Amazon Kindle versus Nook, Kobo and Sony ebook readers

Ebook readers

Amazon Kindle versus Nook, Kobo and Sony ebook readers

by Mike Plant

Kindle or Kobo? Sony Reader or Nook? We've put the top ebook reader brands head-to-head to explore the pros and cons of each.

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What are the best ebook reader brands?

Amazon's Kindle range, which includes the budget-priced Paperwhite and luxurious Oasis, remains the top choice for buyers looking for a new ebook reader. Even so, there are some other contenders to the Kindle crown from brands such as Kobo, Barnes & Noble and Sony.

Listed below are the reliability scores for Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Sony ebook readers. The highest-scoring brand of ebook reader achieved a reliability score of 93%, while the worst scored just 65%. Keep scrolling for the details.

Take a look at our Best Buy ebook readers reviews to find out which models top our tests.

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Ebook reader brands rated
Ebook reader brands rated
BrandAverage test scoreReliability ratingCustomer scoreVerdict
78%79%This brand has yet to produce an ebook reader that has scored less than 70% in our tests, and Which? members tend to agree with our assessment, judging by our latest customer survey. According to our most recent reliability study, buyers should be confident that this brand's ebook readers are going to last, too.
86%61%This brand is top of the tree when it comes to average test scores and reliability. The company's top-scoring ebook reader is not only easy on the eyes in all kinds of light, but it's cheaper than most ebook readers of a similar spec.
N/A61%This brand no longer sells new ebook readers, hence why it doesn't have a current average test score. However, given its high reliability score, this could be the perfect brand to choose if you plan to save money by opting for a second-hand ebook reader.
72%53%On average, this brand has scored well in our lab when it comes to screen clarity and ease of use. However, a poor reliability score and average customer score could mean that you might want to look elsewhere when choosing your next ebook reader.

Key

Member Content

Amazon Kindle

Amazon has released several iterations of its popular ebook reader. From the cheap and cheerful Kindle Paperwhite to the newly released Kindle Oasis with its unique charging case, there is a good selection of models to choose from. We take a closer look at the pros and cons of the Kindle range, below.

Interested in a Kindle? Take a look at our Kindle reviews page for more details.

Pros:

  • Kindles have easy access to a huge range of titles via the Kindle Store. Amazon tends to have the greatest range of ebooks at the cheapest prices, also offering free classic books.
  • Amazon's ebook readers are ideal if you enjoy reading the news on the way into work, with access to UK and international papers and magazines on the Kindle bookstore.
  • There is a good range of Kindles to choose from, whether you fancy the £100 Paperwhite (2015) or the premium £270 Oasis.
  • Kindle apps are available to download for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, which means you can read on your Kindle then pick up from where you left off on your mobile. Even if you forget your Kindle, you won't be left without a good read.

Cons:

  • Kindles can't access the popular ePub format that lets you borrow ebooks from your local library. If you prefer to borrow rather than purchase, you'll find the Kindle disappointing.
  • Although the Kindle store is well stocked, there are gaps in its bookshelf. You can't fill these gaps using other ebook stores, as they don't use a compatible format.
  • If you buy a Kindle, it's hard to swap brands in the future because your virtual library will use the AZW format, which isn't compatible with other brands.
  • Some Which? members have told us they've had issues with their Kindle's screen breaking or freezing. We survey thousands of ebook reader owners every year to find out the scale of such problems.

For more information on picking the perfect ebook reader for you, read our Which Kindle should I buy? advice guide. Interested in Amazon's Kindle range? Take a look at our Kindle reviews page.

Barnes & Noble Nook

Barnes & Noble is a well-known ebook reader brand in America that originally launched the Nook in the UK. There's currently just one ebook reader for sale in the UK from Barnes & Noble - the Nook Glowlight - which you'll likely have to pick up second-hand.

To find out how the Nook fares against its competitors, have a look at our Barnes & Noble ebook readers reviews page.

Pros:

  • Typically, devices from Barnes & Noble are fairly cheap
  • If you're willing to buy a used model, you'll be treated to a solid ebook reader at a low price

Cons:

  • Barnes & Noble has stopped selling its own Nook Books in the UK, meaning you'll need to sign up to Sainsbury's Entertainment on Demand to grab new titles.
  • It’s possible to manually load ebooks onto the Nook Glowlight via USB, but it’s a time-consuming process.
  • Nook models have a small internal memory with room for about 240 ebooks, significantly less than Amazon's basic Kindle, which can store around 1,400.
  • There's no 3G support on the Nook. If you want to download ebooks on the go without wi-fi, the Nook isn't the ebook reader for you.

Kobo ebook readers

Kobo ebook readers, sold by WHSmith, are becoming well known in the UK market. With a variety of models available, prices range from around £70 up to around £130.

If you want to learn more about Kobo's range of eook readers, take a look at our Kobo reviews page.

Pros:

  • Kobo ebook readers are compatible with the ePub format, so you can borrow books from the library and buy from different ebook stores.
  • The Kobo store has almost three million titles, and one million of those are older books that are available to download for free.
  • Some Kobo ebook readers come with unique features, such as the waterproof Kobo Aura H2O.

Cons:

  • Kobo doesn't support audio books, so if you prefer listening to reading, you might be better off with another ebook reader or an MP3 player.
  • At present, you can't download magazines or newspapers from the UK store. We expect that this will change in the future.
  • Kobo ebook readers are a cheaper alternative to Amazon's Kindle range, but this tends to be reflected in the quality of the devices. Some don't have a dedicated backlight, for example.

Sony ebook readers

Sony launched its first ebook readers in the UK back in 2007. While the brand has since looked to phase out its line of ebook readers, it's still possible to pick up a Sony Reader second-hand at a bargain price.

Pros:

  • Sony uses the ePub format, so you can buy books from a range of ebook stores including Google, Waterstones and WHSmiths.
  • You can download free books to the Sony Reader from sites such as Project Gutenberg.
  • The internal memory on Sony ebook readers tends to be relatively large, enough to store around 1,000 books.

Cons:

  • Sony models tend to be difficult to find brand new. However, they're still available from online stores such as Amazon and eBay.
  • Though the Sony book store has been phased out, it's still possible to download ePub format books from other sources onto your Sony Reader.