Sunday, July 31, 2011

Shopping for an eReader

Free article by Susan Black

While it remains unlikely that the day will ever come when traditional books become an entirely redundant concept, more and more modern consumers and professionals across the board are turning to eReaders for the lion’s share of their literary pursuits. Thankfully, the demand has resulted in more choices coming onto the market than ever before and with enormous value for money, though for those approaching the subject for the very first time, a little apprehension and confusion is inevitable.

However, the market can be immediately narrowed down to the three key players of the moment to ease the matter somewhat – those being Amazon, Barnes & Noble and somewhat trailing in the rear Sony. That being said, for every high quality eReader there is also a tablet PC alternative, all of which now feature eReading functions as standard.

So, the question therefore is not only which eReader to choose, but whether to choose an eReader in the first play or go for a fully functional tablet PC. There are hundreds of guides available for each and every option online, though the following is a brief look into some of the most important considerations to help those who really have no idea where to start.

1 – Are you looking for reading alone or something entirely more versatile?

Once this particular question has been answered it is effectively simple to cut the available options in half right down the middle. Ask and establish in all honesty exactly what is to be got out of the purchase as a whole, whether it be the reading of books alone, the inclusion of magazines and newspapers, internet browsing capabilities, multimedia options and so on.

If the answer comes out as reading alone which includes magazines and newspapers than an eReader would indeed prove the most sensible option. This would essentially mean a price somewhere around the $120 mark rather than $500 – with each additional feature translating as a higher purchase cost. Of course, there is always something of a middle ground option provided by Barnes & Noble by way of the Nook Color, which sports a touch-screen and a number of tablet style features for around the $250 mark. Establish what the primary function of the device should be and the decision as to which end of the market to look into is made naturally.
2 – Screen Type

There are two primary screen types to choose from in the world of the standard eReader, both of which offer their own unique merits:

E-ink – This is the option that comes about as close to the standard printed page as is ever likely to prove possible on a digital device. Models of the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook and countless others all feature an e-ink screen, which do a truly stunning job of recreating the traditional reading experience. Furthermore, an e-ink screen can be read even in direct sunlight with little to no glare or reflection. The main drawback for e-ink comes by the way of purely black and white content, along with fairly restricted versatility and page-load speeds.

LCD – The alternative option is the bright, backlit and endlessly versatile color LCD display which undoubtedly has the e-ink option licked by way of beauty. However, the downside is that the reflective nature of the screen makes it prone to glare and reflection, with the backlight being known as tiresome to eyes over extended periods.
The rest of the bell and whistles featured really come down to personal preference, but for those looking for a little further push in the right direction, here are some specific suggestions.

The very best overall e-ink option is undoubtedly that of the latest Nook, which offers a truly wonderful reading experience for a modest $139. Those willing to bear the odd ad popping up on their Kindle are handsomely with a stunning device for little more than $110 which makes the perfect choice for relaxing on any leather reclining sofa.

With regard to color screen options, the Barnes & Noble Nook Color takes the prize, weighing in at less than $250 and offering many of the features and functions that would be expected from a tablet at twice such a price.

Last but by no means least, the very best fully functional tablet PC that also doubles as a stunning eReader has to be the Apple iPad 2, which starts at around the $500 mark but is essentially one of the best fully portable computer systems ever devised with a range of functions too infinite to comprehend.

(Of note, the author of this blog is partial to her Kindle, although she only has the basic WiFi model. She is awaiting the Kindle tablet to see how it compares to the iPad or other such tablets. Rumor has it that the Kindle tablet will start at $399 but could be less since Kindle just had a huge sponsorship from AT&T - all the Kindles will see a price decrease (the cheapest one will start at $99 and go up from there; just decreased the price of the Kindle 3G + WiFi to $139 which is what the basic WiFi model without the ads and stuff cost previously. Hoping to see more news on the Kindle Tablet soon - knowing it will be in color and all - E :))

1 comment:

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for this post. Very useful!