Today, printed books are gradually giving way to more functional, mobile and easy-to-use book readers. In consultation with experts and users’ opinions, we have prepared for you 9 practical tips for choosing an e-book.
Your choice: LCD or E-ink?
The first and most important thing you need to pay attention to when buying an e-book – the screen. It is characterized by two parameters: size (diagonal) and the type of display. The choice is limited: either LCD or E-lnk screen. Let’s see how they differ.
LCD screen. These are color and monochrome LCD panels, which you are used to seeing in any other gadgets: your smartphone, tablet, laptop. Usually “readers” with LSD-screen have advanced functions (for example, can be additionally used as an audio player). It turns out something like a traditional and economical tablet.
E-ink screen. The best choice if comfort and safety for the eyes is a priority. E-ink panels are e-ink, which are close to the characteristics of a standard printed book. They don’t require much energy to display text and images, so a full charge will last 2-3 weeks or more. The viewing angle on the E-ink screen is 180o, which allows you to read a book simultaneously for two people.
As for the size of the “reader”, then to view drawings, charts, diagrams and other technical documentation will do the model with a screen of 8 inches or more. For normal everyday use, including school classes, choose compact readers, the diagonal of which does not exceed 6 inches.
What should be “inside” an e-book?
The platform. Most e-books run on the operating system Android, so in terms of features and capabilities they are close to traditional tablets. In the “readers” is easier and cheaper built its own control, the significant disadvantage of which is the limitation in the number of installed applications.
Formats. The modern readers support a variety of formats, even the standard model recognizes at least 13-15 types of books. This is enough not only for reading, but also for a full office work/study.
Before buying make sure that the “reader” can work with the following formats:
If graphics (images, diagrams, etc.) are important to you, then the e-book should support additional formats: JPEG, PNG, BMP or TIFF. The more file types the reader recognizes, the higher the cost will be.
3. Memory capacity
How much memory do I need to read a book?
Here everything is much simpler than with other parameters of e-books. Most readers have a relatively small amount of memory: from 2 to 4 GB. Some models are able to recognize external drives, others are not.
If you use the “reader” solely for downloading and storing books, then even at 2 GB you will be able to download more than 500 pieces of them with pictures and music. You know, to read – do not reread.
Conclusion: the possibility to support SD and microSD cards makes the e-book 10-15% more expensive, but this expenditure will be useless, because the volume of 2 GB will be exactly enough for you even with constant use.
4. Extra features
What useful features can be found in e-readers?
This advice is only for those who want to choose not just an e-book, but a multifunctional device with additional functions.
According to users, among the most necessary features of readers:
Music. This is a very important function that allows you to learn foreign languages, listen to audio books and just include your favorite songs. In the “readers” are built only simple players with a minimum of settings. Do not count on particularly high quality playback, only some models are able to play audiophile FLAC. Before buying be sure to listen to the volume and sound quality.
Preset dictionaries. Again, a useful feature, but not for everyone. If you are studying foreign languages or like to read books in the original, it will come in handy. Just by moving your cursor over an obscure word you will be able to view its translation or meaning. Caring manufacturers usually include a huge number of dictionaries, while their presence has almost no effect on the cost of the device.
Games and videos. If you like to watch movies or TV series, play virtual toys and use modern applications, then make sure that the selected e-book supports these functions. Of course, the high quality video and download the latest versions of your favorite games do not have to count on.
Other additional features, the presence of which will make a classic reader more functional device: voice recorder, flashlight, timer, alarm clock, etc.
5. Data transfer
Do I need Wi-Fi and a built-in browser?
Availability of Wi-Fi is a very important parameter of e-book, judging by the reviews of users. With its help you can save new files, update databases of works and download other interesting applications to your device.
The ability to connect to Wi-Fi affects the cost of “reader”, but it is recommended not to save on this function. If you do not have it, you will have to confine yourself to the classic method – copying files by cable.
Another thing – built-in browser. However, it is more of a manufacturer’s tricks, affecting the reader’s price, rather than a useful application. If you have access to Wi-Fi you can download and install it yourself, without overpaying for an already built-in option. Again, you won’t need a browser at all if you plan to use the e-book only for its intended purpose.
Conclusion: the Wi-Fi module is needed, the built-in browser is not.
What type of control is more convenient?
Most modern e-readers use touch controls to navigate your work. This function is especially useful for scrolling through long files and large numbers of images. Keep in mind that the touchscreen is always duplicated by the buttons on the device panel, so you can perform similar actions with their use.
Note! For many users the screen flip function is important: automated or manual. This option is necessary if you have a habit of reading your favorite work while lying on the couch or bed.
Another option is the full QWERTY-keyboard. It allows you to quickly search for information in the text, to activate the built-in browser (if available) or easy to use the dictionary. Typing characters from the virtual keyboard is long and difficult, especially for schoolchildren and students who are important for speed.
7. Battery capacity
How long the battery life of an e-book will last
The duration of the e-book without recharging depends on the battery capacity. Remember, the more this parameter is, the less often you have to charge the “reader” and interrupt the use of the device.
If you plan to take the e-book with you on a trip, the battery capacity should be at least 2 800 mA/h. For home use, as well as school and college students, about 900 mAh is sufficient.
The power source is located inside the e-book, and is almost the same as those installed in cell phones and tablets. It takes about 2-4 hours to fully charge the device.
Experts note that the more options are available in the “reader” (Wi-Fi, audio player, backlight, etc.), the faster it will run out. For charging, as a rule, a standard microUSB port is used, so there should be no difficulties.
8. Case Material
Plastic VS Metal
A lot of e-books on sale today are made of plastic. To find devices in a metal case is difficult enough, they are found only in some foreign manufacturers.
Even if you find e-books made of metal, then pay attention to their weight. If the model of plastic weighs about 300 grams (the universal and most convenient parameter), the metal case will be much heavier.
When choosing a “reader” for yourself, pay attention to e-books with soft-touch coating. It provides additional protection against slipping on different surfaces (metal, plastic, stone).
9. The manufacturer
What brands offer quality “readers”?
Today, a huge number of brands offers e-books, but keep in mind that most of them order the manufacture of products in China, without paying attention to the development and updating the software.
Buying the “readers” of dubious production, but at a low price (which is probably their only advantage), you risk to get not just low-quality gadgets, but even not russified devices.
We have reviewed user feedback and expert opinion to prepare for you a selection of manufacturers that pay attention to the quality of e-book assembling and software updates:
- Barnes & Noble,
- Onyx BOOX,
That’s it, now you can not only choose your own e-book, but even help your friends with it!
I am an expert in household appliances and electronics. I prepare and publish reviews, ratings, consumer reports, and instructions for choosing the best models and brands. I have a higher education- IT engineer (IT).
I can help you decide what product to buy for your home or office by providing my honest opinion after testing different products from various manufacturers. The goal of my work is to provide thorough information that will allow consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing a new appliance or electronic device.