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E-book readers tested by Consumer Reports

Friday, June 01, 2012

Thinking about getting an e-book reader? The Amazon Kindle is the best-selling brand, but two new ones break new ground, including the latest Nook from Barnes & Noble. Consumer Reports released results of its latest tests of e-book readers.

The Amazon Kindle e-book reader has been the market leader for a long time. But there's a new chapter being written in the world of e-book readers.

Up until now, you've basically had two choices: a black-and-white "e-ink" e-book reader that lacks a built-in light, or a color reader with a backlit LCD screen. But both have drawbacks.

In Consumer Reports tests, e-ink readers perform better in bright light, so they're best for reading outdoors. But to read in the dark, you need to attach a book light.

Backlit LCD screens are great for reading in the dark -- no light needed -- but in bright light they have trouble with glare and washout.

Other issues?

"An LCD screen makes battery life a lot shorter than an e-ink screen," said Paul Reynolds, Consumer Reports electronics editor. "And e-ink models are usually a lot lighter too, which matters a lot when you're reading for hours."

The Ectaco jetBook Color is the first color e-ink reader. But testers found the colors aren't true. And the page-turns are very slow.

The Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight is also new. It has a touch screen and uses black-and-white e-ink technology. And for reading in the dark, the screen lights up.

"This GlowLight Simple Touch was as easy to read as the best readers we've tested," said Reynolds.

In the end, Consumer Reports rates at the top the $140 Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight.

If you're looking for a less-expensive e-book reader, the $80 Kindle with Special Offers (advertisements) e-book reader also did well in Consumer Reports tests. It doesn't have a light or a touch screen, but you can't beat the price.

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consumer reports, technology, save money / consumer news, ric romero
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