eReader Suggestions: Kindle versus Kobo

Kindle or Kobo?


  • Total voters
    147

KentP

Member
Oct 28, 2017
277
Kobo Forma looks real nice, but I was already in the Kindle ecosystem with an older paperwhite when I was looking to upgrade, so got the newest Oasis with all the bells and whistles - it's a lovely bit of kit
 

The Albatross

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,923
Kindle. The less effort it takes to read a book, the better.

Kobo Forma looks real nice, but I was already in the Kindle ecosystem with an older paperwhite when I was looking to upgrade, so got the newest Oasis with all the bells and whistles - it's a lovely bit of kit
Planning to get a Kindle Oasis soon too. FIgured if I'm gonna go in on a new one, I may as well go all in.
 

The Albatross

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,923
Never tried a Kobo, but I've owned a kindle 2,3/keyboard,voyage and oasis 2.

If you are going for a kindle, and want a new one, then IMO the page turn buttons are indispensable, so I recommend splurging for the oasis 2. What you can do is buy a cheap kindle on craigslist or whatever local place you have, just the cheapest one you can find (around 10 USD or less), and then trade it in to amazon. They will give you 25% off a new kindle AND take off the value of the kindle you traded in on top of that. So you can get the base model of the oasis 2 for less than 180 USD.
Wow I had no idea.

I'm planning on jumping from my Paperwhite -> Oasis. Just looked up the trade in... They'll offer 25% off for upgrding and give me $25 for my existing Kindle, which takes $87 off the price, bring it down to ~$160. Awesome, thank you for this!
 

CesareNorrez

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,819
If you’re an enthusiast, storefront shouldn’t matter too much. Conversion is easy with Calibre. One trick for Kindle is with DRM feee EPub you can change the extension to TXT and email it to your Kindle. Amazon will convert it.

I also recommend StoryBundle if you are looking for some Indie eBooks and to expand your horizons on authors and genres.
 

Mint

Member
Oct 26, 2017
760
Canada
As a Canadian, I find that the Kobo store is almost always cheaper than Amazon barring some huge sale. Although I should caveat that I usually look up business / text books. Also, the Pocket integration on my Kobo is pretty amazing. I save a TON of longform articles and read them on my Kobo now.
 

CesareNorrez

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,819
Can’t speak to Kobo, but Kindles do go on sale often. If you are okay with Kindle, I would look into refurbished products. They offer the same warranty as new. Amazon is pretty great about returns if you don’t like what you receive. I got a refurb Voyage and returned to do imperfections on the screen. Got a new one the next day.
 

Pargon

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,313
I've had a few Kindles over the years, but stopped upgrading after the Paperwhite 2 and don't really use it any more.
I'm not suggesting that you buy one as an alternative, as the price is much higher, but I do all of my reading on an iPad now. Their displays have now improved to the point that I find them comfortable to read on, compared to older models.
I would say that Kindle is not in nearly as strong a position outside the US, as they have been lagging behind on services - they don't support Overdrive (library books) anywhere else, and the prices are getting higher and higher for their DRM-locked books.
Side-loading books is a hassle, as you have to either connect it to a computer via USB and convert them to a compatible format, or email them one at a time to your account rather than being able to access your existing library via cloud services.

Amazon have yet to add a warm light to the Kindles, and it looks very blue at night compared to other devices. This is my Paperwhite 2, but it is no different from the latest models:


I have my lighting turn red for an hour before going to sleep, which makes the blueness of the Kindle lighting stand out even more, and it is much more of an eyestrain than red-on-black text on an iPad:


I think newer Kindles let you invert the page, so that it's blue-on-black, but it's still blue light which will interfere with sleep.

The main advantages for eink devices these days is that they are more portable, readable outdoors under sunlight, and have a very long battery life if you travel a lot - none of which really applies that much to my everyday life. Most of my reading is done late at night.
Android-based devices like the Onyx Boox Nova seem far more appealing to me than a Kindle or Nook which is locked to a single store, since you have access to multiple stores (including Kindle) via apps, but I don't have any experience with those devices. I don't think premium e-readers really justify their high price any more unless you do a huge amount of reading. Having an extra device is just a hassle for me.

I've never understood why there's a very vocal minority of people that want physical page-turn buttons on their e-readers. They either got in the way or broke for me on earlier Kindle models, while touch is reliable and works perfectly without any accidental page turns.
 

CesareNorrez

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,819
Really no point in comparing LCD technology with Eink. The screens are different and display different. If you are worried about eyestrain there is more literature out there talking about how bad the direct light of an LCD screen is for the eyes than an the indirect light of a frontlit Eink screen (which you can turn off or near enough). The jury is still out on the effects of blue light, by the way. Eink is a stable display, there is no rapid refresh which some people believe causes eyestrain. The pixels also work differently so even a higher res LCD doesn't look the same as a lower res Eink. Eink is in modules that do not have spaces between pixels, LCDs do even if they are smaller than ever. Ultimately it's a personal thing and the only way you discover what's best for you is to try it yourself. I have the Kindle app on my phone, and read from it here and there, but read so much easier on my Kindle.

And you absolutely can email more than book to your Kindle at a time. I just did it yesterday. Most 3rd party stores that sell Kindle compatible books make sending books to Kindle easy. Humble Bundle has you enter the devices email address, let's you check off the books you want, and send them all at once. StoryBundle is the same. But considering how tech savvy most of us on ResetEra are, using a program to convert eBooks isn't asking much.
 

Pargon

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,313
Really no point in comparing LCD technology with Eink. The screens are different and display different. If you are worried about eyestrain there is more literature out there talking about how bad the direct light of an LCD screen is for the eyes than an the indirect light of a frontlit Eink screen (which you can turn off or near enough).
Yes, I know that the technologies are different - I own both the devices and have posted comparisons in the past:


These were taken under bright sunlit conditions which favors e-ink, and the iPad Air is now quite an old model which lacked the high contrast, laminated, True Tone display of the newer devices (making it look blue-tinted here).

While it is true that you can (nearly) turn off the light with e-ink devices, I find that the display is duller than even a cheap paperback book when you do this, and can be difficult to read unless you are in good lighting conditions. I never found them comfortable to read with only a dimmed bedside lamp illuminating the display - particularly the older models before the Paperwhite.

They are great if you are mostly reading in well-lit conditions; under a lamp, by a window, outdoors, or using its own lighting during the day where its blue tint is not an issue, but I do most of my reading last thing at night now, and find the iPad display preferable to it - particularly with red-on-black text.
As I said though: I'm not suggesting buying an iPad instead of a Kindle - the images were to demonstrate how the Kindle is lacking now for reading at night with its cool/blue lighting, and why I now prefer the iPad despite being LCD-based rather than e-ink.
Competing e-readers have offered warm lighting options or the ability to select a color temperature for a while now; Amazon is falling behind.

The jury is still out on the effects of blue light, by the way.
There is debate over the effects of near-UV blue light causing eye strain and leading to macular degeneration.
There's no debate about blue light interfering with melatonin production and affecting sleep.
That's why I spent quite a bit of money on lighting so that my lights can turn warm at night, and red for an hour before I go to sleep (in addition to having stopped using the Kindle). I now have a 120 day streak of this regulating my sleep cycle so that I can fall asleep at a specific time, when I've never been able to keep a consistent sleep pattern for more than a few weeks in the previous 10-15 years.

Eink is a stable display, there is no rapid refresh which some people believe causes eyestrain. The pixels also work differently so even a higher res LCD doesn't look the same as a lower res Eink. Eink is in modules that do not have spaces between pixels, LCDs do even if they are smaller than ever.
Yes, that's true - and it's one of the nice things about e-ink's monochrome displays. You can see it in the images I posted above, and this is an older (lower resolution) Kindle 4 for comparison:


The text looks somewhat pixelated, but is significantly more comfortable to read than an older "non-retina" LCD display.
I generally don't find eye strain to be a problem on high quality LCD displays though: meaning a high contrast IPS-type LCD that doesn't change much with viewing angle, and has "retina" quality resolution.
Only cheap LCD devices use PWM-controlled backlights that can result in eyestrain. Ironically the Hue lights that I installed ~4 months ago do use PWM to control the color and dimming of the lamps, but I haven't found it to be much of an issue beyond noticing the stroboscopic effects of motion when they are dimmed low. PWM dimming is more of an issue for watching video on displays, in my experience.

And you absolutely can email more than book to your Kindle at a time. I just did it yesterday. Most 3rd party stores that sell Kindle compatible books make sending books to Kindle easy. Humble Bundle has you enter the devices email address, let's you check off the books you want, and send them all at once. StoryBundle is the same. But considering how tech savvy most of us on ResetEra are, using a program to convert eBooks isn't asking much.
Ah, I didn't know you could email more than one book at a time now. I normally download the books to my library, and then transfer them via Calibre.
It's not that it is difficult to do this, it's that it is annoying having to manage a separate library for books on my Kindle vs all my other devices - particularly since I don't use my Kindle that much any more.
On an iPad I can just open up another app or access a book from my cloud storage instead of having to convert it and send it to the Kindle. It's why those Android-based e-readers from Onyx are more appealing to me than another Kindle - or would be, if not for the high price.
If Amazon were to add a warm backlight option, and could access Android apps, I'd probably consider upgrading. As it is, my Kindle is just sitting there not being used, and none of my family wants it either because they can't rent library books (with Overdrive being restricted to the US on Kindle for some reason).
 

Matrix XII

Member
Oct 27, 2017
842
I’d recommend Kobo if you live in Canada. You are able to borrow library books wirelessly, it’s pretty nice. My wife and I both own them and have enjoyed them greatly over the years.
 

LordRuyn

Member
Oct 29, 2017
393
I had a Kobo mini, then it broke within warranty, had it replaced (had to wait a month) and broke again. I've had a Kindle ppw for significantly longer and it's built like a tank.