Summer Reading 2.0 – An E-Reader Review

Labor Day may be just around the corner, but there are hopefully plenty of quality beach days remaining. For many, a trip to the beach is not complete without packing a good book to read for the day. Whether it is assigned summer reading for school, or the latest Grisham thriller, paging through a new book is a seasonal tradition for many of us. Prior to a recent vacation in Cape Cod I decided to make an investment in my first e-book reader (e-reader).

While not the first, Amazon’s release of the Kindle in 2007 revolutionized the way many enjoy books these days. Since that time, other manufacturers including Barnes and Noble have released “electronic paper” or “e-ink” readers. Not to be confused with other ‘tablet computers’ which typically feature a colored, backlit, LCD display, e-readers mimic the look of traditional text on page in black and white. This technology is said to be more comfortable for long term reading, allows for reading outdoors and in direct sunlight, and is also much more energy efficient. This increased energy efficiency allows for hours of e-book reading and infrequent e-book charging. There are many other benefits to e-readers also: starting a new book can be done from almost anywhere and virtually instantly (requires WiFi or optional 3G, however these features are not required when reading). E-readers are more portable and take up less space, they are also more environmentally friendly.

When it comes to e-readers, it is typically a two horse race: Amazon’s Kindle and the Nook by Barnes and Noble. I will say that after extensively reviewing both, each is a great product.  I ultimately decided on the Nook Touch for mostly aesthetic reasons. The Nook features an all-black matte design that is comfortable and light in the hand. It is hefty enough feel like you are holding something, but small enough to be portable in any bag, purse, or beach bag.

From an ease of use standpoint, functionality could not be easier. Featuring a very simple menu, I found myself reading my first book in a matter of minutes. The integrated Barnes and Noble shop features an expansive catalog and each of the books I was seeking were available. Reading and navigating the books is straightforward also, “flipping” through the pages is as easy as pressing either the left or right part of the screen, or using cleverly disguised buttons on the side bezel.

Overall I am quite happy with the purchase. I have found myself reading more, and enjoying the Nook everywhere from an airport terminal to the beach. I have found with my use it needs a charge once every week and a half or so, which is fantastic. If you are an avid reader, or are looking for a way to read more, I strongly urge you to consider an e-reader. At around $100 (plus book purchases) they are fairly affordable and are available both in stores and online.

Posted in Gadgets, Mobile trends, technology

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