There are too damn many ebook readers and it’s a struggle to figure out what’s worth buying and which reader will even survive the market. To make things easy, here’s our guide to the readers that matter – for now.
Of course we’re skipping some of the many ebook readers floating around, but quite frankly we can’t really stomach all of them. We decided to focus on the ones that matter to us& – whether because they stand a shot of surviving the over-saturated market, or simply because they are examples of what we think matters about these gadgets. Feel free to let us know if you disagree with any of our survival odds or if you think we missed a significant device.
Barnes & Noble Nook
When we reviewed the Barnes & Noble Nook, we decided that it was pretty damn good all around. At the time, we mainly focused on pitting it against the Amazon Kindle, but even without that limited comparison the Nook remains a rather good device:
Taking all those features and shortcomings into account, we think that the Nook’s survival chance is 80 per cent – if it can fix its firmware and get production up to speed.
A hands on of the Entourage Edge left us hesitant about whether there’s actually a market for something that has the price tag of a good netbook and barely more features than most readers:
The Edge shows us what happens when you try to make a reader into what it’s not – a pseudo netbook or tablet. We think the device’s survival chance is 0 and consider it pretty much DOA.
Plastic Logic Que
We liked the feel of the Plastic Logic Que when we got our hands on it, but we didn’t like the price tag. The device is mainly aimed at business folk who want to carry a notepad-sized device instead of a stack of documents, but it could make a rather nice reader if you crave for a large screen:
We think the Que’s features, design, and business as well as consumer appeal leave it with a survival chance of 70 per cent – higher if businesses feel like spending so much on a device that will certainly help cut back on paper use. Or if Plastic Logic manages to cut back on that price.
Spring Design Alex Reader
Our hands on of the Spring Design Alex Reader left us thinking that the Nook might have some serious competition, but even on its own the Alex is a rather good device:
Assuming that a data provider is secured for the Alex, we could see its survival chance being 80 per cent – higher if there’s a price drop to bring it closer to the Nook’s.
When the Sony Daily Edition reader was announced, we got a bit excited about its electronic library program and wide screen, but alas, we’re still waiting to actually get one of these devices into our hands to check out all the features:
Until we actually take a Daily for a test run, we’re deeming its survival chance as 40 per cent – mostly because the library program is appealing along with the push for EPUB formatting.
In our review of the Amazon Kindle 2, we discovered that it’s not too different from the original model, but we still liked all the features:
While the Kindle 2 wasn’t a huge leap from the first generation, we still think the device about an 80 per cent chance of survival, especially if Amazon works on improving the interface and how the device treats flipping through book sections.
Notion Ink Adam Pixel Qi
When we got our hands on the Notion Ink Adam Pixel Qi, we discovered that it’s more of a tablet than it is a reader and that it tries too hard to be both:
Despite having “ink” in its name, the Adam falls too far into tablet territory for us to take it seriously as a reader so we give it a 40 per cent chance of survival in that particular market. As a tablet device though, it might actually do rather well.
Those are the ebook readers we think deserve some discussion right now. There are plenty we left out – super cheap ones, poor imitations of readers mentioned already, and some that just plain make us gag. We didn’t want to promote crappy products or those where “you get what you pay for” rings a bit too true. That disclaimer aside, we welcome discussion and mentions of other readers, simply because it’s always possible that we omitted something worthwhile by accident. So let’s hear it in the comments.