E-books and e-book readers have not gained as much acceptance in Germany as the traditional book industry initially feared. The digital books and devices have a number of advantages. You can store thousands of e-books on it. The e-ink display used in modern e-book readers enables mirror-free reading in direct sunlight. Thanks to the integrated lighting, which is now mostly available, the e-books can also be read in the evening – with less interference than with the night light lamp.
E-book readers: many advantages, some disadvantages
E-books are also available around the clock from relevant providers and can be made available for reading on the device within minutes. Services such as Onleihe, Kindle Unlimited , Tolino Select or Skoobe offer the option of consuming e-books in a flat-rate model. Older readers appreciate that the font can be enlarged. In addition, the e-ink technology ensures a long battery life of several days to a few weeks compared to tablets or smartphones. Some of the devices have the ability to play MP3 files.
One of the disadvantages is that videos or games can hardly be represented meaningfully due to the display. With exceptions such as playing audio books, the e-book reader is almost exclusively intended for reading. Tech-savvy reading fans therefore have an additional and often not exactly cheap device that they have to take with them. It is also important for the purchase decision that you first have to decide whether you want to tie yourself to the admittedly user-friendly Amazon ecosystem with a Kindle device or whether you want to use the devices of the (more) open competition.
E-book readers: make purchasing decisions easier
In the following we present ten recommended e-book readers with their special features and possible restrictions. There is little you can do wrong with any of these devices. Afterwards you will also find two e-book readers that are only due to hit the market shortly, but can do something that the competition has been missing so far.
10 plus 2 recommended e-book readers at a glance:
- Kindle Oasis 3
In the summer of 2019, Amazon presented the current model of its luxury e-book reader Kindle Oasis 3 . The reader is considered to be one of the best on the market – but it also has its price. For the e-book reader from Amazon you pay 229.99, 259.99 or 319.99 euros, depending on the version. The cheapest device * has eight gigabytes of internal memory and a WLAN connection. The middle price applies to the Oasis model with 32 gigabytes of storage * and WiFi connection. The most expensive Oasis 3 * also has a storage capacity of 32 gigabytes and a 4G radio module. This means that e-books can be downloaded for free, even if you are not in a WLAN.
Compared to its predecessors, the Kindle Oasis has a new, optimized, seven-inch Paperwhite display. It has the option of adjusting the color temperature of the front light – from white to amber. In addition, the new e-ink technology should also enable faster turning of the pages. The Oasis 3 is waterproof (IPX8) and can withstand immersion in fresh water for up to 60 minutes in a water depth of up to two meters. The device offers haptic buttons for turning pages. The battery life should be up to four weeks. The Kindle Oasis 3 also plays Audible audiobooks * . However, Bluetooth headphones or speakers are required for this.
- Tolino epic 2
In autumn 2019, the Tolino Alliance launched a new edition of its upper-class e-book reader with the Epos 2 . In terms of display, the Epos 2 has grown slightly by 0.2 inches to a total of 8 inches. At the same time, however, the device is around 25 percent lighter. As with the Kindle Oasis 3, the Tolino e-book reader has scroll keys. The automatic display rotation ensures – similar to smartphones and tablets – a quick change between reading in portrait and landscape format.
The Epos 2 offers up to eight gigabytes of internal memory for up to 6,000 e-books. A WLAN function is on board. The battery should last for several weeks of reading pleasure. A highlight of the Epos 2 is the integrated reading light called Smartlight. This adapts to the color temperature depending on the time of day. Thanks to water protection, the Epos 2 can be immersed two meters deep in fresh water for up to 60 minutes. The reader costs 299 euros. *
E-book reader with a giant display
- Pocketbook Inkpad X
The Inkpad X from Pocketbook scores with a very large display of 10.3 inches for the e-book reader area. The almost A4 format should make it easier to read newspapers and comics in particular. Like the Epos 2, the Inkpad X also has Smartlight screen lighting that can be adapted to the biorhythm. A special feature of pocketbook devices: the e-book readers have a wide variety of formats and an integrated MP3 player for listening to music or audio books. In addition to Bluetooth, the reader also offers a USB-C audio adapter.
The Inkpad X has a 32 gigabyte memory. According to the Pocketbook, that is enough space for 15,000 e-books in e-pub format. As indicated above, the device can read 19 book formats and four graphic formats, including the comic book formats CBR and CBZ. Text-to-Speech is also supported. The Inkpad X should be comfortable to use for both left and right-handers. The device costs 419 euros in the pocketbook shop . Amazon currently charges around 380 euros for the Inkpad X. *
- Onyx Boox Note 2
The Boox Note 2 from Onyx, which is also equipped with a 10.3-inch screen, supports Android – and thus numerous third-party apps. The octa-core processor with two gigahertz should ensure that this works smoothly. Also interesting: the Boox Note 2 can mirror the desktop screen via WLAN (5 gigahertz) – this turns the e-book reader into a second monitor. In addition, SD cards, keyboards or mice can be connected to the device without a driver. USB-C headphones are also supported.
One advantage of a large e-book reader display is that PDF files can be displayed. The Boox Note 2 also supports this with a range of PDF functions, such as a split screen mode. The Google translator can also be used. Annotations are possible using a stylus pen. A fingerprint scanner can be used to protect documents. The device costs 589 euros on Amazon. *
Digital readers: the middle class
- Tolino Vision 5
The Tolino Alliance gave the Vision series a completely new coat of paint in autumn. The device now has a seven-inch (Vision 4 HD) display instead of the previous six. Another positive feature is the control bar with two haptic buttons on the side, which is reminiscent of Kindle Oasis and Epos 2. This and the built-in position sensor for automatic alignment of the content, for example, also enables a conveniently adjustable left-handed mode.
Like its big brother, Epos 5, the Vision 5 also has Smartlight technology, which means that it can adapt the light color to the ambient light. The e-book reader also has water protection. According to the manufacturer, the battery life is several weeks. The Tolino Cloud, which offers 25 gigabytes of space, can be used. The device has eight gigabytes of storage space on board. After a starting price of 179 euros, the Vision 5 is currently being sold for 149 euros, for example here. *
- Kindle Paperwhite 4
Amazon’s mid-range model Kindle Paperwhite received a major update in autumn 2018 . Since then, the Paperwhite 4 has also been waterproof and has a flat display surface. The display is six inches. Amazon has doubled the storage space on the Paperwhite to eight gigabytes. There is also another version with 32 gigabytes and one with an additional 4G connection option. WiFi is on board with all three models. According to Amazon, a battery charge should last for weeks.
Because Amazon primarily wants to earn money with the content, it offers its e-book readers comparatively cheaply. At the start, Amazon asked for the Kindle Paperwhite 4 from 119.99 euros. The eight-gigabyte version of the device is now available from 79.99 euros * . The 32 gigabyte version costs 109.99 euros * (instead of 149.99 euros previously). Anyone who does not want to see advertising (“with special offers”) pays 20 euros each. Anyone who wants a 4G module in addition to the 32 gigabyte memory pays 189.99 euros * – but is free of advertising from the outset.
- Pocketbook Touch HD 3
The six-inch Touch HD 3 from Pocketbook is a good alternative for the mid-range models from Amazon and the Tolino Alliance – its functions are even more convincing. Because the e-book reader has an integrated MP3 player plus audio adapter (USB to jack). In addition, the device can – as is usual with pocket books – read many different e-book formats (except AZW from Amazon’s Kindle). And: In addition to the touchscreen, there are haptic buttons for operation.
The waterproof e-book reader supports Dropbox as well as the pocketbook cloud. E-books can also be sent to the device using the Send-to-Pocketbook function. Amazon also offers a similar function. A 16 gigabyte memory is available on the Touch HD 3. There is also a position sensor, integrated WLAN and the aforementioned Smartlight. The Touch HD 3 currently costs from 150 euros online.
- Onyx Boox Nova 2
The Boox Nova 2 from Onyx is also an interesting option for those who do not want to venture into one of the large ecosystems. Like its much bigger brother Boox Note 2, the Nova 2 also runs with Android 9.0 and supports – at least theoretically – the Google Play Store. This means that the Kindle app from Amazon can be used – also theoretically. In addition, the e-book reader with the 7.8-inch display is said to be particularly suitable for displaying PDF files. The included stylus can be used to take notes.
An eight-core ARM processor with three gigabytes of RAM works under the hood. Up to 32 gigabytes of flash memory are available for e-books and other media. The Boox Nova 2 should react quickly. Also interesting: According to the manufacturer, the front lighting can be regulated in 32 levels, including a setting option for the light temperature. The Nova 2 is available from competitor Amazon for 319.99 euros. *
Turn the page and you will find two inexpensive entry-level devices and e-book readers with color displays.
Inexpensive entry-level devices
- Kindle (2019)
The cheapest reader in the Amazon universe, the Kindle (2019), is especially suitable for beginners . The e-book reader usually costs from 79.99 euros. Currently (April 2020) the device is available for 54.99 euros * (with advertising). The Kindle now has built-in lighting. The battery should last a few weeks. As with the more expensive Kindle models, Audible audiobooks can also be heard – via Bluetooth connection. Unlike the other Kindle devices, the entry-level reader only needs four gigabytes of storage space. The resolution of the six-inch display is 167 PPI. There are no page turning keys.
- Tolino Page 2
Similar to Amazon’s Kindle, the Tolino Alliance also equipped its entry-level device with an integrated backlight for the new edition in autumn 2019 . The Smartlight technology, known from the more expensive Tolino sibling models, is just as little as water protection. WLAN and the in-house 25 gigabyte cloud are on board for this. The resolution of the six-inch is given as 212 PPI. At Thalia it is currently available for 69 euros * (instead of 89 euros).