I’ve gone back and forth multiple
times when choosing a favorite. The
nook has somewhat superior hardware
and costs more at $199 for the Wi-Fi
and 3G-enabled unit, but the Kindle
has a truly refined shopping and purchasing infrastructure in place.
en Tourage eDGe
The en Tourage eDGe is an e-book
reader with netbook dreams. It features dual screens, a large E-ink display ( 9.6-inch, the same as the Kindle
DX), and a full-color 10.1-inch LCD
touchscreen. Totally closed, the device
could be mistaken for a small notebook computer. Open the clamshell
halfway, and it reveals what appears
to be two computers attached in the
middle. Continue opening, and the
eDGe folds back to a tablet format
that can be used with either screen.
The color side runs a version of
Google’s Android operating system
(OS). The E-ink side operates as a
dedicated large-screen reader. Both are
touchscreens, but the E-ink touch interface is limited to annotating and writing
notes. The color side is where you perform book management tasks, such as
browsing, buying, and opening books.
Once opened, the large E-ink screen
is an absolute joy to use. It has all the
features and benefits of the smaller
Kindle and nook screens, but with the
added benefits of a larger screen and
direct touch annotation. As a pure
reading device, the eDGe is a clear
winner. The ability to annotate and
use a finger or the included stylus to
draw directly on the digital page also
makes it a great tool for the classroom.
The eDGe reads EPUB files as well as
generic e-file types, such as PDF.
A fantastic reader with an addi-
tional color touchscreen running an
advanced mobile OS should make the
eDGe nearly unbeatable, but sadly, it
isn’t that simple. Although I actually
became comfortable with the Android
interface and had no trouble brows-
ing and buying a few titles (en Tourage
generously provided credit for e-books
with the evaluation unit), the Android
OS has a slightly unfinished feel.
Apple offers the iPad with 16, 32, or 64 GB
hard drives and Wi-Fi enabled units with or
without 3G capability.
In many ways, it isn’t fair to put the
Apple iPad into this article, but it is
marketed as an e-book reader.
Simply put, Apple is a genius at
making you feel comfortable using
its technology, and visually, the wow
factor runs deep. The limitation is that
backlit LCD displays can’t compare
to the comfort of E-ink for sustained
I loved the reader software on the
iPad. It is beautiful, slick, and in color!
You can buy apps to read Kindle
books, as well as most other formats,
but you’ll probably want to stick with
its default reader. I wouldn’t recommend reading a novel on the iPad, any
more than I’d recommend reading one
on a laptop. You can see the pixels that
form the text, and although flicker isn’t
a big issue with LCD, the screen image
doesn’t have the permanence of E-ink.
The iPad uses the iPhone OS and
already feels like a mature environment. The i Tunes store and Apple’s
apps marketplace are extremely intuitive and easy to use. Our evaluation
unit has both Wi-Fi and AT&T 3G
cellular, but unlike the nook, you don’t
get 3G for free—data plans are $14.99