The Irish Mail on Sunday
Which device is right for you?
This looks like an antique, and boasts precisely zero gimmicks – there’s no touchscreen, no fancy-pants scroll bar to skip chapters. But for reading books, and buying them, it’s simply unbeatable, with a control system so simple that even aged Luddites can master it after only five or six ‘techsupport’ calls on Christmas Day.
Sony’s reader looks the coolest – nobody does the black-slab look like the Japanese giant – until you ruin it with your greasy fingers five seconds later. Sony’s readers now use Kobo’s shop and software: good news, as both are great. But valuewise, it’s not so hot. You pay a pretty hefty whack for your reader carrying the Sony badge.
The Paperwhite is the posh one, with a side-lit screen that adjusts itself to ambient light, so you can read in dimly lit rooms, or even in bed without incurring threats of divorce. It looks lovely, but its touchscreen is hard to control and the adjustable lighting isn’t the sort of extra that makes people spend €50 more.
The Kobo range doesn’t keep Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos awake at night – Amazon sells four Kindles to every Kobo. It is ‘The Porsche of ereaders’: its pages flip faster, and the ultra-sharp screen allows curly fonts. It has some fun features, such as the ability to add comments to books for other readers to see. Those in Fifty Shades are much better than the book itself.
KINDLE FIRE HDX 8.9”
Apple’s iPad pips it as an allpurpose machine, but for families, the HDX’s fenced-off ‘child zone’ puts it streets ahead. There are several sizes – but the 8.9” hits the sweet spot (at an Apple-beating price). Be warned, though: its muchvaunted ‘free library’ is a red herring. You can only rent one book per month and have to sign up to a €97-a-year service too.