When smart devices came around, many habits in life got changed. As I said once before, technology is a big source of change in our lifestyles. So if you belong to the group who love to read, then this article is for you. There was a time when I just couldn’t go to sleep until I read something interesting. If I compare that time to now, we have ebook readers.
They are the best alternative for reading actual books. They can be your best friends on practically any journey. Wherever you go, ebook gadgets give you the opportunity to take along all your best classic books and stories.
Kindle Fire HD
Amazon had a great response with the original Kindle Fire last year. So they brought a few more HD models, a 7-inch version and an 8.9-inch version, with different sizes and configurations. I will be discussing 7″ model, but those points can be justified with the larger model as well. If we put aside the sizes of two, they are mostly same.
The 7″ Kindle Fire HD was brought into the market with two choices: 16GB and 32GB with the prices $199 and $249 respectively. Both include lock screen advertisements at that price, and it’s worth noting that neither come with a wall charger, which costs $10 extra.
We can say that Kindle Fire HD uses almost the same software as compared to last year’s Kindle Fire, which I believed should have been improved as it is so limited and locked-down, but we can find major changes and improvements on the hardware side.
A camera is added, a speedy 1.2GHz processor, better resolution, physical volume buttons, a micro HDMI port, microphone, Bluetooth, storage space doubled, and a dual band Wi-Fi antenna. All that while maintaining the same $199 price point. Not bad right?
The bottom line is this: Amazon’s software is somewhat limiting and the interface is entirely Amazon-focused, but you are going to be hard-pressed to find a better 7″ tablet for the price. May be the Google Nexus 7 will give it a tough time.
Barnes & Noble Nook/Nook Color
Barnes and Noble has made an impressive showing with the Nook and Nook Color since the two were released. The original Nook earns top marks for its 6-inch E-ink display, slim profile, and $139 price tag for the Wi-Fi model. The Nook Color, on the other hand, will set you back $249, runs a modified version of Android, has a 7-inch brilliant touch-screen, and is one of the most popular ereaders in its price range. Mod the Nook Color and you essentially have an Android tablet, but you may not have to: Barnes and Noble has been busy issuing updates for the device to make it more tablet-like.
Apple iPad Mini
The iPad Mini is a little late to the game as far as 7-inch tablets go, but Apple looks to capitalize on the lower-end market nonetheless.
It is essentially a trimmed down version of the iPad 2. It has the same screen resolution and the same dual core A5 processor, and costs almost as much.
The screen resolution is the main disappointment. The iPad Mini has a 7.9-inch screen with a resolution of 1024 x 768. That’s only 162 pixels per inch. Compare that to the larger iPad that has 264 pixels per inch. 102 pixels less per inch is a huge difference.
To put it in perspective with the competition, 7-inch Android tablets like the Kindle Fire HDand Google Nexus 7 have 216 pixels per inch. And the 7-inch Nook HD has 243 pixels per inch.
This is especially important when it comes to reading because the higher the pixel density is, the clearer and sharper text appears. Given the iPad Mini’s smaller size, I thought ereading would be a bigger focus. But this is not the case.
Other specs for the iPad Mini include the usual 10 hour battery life, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, optional LTE, it has a 1.2MP front camera and a 5MP rear camera, a single speaker, a mic, headphone jack, and it at weighs in at 10.88 ounces and is 7.2mm thick, making it 23% thinner and 53% lighter than the regular-sized iPad.
Kobo will survive long after their partnership with now-closing bookseller Borders expires – the Kobo Ereader Touch and the Kobo Wireless Ereader both support open ePub and PDF documents, allow you to side-load from other ebook stores and sources, 6-inch e-ink displays (touch sensitive in the case of the Kobo Ereader Touch,) and long battery life. They both come in Wi-Fi models, no 3G available. The Kobo Ereader Touch will set you back $129.99 in the US, and the Kobo Wireless Ereader costs $99.99.
Sony Digital Reader
Sony was one of the first to market with an E-ink ebook reader, and the Digital Reader line is still going strong today. It’s backed by Sony’s own ebook store, which isn’t as large as some of its competitors, but Sony has made great strides in partnering with public libraries for loaning programs, local newspapers, and magazine publishers to get periodicals on their devices. Sony’s eReaders also support side-loading books, reading PDF documents, and will set you back $179 for the Pocket Edition, $229 for the Touch Edition, and $299 for the Daily Edition.
Google Nexus 7
There are two variants of the Nexus 7. One has 8GB of storage space and sells for $199; the other has 16GB of storage space and costs $249. While it carries the Google name, the Nexus 7 is actually built and serviced by Asus, who is no stranger to Android tablets with their popular Transformer brand.
The great things about Android is that it is open and you can pretty much always find a way to change things you don’t like. Aside from the high-end specs and the Jelly Bean operating system that make it run buttery smooth, the Google integration is really well done. It’s nice having all of Google’s resources easily at your fingertips instead of having to hack a different tablet to get them, which is often the case for tablets in the sub-$250 category.
At the end of the day the Google Nexus 7 has some limitations but that doesn’t stop it from being the best 7″ tablet you can buy as of this review. And it’s always going to have an edge over other similar tablets with its direct Google tie-in for the latest new features and software upgrades, not to mention the low price. Other than Amazon, it’s hard to imagine anyone else being able to release a similar 7″ tablet of this quality at this price in the near future.
There are many ebook readers out there. I have discussed a few of them. I would like you to be part of this discussion and share your liking too. Do correct me if I am wrong anywhere with the latest prices.