Continuing from the previous post . . .
You know, I think I want an e-reader. What should I get?
I can’t tell you outright which one you should buy. But there are ways to determine which e-reader may be the best for you.
First off there are three questions you should ask yourself:
1. What do I want to do with the device?
Reader vs. Tablet. If your goal is having a portable reading device for reading books and only books, then an e-reader may be right for you. If you want to be able to do other sorts of things that require color screens and internet connectivity, then you should consider the tablet.
2. What type of screen do I want?
E-ink vs. LCD. For a book-like reading experience, e-ink is the way to go. E-ink technology provides a digital reading experience that is the closest you can get to reading on paper (and some say it’s even better). It can be read in bright light and has a cleaner, crisper type – both of which make digital text easier to read (and easier on the eyes). E-ink also requires less battery, so a device with e-ink will have a longer battery charge. Devices using e-ink aren’t backlit, so you can’t read them in the dark. Although there are book lights you can purchase that make that a moot point.
If you want to domore than just read books (like access websites, magazines, newspapers, interactive children’s books, games), then you will want a color screen and overall larger screen, which you can get with LCD. These screens are bright and beautiful, but they can be tiring on the eyes due to the reflectivity and the lack of crispness in text. They are backlit, however, so you can read them in the dark.
3. Do I need wireless data available all the time?
Wifi vs. 3G/4G. Wifi requires a wifi hotspot for you to access the internet. This means it will be cheaper (cheaper devices and no monthly cellular plans) and the device will generally be smaller since it doesn’t need to have the cellular hardware in it. And the battery charge will last even longer if you turn off the wifi. However, it does mean you are limited to those wifi hotspots for internet access.
3G/4G requires a cellular wireless connection. This means it will be more expensive because the device itself will be costlier and you’ll need to have a cellular plan to access those cell towers. The device will generally be larger than a reader because it needs to hold that cellular hardware. And the battery charge will not last very long because the device is constantly looking for a cellular tower, and it takes more battery to process all those websites and games. However, it does mean that anywhere you have cell phone service, you can access the internet.
Here’s a visual aid for these questions (click the image to enlarge):
Even after asking yourself those questions, you should still visit the stores and try them out for yourself. See what you like and dislike about the different models. Is the e-ink screen much easier to read? Does the LCD screen tire your eyes out after a few minutes? If you are limited to just books, do you start wishing you had “Angry Birds” to play?
Regardless of what you choose, remember that we are happy to help you. And don’t forget – you can check out library e-books on your device for free.
That future may indeed be digital. And the future just might be here now.