Best eBook Readers
Not very many new ebook readers have come out this year, but there are still a number of choices and the lack of newer models is not such a big deal because ereader technology evolves much slower than other technologies. Below is my list of the 4 best ebook readers for 2015. It includes ereaders with monochrome E Ink screens only, not tablets.
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, taking the place of the second gen model. This marks the third 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.
The Kindle Voyage has some hardware upgrades over the Paperwhite, including page button sensors, an auto-adjusting frontlight, 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 less, so the Voyage has basically priced itself out of contention.
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 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 Glo HD - Best New ePub eBook Reader
The Kobo Glo HD is the best new ePub ebook reader for 2015. It features a 6-inch 300 ppi E Ink screen like the Kindle Paperwhite 3, with text that pops off the screen, and it has a nice even frontlight.
The price is good for a high-res ebook reader, but the design is more basic than other Kobo ereaders, and it lacks a memory card slot (but the internal card can be swapped out for a larger one for those willing to go through the trouble). For $50 more, the Kobo Aura H2O adds a memory card, plus it's waterproof and has a larger 6.8-inch screen.
The Kobo Glo HD 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.
Price: $129 at Chapters.Indigo
Kindle Voyage - Best Premium eBook Reader
The Kindle Voyage is the best high-end ebook reader on the market for 2015. The high price kept it off this list last year, but it's clear the premium features are attractive to some.
The 300 ppi screen is no longer unique to it, but it still has distinguishing features that set it apart with the page button sensors, the auto-adjusting frontlight, the flush glass screen, and the super thin and light design.
Of all the 300 ppi ereaders, the Kindle Voyage has the best screen. Something about the glass layer and frontlight combine to make the text pop off the screen more than other 300 ppi ereaders.
Price: $199 at Amazon
Onyx Boox i86 - Best Large eBook Reader
For those looking for an ebook reader with a large E Ink screen, there just aren't many choices at all. Last year the 9.7-inch Onyx Boox M96 was the top choice in this category, but the lack of a frontlight and the low resolution screen is off-putting for some.
Onyx was able to get their 8-inch Boox i86 model released this year. The software is basically the same as the M96, but it adds a frontlight, a regular finger-friendly touchscreen, and it has a much higher resolution screen.
The i86 runs Android 4.0 and has Google Play, so it can do a lot more than just display PDF files and ebooks.
Tablets are still often a better overall value, but when it comes to an E Ink reader with a high contrast screen that's readable even in bright light, the Onyx i86 has the edge over tablets.
The Onyx Boox M96 is still a good large-screen E Ink ebook reader too, but the specs are pretty dated by this point, so the i86 gets the top spot over it. Please note that I haven't personally reviewed the i86, however, so I can only go off of what others have said about it, which generally seems positive.
Price: $279 at Amazon
Still No Best Android eBook Reader?
A number of E Ink ebook readers have been released in 2014 and 2015 with open Android operating systems, but none really stand out as being superior over the rest. The Boyue devices seem to have a slight edge over Onyx's devices, but it's pretty close. The various Boyue T62 models are a top choice, including devices like the Energy eReader Pro.
A couple of new models were released toward the end of 2015, including the 8-inch Illumina XL and the inkBook Obsidian. Both may turn out to be good Android ereaders but there are no reviews just yet. On paper they have a lot of good qualities but I have not tested either personally so I cannot definitively say for sure they are the best or even good. I plan on posting reviews for them soon, though, so check back for updates.