Best eBook Readers
Below is my list of the 4 best ebook readers for 2016. It includes ereaders with monochrome E Ink screens only, not tablets. Only a handful of new ebook readers were released this year, so this list includes a couple devices that were released in 2015 but are still the current models since ereader technology advances much slower than other types of electronics.
Ranking ebook readers by number is a lot harder than it sounds because each has unique features that suit certain folks better than others, so instead of ranking them by number, all of these are quality ebook readers and are on this list for different reasons. Please do check the reviews for the complete details.
Kindle Paperwhite 3 - Best Overall eBook Reader
The 3rd generation Kindle Paperwhite is the best overall ebook reader. This marks the forth year in a row the Kindle Paperwhite has been the top choice because it's the most balanced ereader in terms of the number of features you get for the price and the software continues to be more polished and reliable than other brands.
The Kindle Voyage and Kindle Oasis have some hardware upgrades over the Paperwhite, including page buttons, an auto-adjusting frontlight (Voyage), a charging cover (Oasis) a flush glass screen, and a thinner and lighter design. Those are nice upgrades but the software and overall speed of the Paperwhite is exactly the same, and it costs $80-$170 less, so the Voyage and Oasis have basically priced themselves out of contention for most people.
The Kindle Paperwhite offers a number of features that competitors lack, such as fast page scanning, in book Wikipedia look-up, vocabulary builder, family sharing, word wise, screenshots, Send to Kindle apps, translations, Goodread's integration, notes and highlights can be exported and edited, etc.
You can also borrow ebooks from libraries and read them on the Kindle Paperwhite. Plus you can download DRM free ebooks with the web browser, and PDF support isn't half bad.
Price: $119 at Amazon
Kobo Aura One - Best New eBook Reader
The Kobo Aura One is by far and away the best new ebook reader for 2016. It features a larger 7.8-inch 300 ppi E Ink screen that makes it unique. The bigger screen is really nice and they still managed to keep the device very thin and lightweight.
In addition to the larger screen the Aura One is also the first ereader to feature a frontlight with adjustable color temperature so that you can filter out blue light if you prefer. The Aura One is also the only Kobo ereader that can download public library ebooks directly without having to use a computer to sideload them.
The Aura One has a solid set of software features with a basic web browser, notes and highlights, dictionary, reading awards and stats, and translation dictionaries. The best thing about the software is it offers a lot more layout settings than other ereaders, including setting custom font weights and sideloading your own fonts—something Kindles can't do. Plus the Aura One is waterproof.
Price: $249 (CAD) at Chapters.Indigo
InkBook Obsidian - Best Android eBook Reader
There are lots of Android ebook readers on the market between Onyx and Boyue's numerous rebranded models, but they are all fairly similar and none really stand out as being "the best" over the others.
The inkBook Obsidian has the best combination of price and features, so it gets the top stop this time around. At just over $100 the low price is the main reason it wins over similar models.
Android ebook readers are more versatile and open than Kindle, Kobo and Nook ereaders because they can install various Android apps that cover a lot more ground in terms of ereading, but Android also has the drawback of not running as smoothly or being as optimized as dedicated ereaders. Given that, you're better off not spending a lot on an Android ereader, but for around $100 the inkBook isn't a bad option at all for people who would like more reading choices.
Price: $105 at Amazon
Onyx Boox N96 - Best Large eBook Reader
For those looking for an ebook reader with a large E Ink screen, there aren't very many choices, especially since Sony discontinued the DPT-S1. That just leaves Onyx as the main option for ereaders with large displays.
Onyx released two new Boox N96 ereaders this year, both with 9.7-inch E Ink screens and Android operating systems.
There are two N96 models available. One has no frontlight and a dual touchscreens for finger touch and stylus touch, and the other model has a frontlight but no finger touch, just stylus.
There's also the larger 13.3-inch Onyx Boox Max that was released this year. It has a screen with a plastic substrate that is very light and durable, but the drawback is there is no frontlight or capacitive touchscreen, just stylus touch only. Plus it's rather expensive at $679. That's $300 more than the N96 with all the same software features, and the 9.7-inch screen is perfectly adequate for reading PDFs and other large-form content.
Please note that I haven't personally reviewed the N96, but I did review the previous model, the Onyx Boox M96.