Amazon Kindle Paperwhite ($120)
Of course we would expect Amazon to have more than one entry on this list. The Kindle Paperwhite was introduced last year, and is still an excellent choice for the bookworm, despite being almost a year old. Ebook readers generally have a longer lifespan than smartphones or tablets, largely because they’re built for one thing and one thing only — reading. In other words, you’re not making a bad choice by going for the Paperwhite.
First off, the Kindle Paperwhite offers a beautiful high-resolution display — the same one that’s on the Oasis, in fact. Like the Oasis, it also has 4GB of storage. Unlike the Oasis, however, it doesn’t have any page-turn buttons, so you’ll have to touch the display in order to turn the page. Some people prefer this, but others prefer the buttons, so it’s something to keep in mind. As far as battery life goes, the Paperwhite will last for up to six weeks on a single charge. The Paperwhite isn’t waterproof, though, and remains limited to Amazon’s library. Read our full review here.
Amazon Kindle Voyage ($200)
Rewind another year, and we have the Kindle Voyage, a device that was released in 2014. Interestingly enough, while the Voyage was released a year earlier than the Paperwhite and features much of the same hardware, it’s quite a bit more expensive ($200). That said, it utilizes the same 300ppi display, 4GB of storage, and so on.
Of course, there are a few differences as well. For example, while the Paperwhite only has four LED lights for low-light reading, the Voyage has six, plus an adaptive light sensor that’s designed to sense how dark it is and adjust the display accordingly. The Voyage also features page-turn buttons, whereas the Paperwhite relies entirely on its touchscreen mechanic. The latter could be a big deal for certain people, as the buttons make things a little easier and many people prefer to use them over the touchscreen.
The Paperwhite may be a better choice for the average individual, solely because of the $80 price difference. For those that tend to read a lot and like using the page-turn buttons, however, the Voyage might be the ebook reader to get. Read our full review here.
Barnes & Noble Nook GlowLight Plus ($129.50)
Sure, Amazon is the go-to for ebook readers, but it’s not the only company that makes them. In fact, Barnes & Noble has made quite a name for itself with its Nook series of ebook readers. The GlowLight Plus, the company’s flagship, offers many of the same specs as some of Amazon’s ebook readers with a price to match the Kindle Paperwhite. So why go for a non-Kindle ebook reader? There are a few reasons, but perhaps the most important one is that you aren’t tied to Amazon’s ebook library. Instead, you can download ebooks from a host of other places.
The GlowLight Plus also has a 300ppi display, 4GB of storage, and the ability to read most standard ebook formats. The aptly-titled GlowLight Plus also has an adjustable ambient light, which will automatically cater to the amount of available light.
Kobo Aura H2O ($178)
Kobo might be the company with the least name recognition on our list, but that doesn’t mean its devices aren’t any good — on the contrary. The Aura H2O offers a number of great specs, including a 1GHz processor, 4GB of storage, and a 256ppi display. The Kobo’s display might not be as crisp as those adorning other ebook readers, but hey, you’re only seeing words on the screen. The device is also easy to hold, and while the bezels are quite large, for some, that’s a good thing.
There’s one feature, however, that sets the Aura H2O apart from the others on this list. As the name might suggest, it’s waterproof, meaning it would survive a plunge if you happen to drop your device in the water while reading poolside. Moreover, the Aura showcases excellent battery life, and can last up to two months on a single charge — something only the Kindle Oasis can match. The Aura can even handle a large number of ebook formats, so you can download your books from Amazon, Scribd, or elsewhere. Read our full review here.