With an eReader, you'll never be stuck for something to read. Here are the best eReaders you can buy in the UK in 2018.
The choice of eReaders is getting slimmer and slimmer, with only Amazon and Kobo releasing a range of new models recently. That doesn't mean eBooks are going away. It's just that more and more people are using their smartphone or tablet to read books.
However, there are plenty of reasons why investing in a dedicated eReader is a good idea. They're a lot cheaper than an iPad, for example, and they’re simply a better tool for the task in hand. They can also be lighter than a book, yet store thousands of books, so you can read your way through a fortnight-long holiday just by taking your eReader along.
Most eReaders have a 6in screen. It looks much like paper and is easier on the eyes than the colour LCD screen of a phone or tablet, and it won't stop you going to sleep like the blue light emitted from an LCD screen can, so eReaders are better for late-night reading.
This type of screen excels in bright sunlight, which can cause reflections on the glossy screens of other mobile devices. They are also an ideal size and weight to comfortably cradle for prolonged periods. Most modern eReaders have a touchscreen and weigh around 200g or less, so will happily slip into your bag or an oversized pocket for reading on the road.
Battery life is also much better on dedicated eReaders than phones and tablets, here measured in page turns rather than hours. So while your tablet could conk out halfway home, creating a genuine cliffhanger at the most inopportune point within your novel, an eReader could keep going for weeks or even months without needing a recharge.
Bear in mind, though, that eReaders with built-in backlights (technically they’re frontlights, but we’ll use the conventional term since everyone knows what it means) will last much less time between charges if you use the light all the time.
Content is an important consideration, as your device may be restricted to its manufacturer’s own bookstore. For example, Kindle eReaders are limited to Amazon’s admittedly very well-stocked online bookstore, while Kobo eReaders let you browse other stores.
A memory card can boost the storage capacity for ebooks and, if supported, music, video and other media. Be sure to check which file formats a device supports - not just media, but also whether it can handle ePub, PDF, TXT, RTF and other document file types.
Also consider connectivity. While your device will probably hold more than enough books to keep you occupied until you’re next in range of a Wi-Fi hotspot, a cellular connection will allow you to download content on the move. It will also add to the device’s price - by £60 in the case of the Kindle Voyage.
Best eReader 2018
1. Amazon Kindle Oasis (2017)
- RRP: $349
The new Kindle Oasis is impressive with a larger screen, added light sensor, waterproofing and Bluetooth for listening to audiobooks with wireless headphones. There's really nothing to complain about in terms of the actual device, however, it's still pretty expensive and for most people one of the cheaper Kindles will suffice.
2. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
- RRP: $119
The 2015 Kindle Paperwhite is, by any stretch of the imagination, an excellent eReader. Brilliant display, superb design and build, and access to an unsurpassed library of eBooks. Our only minor quibble is about battery life, and it isn't the cheapest. But even now, we are delighted to recommend the Paperwhite, 2015 vintage.
3. Amazon Kindle Voyage
- RRP: $199
The Kindle Voyage is without doubt one of the best eReaders money can buy. Is it worth buying though? For most people, no. The extra resolution, sleek design and page-turning buttons are all nice-to-haves but by no means essential.
You'll get a better reading experience on a Voyage compared to the current-generation Paperwhite, but only just, and the difference in price is simply too much to justify it. But if money is no object, then you won't be disappointed.
4. Amazon Kindle 2016 (8th generation)
- RRP: From $79.99
If you are new to the eReader game or if your battered five-year old Kindle is showing its age this is the perfect choice. The 2016 Kindle does the basics just as well as the Kindle Oasis, which costs £200 more. Why not spend £200 on books instead? We highly recommend the entry-level Kindle if you don’t need a backlight and you want a clean, easy reading experience.
5. Kobo Aura One
- RRP: $268.90
The price might seem off-putting at first but there's plenty here to justify the expense: excellent waterproofing, for example, and a lovely big screen that's sharp and equipped with night-time reading features, tucked into a sleek lightweight chassis. But the Kobo store is lightyears behind Amazon's Kindle store, in terms of curation if not size, and you miss out on some of the Kindle features that make library management easier, such as free 3G and wide cross-device syncing.
You do get OverDrive, however, an excellent way of borrowing high-quality library eBooks for free. But the relatively small selection we've seen in our local library at any rate suggests this should be regarded as a nice bonus rather than a primary source of reads.
6. Kobo Aura H2O
- RRP: $168.58
There are a few disadvantages to the Aura H2O that are important to note, such as processing power and an unresponsive interface. Processing is quite slow and menus, settings and controls take a bit longer to display.
You can also see faint after-effects of previous images, pages or texts when you flip to the next page, though this is also common with Amazon Kindles.
Overall, what sets the Kobo Aura H2O apart from its competitors is its water resistance. This device is the only one of its kind to be able to withstand 1 metre of water for 30 minutes.
The waterproof feature does, however, come with a cost - literally. At £149.99 it is £20 more than the Kindle Paperwhite, which can’t take a dip but is less expensive and more responsive than the Aura.
If you’re sold by the waterproof feature and willing to invest a tad more, then the Aura H2O is a solid competitor to Amazon’s Kindles.