Best ebook reader brands
By Tom Morgan
Ebook readers are a great companion for any long journey or holiday. So if yours develops a fault, leaving you on a cliffhanger while reading on the beach, it can be very frustrating. That's why we survey thousands of ebook reader owners every year to find out which brands have the worst track record for developing faults.
Our unique survey tells us how long into a device’s life cycle any fault occurred, plus what the fault consisted of. It gives us a clear, overall picture of the reliability of ebook readers from all the major manufacturers. Read on for the details of the big-name brands Amazon Kindle, Kobo and Barnes & Noble.
Best and worst ebook reader brands
If you’ve downloaded the full set of Harry Potter novels on your ebook reader, a sudden technical fault could spell the end of your reading.
Our table below shows the reliability scores and customer scores for Amazon Kindle, Kobo and Barnes & Noble ebook readers. The highest-scoring brand of ebook reader achieved an impressive reliability score of 89%, while the worst scored 76%. Our latest survey also revealed that the top-rated brand received a customer score of 77%. Meanwhile, the brand at the bottom of our table recorded a customer score of just 51%.
|Ebook reader brands rated|
|Brand||Average test score||Reliability rating||Customer score||Verdict|
|80%||77%||This brand has yet to produce an ebook reader that has scored less than 70% in our test lab. Which? members have also had a positive experience, and ebook readers from this brand last for a long time. Just 10% of this brand's ebook readers experienced a fault in the first four years of ownership.|
|N/A||51%||This brand has the lowest customer score in our survey, although it performs well for reliability, finishing higher than one of its key competitors.|
|75%||64%||This brand can't match its main rival when it comes to customer score and average test score. The company's devices are slightly less reliable than the other brands in our survey.|
Sample size 2,386 (reliability), 2,667 (customer score). Test lab data correct as of 9 September 2016.
Choosing the best brand of ebook reader
A great ebook reader needs to have a screen that’s not only easy to read in any light but also scratch-resistant so it won’t get damaged as you carry it around. It’s also important that it’s not prone to loose connections and software faults, so you’ll know your ebook library is always on hand.
You don't have many options when it comes to choosing an ebook reader. Now that Barnes & Noble (manufacturer of the Nook) and Sony have stopped making the devices, it's basically a straight choice between Amazon and Kobo. Most people opt for one of Amazon's devices, and our recent survey backed this up, with 89% of respondents providing feedback on a Kindle. We've tested a range of Kindle devices in our lab, including the entry-level Kindle and the premium Kindle Oasis. If you're set on picking up one of Amazon's devices, our which Kindle ebook reader should I buy? guide will help you choose wisely.
The table above is based on the experience of thousands of ebook-reader owners, who told us about any faults that had developed on their current or previous ebook reader over the past five years. Simply put, if a brand has a high score for reliability, then ebook readers from that manufacturer are likely to stand the test of time.
The most common faults reported included issues with the screen freezing or failing to switch on, and problems with the battery cutting out or failing to recharge. However, avoiding these issues is only half the story when you’re looking to buy a new ebook reader. It’s crucial that your device is easy to use, that text is displayed clearly, and that the screen can be read in the bright light of day or the middle of the night. Our ebook reader reviews have the details on the latest models from big-name brands.
Head to our Best Buy ebook readers page to find out which ebook readers excel in all these areas.