The expanding popularity of portable e-book readers has e-gadget manufacturers climbing the walls to improve, innovate and expand operations, portability and user convenience. Amazon’s Kindle broke open the e-book reader market, although it wasn’t the first e-book reader on the scene. Barnes & Noble’s Nook is a terrific product as well, and its now-generation reader offers some tough choices for e-book fans that has Amazon concerned. Then bring in Sony products to further complicate matters. These top three e-book reader options can make an e-book reader’s head spin, so let’s compare them on size, capability and adaptability.
The information below reflects the common models within the same price range; it wouldn’t be fair to compare a “deluxe” model with a “basic” model. The approximate price range is roughly $115 to $160 and notes the Barnes and Noble Nook Touch Reader, Amazon’s Kindle 3 and Sony’s Reader Pocket Edition.
Size and Weight Comparison
BN’s Nook Touch Reader, hereafter called NTR for typing convenience, sports a 6-inch display and a 5 x 6.5-inch profile. Weighing in at 7.48 ounces, you barely know you’re holding or carrying it.
The Kindle 3 also offers a 6-inch display and a 4.8 x 7.5-inch profile; it’s a little longer than the Nook but not prohibitively so. The negligible weight difference with Nook, 8+ ounces versus 7.48 ounces, is noticed, but after the conscious notation, you barely notice it.
Sony’s Reader Pocket Edition boasts the smallest and lightest numbers of the three at 4.11 x 5.71 inches and 5.47 ounces. It also has the smallest display screen at 5 inches.
Capacity and Accessibility
The NTR can hold up to . Its battery can last up to two months on charge under minimum use capacity. In other words, you can’t get two months of use under full WiFi use or downloads—just reading. (Those general conditions restrict all battery use comparisons, however.)
The Kindle 3 can hold up to 3,500 e-books in its 4GB memory. The built-in, permanent battery can last up to a month on a single charge if WiFi is turned off. However, its WiFi capability draws a definite plus to this device.
Sony’s device can hold up to 1,200 e-books with a 2GB memory. It can also support word documents, Adobe PDFs, EPUB/ACS4 formats. The Pocket Edition is compatible with both Macs and PCs. Coming in a distant third in battery capacity, it provides only two weeks maximum average use prior to recharging. Sony’s product has no direct Internet access capability, so you must download from a PC or Mac into the device.
Distinct Advantages and Disadvantages
Sony’s device is great for short-term use and storage swaps, but its lack of direct connectivity is a drawback for many. It’s slimmer, lighter, more compact design is a plus over the others, however.
Nook’s longer battery life and expandable memory slot allows slight advantages over both the Kindle 3 and the Pocket Edition. Its multiple platform readability matches Kindle 3′s, and both Nook and Kindle stand above the Pocket Edition in direct Internet access.
Kindle 3′s biggest advantage is that the $114 price tag for the Kindle-With Special Offers edition. Completely identical to Kindle 3 in other ways, the Special Offers version provides a $25 discount for non-intrusive ads in the screen saver mode and on the main menu. Because there are no ads while reading, the ad-supported version is highly recommended.
However, the touch screen and button resign puts Barnes & Nobles’ Nook a half a notch above Kindle 3. Its longer battery life secures it in the number 1 slot—for now.
The author of this post is Holly Miller, who writes for Coupon Croc. In the market for the hottest gadgets? Save big when you shop online and use an Argos discount voucher.