You can do a lot more with an eBook reader than simply read books. Many new magazines are being launched which will only be available through the internet and that are formatted for color tablets or color eBook readers. Most eReaders can also be used for surfing the web, where color is pretty much a must have.
Why not an iPad or a Kindle?
Before you buy a color eBook reader, it is worth asking yourself if you might be better going with either an iPad or a Kindle.
The Kindle obviously has no color but the black and white e-ink technology it uses has significant advantages. If what you mainly want is a book reader, E-ink uses very little power so you get fantastic battery life- around one month of regular use. The text to background contrast is easy on the eye and the page reads well in bright light- perfect for a beach holiday as well as every day use. If you like to read for hours at a time. a Kindle can save you eyestrain as well as the frustration of that battery flat, dead screen.
The iPad, with its lit screen, is power hungry and you are lucky to get through a day without recharging. On the other hand, it is a great web browser/movie player/game station and more than OK for reading books and magazines- as long the screen is not in full sunshine.
If you are mainly interested reading books though, a big drawback with the iPad is price- $600 puts it way beyond a Kindle or any of the color eBook readers on this page.
The Five Best
So you are convinced that neither the Kindle nor the iPad is for you? These are the color alternatives to give some thought to. These will become even more attractive once Google Editions launches, Google editions will sell eBooks and magazines that will be compatible with all eBook readers.
The Kindle Fire and Fire HD
Both the original Fire and the new HD versions are much closer to a tablet PC than other readers on this page. The HD will play video in crisp detail as well delivering magazines in full color and all of the 18 million books Amazon has on offer. It has web browsing and plenty of game apps.
For anyone without an iPad already this is going to be a very tempting.
The older Fire is now selling for around $160, and is a bargain at that price.
The newer Fire HD tablets come in two sizes. The most expensive is the 8.9 inch version, with 4G LTE The seven inch with WiFi only is around two hundred dollars.
NOOK COLOR from Barnes and Noble
The Nook color is competing on one side with the Kindle and on the other side with the iPad. All the signs are that it has found a happy place for itself. Whether it can continue to sell well when the Kindle Fire appears is another issue. Expect a big price reduction.
I have only ever used one of these devices in a store but it was a genuine pleasure. As a pure book reader it works perfectly with good crisp contrast even if you turn the screen brightness right down. For color mags it offers a similar experience to the iPad. The screen is a good deal smaller at 7 inches but for me that is a plus- an iPad is a big, heavy carry.
When it comes to the web, the Nook does well. It is quicker than many tablet computers and can tackle all sites except those with Flash (a downloadable upgrade will fix the flash issue soon).
The Nook also offers Barnes and Nobles superior deal with any eBooks that you purchase from them. The book is yours for life and can be transferred to PC or smart phone for reading without limitation.
If you are near a Barnes and Noble store, you can use their WiFi to read any book free for one hour a day.
There is 8GB of built-in memory which means up to 6,000 books. Obviously most people will want to hold newspapers, movies, songs and photos too but 8GB is still a lot of space. If you need more, there is a slot for a MicroSD memory card
Velocity Micro Cruz Reader
For well under a hundred dollars, this device is a worthwhile alternative to its better known rivals and a quality eReader.
The software uses the Android operating system developed by Google. This means it is reliable, fast and there are a lot of applications available. The Kindle application lets you download any of the eBooks from Amazon's vast library as easily as you can with a Kindle itself. There are 2 million books available through the Borders app.
It will surf the web as well as any other Android device and you can download and play games, music and movies.
Why is the SKYTEX 7 inch reader so cheap? Mainly it is the lack of WiFi. This will not connect to the internet and so it is purely a reader not a browser. You load it with books or mags from your PC or Mac and then you have a lightweight device that allows you read what you choose, wherever you are.
It will also store and playback music (the sound is far better than you might expect!) and movies. There is a voice recorder too which is helpful for college students. FM radio is a useful plus and it makes a good picture viewer,
Ok, this might be one for the kids. It is certainly a bargain at less than hundred dollars online.
It has 2 GB of storage and support for EPUB, PDF, TXT, FB2, PDB, HTML
It will show pictures and movies on its seven inch screen as well as playing back music via the supplied earphones.
The built in battery gives you 12 hours of reading before a recharge or three hours of video viewing.
There is no WiFi, you load everything from your PC.
This is the kind of device that will benefit hugely from Google Editions. Expect to see cheaper and cheaper, color eBook readers as time goes by!