With the many distractions that come from modern life, studying online can be difficult to settle. To get away from the constant notifications from online services like Facebook and Instagram, you can turn off your smartphone or tablet and open a good book. Alternatively, you can invest in an e-reader. An e-reader can hold literally thousands of books and allows you to step away from the distractions that come with computing devices in favor of a more focused experience.
After weeks of research and months of testing, I can tell you that 11th Generation Amazon Kindle (2022) (Available on Amazon for $119.99) The best e-reader for most people. It’s a compact, easy-to-use e-reader with a crisp, bright display that packs most of the features of Amazon’s more expensive Kindle e-readers at a very reasonable low price.
If you prefer to move away from Amazon’s broader ecosystem of paid and subscription content, we recommend picking up Raktuken’s Kobo Libra 2 (Available on Amazon) for a rotation. In addition to being able to purchase eBooks and audiobooks through the company’s online store, get access to electronic books from your local library, and Pocket: Mozilla’s Libra 2 is second-to-none service for web content for ease of reading.
Other e-readers we’ve tested
How we test e-readers
I’m Seamus Bellamy, a senior editor in Review’s electronics team. I’m a voracious reader who doesn’t have room in my house for more than a handful of paperbacks. For the past five years, I’ve relied on e-readers to satisfy my passion for reading. I am familiar with most e-readers on the market and have, in the past, reviewed them for multiple publications.
The best way to test an e-reader is to read a lot. I spent several weeks with each device, using them on PDF files, various e-book file types, digital comic books, and trashy mystery masterpieces published in image files, in an attempt to get a feel for how each performed. I also mentioned the amount of content that can be accessed by each e-reader.
I paid attention to the quality of the text displayed on its screen, its refresh rate (how often the device clears the artwork on its display from your previous pages) and its front light performance. I mentioned how responsive its user interface was.
What to Consider Before Buying an E-Reader
A good e-reader should have a large enough screen for easy readability, but be compact enough to slip into your bag without cluttering things up. For this, you’ll want something around 5″ to 6.8″ max, but if you’re looking for a large device for reading from home, a larger screen is perfectly fine.
eBooks don’t take up a lot of space (8GB of storage can hold anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 books, depending on file size), but you still want to make sure you have enough space to hold your entire eBook library. If you plan to read comics as well as ebooks, an e-reader with large storage will come in handy.
Unlike our smartphones, e-readers should generally last at least a few weeks on a single charge, but ideally more. Whether you want to carry it in a bag to get a few pages between jobs or on your commute, or you tend to travel with your trusty reader, you don’t want to lose power just as you’re getting to the good part.
Many e-readers support a variety of file formats, but the most important are ePub for general purposes, .mobi or .AZW3 for Kindle devices, as well as .txt and .pdf for other common files. Beyond that, any other supported file format may come in handy, but may not, depending on what you intend to do with your device.
E-readers vs tablets
Most e-readers are designed for one task: consuming literature, whether printed or narrated as an audiobook. Some models are smaller and lighter than tablets, making them more comfortable to hold during long reading sessions. Others are as large as an iPad, making them ideal for viewing PDFs or comics In most cases, an e-reader’s non-reflective display and adjustable front lighting make it possible to use in any lighting conditions.
E-readers are also great when it comes to battery life. Even with moderate use, a tablet, like an iPad, needs to be charged often Depending on your reading habits, you can go weeks at a time before charging your e-reader’s battery.
There are now also e-readers with color displays, but they are relatively new developments. We’ll review them as the technology matures, but we don’t recommend reading the book full-time right now while the technology is still developing.
What is the difference between a Kindle and an e-reader?
Nothing! Kindle is the brand name for a line of e-readers sold by Amazon. Amazon Kindle is the most well-known e-reader brand in North America. Think of it along the same vein when someone asks for a Kleenex, they are actually asking for a tissue.
Only Amazon Kindle devices and Amazon’s Kindle apps for iOS, Android, and computers can read e-books you’ve purchased from the Amazon Kindle Store (with some exceptions we’ll talk about in a moment). Because Amazon’s e-book files are protected by DRM (Digital Rights Management). you can Remove that DRM If you prefer, we only support books that you already own and want to manage outside of Amazon’s ecosystem.
This isn’t a practice unique to Amazon, however: most e-books in Barnes & Noble or Kobo’s digital stores, for example, are protected by DRM. So, they can be read using hardware and apps from Barnes & Noble or Kobo respectively.
Where can I find e-books that are not protected by DRM?
If you’re like me, you believe that digital content you own should be used in any way you see fit. Investing in DRM-free e-books allows you to do just that, as they can be read on most e-readers, tablets or computers. You can get DRM-free content from such sites Project Gutenberg, SmashwordsOr even select something Kobo Bookstore.
Know e-reader terms
There are a few terms we’ve discussed in this guide that you may not be familiar with but are important to know when buying an e-reader:
E Ink Carta or Electronic Paper Display: Low-power display types are often found in e-readers. Tiny electrical charges are used to move the microcapsules toward and away from the display surface, creating text and images. The content shown on most e-reader displays is monochrome. These displays consume much less power than conventional laptop and tablet displays.
Ghost: Outlines of letters and images left over from reading the previous pages of a book
Refresh Rate: How many times an e-reader clears its display of all content before loading new content. The more often you refresh, the less ghostly you’ll see.
Front Light: A ring of LEDs embedded in the display bezel of an e-reader
Sideloading: Uses a computer to transfer content to an e-reader
DPI and PPI: Dots per inch and pixels per inch: Measurements of an e-reader’s display resolution.