/// Judging E-Readers by Their Book Readability

June 28, 2011  |  All Things Digital


If you’re heading to the beach this summer and you plan to read an e-book, you won’t want to take your iPad. The screen of Apple’s otherwise enjoyable tablet has a glare that’s accentuated in bright sun, even if you’re under an umbrella and wearing a hat and sunglasses, as I learned last summer. [ See post to watch video ] Luckily, alternatives abound, including several devices that use E Ink screen-display technology. These devices offer glare-free, matte surfaces, though the trade-off is a grayscale display with no backlighting. For the past week, I’ve been doing my summer reading on two E Ink machines: the newest $139 Nook from Barnes & Noble Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.’s latest $114 Kindle with Special Offers (that means sponsored screensavers bring the price down from $139). Both are dedicated e-readers and in lieu of color screens, both use E Ink’s Pearl Display, which has better contrast and sharper text than previous E Ink displays. Their thin, light dimensions make them a no-brainer to toss in a bag for reading on the go. And the Nook and Kindle are both capable of buying and downloading e-books right over WiFi. The Kindle lets gift givers preregister a device for people who aren’t tech savvy. But the new Nook has something the Kindle doesn’t: a touch screen. While Amazon’s Kindle has a physical keyboard for inputting text, and directional buttons for painfully sluggish navigation, users of the Nook can make their way around it using screen taps or swipes; its on-screen keyboard appears when needed. With the Nook, Barnes & Noble proves that a basic grayscale-screen e-reader doesn’t have to feel antiquated. It has been 10 months since Amazon brought out its last Kindle and the company is likely to introduce a new version of this product in the next three months, as well as a much anticipated iPad competitor. And there’s a very good chance the new Kindle will include a touch screen, so the Nook’s advantage may be short-lived

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Judging E-Readers by Their Book Readability


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