The Finest E-Readers for Amazon, Kobo and Different Platforms

Whether or not you learn a ebook a month or plow via three in per week, an e-book reader is a useful companion. The gadgets can retailer hundreds of books, together with library loans. Their battery life is measured in weeks, not days. They’re as straightforward to learn in brilliant daylight as they’re in mattress at 2 a.m. And since most fashions at the moment are waterproof, they’ll survive a visit to the seaside too.

Selecting the most effective e-book reader isn’t actually a matter of weighing the options, as a result of most of them are fairly first rate. The extra urgent query is Amazon or Kobo? They’re primarily the one gamers left within the sport if you need first rate bookstore integration and a major stage of technical help. (Barnes & Noble’s Nook is miles behind in performance.)

Our best choice, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite for Children (sure, even for grownup readers), is the best mixture of value, ecosystem, measurement and ease of use. But when Amazon’s not for you, we have now suggestions for Kobo and different platforms too.

When you’d prefer to learn how we vetted and examined these e-readers, scroll down for all the small print.

Finest general e-reader

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The Finest E-Readers for Amazon, Kobo and Different Platforms


Kindle Paperwhite Children

The Kindle Paperwhite Children has the most effective mix of options and value, irrespective of your age. It’s snug to learn on, presents highly effective accessibility options and has a stellar guarantee.


  • Straightforward to make use of, straightforward to learn
  • Monumental ecosystem of books
  • No adverts
  • Waterproof
  • Constructed-in display screen reader
  • Comes with a free case


  • Good-not-great storage
  • No bodily page-turn buttons

It may appear shocking to decide on a kids’s machine from Amazon’s broad Kindle e-reader lineup, however if you wish to learn inside the Amazon ecosystem, the Kindle Paperwhite Children presents a bevy of helpful options at an inexpensive value. It has a 6.8-inch display screen that’s brilliant, sharp and simple to learn on. Like most trendy e-book readers, it has the power to change between cooler and hotter gentle sources, which some specialists consider have an effect on sleep high quality (extra on that beneath). It makes use of USB-C for charging, which is extra future proof than the older Micro-USB that’s nonetheless discovered on a few fashions we checked out, and it’s IPX8 waterproof—which means it may possibly deal with being dropped in a bath and even shortly dunked within the ocean.

The explanation to decide on the children’ Paperwhite over the grownup model is that whereas it prices about $20 greater than the primary Paperwhite, it provides you far more than $20 price of extras. For one factor, to show off adverts on the usual Paperwhite’s lock display screen, you pay an additional $20, wiping out the financial savings already. The youngsters’ Paperwhite has no adverts out of the field and a greater guarantee than the usual mannequin: a two years “worry-free” assure in contrast with the grownup model’s one-year “restricted” guarantee.

The large draw of any Kindle is entry to what’s arguably the most important present e-book platform on the earth. Plus, Amazon has just lately widened help for the widespread .epub file format, so you’ll be able to add books purchased on different platforms to a Kindle. You may also subscribe to the Kindle Limitless program, which provides you all of the books you’ll be able to learn for a flat charge.

To take a look at ebooks from libraries to learn on the Kindle, you utilize the Libby app in your smartphone. The app can settle for a number of library playing cards from a number of libraries, a bonus over gadgets bought by important competitor Kobo. The checkout course of is barely clumsy, although—from the cellphone app you “ship” the ebook to your Kindle, whereas with Kobo, the method all occurs on the machine itself.

Of the 2 platforms, Amazon has considerably higher accessibility instruments. You’ll be able to simply resize the textual content, a characteristic Brea Grant, of the “Studying Glasses” podcast, says helps her forestall complications whereas studying. There’s additionally a built-in display screen reader, which lets you navigate the Kindle through gestures and audio cues in addition to have the ebook learn aloud to you. In our testing, it had an inclination to be finicky, and we discovered the controls had been poorly defined for sure key options (like beginning and stopping studying a ebook). Nonetheless, the aptitude represents a major benefit over Kobo gadgets, which lack display screen studying altogether.

The downsides of the Kindle Paperwhite Children are pretty minor. There aren’t any bodily page-turn buttons, so that you’re reliant on tapping and swiping. Some folks choose the tactile really feel of interacting with buttons. The 8GB of inner storage is first rate however could run brief when you use the machine for plenty of memory-hungry audiobooks. (Our Kobo choose has 4 instances that a lot storage.) And there are some individuals who have emotions about Amazon and could also be reluctant to throw their lot in with them.

With the entire Amazon and Kobo gadgets we examined, you’ll be able to bounce simply backwards and forwards between a number of gadgets and the corresponding smartphone/pill app. So when you’re studying a ebook in your e-reader in mattress, you’ll be able to choose up the place you left off in your cellphone throughout your morning commute.

Finest e-reader when you choose the Kobo platform

Kobo Libra 2


Kobo Libra 2

The Libra 2 offers essentially the most helpful measurement and array of options inside the lineup of Kobo gadgets. It has useful bodily buttons for shifting via pages and extra storage than nearly every other e-reader we examined.


  • Snug to carry
  • Has bodily buttons along with the contact display screen
  • No adverts
  • Waterproof
  • 32GB of storage


  • No display screen reader
  • Cowl bought individually

At present, essentially the most important various to Amazon is Kobo. The model is owned by the megacorporation Rakuten and has a partnership with Walmart. The 2 manufacturers have equally sized e-book catalogs—which is to say numerous thousands and thousands. Amazon tends to supply extra exclusives, (although Kobo has them too) and extra authors self-publish on Amazon attributable to its ubiquity as a platform. Usually, when you can consider a ebook, each firms could have it.

For most individuals, the candy spot among the many Kobo fashions is the 7-inch Kobo Libra 2. It’s snug to carry and simple to hit the touch-screen zones for swiping via pages. It additionally has bodily page-turn buttons alongside one facet, a bonus over the Kindle for individuals who choose the bodily feeling of a click on. The machine additionally has a slight lip alongside the sides that, mixed with a delicate texture on the again, make it a bit of extra grippy and thus extra snug to carry throughout prolonged studying periods or by these with restricted grip energy or positive motor expertise. Nevertheless, that’s the place its accessibility benefit ends. Not like with the Kindle, whereas the Kobo can play audiobooks, there isn’t a display screen reader functionality. 

The Kobo reader handles library integration utilizing the OverDrive app (the predecessor to Libby), which lets you try books instantly on the machine. That makes for a smoother expertise to borrow and return books, however at the price of not with the ability to use a number of library playing cards. 

With 32GB of built-in storage, the Libra 2’s acquired house to spare. Just like the Kindle Paperwhite Children Version, it costs with USB-C, has no adverts, is waterproof and makes use of yellow backlights for late-night looking.

So let’s discuss for a minute about heat vs. cool—or yellow vs. blue—lights. Consultants keep that gentle coloration is essential in regulating our sleep cycle—blue gentle is among the methods our our bodies perceive that it’s daytime, as a result of daylight is definitely pretty blue. By shifting the colour of the lights in your reader from a cool blue to a heat yellow/orange at evening, the speculation is that you could assist forestall your physique from pondering it’s nonetheless the center of the day. 

A lot of the present technology of e-book readers promote some method of adjustable lighting for the display screen. Kobo claims its adjustable lighting “permits you to learn properly into the evening, with out affecting your sleep.” Amazon is extra measured, calling its gentle shift “straightforward on the eyes.” The specialists we spoke to identified that having any gentle shining in your face at evening is more likely to be disruptive to sleep, however when you’re a faithful in-bed reader, a hotter (yellower) gentle is the best way to go.

Finest e-reader when you’re huge on taking notes

Boox Note Air2 Plus


Boox Word Air2 Plus

The big display screen, good note-taking expertise and full Android integration make this an amazing device for scribblers, annotaters and underliners—however it has a steep studying curve.


  • Huge display screen
  • Included stylus and case
  • Offers you entry to the Kindle, Kobo and Libby platforms
  • Nice PDF studying and annotating expertise
  • Tons of customization


  • Tough to be taught to make use of
  • Excessive value

Not too long ago, there was a proliferation of e-ink gadgets based mostly round a 10-inch display screen. They’re aimed toward readers who prefer to take notes within the margins, brainstorm on the web page and annotate paperwork. Of those we examined, the Onyx Boox Word Air2 Plus is essentially the most compelling, although it’s nonetheless flawed.

The Air2 Plus does a number of issues properly. It’s acquired an unlimited display screen and comes with a stylus for writing and drawing (a canopy is included too). Marking up books, PDFs or different paperwork with the stylus is a gratifyingly responsive course of: It’s straightforward to make notes, circle key info and spotlight strains of textual content. The Air2 Plus can even run optical character recognition on PDFs to make them searchable. It has some good quality-of-life options, like the power to learn every web page in chunks, which is nice for working your means via comics or significantly dense textual content. There’s a built-in display screen reader for textual content and books, with fairly a couple of choices for the way it reads textual content—a novel characteristic on this class of bigger gadgets.

You get 64GB of built-in storage, which issues extra with this machine than with smaller ones, as a result of likelihood is you’re going to be loading massive PDFs or different image-heavy codecs like comics, which take up much more house.

The Air2 Plus is constructed on Android, which provides you entry to additional performance. As with a smartphone, you’ll be able to set up the Kindle, Kobo and Libby apps on the Air2 Plus and use them to learn any books on these platforms—a flexibility you received’t see elsewhere. It’s additionally deeply customizable, with extra choices than every other machine we examined. Only for starters, you’ll be able to select what seems as your private home web page while you begin it up, manage your ebook titles in additional methods than on different gadgets and set up artwork apps to make use of the pill for drawing.

Sadly, with that customizability comes a steep studying curve. Options are sometimes laid out unintuitively, and each the interface and manuals are troublesome to comply with. Additionally, at $480, it’s far pricier than our high two picks. Remember the fact that Onyx is an organization with a comparatively small footprint within the U.S., which, in case you have tech points or a nonfunctional machine, could not really feel as reassuring as buying a product from Kobo or Amazon.

Different e-readers it is best to learn about

We skipped 6-inch fashions just like the base-model Kindle and Kobo Nia attributable to getting old designs, typically low decision and small screens—the bounce as much as 7 inches actually made a distinction.

The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Version is similar to the usual Paperwhites. For a $30 premium over the children’ model (or the no-ads adults model), it will get you the benefit of Qi wi-fi charging (though it’s exhausting to align the machine correctly), 32GB of storage (which isn’t actually wanted more often than not) and auto-adjusting lights (that are marginally helpful at finest as a result of it’s really easy to regulate the backlight manually). We expect the Paperwhite Children has extra options which might be real-world helpful, however the Paperwhite SE is an efficient alternative if these extras are essential to you.

Conversely, the Kindle Oasis is among the few gadgets we examined that we actively disliked. It has a comparatively excessive $250 price ticket due to its metallic chassis, however regardless of that, it lags behind in each means that issues. Most notably, it’s uncomfortable to carry—it’s heavier than anything of the same measurement and packs a lot of its mass into a big rectangular bulge that runs alongside its proper rear facet, making it awkward to carry. And because it’s metallic, it will get slippery—good factor it’s waterproof, as a result of it’s straightforward to think about it falling into the tub. Plus, for a premium machine, it has the decidedly un-premium components of solely 8GB of storage and the soon-to-be-archaic Micro-USB charging.

The Kobo Sage is the 8-inch companion to the Kobo Libra 2 and may be very related in most ways in which matter. Its display screen is 1 inch bigger, it provides help for Kobo’s stylus for handwriting/annotation and it prices round $80 extra. However whereas studying with each, we discovered the smaller Libra 2 was extra snug; on the bigger machine we regularly discovered it troublesome to succeed in the proper space of the display screen to swipe to the following web page. It might go well with you higher in case you have massive arms, however we discovered the smaller possibility extra interesting.

The Kobo Elipsa is Kobo’s 10-inch word taker, and sadly it seems like a small e-book reader scaled up relatively than one thing designed for this measurement natively. The stylus is heavy and requires a case to remain in place, not like the magnetic attachments of the opposite massive e-ink gadgets. 

The reMarkable 2 is a surprising, 10-inch word taking machine that’s nice to put in writing on, however it allow us to down by missing some essential options. It utterly lacks accessibility instruments, has solely 8GB of storage (which is a matter right here with massive PDFs, and much more so with out the benefit of cloud storage), and has no lighting. In any respect. That could be nice for battery life, however it’s an enormous concern when you’re working underneath something apart from brilliant gentle. Plus, the pricing construction is baroque: At $300 for the bottom mannequin, it appears on the reasonably priced finish, however that’s with no stylus, which is essential for utilizing the machine to take notes. The stylus is $80 for the fundamental model, or $130 for one the place you should use the again finish to erase. Case costs begin at $80. However most notably, many options are locked behind an $8/month subscription—together with essential ones like handwriting conversion and compatibility with cloud providers. 

How we picked

Belief us

I’ve been writing product evaluations for many years, with bylines in Wirecutter, Client Reviews, PopPhoto and others. I’m additionally a lifelong voracious reader (I simply handed my fiftieth ebook for the 12 months as I filed this draft in July) and have been utilizing e-book readers since I picked up a HanLin V3 circa 2009. For this evaluation, I interviewed Brea Grant of the book-culture podcast “Studying Glasses” and Rajkumar Dasgupta, M.D. and Renske Lok, Ph.D., each sleep specialists, concerning the results of blue lights and devices in your sleep cycle.

We examined

What makes an excellent e-reader is much less about {hardware} specs and extra about ecosystems and person interfaces. Just about each e-ink-based e-book reader available on the market packs a considerably related set of advantages: weekslong battery life, sufficient storage for hundreds of ebooks, audiobook compatibility, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and a connection to a significant digital storefront. So then, what issues with regards to selecting an excellent one?

  • Consolation: When you’re going nostril deep right into a thriller for hours at a time, you need a machine that’s going to be snug to carry as you shift your grip and studying place. This additionally means not having a reader that’s so huge as to be clunky, or so small as to be troublesome to learn the display screen.
  • Consumer interface and expertise: How straightforward are they to navigate? Is it troublesome to load up new books? Does it combine properly with exterior providers like library networks?
  • Accessibility: What does the machine have in the best way of accessibility choices?
  • Extras and bonuses: Can you utilize a stylus with it? Will it intelligently adapt to native lighting circumstances? What kind of charging system does it use? Is it waterproof?

To check these gadgets, we bounced between novels and skim throughout a number of platforms, going from e-book reader to app to desktop (the place accessible). We downloaded public area titles and borrowed library books. We tried studying in direct daylight (which we don’t suggest) and in pitch darkish (which we additionally don’t suggest) and in varied lighting circumstances in between. And for the 10-inch e-ink gadgets, we loaded them up with massive PDFs to see how they might deal with hefty paperwork and facilitate annotation.

Our skilled sources

  • Brea Grant of the ebook tradition podcast “Studying Glasses
  • Renske Lok, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow at Zeitzer Circadian Analysis Lab at Stanford College
  • Rajkumar Dasgupta, M.D., assistant professor of Medical Drugs at Keck Faculty of Drugs on the College of Southern California, and fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Drugs

The recommendation, suggestions or rankings expressed on this article are these of the Purchase Facet from WSJ editorial crew, and haven’t been reviewed or endorsed by our industrial companions.

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