Best ereaders in Australia 2020
Looking for an ereader? Here's our rundown of the best models to buy in Australia.
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The best ereaders in Australia
- Best cheap ereader: Amazon Kindle
- Best Kindle ereader: Kindle Paperwhite
- Best Kobo ereader: Kobo Rakuken Forma
- Best Android ereader: Samsung Galaxy Tab A
- Best waterproof ereader: Kindle Oasis
- Best ereader for PDFs: iPad mini
- Best ereader app: PocketBook Reader
How did we pick this list?
We chose the products on this list by looking at actual customer reviews to find what real users are saying are the best of the best products. We then compared those reviews with recommendations from professional reviewers to ensure the quality of these products.
Best cheap ereader: Amazon Kindle
Why we chose it
While Amazon’s entry-level Kindle cuts back on some premium features, it remains a favourite with owners and reviewers. Consistently scoring 4.5/5 or better across reviews, the Kindle hits the spot with a balance of features and price.
The 6-inch display isn’t quite as crisp as its big brother, the Paperwhite, running at just 167ppi rather than 300ppi. That’s not likely to be an issue while reading, but you will notice it when viewing images or if you look very closely at the edges of the characters in your book. However, for general reading, it’s not likely to make a huge difference. The 8GB of storage is probably enough for all but the most ardent bibliophile. If you need more, then you’ll be looking for 32GB options on the market or an ereader with a memory card slot.
There’s audiobook support from Amazon’s Audible offshoot, although you’ll need a Bluetooth speaker or headphones for that as there aren’t any integrated speakers or a headphone port. But that’s par for the course with may ereaders these days. If you’re on a budget and don’t mind being limited to Amazon’s various libraries, then the Kindle is a solid choice for the budget-minded.
Best Kindle ereader: Kindle Paperwhite
Why we chose it
Thousands of owners and dozens of reviewers all say the same thing – the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is the bee's knees. With scores of between 4.5 and 4.7 out of 5 from a number of different review sites, it's clear that Amazon has nailed the design of this reader.
The Kindle Paperwhite has a 6-inch display – about the same as a standard paperback novel – with a glare-free display that's lit by an array of five LEDs for when you're reading outdoors and you need some extra brightness to compensate for strong ambient light. At less than 200g, it's light enough to hold for hours. That's lighter than many smartphones on the market today.
It's also waterproof. The IPX8 rating means it can survive full immersion in 2 metres of fresh water for 60 minutes. It supports Wi-Fi connectivity, although not with the more recent 802.11ac or Wi-Fi 6 standards. You can also connect a set of Bluetooth headphones so that you can hear your books read to you using Amazon's VoiceView screen reader, or you can listen to Audible audiobooks.
Best Kobo ereader: Kobo Rakuten Forma
Why we chose it
With strong owner ratings and solid reviews, the Kobo Rakuten Forma is the pick of the ereaders if you're into the Kobo ecosystem. Owners love the integration with local libraries for borrowing books (no more late fees!), as well as the clear, responsive touchscreen and comfort in the hand. Ratings from various online stores rate the Forma at between 4.3 and a perfect 5 out of 5.
Unlike most other readers, the Forma as a wide bezel on the right side, making it easy to hold with one hand without obscuring the 8-inch screen. And if you prefer reading in landscape rather than the usual portrait orientation, the Forma rotates easily. That makes it great for left-handers too, as it means the thicker bezel can be easily held in either hand. For those that prefer buttons for turning the page, the Forma has some page up/down buttons, but it also lets you flick through the pages using the touchscreen.
The Forma boasts IPX8 waterproofing, supporting up to an hour of immersion in 2 metres of water. If you read on the crisp high-definition display for about an hour a day, you can expect to plug it into a charger every couple of weeks.
Best Android ereader: Samsung Galaxy Tab A
Why we chose it
Samsung's Galaxy Tab A is well regarded by owners and reviewers alike, consistently scoring in excess of 4/5 across the board. Compared to pricier tablets, it is a little underpowered, but if you're looking for a tablet that supports the apps for multiple online bookstores and libraries, the Galaxy Tab A is a great option that won't break the bank.
The thin and light Galaxy Tab A, at 8mm and 345g, can connect to your favourite repositories of literature easily over Wi-Fi. Although the spec sheet lags behind top-range Android tablets with an older processor, 2GB of memory and a 1280x800 pixel, 189ppi, capacitive touchscreen, it also costs about a quarter of what you'll pay at the top end. But those specs are just fine for reading ebooks. While the 32GB of integrated storage is meagre, you can add another 356GB of storage with a memory card without spending too much more.
The downside: TFT screens aren't great in bright sunlight. This is where dedicated ereaders rule the roost. Plus, you'll be measuring the battery life in hours instead of days or weeks. But if you're looking for a tablet that will be mainly used as an ereader around the house, then the Galaxy Tab A is a fine choice.
Best waterproof ereader: Kindle Oasis
Why we chose it
Amazon's premium ereader, the Kindle Oasis, rates at an impressive 4.4/5 from purchasers, with over two-thirds of owners giving it a perfect score. With a wide bezel down one side and page turn buttons, it's designed for one-handed operation. The display automatically rotates, so it's great for lefties as well as right-handers.
The IPX8 rating means accidental drops in the bathtub while reading aren't going to cause any damage, even if the Oasis falls in and it takes you a while to realise and fish it out. Unlike the majority of readers, the oasis has a larger 7-inch display and there are light sensors that automatically adjust the display brightness, depending on the ambient light. You can also adjust the warmth of the screen lighting to suit your eyes in different conditions.
The main complaint from owners and reviewers comes down to the cost. The Kindle Paperwhite is also waterproof, but much cheaper, so you'll need to weigh up whether the extra features are worth your while. And, unless you're 100% committed to the Amazon ecosystem for books, support for other formats is there but can be spotty with formatting losses not uncommon.
Best ereader for PDFs: iPad mini
Why we chose it
Apple's iPad mini is a jack-of-all-trades, able to act as a portable computer, a note-taking device and a communication device. But it's prowess as an ereader is solid. Apple's Books application is great for reading PDFs, with its bright, high-resolution display capable of displaying plenty of detail and vivid colours. It's little wonder that it receives strong reviews from owners and the media.
The 7.9-inch display is bright and boasts a high resolution and pixel density, making it ideal for viewing complex figures and dense text. However, if you're reading for a long time, the 300g weight might be tiring – the iPad mini weighs almost twice as much as many dedicated ereaders. On the other hand, as well as Apple's books app, which is tied to the Apple Store, there are Kindle and Kobo apps, alongside a plethora of readers for DRM-free books and comics.
The iPad mini is more than an ereader, but if you're looking for a flexible device that does a great job with PDFs, then the iPad mini, or one of its larger stablemates, is a great option.
Best ereader app: PocketBook Reader
- Supports lots of formats
- Easy to use
- Occasional formatting errors
Price (RRP): Free
Why we chose it
For this category, we're leaving out Apple's Books app, Amazon's Kindle app and the Kobo app, as they're optimised for their specific stores. And we've only considered apps that support both iOS and Android. Tens of thousands of reviewers agree that PocketBook Reader is a great app that supports popular formats such as EPUB, PDF and txt, rating it 4.5/5 for Android and 4.3/5 on iOS.
As well as supporting text-based books, PocketBook Reader supports the popular CBR and CBZ formats for comic books. There's an associated bookstore for purchasing, but you can also copy over books from sites such as Project Gutenberg as well as PDFs and other text files from your own computer. If you have multiple devices, you can easily synchronise your books and accounts by scanning a QR code.
You can choose one of the seven interface colour themes, reassign the buttons and display areas and there are two night-reading modes. You can adjust the font style, font size, line spacing and margin size and even customise the animation for turning pages.
Best ereaders chosen
- Our editorial team compared more than 50 ereaders from several brands sold by Australian retailers and reputable online stores.
- We based our findings on real customer reviews across multiple websites, including Amazon, eBay, Google and Kogan.
- We also consulted reviews from independent reviewers and consumer choice publications.
- The products on this list were chosen by our editorial team and were not selected based on commercial relationships.
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