Top Pick for
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.
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.
Read our in-depth review of the Amazon Kindle.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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An ebook reader, or ereader, is a digital device designed for reading books on the go in a device significantly smaller than your typical novel. An ereader tries to be user-friendly, compact, light and long-lasting in order to provide the best book reading experience possible.
These devices usually come with a six- to seven-inch screen in a plastic shell with a plastic screen, though the most premium options come finished in materials like glass and aluminium.
Many ereaders can be treated like a smartphone and only require a cable for charging. You can purchase and download books directly on the device and some Amazon models include free 3G connectivity, giving you access to Amazon's full book library on the go.
As indicated in the name, ereaders are for reading books electronically, but they can do more than that. Thanks to the vast inventory of resources behind them at large multinational conglomerates like Rakuten and Amazon, these ereaders come filled with helpful additions to make an ereader your one-stop shop for all things books. With an ereader, you can do the following:
The upgrade cycle for ebook readers is vastly different to that of smartphones, which usually get a refresh each year, so you won't have to worry about grabbing the latest-and-greatest as soon as it's released. Due to the online nature of these devices, updates can be pushed out to make new features available.
There are two main options for ereaders in Australia are from Amazon and Kobo.
In Australia, Amazon offers several models of the Kindle, but they have an extra, the Voyage, in the US and other select markets. Amazon also has a fully-fledged Kindle app for Android, iOS, PC and Mac, where you can browse through the collection you already have, purchase new books and even pick up from where you left off on your Kindle with Amazon Whispersync.
Kobo, owned by Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten, has several ebook readers on the market that directly compete with Amazon's offerings. Similarly to Amazon, Kobo has several models available in Australia and another available in Canada and other countries.
Kobo's app is available on iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Store, PC and Mac and allows you to continue reading your favourite Kobo books. Similarly to the Kindle app, you can buy, browse and customise your ebook experience right from the app.
Choosing an ereader can be tough, but what it comes down to is what option offers the best bang for your buck, and which ones pack the features you'll use. Design, materials, features and more all make a difference to what ereader is best suited to you.
It's important to look at more than just price when comparing ebook readers as the features you're looking for might not come with the cheapest model. There are a few key things you'll need to consider before making a choice on what to buy.
If you like to read on the beach or beside the pool, look for an ereader that can handle a bit of water. The most common type of water resistance on ebook readers is IPX8, indicating that the devices can be fully submerged in water. Be careful, though. Manufacturers set the conditions under which their ebook readers are "resistant", and they may not cover water damage under warranty. Both Kobo and Amazon's water-resistance claims are for freshwater only.
Lighting can play an important role in how long it is comfortable to read for. Ereaders typically use front lighting. Different from the backlight found in LCD panels powering the screens of iPhones, TVs and more, front lighting illuminates the screen on an ebook reader without directly shining light towards your eyes. Some ereaders can also adjust the amount of blue light for more comfortable night reading.
The type of file supported by each ebook reader varies slightly, so if you're really intent on reading the latest AZW file-type book, you will need to choose wisely. One of the most popular file types, EPUB, isn't supported by Kindle. Amazon also has its own highly-popular file type, AZW, which you won't be able to find on Kobo.
While it might not sound like much, four gigabytes of storage space on an E-Book reader might be plenty for the average reader, allowing you to store around 3000 books. If you're a self-described bookworm, either 8 or 32 gigabytes of storage will allow you to cram quite a few more pages in.
If you're short on power or travelling through remote communities frequently, choosing a reader with good battery life is a must. Each model will vary to some degree in how long it can last, with some claiming to last up to six weeks or more.
While the number of pixels crammed into a smartphone screen or laptop might be all the rage these days, it also makes a difference in the experience you'll have with your ebook reader. The more premium ebook readers on the market today feature displays with 300 pixels per inch, strikingly similar to the iPhone 8, which sports 326 PPI.
Both Amazon and Kobo have mobile and web-based applications, allowing users to download and read while on the go. Amazon's Whispersync remembers where you were in a book and lets you pick up where you left off on another device as long as you're connected to the Internet.
Some of Amazon's ebook readers come with free, built-in 3G connectivity. This means that you'll be able to purchase and download new books on the go, both at home and abroad. Amazon's coverage map shows you where you're able to connect to the net from around the world. As well as accessing Amazon, you're free to browse through Wikipedia.
Not all ebook readers will support the same languages, and some will only support the recognition of different characters. If you want to read in a language other than English, make sure to check if it's supported by the device before you buy it.
Some features available in international markets might not work in every country, so carefully check the product description and reviews before purchasing.Back to top
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If you've been looking for a handbag-sized ebook reader, this is the one to get.
Amazon's Kindle stands atop the ereader mountaintop, so find out the best storefronts to purchase it from.
The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition has plenty of appeal, from its adjustable lighting to its hefty onboard storage to its long battery life and easy recharging.
The Kobo Elipsa makes a valiant attempt to bridge the gap between ereader and enote. It doesn’t manage to excel at being one or the other as its big for an ereader and slow for an enote.
For a limited time, you can take advantage of discounted prices on Amazon's popular Kindle devices.
The updated Kindle Oasis is an excellent e-reader if you crave a distraction-free gadget, but it's also an indulgence given how easy it is to get Kindle apps elsewhere.
The Kindle Oasis is an excellent e-book reader that does just one thing and does it superbly - at a stiff price.