The best e-reader for 2021


While you can read a book with any phone or tablet if you have an app like Apple Books, Kobo, Kindle, or Nook, a dedicated eReader promises a much less distracting and much more enjoyable reading experience. You can access any category of ebook with a quick download, whether you’re looking for classic literature or the latest guilt-ridden thriller.

Dedicated e-readers don’t have the internet, email, social media, or other entertainment options to distract you from your book, and they have a lot of battery life to boot. Unlike phones and tablets, which can be washed in direct sunlight, many e-book readers use E Ink technology and are water resistant, so they’re perfect for reading on the beach or by the sea. the pool without causing eye strain. Your the local library can offer free downloads of e-books for its members, and free ebooks are also widely available online.

Looking for a better way to read all those digital books in your eBook library? It’s time to upgrade your eReader. While many people are still tied to their books from dead trees, e-readers offer a multitude of benefits. You can find and highlight passages with a touchscreen and change the font size. And you are never unlucky if you don’t have a reading light because all the best e-readers on the market have self-lit screens.

This list, which I update periodically, is dominated by Amazon Kindle models including the Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Oasis, and Amazon Classic Kindle, as I think it’s still the best digital “ecosystem” for the world. reading. Amazon also offers plenty of budget and subscription options. And while Barnes & Noble still makes their Nook reader, if you want to avoid Amazon, I suggest you go with a Kobo model instead.

So, ready to start reading? Whether you like biographies or graphic novels, on this list you will find the best e-reader for your digital book needs.

Sarah Tew / CNET

If you’re looking for someone looking for the latest Kindle e-reader, this is Amazon’s Goldilocks line and our current CNET Editors’ Choice Award winner in the category. Here are a few things CNET editors love about the Kindle Paperwhite:

  • It is 10% thinner and lighter than the previous version.
  • It has a “flush-front” design with a back made of a softer, grippy material instead of hard plastic.
  • It’s a fully waterproof Kindle, like the top-of-the-line Kindle Oasis, and has a plastic screen that Amazon says is shock and scratch resistant.
  • It has built-in Bluetooth, so you can download Amazon Audible audiobooks and listen to them with wireless headphones.

While the waterproof Kindle Paperwhite costs $ 130, it’s regularly discounted to $ 90 (and sometimes even $ 85), that’s when you should buy it. It’s highly likely that Amazon will update the Kindle Paperwhite in 2021, but it’s unclear when or how much of an upgrade. For example, USB-C charging could be added and maybe the lighting scheme could be updated, don’t expect dramatic upgrades.

Read our Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2018) review.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Amazon’s premium E Ink e-reader got a slight update in 2019 – but this Kindle e-reader is basically identical to the previous Kindle Oasis, with one difference – it has a new, color-adjustable built-in light. which allows you to customize the color tone from cold to warm, depending on whether you read during the day or at night. You can also schedule the screen heat to update automatically with sunrise and sunset, much like Night Shift mode on Apple devices.

At $ 250, the Oasis is expensive for an e-reader. Most people will be happy with the more affordable Paperwhite for their Kindle eBook reading, but if you want the best of the best with an anti-glare display for your reading experience – and you don’t mind paying a premium for it – the Oasis is undoubtedly that one. The Kobo Forma, which also sells for $ 250, has an 8-inch screen, larger than the Oasis’ 7-inch.

Read our Amazon Kindle Oasis (2019) review.

Sarah Tew / CNET

The latest version of Amazon’s entry-level e-book reader, which Amazon simply calls the Kindle, now features a self-illuminating display and an improved design. At $ 90, this ebook reader costs $ 10 more than the previous model, the 2016 Kindle, but this Kindle device regularly goes on sale for as little as $ 60. I prefer the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, which has a high-resolution display (text and images appear a bit sharper), is waterproof, and has a better lighting scheme. But if you don’t want to spend a lot on an e-reader, the standard Kindle is a good option, especially when it’s budgeted. It should be updated in 2021.

Read our Amazon Kindle (2019) review.


Rakuten offers a range of Kobo e-readers that are not only powered by the Kobo store, but also support 14 native file and eBook formats (EPUB, EPUB3, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF , TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ and CBR). In other words, if you get your ebooks – or any other digital document – from anywhere outraged Amazon, this device is a Kindle alternative that will likely read them. The Kobo device has its own e-book store with thousands of books, and it has built-in support for checking e-books from local libraries through the OverDrive service. (You can get library books on Kindle through OverDrive’s Libby app, but it’s not as smooth a process.)

The Kobo Libra H20, which costs $ 150, sits in the middle of the range, and as the name suggests, it’s fully waterproof. It has a 7-inch E Ink HD display (1680 x 1264 pixel resolution), built-in light, and no ads (you have to pay $ 20 to remove them from Kindle devices).

Available in black or white, you can use the Kobo Libra in portrait or landscape mode. Other Kobo e-readers include the entry-level Kobo Nia ($ 100), Kobo Clara HD ($ 118), and the flagship Kobo e-reader, the Kobo Forma ($ 250), which has an 8-inch larger high-resolution display. inches.

David Carnoy / CNET

There was a select group of readers who adored the 9.7-inch Kindle DX, which was discontinued several years ago. Sony and others have made E Ink “tablets” the size of an iPad, but they tend to be quite expensive. Kobo is now trying to fill that giant e-reader niche with its 10.3-inch Elipsa, which is sold as the “Elipsa Pack” and includes a SleepCover and stylus. The screen is quite crisp and easy to read with an E Ink Carta 1200 touchscreen that has 1404 x 1872 (227 PPI) resolution and dark mode.

Despite a 1.8GHz quad-core processor with 32GB of storage, an E Ink device like this still feels relatively slow compared to an iPad (using an Apple Pencil). But performance is pretty decent, and battery life is still a big highlight for E Ink devices – like other e-readers, the Elipsa’s battery life is rated in weeks rather than weeks. time.

The Elipsa natively supports 15 file formats (EPUB, EPUB3, FlePub, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR) and weighs 13.5 ounces (383 g), the more the cover adds extra weight, making it quite a heavy e-reader. However, you can use the case to support the eReader so you don’t have to hold it while you read, take notes, or review and annotate documents.

Large eReaders aren’t for everyone, but if you like to see a lot of words on a page or increase the font size, this Kobo eReader is an attractive option. They are also useful for viewing PDF files.

The LifeBook P10 is a slightly cheaper alternative, but CNET has yet to review this model.

David Carnoy / CNET

If you don’t want to pay more for Kobo’s larger e-readers, the Clara HD is a good $ 120 alternative. It’s a simple e-reader with Kobo’s ComfortLight Pro built-in lighting and a 300 ppi “HD” display (1,072 x 1,448 resolution), 8 GB of storage and a processor at 1 GHz.

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