You’ve grown weary of the physical page, yet you love reading as much as you ever did. This year may be the one you finally get an e-reader.
They’re cheaper and better than ever before, with crystal-clear lettering and screens that won’t weary your eyes. The question now is which one, with a plethora of options making it hard to choose.
We’ve made it simple for you—here are our top picks.
It’s very hard to go wrong with the Kindle PaperWhite. There’s the stuff you’d expect—a crisp six-inch screen, a sensible easy-to-carry weight, solid battery life. Then there are the things only Amazon can offer, including a staggeringly large catalog. Amazon also has partnerships with many public libraries, allowing you to borrow books for free. Other nice-to-haves include a side-lit screen, for late-night reading; beach-friendly waterproofing; and Bluetooth, so that you can stream audiobooks. All that for the very reasonable $129.99.
Whether it’s the tax issue, workers’ rights, or because you’re worried about the future of Long Island City, there are plenty of reasons the discerning buyer might not want to support Amazon. If that sounds like you, consider the Kobo Clara HD, also at $129.99. You get many of the same features as the PaperWhite, including library partnerships, space for up to 6,000 books and subtle backlighting. You’ll have to say goodbye, however, to such add-ons as waterproofing or Bluetooth. If your key consideration is admission to the moral high ground, this is the right choice. Otherwise, we’d stick to a Kindle.
You don’t just want more books than you could read in a dozen lifetimes, battery life for days, and the option to drop it in the sink. You want a “champagne gold” colored shell, better illumination, and a simply snazzier array of options.
Your best choice is Amazon’s $249.99 Kindle Oasis, released last year.
While the Kindle Oasis may be quite a lot more expensive than other models, you’re paying for a higher quality reading experience. In practice, that means physical buttons, a smooth metal shell, and 10 different fonts with five different levels of boldness, among a slew of other features. The standard model comes with ad-supported wifi. But if you’re prepared to pay even more, you can jettison the ads and connect anywhere via mobile internet for any urgent book-related needs.
Do you actually need all these features? Probably not, and probably not at that price.
Still, if you really need to splurge, the Kindle Oasis is your best option, short of an actual tablet.