Amazon’s Kindle Tops CR E-Book Reader Ratings
July Issue Features Ratings of Nine Models; Review of the Apple iPad as an E-Book Reader
YONKERS, NY — New e-book readers keep hitting the market, yet a veteran model, the Amazon Kindle e-book reader tops Consumer Reports first full Ratings of these devices. Despite improvement to the rival Barnes & Noble Nook e-book reader and the arrival of Apple’s iPad tablet computer, which offers e-reader capability, Amazon’s Kindle is still the best choice for most consumers. The report and Ratings of e-book readers is featured in the July issue of Consumer Reports and on www.ConsumerReports.org.
Consumer Reports testers recently put nine e-book readers through comprehensive lab tests. Amazon’s Kindle, $260, and its super-sized sibling, the Kindle DX, $490, had crisper, more readable type than any other model in the Ratings and slightly better than the Apple iPad, whose e-reading capabilities were assessed but excluded from the Ratings (see below). The Kindles were among the fastest at refreshing and turning pages. For most users, the lower-priced Kindle is a better choice than the DX because of its lighter weight and smaller size, unless extra real estate is needed for reading content such as e-textbooks.
Two e-readers from Sony – the Daily Edition PRS900BC, $400, and the Touch Edition PRS600SC, $280, were solid performers in Consumer Reports lab tests and noted for their versatility – including their ability to be used as digital notepads for text or drawings. However, the Daily Edition is expensive and heavy and the Touch Edition is among the rated models that do not feature unlimited, free, 3G wireless data network access which means consumers cannot download books whenever and wherever they want.
Consumer Reports found that Barnes & Noble’s Nook is among the faster models at turning pages, but its type was not quite as crisp as the Kindle’s and it weighs more even though both models have the same 6-inch screen size. Navigating content on the Nook was more complicated and touch controls were nonintuitive.
Consumer Reports also tested e-readers from three lesser-known brands – the Aluratek Libre eBook Reader Pro, $170, the BeBook Neo, $300, and the iRex DR 800SG, $400 – and found that all were undistinguished at best.
The Apple iPad as an E-Book Reader
Consumer Reports did not include the Apple iPad in its e-reader Ratings because it is a computer with e-book capabilities, not a dedicated e-book reader. The iPad’s iBook app, one of at least three available for the device, offers fast page turns, with a dazzling virtual image one page curling back to reveal another, and the full-color screen is more eye-catching than the monochrome displays on the e-book readers. Type on its LCD touch screen is fine, though it is slightly less crisp than that of the best e-book readers. Compared to the most expensive e-book reader tested, Amazon’s Kindle DX, $490, Apple’s iPad is more expensive costing $500 and up and substantially heavier at 24 ounces versus the Kindle DX’s weight of 19 ounces. Consumer Reports recommends buying the iPad for e-books only if consumers are willing to compromise to get a multifunction device.