Here we are at Part 4 of our 2011 Tablet PC Holiday Gift Guide. Every day the holidays draw closer. Every day there’s less, and less time to prepare for the holidays. Perhaps that’s why you’re here; you’re looking for the ideal gift for that “impossible-to-buy-for” loved one. Well, fear not. Everyday our Holiday Gift Guide grows, offering you increasing choice when it comes to tablet computers, eReaders, and related accessories. Today we’re covering eReaders; so let’s get right to it.
Barnes & Noble Nook Color
As time goes by, the line between eReaders and tablet computers grows increasingly fuzzy. Recently, we covered this phenomena in a series of articles entitled “Tablet Computer / eReader Comparison”. If you’re looking for an eReader with extended capabilities, then the Barnes & Noble Nook Color may be for you. Barnes & Noble dubs the Nook Color as the “World’s Best Reading Experience + Tablet Essentials”. At its heart is the Texas Instruments ARM Cortex-A8 processor, running at 800 MHz. RAM sits at 512 MB. The Barnes & Noble Nook Color has 8GB of built-in memory (up to 5,000 books), which is expandable to 32GB with a microSD memory card.
Barnes & Noble also refers to the Nook Color as having the world’s most advanced VividView™ 7″ touchscreen. VividView™ is a lamination process, in which anti-reflective film is applied to the surface of the LCD in order to reduce glare, and optimize brightness. The 7-inch, 1024 X 600, high-resolution, touchscreen accurately renders over 16 million colors, and features an in-plane switching (IPS) display. The integrated Adobe® Flash® Player enhances Web browsing, and soon you’ll be able to download TV Shows, and movies from Netflix and Hulu Plus™. Thanks to the Android 2.2 operating system, you’ll have access to a vast array of apps available on the Android Market place. Furthermore, you’ll also have access to over 2.5 million books, magazines, and interactive kids’ books. Connectivity is established via Wi-Fi® (802.11b/g/n), or a Micro USB port (2.0).
Here are a few other fun things you can do with the Nook Color:
- Check, and send email
- Load photos, and create personal wallpaper
- Listen to audio content via the built-in mono speaker, or the universal 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack
When using the Nook Color as an eReader, you can select from 8 text sizes, 6 font styles, change background colors, and even adjust line and margin spacing. Don’t recognize a word? Look it up via the built-in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate® Dictionary, Eleventh Edition. The rechargeable battery lasts for up to 8 hours, with wireless off. The Nook Color can be charged from a wall outlet using the in-box Power Adapter, and USB Cable. Charging time is approximately 3 hours from a wall outlet.
Price: $219.99 on Amazon
Amazon Kindle Keyboard
The Amazon Kindle Keyboard is all you could want in a true eBook reader. It comes with 4GB of built in memory, approximately 3GB of which are dedicated to user content. While the Kindle Keyboard does not accept digital storage media, it does support free cloud storage for all Amazon content. Connectivity is established through both Wi-Fi®, and/or the USB 2.0 micro-B connector, included with your purchase. The purpose of the connector is two-fold. First, it can be used as a bridge between the Kindle Keyboard and the U.S. power adapter. Secondly, the cable can be used to sync the Kindle Keyboard to your PC, or Macintosh computer.
The Kindle Keyboard also features Amazon’s 6-inch diagonal, electronic paper display. The E-Ink® Pearl display has a resolution of 600 x 800, at 167 PPI (pixels per inch). Text is adjustable. You can choose between eight font sizes, and three font styles. With the Kindle Keyboard, you can also listen to audio content thanks to the rear-mounted stereo speakers, and the integrated 3.5 mm stereo audio jack. This Kindle product supports the following audio formats: MP3, AA, and AAX. To support reading, the Kindle Keyboard also includes Whispersync technology. Whispersync notes where you’ve left off, and syncs your spot across devices, so you can pick up where you last stopped. The Kindle Keyboard has a built in dictionary, and enables you to search your Kindle library, the Kindle Store, Wikipedia, and/or the Web using Google search. With wireless turned off, you can expect up to two months of battery life, based upon a half-hour of daily reading time.
Price: $139.00 on Amazon
Kobo Touch eReader
Here’s a dandy little eReader. The Kobo Touch is an eReader in the truest sense of the word. With it, you’ll not find a lot of splashy features, just a bare bones eReader that does its job well. At its heart is a Freescale 508 processor. Internal memory sits at 2GB, however it can be bumped to 32GB thanks to the integrated MicroSD card slot. The Kobo Touch eReader establishes connectivity through (802.11b/g/n) Wi-Fi®, or via the included USB 2.0 cable, to either your PC or Macintosh computer.
The 6-inch E-Ink® Pearl screen has a resolution of 600 x 800, and is contrast adjustable, offering a total of 16-grayscale levels. Furthermore, the display accommodates reading in either portrait, or landscape modes. Text is also adjustable. The Kobo Touch offers an unparalleled 17 text sizes, and 7 font styles. Once more, you can highlight text or look up words via the built-in dictionary. Search text, take notes, and browse the Internet. The Kobo Touch does everything an eReader should do, plus more.
The Touch eReader also enables you to read across devices, and pick up where you left off, thanks to Kobo’s synched bookmark technology. It also supports a slew of file formats, including: EPUB, PNG, CBZ, PDF, JPEG, HTML, GIF, and CBR. The lithium-polymer battery provides power for up to one month and is rechargeable in approximately 4-hours via the AC/DC charger. The Kobo Touch is also USB chargeable in approximately 6-hours. The Touch is available in Lilac, Blue, Silver and Black. It weighs 6.5 ounces, and comes with a 1-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.
Price: Starting at $133.00 on Amazon
Sony Reader Touch Edition PRS-600B eBook reader
Finally, we come to the Sony Reader Touch Edition (PRS-600B). The Sony Touch Edition is another solid, bare bones eReader. It comes with 512MB of memory, 380MB of which are available for user content. 380MB is enough memory to hold roughly 350 of your favorite books. If necessary, memory can be expanded to 16GB via two separate memory expansion card slots, one for SD cards and one for Memory Stick PRO Duo™ cards. Because the Sony Reader Touch Edition is not Wi-Fi® enabled, connectivity is made available only via the included USB 2.0 cable. The PRS-600B is both PC and Mac® compatible.
The 6-inch E-Ink® Vizplex™ touchscreen display has 800 x 600 resolution, and offers 8-grayscale levels. In layman’s terms, Vizplex™ is an older form of e-Ink® display. The PRS-600B can be read in either portrait, or landscape mode. Reading is further enhanced through these supportive features, note taking, bookmarking, and text search. The Sony Reader Touch Edition also supports text highlighting, and allows for the adjustment of text, with 5 available sizes. The Sony Touch Edition also comes with a built-in dictionary, and supports a host of file formats, including ePub, BBeB Book, PDF, TXT, RTF, JPEG, PNG, GIF, and BMP. Audio content is made available through the headphone jack, as well as MP3, and AAC audio formats. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides power for up to two full weeks, and is USB chargeable.
Price: $177.85 on Amazon