Consumer News

Consumer Reports tests the best e-readers

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

An e-book reader could be the perfect gift for a recent graduate or dad on Father's Day. Consumer Reports tested the best sellers and other brands to help you make the best choice for your money.

Consumer Reports tested the best sellers and other brands to help you make the best choice for your money.

The Kindle e-book reader from Amazon has been the market leader for a long time.

"What's wonderful about the Kindle is that you can have 20 books, and you can read whatever you're in the mood to read," said Helise Harrington.

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 may or may not have 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 and are best for reading outdoors. But to read in the dark, it needs to have a light built in or attached to it.

Backlit LCD screens are great for reading in the dark, but in bright light they have trouble with glare and washout.

And there are other issues.

"An LCD screen makes battery life a lot shorter than an e-ink screen," said Paul Reynolds from Consumer Reports. "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 super-slow.

Consumer Reports top rates the brand new Nook SimpleTouch with GlowLight.

The $140 product 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.

If you're looking for a less-expensive e-book reader, the $80 Kindle with Special Offers also did well in Consumer Reports' tests, although it does not have a light or touch screen.

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consumer reports, computers, consumer news, amy buckman
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