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Best ebook reader brands

By Tom Morgan

We reveal which ebook reader brands, including Amazon and Kobo, are the most reliable, and also highlight the most common faults.

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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 and Kobo.

Looking for a long-lasting ebook reader with a great screen? Our Best Buy ebook readers page and expert ebook reader reviews are here to help.

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 and Kobo ebook readers. The highest-scoring brand of ebook reader achieved an impressive reliability score of 88%, while the other scored 76%. Our latest survey also revealed that the top-rated brand received a customer score of 77%. Meanwhile, the rival brand earned a lower 64%.

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Ebook reader brands rated
Ebook reader brands rated
Brand Average test score Reliability rating Customer score Verdict
77% 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 9% of this brand's ebook readers experienced a fault in the first four years of ownership.
83% 64% This brand can't match its main rival when it comes to customer score, but has a higher average test score. The company's devices are less reliable, though; 20% of its ebook readers experienced a fault in the first four years of ownership.
Table notes
Sample size 2,147 (reliability), 2,442 (customer score). Test lab data correct as of 20 October 2017.

Key

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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 91% 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.

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