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Compare the Best Amazon KindlesSeptember 2021

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What is the Kagoo Score? Our unique E-book readers rating which considers: 2,100 UK prices • 2,000 expert & user reviews • 91 product comparisons • 110 industry awards • Score breakdown
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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite ‑ 8th Gen

63 Reviews
benchmark.pl Great Designhardwareluxx.de Excellent Hardware

£95.00

Info
182g
Info
800 X 600 pixels
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6"
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Jun 2016

83

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Amazon Kindle Touch ‑ 4th Gen

 

£69.95

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169g
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800 X 600 pixels
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6"
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Oct 2013

77

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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite ‑ 6th Gen

156 Reviews
CNET.com Editor's ChoiceTrusted Reviews RecommendedPocket Lint Editor's ChoiceExpert Reviews Best Buy

£129.00

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161g
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800 X 600 pixels
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6"
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Feb 2013

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Kindle E-Book Reader Buying Guide

What is an E-Book Reader?

E-book readers have quickly become a common site on trains, planes and subways the world over - a simple tablet dedicated to displaying book in the simplest, most natural way possible. With excellent battery life, easy-to-read screens and capacity for thousands of books at once, e-book readers are a good way to make sure you always have something to read on your commute or holiday!

Most e-readers use a technology called ‘e-ink’ to display the books - this is uses microscopic particles suspected in a liquid film under the screen. Some of these particles are positively charged and coloured white, and others negatively charged and coloured black. By running a charge through the liquid, the white or black particles can come to the surface, allowing letters and text to form.

Because the charge is only required when the text changes, e-ink has an extremely low power draw - power is normally only used when the page is ‘turned’ (refreshed). This means that most e-readers have an extremely long battery life - they can last for weeks and even months between charges, depending on how fast you read.

Benefit of an E-book reader over mobiles/tables

When e-readers were introduced, many people wondered - you have your phone/tablet with you already, why not just use that to read books, and save yourself having to carry around another device? A fair question, and e-readers have multiple advantages over using your phone:

  • The e-ink display draws very little power, meaning you won’t use much power, compared to draining your phone/tablet battery reading on it.
  • E-ink displays are also very easy on the eye, and can help prevent eye strain caused by long reading sessions.
  • Most e-readers have a larger display than phones, making reading easier and also helping to ease eye strain.
  • E-readers are free from notifications, apps and other distractions that would stop you from concentrating on your book.

That said, if you do want to read books on your phone/tablet, many of the major e-reader makers have apps for those devices, allowing you to start reading a book on one device and pick it up seamlessly on another, so you can have your literary cake and eat it too.

Display

One of the biggest concerns when picking an e-book reader is the display. The quality of the text on an e-reader display is measured in Dots Per Inch (DPI). The higher the DPI, the more particles make up each letter on the screen, leading to smoother, clearer text that is easier to read. Most e-readers have a DPI of somewhere around 2-300, although top-tier models can rise as high as 600 DPI, for extremely crisp and clear text.

Tied into the DPI is the size of the display. Most e-readers are the size of small tablets - slightly larger than a paperback book. There are larger models - some go as large as 8”, meaning they are more unwieldy to carry, but can display more/larger text at once.

Battery Life

As mentioned above, because e-readers draw very little power, they have a very good battery life. Even the most basic of e-readers will have a battery life of weeks, with many able to function for a month or more between charges. Some higher-end readers have larger batteries, but these are only worth seeking out if you spend a long time travelling or away from any power - for most people a month’s charge will be more than enough.

Wifi/4g Connectivity

Nearly all e-readers apart from the very cheap models will have some form of wifi connection to allow the device to connect to the internet to download new books. Some more expensive models will also have 3G connectivity, meaning it can connect to the net from anywhere, and doesn’t have to be on a known wifi network. This can be helpful since it allows you to buy and download new books from anywhere - even half-way round the world - as long as you have a cell phone signal.

Ebooks themselves are very small files, since they usually lack any images/video/etc. This means that even a modest e-reader can hold hundreds, if not thousands of ebooks at once. Some readers have more capacity than the norm, but most users will struggle to fill even half of a standard reader’s capacity.

Stores

The biggest difference between all the various ranges of e-readers is the online stores they have access to. This denotes what books you can buy at what price. Kindle’s only have access to the Amazon store, while the Kobo reader has it’s own store. Amazon is far-and-away the biggest of these stores, but it doesn’t contain everything - and some of it’s publishing policies rub people the wrong way. Other stores have their own positives and negatives, so it is worthwhile does a bit of checking to see if the store for your chosen reader has a good selection before you commit to buying it.

File Formats

Alongside buying books from an online store, it is also possible to load books onto an e-reader as individual files. These files could be downloaded from a different store, received directly from the publisher (in the case of small independent labels) or even your own work.

Different e-readers have support for different types of files. One of the most popular file format is the epub (electronic publication) file - these are used for a lot of publicly available books, such as Project Guttenberg, which aims to make much of the classic literature in the world available freely. However the Kindle doesn’t directly support the epub format - meaning you’ll have to transfer it to another format if you want to use it.

If you are going to be using e-readers for independent (non-store) files a lot, it’s worth taking a look at ‘Calibre’, which is a free program for converting ebook files between different formats. The site is here: Calibre

Backlights

One of the most helpful additions to e-readers is a backlight. While lacking in very cheap models, most mid-range readers have a light built into the screen, which allows you to read in low-light conditions. Many have several different levels of brightness as well - higher brightness can be helpful in certain situations, but lower brightness will help conserve battery power.

Waterproofing

Waterproofing is currently limited to a small collection of e-readers, but is immensely helpful if you can get it. Having a water-resistant device means that you can happily read everywhere from the beach to the bath, and don’t have to worry about damaging your device if it gets a bit damp.

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