Good Reading : March 2011
MARCH 2011 ı goodreading 41 readers' life 1 e-reader roundup History will remember 2010 as the year e-books finally arrived. It wasn’t just because of the iPad and the resulting e-book wars between Amazon, Barnes & Noble and others. In early November, Forrester Research reported e-book sales were approaching the US$1 billion mark, signifying e-readers as a legitimate player instead of a fringe device. DREW TURNEY reports. PRODUCT PRICE DESCRIPTION PRO CON RATING WEBSITE Apple iPad $629-- 1049 (16-- 64GB, Wi-Fi or 3G) Arriving with all the flourish and media attention of invading aliens, the iPad changed the game. While the other readers were still trying to get e-books right, it came with a million other uses from playing music to watching movies and everything in between. The iBookstore is Apple's online e-book shop, but the other major players all have iPad apps - it's a strange relationship for competitors, but the consumer wins through even more choice. Functionality Price apple.com/ ipad Amazon Kindle US$139 Amazon's all-in-one e-book buying and reading device is wireless like most tablet and e-readers, but there's no need to connect it to a PC to update. The in-built wireless connection is the same as that in your 3G mobile, only free. The cost of running and using the wireless connection to download e-books is built into the purchase price of the device, so unlike an iPad there are no ongoing mobile plan charges. The keyboard makes searching and rudimentary browsing easier and it uses e-ink technology, which emulates the paper reading experience better than the LCD or LED screen of a PC or tablet. Buy e-books from anywhere Black and white only kindle.com Nook US$149 Barnes & Noble's e-reader (available from the US only at this stage) isn't locked to a certain store or format like others such as the Kindle, so you can get e-book content from a few more sources. It also displays images and plays music, and you can subscribe to digital newspapers and magazines wirelessly. The screen is full colour, which affects the battery life, but it's touch-screen operated like the iPad, so flicking between pages becomes a more tactile experience than just pushing a button. Rich colour Battery life nook.com Kogan eBook Reader $189 Famous for going straight to the manufacturer and sending prices through the floor, Kogan have produced this own-brand e-book reader. The design of the case is a little rough and ready, but it contains the same glare-free e-ink technology as the Kindle and comes with 1500 free e-books pre-loaded. It's also completely platform-independent, so the company claims it can download and display e-books in any format from any source. Local product Not as 'classy' as some kogan.com. au Kobo eReader $179 Looking most like the Kindle among its competitors, the Kobo eReader offers wireless connectivity to the Kobo e-bookstore, but there's no SIM card, so you have to be in an internet wireless hotspot. You get 100 free classic books and the back of the device has a pleasant non-slip quilted finish that comes in a choice of three colours. Also based on e-ink technology, you can adjust font sizes and styles to suit your eyes to make it even easier to read. Pleasant to hold and use No protective case available koboereader. com Laser EB101 $149.95 With a thin-film transistor LCD screen, the full colour EB101 lets you transfer and play movies and music as well as view photos. It's more successful as a cheap e-book reader, as reviews have pointed out the washed-out colour and comparatively poor battery life, but transferring e-book files to it is easier than most (just connect it to your PC and it shows up on your desktop) and it supports a wide variety of e-book formats. Freedom from format restrictions Not very attractive laserco.net The question that remains now is whether dedicated e-book readers will survive in the era of multi-tasking tablets that do much more.The choices listed here barely scratch the surface of this explosive product category.