Guest Author - Kathryn K Free
Shopping for an eBook reader? Today there are more choices than ever before. This is both good and bad news. Do you want a dedicated eBook reader or tablet? Do you want eInk technology or full color? This is a dilemma facing shoppers.
Dedicated eBook readers have consolidated around 4 major players ~ Kindle, the Nook, Kobo and Sony. Tablets have not quite filtered out the top four due to the many varieties and sizes of Android tables, however, iPad will definitely be in the top four.
So let us begin by narrowing it down a little. Start with deciding if you want a dedicated eBook reader or tablet. What are you really looking to do. Do you read more books or do you want the variety of reading magazines and newspapers. Is browsing the Internet for things other than books a priority? How about Flash support, email, messaging or gaming? These are some basic questions you need to ask right from the start.
IF you are ‘just reading’ books and newspapers with an occasional magazine then a dedicated eBook reader would be your best bet. Pricing will range from $110 - $389, depending upon the features you require. Should you want to add multimedia and videos then a tablet is much more versatile. Tablets, however, are much more expensive with a price point starting at $500. Tablets also offer the choice of downloading many favorite APP’s.
The next question you should consider is the screen. How large would you like your viewing screen to be? Weight comes in a close second to this question. Many who set out to purchase a dedicated eBook reader believe they will never take it with them. This has proven not to be the case, so consider the size before buying. The smallest screen for a dedicated eBook reader is 5" and is the Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-350. The next size is a 6" screen found with the 2011 Kobo followed by the 7.5" screen found with the Nook Color. For those who want a larger screen you can go with Kindle DX, Apple iPad2 or the Galaxy Tab (Android) with a 10.1" screen. These units are comparatively heavy and the Apple iPad2 tends to become very hot. The larger units may not seem to heavy at first but when you are ready for 40 minutes or so the size, weight and heat becomes an issue worth considering.
A third question you should ask is your screen display preferences. Do you want the comfort of less eye strain and go with eInk technology or do you want the brightness of a color LCD? eInk technology is by far the choice for avid readers as this is the closest you will get to an actual printed page and it protects your eyes. When you are young this does not seem to be an issue, but in reality it is a major issue. Remember you only have one pair of eyes that need to last your entire lifetime! The drawback to eInk is that it can only product black and white screen resolution and the pages do not refresh as quickly as an LCD screen. eInk is not backlit so you cannot read in the dark without a light, just like a printed book, but you can read them in direct sunlight. The Pearl screen is now the standard for eInk and is on all major eBook readers.
LCD screens are backlit and cause eye strain or tired eyes. The display is bright and colorful but these advantages come with trade offs. You cannot read easily outside or in direct sunlight. Eye strain causes you to have trouble reading for prolonged lengths of time.
In all honesty, the best screen for reading is eInk. Even if you do not have a problem staring at your laptop or LCD monitor for hours at a time today, believe me that tomorrow you lack of care for your eyes will become apparent. If you choose LCD, it is recommended to at least take care of your eyes by purchasing computer glasses with lenses that block out the harmful backlit glare.
Now let us talk about wireless data. Be honest. Do you always need to have access to the Internet? Most dedicated eBook readers will come with this choice and all tables will require Internet access. You will be asked to decide if you want the WiFi model or the 3G version of a reader. WiFi access is more economical as with the 3G or 4G version there is usually a monthly charge. This goes back to the first question. . .what will you be doing with a reader or tablet?
When looking at tables the other question that you need to be aware of is the operating system. There is either iOS or Android OS. Both operating systems have benefits and most users tend to stick with which smartphone they currently has since all APP’s they are using will most likely be compatible with the tablet as well.
Personally, I have every device except a tablet. I have not seen the benefit of a tablet. I still like the convenience of an actual keyboard a laptop affords me and I am an avid reader so I prefer the eInk so I can read for prolonged lengths of time. The other variable that keeps me away from tablets is the weight and size. They are just impractical and I can use my $500 or so dollars to purchase more books and fun stuff!