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CostHelper > All Electronics > eReaders > E-Ink eReaders

E-Ink eReaders Prices, Reviews and Specifications


Most dedicated eReaders use an E-Ink display that looks very similar to printed words on paper. The E-Ink display is black and white only and produces a page that doesn't strain the eyes. The E-Ink screens can be difficult to read in low light because they are not backlit; they require reading lights for night reading.

Amazon Kindle

The Kindle is Amazon's most-basic and least-expensive eReader. It comes with built-in Wi-Fi and can download a book in less than a minute.

The Kindle has 2GB of storage capacity and can hold up to 1,400 books -- all of which are backed up for free in Amazon's cloud. But, unlike more expensive models, MP3s cannot be played and there is no read-aloud function. The Kindle is the lightest of all of Amazon's current eReaders, and with a 6" screen, it is also considered pocket-sized. The Kindle uses a five-button navigation system below the screen instead of the keyboard found on previous models, and it has long skinny side buttons for turning pages.

The "Special Offers" version is available for a discounted price because of ad support. The ads only show up on the home screen and while not in use; they do not interfere with the reading experience.

In September 2012, Amazon reduced the price of the basic Kindle with Special Offers by $10 to $69; the price without special offers dropped from $109 to $89. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

Amazon Kindle DX

Update: In September 2012, Amazon discontinued the oversize Kindle DX, although the model was still available through online auction sites.

The Kindle DX is Amazon's plus-size iteration of its best-selling eReader. It functions in most ways like the Kindle Keyboard, except that a Wi-Fi-only model is not available in the DX size, just a 3G version. The 3G works wherever the AT&T network is available, and Amazon pays for the 3G plan for life.

Like the Kindle Keyboard, the DX model offers a PDF reader, an MP3 player, a text-to-speech function for reading books aloud, and access to nearly 1 million books in the Kindle store. One difference in the two models is the DX has a built in accelerometer, which allows easy switching from landscape to portrait modes; users had to navigate through menus for the same function on the smaller Kindle Keyboard.

[See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

Amazon Kindle Keyboard

Limited quantities of the Kindle Keyboard remain available through Amazon, but most other retailers have discontinued carrying the model.

The Kindle Keyboard is the third generation of Amazon's best-selling eReader, and is smaller and lighter than previous versions. The Kindle Keyboard offers Wi-Fi and/or 3G access (no plan required).

For the Kindle Keyboard models, Amazon has "special offers" versions in addition to the models not supported by ads. The special offers version is sold at a discounted price to make up for ads on the home screen and in sleep mode. The Kindle Keyboard Wi-Fi/3G is available in both a graphite black tone and in white; the Wi-Fi-only model is available in graphite.

The Kindle Keyboard offers features that include the ability to read aloud, not just a book, but the device's menus as well, and the ability to sync with other devices so readers never lose their page in a book. The Kindle provides access to nearly 1 million books, magazines, newspapers and short stories through the Kindle store, and there are 1.8 million books published before 1923 available for free. In addition, the Kindle store allows readers to download the first chapter of books as a sample before purchasing. [See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon's newest touch-screen E-Ink ereader, Paperwhite, introduces a new brighter E-Ink that can be read in a greater range of light conditions than previous iterations.

Available in both Wi-Fi and 3G model, Amazon touts downloads of books in less than 60 seconds. There are no additional fees or contracts with the 3G model, but it has a starting price $60 higher than the Wi-Fi only models.

A new feature on Paperwhite allows for reading children's books and comic books. Parental controls are also incorporated, allowing parents to monitor hours and usage.

[See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]
Amazon Kindle Touch

Update: Discontinued in September 2012 by Amazon, the model was replaced by a new E-Ink ereader called Kindle Paperwhite.

The Kindle Touch has a touch-screen interface and can store about 3,500 books. The E-Ink display makes it easy to read in bright sunlight. Because the E-Ink does not drain the battery as quickly as full-color screens, it is capable of working on a single charge for up to two months.

The Kindle Touch is capable of reading PDFs, Word documents and text files. It also can play MP3 files and read books aloud. It provides access to more than 800,000 books that cost less than $10, and there are millions more books published prior to 1923 that are free.

The "Special Offers" version is available at a discounted price because of ad support. The ads only show up on the home screen and while not in use; they do not interfere with the reading experience.

[See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch Reader

The Nook Simple Touch Reader is one of the first eReaders to be offered with a touch-screen. And without the navigation screen, or a keyboard like early Kindles, the Nook Simple Touch Reader is one of the lightest, most portable units available.

In addition to the touch-screen, Barnes & Noble made several changes in the Nook platform. The Nook Simple Touch has a much longer battery life than the Nook 1st Edition, able to continue on a single charge for up to two months.

The Simple Touch is available only in a Wi-Fi model, not 3G, but access is free in thousands of locations, including Starbucks stores and Barnes & Noble retail locations.

[See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight

The Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight adds a glowing ring that completely lights the screen, allowing readers to see the screen in the dark without the aid of a light accessory. It also has adjustable brightness levels.

The new Simple Touch has a few other differences from its non-lighted predecessor: It's shaved off a bit of weight and it comes with an anti-glare screen protector. The Nook comes with 2GB of space, which provides enough room for 2,000 books. Another 32GB of space (room for 64,000 books) is available through the MicroSD card slot.

To compete more aggressively with Amazon, Barnes & Noble reduced the price of the Glowlight model by $30 to $119 in September 2012.

[See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]
iRiver Story HD

Update: Although iRiver continues to provide support for the Story HD, the model is no longer available through the manufacturer. Models can still be found through online auction sites.

The iRiver Story HD brings high-definition to E-Ink with its eReader, providing top-of-the-line resolution on images and text. It is also the first eReader to be fully integrated with Google Books, which creates easy access to more than a million free books.

Looking similar to early model Kindles, the iRiver Story HD is light-colored with a full QWERTY keyboard. The device comes with a 2GB storage capacity, which will store more than 1,000 books, and iRiver claims the battery will last long enough for "14,000 page turns."

[See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]

Kobo eReader Touch

Update: Kobo has discontinued its eReader Touch "with offers" deals (which showed on the home screen). In Sept. 2012, Kobo boosted the Touch's performance and knocked $20 off the MSRPs.

The Kobo eReader Touch is a mid-level reader at a mid-level price. The device comes with a 6" touch-screen that uses E-Ink Pearl, a display that closely resembles a printed page.

Although Kobo eReaders were formerly associated with Borders Books & Music, the company is now independent of the bankrupt bookseller. Kobo maintains a bookstore of more than 2 million titles, more than 1 million of which are free to download -- bolstering Kobo's slogan, "read freely."

[See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]
Kobo Glo

The Kobo Glo, introduced in September 2012, is like a Kobo Touch with an integrated reading light. The device has a Reading Life app that tracks reading statistics and is integrated with Twitter and Facebook, which allows user to share what they are reading. While the device uses a black-and-white E-Ink screen, it is high resolution with crisp clear images and text. The Glo has space for more than 1,000 books and a SD card slot that allows for thousands more.

[See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]
Kobo Mini

Kobo introduced the Mini, a pocket-size E-Ink ereader, in Septemeber 2012. Not much larger than a smartphone, the Kobo Mini has a 5" touch-screen -- but that doesn't mean the type is tiny. The Mini has 24 available font sizes for all types of readers. The screen on the device is non-glass, making it both durable and preventing glare in direct sunlight. The Mii is available in white or black: colorful, interchangeable backs are optional.

[See Prices, Reviews and Specifications]