The eReader either e-books burst onto the publishing market like a whirlwind just a few years ago. Since then, they have become one of the star gifts for Christmas and other occasions and events. If you want to buy an eBook both as a gift and for yourself, take note of what you have to take into account when choosing the most suitable model.
Although there are people who believe that they can replace an eReader with a mobile phone or tablet, the truth is that they are wrong: the characteristics of the electronic ink screen of eReaders are much more favorable for reading than the LCD or OLED panels of smartphones and tablets.
And it is that, to read a book, it is unquestionable that the electronic ink It is the only technology capable of emulating -saving the distances- the sensations of a page of paper.
How does electronic ink work?
Although it may seem like a recent technology, the operation of the electronic ink of a eReader not far from that of one of our childhood toys, the famous Telesketch.
An electronic ink screen is made up of millions of transparent microcapsules inside which is a colorless fluid in which tiny negatively charged black particles and positively charged white particles float.
To draw the text, the microcapsules are subjected to opposing electric fields at the top and bottom which, depending on their polarity, will cause black or white particles to be attracted to the surface, “coloring” the pixel or not.
The electronic ink (eInk) it does not emit light, but rather reflects what is in the environment, as conventional paper does.
The eReaders use this kind of eInk screenstogether with an internal storage system or through SD or microSD memory cardsas well as an operating system, usually based on linuxwhich allows you to implement a user interface to manage e-books on the device.
The eReaders are equipped with a touch screen that allows you to control all the functions of the device, and in many cases they have WiFi or 3G/4G connectivity to download the contents without having to connect the e-book to the computer.
Audio is another element that we can find in these devices -although it is not common to all models-, whether it is to listen to audiobooks, music or even record audio.
The battery autonomy is undoubtedly one of the great assets of a eReader. Compared to the duration offered by mobile phones and tablets, in general the autonomy of electronic books is substantially longer, since even with intense use it is not necessary to charge the device for several days. With an average reading of one hour a day, an eReader battery can last up to 4 weeksa figure that can be increased if we keep wireless connectivity disabled.
The reason for this long autonomy is due to the fact that an eReader only consumes energy – apart from models with integrated light – when it comes to redrawing the pages and menus. With the page viewed, the energy consumption is totally residual.
eReaders with built-in lighting
The e-books either eReaders They are in full battle with smartphones and tablets to position themselves as a digital reading device.
To stay in the fight, next-generation eReaders combine the electronic ink with a integrated lighting system with which to iron out some of the differences with its rivals with OLED or LCD screens.
To maintain the advantage in terms of eye strain and fatigue over OLED and LCD panels, manufacturers have devised indirect backlighting systems that by using led lights in the margins of the screen and reflectors, they distribute the light evenly over the entire surface.
While the screen of a mobile or a tablet projects light directly into the eyes -which causes visual fatigue-, in the Backlit eReaders the light is distributed across the screen so that it does not directly impact our eyesight, which allows us to read for long periods of time without noticing eyestrain as occurs with the screens of smartphones and tablets.
Contrary to what one might think, the benefits of a lighting system in a electronic ink device they go far beyond the ability to read in the dark or in low light.
In fact, the benefits of the integrated light are more evident outdoors with a lot of light than in the dark, since it facilitates reading and allows a better reading experience.
With these eReaders it is possible, for example, to read on the beach or swimming pool in full sun, since the backlight system manages to mitigate the glare caused by the sun quite efficiently. The effect is similar to turning up the brightness of an LCD screen on a tablet or smartphone but with better results.
In eReaders 6 inches is the star size and would be equivalent -more or less- to the page size of a pocket book. However, we also find models with a larger panel, although it is not usual for them to exceed 7 inches.
Resolution in e-books is measured in dpi. In the cheap versions it is usually around 170 dpi (for example, Amazon’s standard Kindle has 167 dpi), while the more advanced versions offer 300 dpi (such as the Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Oasis).
Functions and file types
Although epub is the king, it is always important that our eReader be capable of adapting to the greatest number of formats of eBooks possible, such as: doc, mobi, pdf, htm or txt.
It is important to note the case of Amazon Kindlenot compatible with epuban inconvenience that is solved by resorting to solutions to convert files to the Kindle-compatible mobi format.
Other valuable aspects are the number and sizes of fonts available, the possibility of rotating the screen for horizontal reading, the presence of dictionaries or the possibility of creating and sharing annotations.
Tips for use and purchase
- The user experience is essential. The slow interface is a problem on some models and can be frustrating. Check the speed in turning the page and navigating through the menus. A good test is to perform a search within a text and see how long it takes to locate it.
- In the Illuminated eReaders To enhance the reading experience, light intensity should be directly proportional to the amount of outside light. That is, the greater the more intense the ambient light, and vice versa.
- Although they are capable of reproducing it, viewing PDFs is not the strong point of eReadersespecially if they are complex.
- Illumination should be uniform across the entire screen and a higher number of degrees of intensity allows for a better lighting control.
- eReaders with WiFi connection allow you to download books without connecting your eReader to your computer.
- Do not be obsessed with the capacity of the internal memory, the eBooks they occupy very little, 2GB is more than enough. In addition, you have to have the cloud if the eReader incorporates WiFi or 3G/4G. What does not mean that the presence of a card slot is very valuable.
- The support for eBook formats is an important variable, check that the eReader is compatible with as many as possible.
- Check the screen refresh capacity. When displaying the same text or image for a long time, it is usually marked in the background when changing pages. The intensity with which it is stamped and the ability to eliminate this effect marks the difference in quality between eReaders.
The best eReaders
If what you are looking for is a list of the most recommended models, take a look at our list of the best eBook readers or electronic books. In any case, search and compare before buying.
We hope that these Tips for buying an eBook or electronic book in 2018 have served to make it easier for you to choose the most suitable eReader for you.