prime Reading service has a new contender, as Scribd Originals will offer exclusive content from best-selling authors, plus give audiences a way to connect with those writers.
* Based on a half hour of reading per day with wireless off and the light set at 10. ** Based on a half hour of reading per day with wireless off.
* Based on a half hour of reading per day with wireless off.
* Based on a half hour of reading per day with wireless and Bluetooth off and the light set at 10.
Amazon makes our favorite e-readers, but it's not the only competitor in the game. While Barnes & Noble's Nook GlowLight 3 features long battery life, its laggy interface gets in the way of your reading. The Nook Glowlight Plus won points for its water resistance, but its sluggish performance was a dealbreaker.
The Kobo Aura One earned points for its water resistance and automatically adjusting light, but its book selection doesn't match Amazon's and its touch keyboard lags.
How We Test E-Readers
In addition to evaluating e-readers' size, weight, claimed battery life and design choices, we run a couple of tests on E Ink devices. If a Kindle offers a backlighting option, we test its brightness using our light meter. The experience of reading on the device plays a huge role in these reviews. For instance, we look at the intuitiveness of the interface, the size of the available library of content and how well the special features (such as a Web browser or dictionary) work.
What Kindles and E-readers Cost
While Amazon's Kindles range from the $79 (£79/AU$109) Kindle all the way up to the luxe $249 (£249/AU$389) Oasis, Kobo's e-readers come at similar (but higher) price-points. Barnes and Noble's only e-reader is the Nook GlowLight 3, which costs $119.
Amazon wasn't the first company to release an E Ink e-reader (that was Sony, which launched the Librie in 2004), but the Kindle's release in 2007 sold out in 5 hours. That initial success was likely due to Amazon's huge library of e-content. Kindles have remained best sellers because of the quality and extra features. The sharp displays on Amazon's e-readers are easy on the eyes, thanks to the tablets' glare-free touch screens. With at least 4GB of storage, these devices can hold thousands of e-books.
Amazon's best Kindle features include the company's excellent FreeTime Unlimited parental controls and child profiles. Plus, through the integration of the Goodreads social network, avid readers can connect with fellow bookworms and get new book suggestions.
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Through Amazon's Kindle Unlimited service, you can get unlimited e-books for $9.99 per month. Of course, you can borrow e-books from the public library or even from your friends. And if you've finished a book you've bought and decide you want a physical copy, you can use Amazon's Kindle MatchBook program to get a discounted paper version.
You'll also get more Kindle perks if you live in a Prime household, "over a thousand books, magazines and comics" with Prime Reading.
Through the Family Library feature, you can link two Amazon accounts to share books across devices. Each adult account will retain its own furthest page read location, notes, highlights and social media connections. To link accounts on a Kindle you have to go into Menu > Settings > Registration And Household > Household And Family Library. From there, you tap Add A New Person and Add Adult. You’ll need the new person to enter their Amazon account ID and password.
You can also add up to four child profiles under Amazon Households. You’ll follow all the same procedures, but will tap Add Child instead of Add Adult at the end. Parents can then hand select which books their child can access.
For those looking to broaden their horizons, Amazon embeds a vocabulary builder and dictionary definitions within texts.
Each of these devices, which cost from $79 to $199, boasts a broad range of special features that makes it unique.
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