Best E-Reader: The best Kindles and readers for your books, audiobooks and more.
Which is the best e-reader to buy this Christmas? e-readers are a great option for any avid reader (and a great gift) and let you store entire libraries worth of books on a single, easy to store or carry, device. These are our picks of the best currently available.
E-readers are more of a luxury item than ever, especially when the basic function is mimicked by both phones and tablets. Yet we love their single objective, readable screens and that ensures they remain in our bags.
This list includes readers from the two biggest competitors – Kindle and Kobo – both of which have access to large bookstores for ebooks.
We have recently reviewed the Kobo Forma, however it didn’t make it onto the list. We found the high-price (£239.99) didn’t represent good value and the slightly odd design it bettered by lots of the competition.
How we test e-readers
Before scoring any e-reader, one of our expert reviewers will spend at least a week using it as their primary device. We test the e-reader through reading books, viewing PDFs and testing the battery too.
Related: Best tablets
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2018
- Feels great
- Impressive battery
- Responsive display
- Audible support
- No physical page turning buttons
Arguably the best bang-for-buck device in the Kindle portfolio, the Kindle Paperwhite offers fantastic battery life and a crisp 6-inch 300ppi display. There’s also support for Audible audiobook if you’ve got a pair of wireless headphones.
The plastic body is durable and will easily survive being thrown into a busy rucksack without picking up too much damage. The 2018 model also introduces waterproofing.
Amazon’s software remains identical across all the devices on this list, which means you get the same interface, no matter how much you spend. Amazon’s ebook store remains the best, and is jammed with special offers and exclusive books.
In addition, there are numerous Prime benefits and even Kindle Unlimited – a Netflix-style service for borrowing books for a monthly fee.
There’s 8GB storage on the Paperwhite, a completely touchscreen interface, and the option of 4G if you require. There’s also a 32GB option if you plan on storing loads of audiobooks.
Amazon Kindle Oasis
- The bigger screen is great
- Audible integration
- Slightly uncomfortable
Amazon’s high-end Kindle is a beautiful device, but you should really only buy one if you really love your books and want the best possible experience. This is because of the price, which sits at £229. Considering the excellent Kindle Paperwhite can be picked up for £119, that doesn’t seem like the best deal.
Nevertheless, the Kindle Oasis remains an excellent device. It’s water-resistant Kindle and supports Audible audiobooks on connecting a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones. It also boasts the biggest screen of any Kindle at 7 inches.
That 300ppi display is fantastic, as is the automatic backlight, and there’s an option of 32GB of internal storage if you’re a real audiobook hoarder.
- Simple design
- Great Amazon software
- No light
It might be the cheapest entry in the Kindle lineup, but there’s nothing wrong with the budget Kindle.
If you’re okay with a screen that doesn’t have a light, then for £59.99 this is the most affordable way to get a Kindle. The 6-inch, 167ppi display is decent and the battery will last the entirety of a two-week summer holiday without the need for a charge.
4GB of internal storage is enough space for thousands of books, and the device is available in the colour options of black or white.
Kobo Aura H2O
- Big, sharp screen
- Pocket support
- Sluggish performance
- Battery life isn’t great
If you want to stay away from Amazon and the Kindles, then your only other real option is Kobo. The Kobo Aura H2O costs £149.99, and its biggest advantage over similarly priced Kindles is that it’s water-resistant. This makes it a good choice if you like to read in the bath or by the pool on your summer holidays.
The screen here is big and sharp, but it isn’t as fast as a Kindle – and the bookstore isn’t quite as good either. At least you can load your own book on in the ePub format.
Kobo Aura One
- Big display
- Pocket support
- Uneven backlight
Kobo’s other currently available reader is the Kobo Aura One, which is in many ways better than the H2O. It retains the water-resistance, sizeable display and durable design – but in a less garish body.
One particularly nifty Kobo feature is the integration with the read-it-later service Pocket. This handy app lets you save online articles to read offline, and it works very well on the Kobo.