Consumer Reports compares new e-book readers

Nook Simple Touch gets glowing review


If you're thinking about getting an e-book reader, there are a lot of choices out there.

Amazon's Kindle is the best-selling brand, but two new ones break new ground, including the latest NOOK from Barnes & Noble. Consumer Reports tested these and dozens of other e-book readers to help you hone in on a great choice.

The Kindle e-book reader from Amazon has been the market leader for a long time.

But there's a new chapter being written in the world of e-book readers. Up until now, you've basically had two choices -- a black and white e-ink e-book reader that lacks a built-in light, or a color reader with a backlit LCD screen, but both have drawbacks.

In Consumer Reports' tests, e-ink readers perform better in bright light, best for reading outdoors. But to read in the dark, you need to attach a book light. Backlit LCD screens are great for reading in the dark -- no light needed -- but in bright light they have trouble with glare and washout.

Other issues?

"An LCD screen makes battery life a lot shorter than an e-ink screen. And e-ink models are usually a lot lighter, too, which matters a lot when you're reading for hours," said Paul Reynolds of Consumer Reports.

The ECTACO jetBook Color is the first color e-ink reader, but testers found the colors aren't true, and the page turns are super-slow. The Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight is also new. It has a touch screen and uses black and white e-ink technology, and for reading in the dark, the screen lights up.

"This GlowLight Simple Touch was as easy to read as the best readers we've tested," said Reynolds.

In the end, Consumer Reports top rates the $140 Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight, end of story.

If you're looking for a less-expensive e-book reader, the $80 Kindle with special offers e-book reader also did well in Consumer Reports' tests. It doesn't have a light or a touch screen, and it does display ads, but you can't beat the price.

About the Author: