Amazon Kindle versus Nook, Kobo and Sony ebook readers
Kindle or Kobo? Sony Reader or Nook? We put the top ebook reader brands head-to-head to explain the pros and cons of Kindle, Nook, Kobo and Sony ebook readers.
What are the best ebook reader brands?
The most popular ebook reader is the Amazon Kindle. However, there are other strong contenders to the Kindle crown from brands such as Kobo, Sony and the Barnes & Noble Nook.
The table below shows 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 while the worst scored just 65%.
|Ebook reader brands rated|
|Brand||Average test score||Reliability rating||Customer score||Verdict|
|78%||79%||This brand hasn't produced an ebook reader that's scored less than 70% in our tests and Which? members tend to agree with our assessment according to our latest customer survey. Buyers should also be confident that the brand's ebook readers are going to last, too, according to our most recent reliability study.|
|86%||61%||This brand is top of the tree when it comes to both average test scores and reliability. This brand's top scoring ebook reader is not only easy on the eyes in all kinds of light, but is also cheaper than most ebook readers of a similar spec.|
|N/A||61%||This brand has started to make fewer ebook readers of late, hence why we don'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 some 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.|
Take a look at all our Best Buy ebook readers reviews to find out which one tops our tests.
Amazon has now released several iterations of its popular Kindle ebook reader. Models range from a no-frills reader to touchscreen and illuminated models for reading under the covers. We take a closer look at the pros and cons of the Kindle range below:
- The main advantage of the Kindle is that is has easy access to a huge range of book titles via the Kindle Store. Amazon tends to have the greatest range of ebooks at the cheapest prices. The Amazon bookstore also contains a large number of classic books which are free because their copyright date has expired.
- The Kindle caters well for those who prefer reading the news in the morning on the way into work, with access to UK and international papers plus magazines on the Kindle bookstore.
- There's a good range of Kindles to choose from, with the cheapest on sale for just £60.
- Kindle apps are available to download for Android and Apple devices such as tablets and smartphones. This means you can read on your Kindle then pick up from where you left off on your iPhone, so even if you forget your Kindle, you won't be left without a good read.
- Kindles can't access the popular ePub format that lets you borrow ebooks from your local library. If you prefer to borrow books rather than purchase them then you will find the Kindle disappointing.
- Although the Kindle store is well stocked with books, 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 that isn't compatible with other brands.
- Some Which? members have told us they've had issues with the screen on their Kindle breaking or freezing. We survey thousands of ebook reader owners every year to find out the scale of such problems.
For more information read our Which Kindle should I buy? advice guide
Barnes & Noble Nook
Barnes & Noble is a well-known brand in America that has launched its Nook ebook readers in the UK, too. There's currently just the one ebook reader on sale in the UK from the brand - the Nook Glowlight - which you can buy in shops such as PC World and Foyles.
- The Nook bookstore has over 2.5 million titles and offers a selected free book every Friday.
- Compatibility with the ePub format means that you can buy books from other stores and even borrow books from your local library.
- Barnes & Noble currently only offers one ebook reader in the UK, so your hardware choice is limited.
- You can't currently download magazines or newspapers from the UK Nook store (we expect this will change in the future).
- The Nook models have a small internal memory with room for about 240 ebooks, significantly less that Amazon's basic Kindle, which can store around 1,400.
- There's no 3G on the Nook - if you want to download ebooks on the go without wi-fi, the Nook is not the ebook reader for you.
To find out exactly how the Nook fares against the Amazon Kindle, have a look at our ebook reviews.
Kobo ebook readers
Kobo ebook readers, sold by WHSmith, are becoming a familiar name in the UK market. With a variety of different models on sale, prices start at around £75 and rise to around £130.
- 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 itself has almost three million titles, and one million of these are older titles that are available to download for free.
- Some Kobo ebook readers come with unique features, such as the waterproof Kobo Aura H2O.
- Kobo does not support audio books, so if you prefer listening rather than 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, however we expect this will change in the future.
- Kobo ebook readers are a cheaper alternative to the Kindle range, but this tends to be reflected in the quality of the devices.
Find out how well the Kobo models fared against their rivals in our extensive ebook reader reviews.
Sony ebook readers
Sony launched its first ebook readers in the UK in 2007. While the brand has since looked to phase out its line of ebook readers it's still more than possible to pick up a Sony Reader secondhand (and usually at a bargain price).
- 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.
- Sony models tend to be difficult to find brand new, however they're still available on 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.