So you haven’t given in to the e-book-reader phenomenon yet because you consider yourself more of a traditionalist. Nothing will ever replace the feeling of a book in your hands, you say. But remember when you declared your loyalty forever and always to vinyl records? (How’s that iPod working out for you, anyway?)
With the advent of electronic paper displays -- nonbacklit screens that more closely resemble paper and don’t strain the eyes -- e-book readers have become a viable alternative to harsh laptop screens and bundles of books in a briefcase. But like iPods are, e-book technology is constantly improving, with new devices released every few months. We take a look at some of the latest and greatest e-book readers to help you decide whether it’s time to turn the page to the digital age.
Pro: Availability of Amazon’s extensive library
Con: Bulky and unattractive
The world’s largest book retailer may soon release an updated Kindle (every tech enthusiast believes they will). Until then, Amazon’s year-old device is the ugliest reader on the market, thanks to its bulky construction and cheap-feeling buttons. But what it lacks in looks it makes up for with its cellular modem, which connects to Amazon’s massive store to access books, newspapers, and magazines, without charging for a data plan. Audio-book compatibility and free (though iffy) web browsing round out this ugly duckling.
Price: $400, includes a voucher for 100 free Sony eBook Classics
Pro: Allows for writing on the page
Con: PC-compatible only
Sony’s latest reader requires a Windows PC to transfer books and other files, rendering it useless for Mac fans. However, the PRS-700 has a sleeker design than the Kindle and an integrated LED light for dim reading. Touch technology is another added bonus: Flip your finger on the screen to turn the page, or use a stylus to highlight passages and handwrite notes. Those features, along with MP3 and PDF compatibility, make this reader great for college students looking to lighten their backpacks.
PLASTIC LOGIC READER
Price: TBD , product due out early this year
Pro: Professional look
Con: Its standard paper size makes it not as easy to throw in a purse
Posh and paper-thin, this yet-to-be-released reader will be the perfect companion for road warriors. The 8.5-by-11-inch screen, the largest of any e-reader’s to date, will legibly display PDFs and Microsoft Office files in addition to books, magazines, and newspapers. The touch-screen interface allows users to flip through files -- which are stored in a logical binderlike fashion -- with ease.