Do you love reading books? I was actually hooked into reading back when my friend introduced me to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Since then, I’ve been reading a lot- may it be self-help books or fiction.
If you’re a reader, you’re probably using your smartphone to enjoy your favorite ebooks and while you can certainly use the said device for that, it may not be the most ideal. Therefore, it would be best that you get a dedicated ebook reader.
Today, I am going to go over some of the best ebook readers in 2020.
Best Ebook Readers
1.Amazon Kindle Oasis
If you want only the best of the best, then look no further than the Amazon Kindle Oasis. This ebook reader has a beautiful and vivid 7-inch display that is replete with buttons to help you navigate through the pages of your favorite ebook.
This device is also really good in terms of battery life. You can use this for two months on a single charge, though your mileage may vary based on your settings and usage.
What’s more, there are some embedded light sensors so the display of the reader will increase or decrease its brightness depending on ambient light.
Keep in mind that although most ebook readers only come with 8GB of storage, that is still hefty considering that ebooks, in general, are not storage hogs.
That being said, you can choose between 8GB and 32GB storage configurations, though the latter would obviously cost more.
I also love the fact that the device has Bluetooth functionality, so you can pair your favorite Bluetooth headphones and listen to your audiobooks if you have them.
It is IPX8 certified which means that when you take a bath, rest on the pool, or you want to read near a body of water, the Kindle Oasis should be able to withstand a couple of splashes.
This ebook reader is also ideal for nighttime reading as well. It has a color tone shift feature that effectively diminishes its emission of blue light- a light source that is known to disrupt sleep cycles.
The only thing that you have to remember about this reader is that it doesn’t support any other format. If you want to download your ebooks, you must have an Amazon Kindle account, though its massive library would warrant the price of $9.99 a month.
If you are comfortable with using the platform, the Amazon Kindle Oasis is the best ebook reader out there.
2.Kobo Clara HD
Most people are not comfortable spending $250 on an ebook reader and if you are on the same boat, then this next recommendation might entice you.
While it is indeed true that the Amazon Kindle service provides you with a lot of different books, the device in question cannot support any other ebook format and that could be a bummer for a lot of people. Fortunately, this next one can alleviate that.
The Kobo Clara HD is another amazing ebook reader that costs under $200. Its standout feature is its ability to read all other popular ebook formats such as PDF, MOBI, EPUB, and more.
Natively, it cannot support Amazon Kindle ebooks because it is protected by the company’s DRM, though you can use a converter tool that will change the format into something else.
The Clara HD pretty much looks like your standard tablet. It is easy to hold and its battery can last for weeks on a single charge.
Despite its vast ebook format support, it does have its downsides. First, it doesn’t have an IPX water-resistance rating which means that you cannot use the reader near a body of water.
Second, it doesn’t come with Bluetooth which means that you cannot use a pair of headphones to listen to your audiobook.
But, despite its lack of some features, the Kobo Clara HD is still a really good ebook reader to consider.
3.Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Even though the Kindle Oasis mentioned earlier is the best of the bunch, not a lot of people are comfortable spending more than $200 on an ebook reader, especially since most premium smartphones are already capable of reading virtual content.
Still, there is just a certain appeal when you are using a dedicated ebook reader, so I would still urge you to buy one if you have the money.
Anyway, for people that want a budget solution that still uses the Amazon ecosystem, the Kindle Paperwhite is definitely something that you want to focus your attention on.
It has a big 6-inch display that is vibrant and has ample brightness levels to help you read your favorite ebooks even when you are outside.
In addition, this particular ebook reader also has an IPX8 water resistance rating which means that you can dip in the pool while reading without having to worry about accidental splashes and whatnot.
My only complaint with this device is that it doesn’t have dedicated buttons to help you go up a page or down, though if swiping the display doesn’t bother you that much, then this would be a non-issue.
You can connect your Bluetooth headphones on this one and its ergonomics allow you to hold the device for long periods of time.
Its only limitation from a content standpoint is that it uses Amazon’s own Kindle service and nothing else. If you are comfortable with that, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is an amazing midrange ebook reader you’ll definitely want to buy.
4.Kobo Libra H20
Another great e-ink reader that can withstand water, the Kobo Libra H20 is another solid choice for a reader that doesn’t cost more than $200.
The big 7-inch display is vibrant as it has 300 pixels-per-inch or PPI. To the layman, that just means that your content looks so much better than using other similar devices.
What I really love about this particular reader is that it has a feature that effectively reduces blue light emission by slightly changing the color of the display, especially at night.
For those of you who do not know, blue light can prevent you from getting a sound sleep. And as a reader myself, I know that reading before bedtime is something that a lot of people do.
Kobo makes amazing ebook readers and its massive ecosystem and compatibility can certainly help sway people into the company’s direction.
However, it still has this major downside of not having any Bluetooth connectivity, so listening to audiobooks is just impossible.
But, for the price, this e-ink reader should be on your shortlist.
5.Amazon Kindle Kids
Despite its name, the Amazon Kindle Kids edition is actually not originally made for kids but it is definitely a bundle that you wouldn’t want to miss.
For the price of just $109 dollars, you are getting a base Kindle reader, as well as a cutesy cover that your kids will surely love.
For those of you who do not know what a base Amazon Kindle offers, it is a particularly simple e-ink reader with a sizable display, Bluetooth support, and 167ppi density screen.
Although this reader doesn’t come with backlighting, it does have a front light that provides ample lighting even when you are reading at night beside your spouse.
While this device is not waterproof like the Kindle Oasis, its Amazon Kindle service support is just too hard to pass up, especially at this price.
If you are not comfortable being tied to just one ecosystem, then the Kobo Forma is another great premium option. You could say that it is the main rival of the Kindle Oasis mentioned above.
While it is indeed expensive, the Forma has features that warrant its price. For one, it has a pretty large display so you can comfortably read your favorite ebooks without compromises.
Furthermore, the display also has a temperature-adjustable backlight that reduces blue light emission, especially during nighttime reading sessions. And oh, did I mention that this device has 300ppi as well?
People that want an e-ink reader with an IPX8 rating will surely love this one.
Another standout feature is that it comes with dedicated page-turn buttons so that you do not have to swipe the screen when you are going forward or backward in your book.
Despite the fact that it doesn’t support Amazon’s ebooks, its vast file diversity, and the fact that it also has its own Kobo eBook store makes this a fitting rival to the Oasis.
7.Onyx Boox Note 2
If you truly want an ebook reader with a massive screen, then look no further than the Onyx Boox Note 2.
The best feature of this device is its integration with Google Play Store. That means that you can download other ebook-reading apps from within the device so you can read from a wide variety of digital formats.
Its huge 10.3-inch display will ensure that you have the screen real estate to enjoy the books that you want to read. Despite its huge screen, this reader still stays relatively light at just 13.33 ounces.
Aside from its diverse file format compatibility, the Onyx Boox Note 2 can also connect to the WiFi so you can read your favorite news on a much larger display. It doesn’t come with Bluetooth, however.
People that want to write down some notes on the device will also be happy to know that the product also comes with a Wacom stylus. Though it is not perfect, its performance is definitely serviceable.
There is a lot to love about this ebook reader, but its price might deter some people from buying it. Still, I can wholeheartedly recommend this for people that want more than just an ebook reader.
While all of the above-mentioned ebook readers are amazing, their prices do not fall below $100. As I’ve said, some people do not buy dedicated ebook readers simply because they can use their phones to do the same thing.
Therefore, to sway them to buy standalone readers, the price needs to be just right and the base version of Amazon Kindle can certainly do that.
Even though it is tied to the Amazon Kindle service, its massive library is enough to warrant the purchase.
It does come with Bluetooth support so that you can connect your favorite headphones and listen to Amazon’s extensive audiobook selection.
Though its screen is not as vibrant as the other options detailed in this article, the base Kindle is still the best budget ebook reader out there.
Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers
Smart home speakers are not as popular as mobile phones, but in my opinion, it actually should be.
You see, companies are slowly rolling out smart home devices so that your life will be so much easier given the convenience of having them.
That being said, I am going to be talking about the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo speakers because they are the ones that are at the forefront when it comes to smart home speakers. Which of these should you choose? Read on to find out!
For those of you who do not know, Google Nest Audio is actually the Google Home speakers that were released just about a year ago. It seems that Google wanted to use a new moniker to denote that this particular thing can ‘nest’ your other smart home devices.
The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, refers to the medium-sized Bluetooth speaker that the largest online retailer sells. The company is set to release a new version of this device soon, so it would be interesting to see how well it performs.
Even though the new version of the Amazon Echo hasn’t arrived at our doorstep yet for an official review, this is not to say that we can somehow speculate what it can offer, especially considering that the company has provided us with some really good information about it.
With all of those out of the way, let’s talk more about the design first. The Google Nest Audio takes on a more cylindrical approach in that the speaker itself has a higher height than the Amazon Echo.
For that reason, you are getting a 75mm woofer and a single 19mm tweeter. Google touts the Google Nest Audio as a better sound solution compared to its original Google Home Speaker because of the changes.
On the other hand, the Amazon Echo, in my opinion, has better sound quality. That is thanks to its two 20mm tweeters and a huge 76.2mm woofer. Its design is more spherical but I am pleased (and surprised) that Amazon was able to include two tweeters on its Bluetooth speaker implementation.
At the base of the Amazon Echo is a blue light ring that changes the way it emits light depending on the current usage.
Both of these Bluetooth speakers are offered in various colors so you have different options to choose from.
If you look at the design of both speakers, you could make a case that the Amazon Echo wins this round when it comes to pure sound quality. Its two tweeters compared to the single tweeter on the Google Nest Audio, provides it with a much better chance of delivering mid-high sound frequencies.
This is not to discount the fact that Google has some tricks up its sleeves because its AI technology is smart enough to adjust the sound quality on the fly when needed.
Both of the speakers have an adaptive sound feature wherein if it detects that the ambient noise is loud enough, it increases the volume of whatever content you are consuming at that moment to compensate. This is using both of the speakers’ microphones. The volume should normalize to the last known level after it detects that the ambient sound has quieted down.
Of course, this is only my opinion after looking at the spec sheet because I will have to get my hands on these things before I can give my honest opinion. But, my initial assessment would be that the Amazon Echo delivers better sound compared to the Google Nest Audio.
To be able to provide you with ‘smart’ features, both the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo are equipped with processors that can handle just that.
The Google Nest Audio comes with the company’s TeraOPS A53 processor which is a quad-core chip that boasts of better performance compared to the company’s previous Bluetooth speakers.
On the other hand, Amazon’s own speaker is equipped with the AZ1 Neural Edge processor that, according to the company, should be more responsive to voice commands compared to previous versions.
It is hard to say who wins this round. You see, Amazon has Zigbee hub integration which means that your connected smart home devices have better compatibility with the said speaker because of this.
However, we all know that Google’s AI technology is so advanced (and even more accurate) than Alexa, so it could potentially provide you with better features overall compared to Amazon’s Bluetooth speaker.
Of course, I cannot truly say which one wins this round until I get to review these wireless audio solutions. In that case, stay tuned for more.
The Google Nest Audio will be available on October 5, while the Amazon Echo will not be released until later this month (October 22). That being said, both of these speakers will retail for $99.99, so stay tuned for our official product reviews to help you know which one you should ultimately choose for yourself.
Apple iPad 8th Generation Review- An Iterative Upgrade
When it comes to ease of use and convenience, people like getting Apple’s products because of its more streamlined approach to everything. Sure, there is a lot to tinker on Android but that is also precisely the reason why the user experience, at least for the layman, is not as great.
There is this saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, although I would have liked to say that here, I just don’t think that that approach applies here.
You see, the design of the 8th generation iPad is identical to its predecessor. As in everything about its aesthetics are similar which means that if you want to imagine what the new iPad looks like, all you have to do is look at the 7th gen variant.
Like all things, it can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is a good thing because that familiar design should feel right at home, especially for people that already own an iPad. It is bad because, in this day and age, more and more mobile devices have slimmer bezels and the new iPad still has those atrociously huge ones.
Don’t get me wrong, there are practical uses to having large bezels as it allows you to hold the tablet better when using it in landscape mode, but if you are watching online content, you can’t help but be bothered by the huge sides.
There are two versions of the 8th generation iPad and that is one with WiFi only and the other one having LTE. Its dimensions are 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29. The only difference between the WiFi and the LTE versions is that the latter is a bit heavier at 495 grams compared to the 490 grams of the former.
Thankfully, Apple didn’t remove the headphone jack but if you are going to utilize its built-in speakers, you are better off using a good Bluetooth speaker instead.
The 8th generation iPad has a 10.2-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 and 264 pixels per inch or PPI. It has a good peak brightness at 500 nits, though you can still experience some problems when you are outside and the sun is shining brightly.
You can utilize the Apple Pencil on this device and it is also quite accurate as well (just keep in mind that it is sold separately).
What I love about iPads, in general, is that their displays provide you with crisp and clear details. Whether you are working on your documents or perhaps watching your favorite movies and TV shows, they do not disappoint.
Specs and Performance
- CPU: A12 Bionic
- GPU: Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
- RAM: 3GB
- Storage: 32GB/128GB
- Display: 10.2-inch Retina IPS LCD Display, 2160 x 1620, 4:3 aspect ratio, 500 nits brightness, 264 PPI
- OS: iPadOS 14
- Cameras: 8-megapixel (back), 1.2-megapixel (front)
- Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.2
- Battery: 32.4 Wh
So, if the 8th generation iPad has an identical design to its predecessor, what has changed here? Well, I am glad you asked. The only notable difference here is that the new model comes with the A12 Bionic chip and that’s pretty much it.
While you could be unhappy with the change, the new CPU actually beats its predecessor by a lot. By using Geekbench 5, single-core scores are about 60% higher than the 7th gen iPad and about 100% better in multi-core tasks than the previous model.
Granted that the said benchmark is relatively old, you couldn’t argue that the new processor is indeed way better than its predecessor.
Even when you are just using the tablet the way it should be used, you can really tell the difference. This is more evident if you are going to play some games.
Now, do not worry about the 3GB of RAM because the iOS ecosystem is quite streamlined and efficient that you normally wouldn’t need more than that.
It should also go without saying that the included cameras are just there for show and they do not really do anything special, so I don’t think that covering them is warranted here.
Sure, the new 8th generation iPad doesn’t bring a lot to the table, but its new processor is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. Does that justify buying the new one? Probably not, especially if you already own the 7th generation model.
However, if you own an older iPad and you want better performance across the board, then you could probably spend your money to get one.
My gripe here is that there are only two storage options to choose from. You can get the 32GB variant for only $329 but in this day and age, 32GB is not a lot of storage space.
If you want more storage, you will need to spend an additional $100 premium just to get the 128GB model. In fact, I would go on to say that you should be buying this particular model compared to the 32GB variant. I just don’t like that the company is gouging you another $100 ($429 in total) just to get one.
The 8th generation iPad is disappointing in a lot of ways and its only redeeming quality is its new processor. It would have been nice if there is a redesign or that the lightning cable is changed to USB-C, but there is just not a lot of things to talk about here.
Therefore, I should say that the 8th generation iPad is just an iterative upgrade. Whether you want to buy it or not is entirely up to you.
Amazon Echo Studio Review- The Bigger ‘Echo’ Speaker That Competes
Amazon, the biggest online retailer in the world, has created its own AI implementation in the form of the Amazon Alexa.
It is actually quite polished and it can go against Apple’s Siri and Google’s own AI. That being said, the company has released some ‘Echo’ speakers that not only act as Bluetooth audio devices but as smart devices as well.
Today, I am going to be reviewing the Amazon Echo Studio. Does this thing really have what it takes to compete with the others?
One of the biggest criticisms of Amazon’s Echo speakers of the past is that although its smart features are okay, their sound output leaves much to be desired. As a way of addressing the issue, Amazon has built the Echo Studio.
The Amazon Echo Studio is pretty big. It is 8 inches in height and 7 inches wide so this is indeed a pretty hefty audio solution. In fact, I would go on to say that this is one of the biggest Bluetooth speakers on the market.
Its design is pretty much akin to the Amazon Echo speakers of old. You get a fabric mesh design that encapsulates the speaker itself with all of its button controls situated at the top of the device.
You also get a blue ring light that will pretty much add to the aesthetic appeal of the unit. The microphone is also placed at the top and it is always on ‘listening mode’ so that whenever you want to interact with Alexa, it can do so at a moment’s notice.
Although you cannot see it, the Amazon Echo Studio is actually powered by a subwoofer, a tweeter, and four mid-range speakers that are mounted at the top and the sides. This thing is a beast as it can output 330 watts of power when needed, which is ample enough even for home cinema setups.
The Amazon Echo Studio is quite a powerful Bluetooth speaker. No matter what genre of content you’d like to consume, this thing can output the necessary sound to make your viewing experience more immersive.
I am usually keen on an audio solution’s performance when it comes to playing music and I am happy with the Echo Studio’s prowess.
Although it favors the lower frequencies more than the mids and the highs, it does so without drowning the latter two, which is something that you normally do not see on large Bluetooth speakers.
An interesting feature that the Amazon Echo Studio has is its support for 3D Audio. You will need to sign in to your Amazon Music HD account before you can get a hold of this feature and it is the only platform that supports the Echo Studio’s 3D Audio. Amazon did mention that it will hand out support for other streaming platforms at a later date though.
So, how is the speaker’s performance on that front? Well, I am not really sure what to think about it as I have mixed feelings about the said feature.
3D audio is meant to provide a more immersive listening experience but I can hardly tell the difference between traditional Hi-Res audio and this one.
I guess you could say that for tracks that have a more melodic tone that you can discern a 3D audio-enabled track from a regular track, but other than that, non-audiophiles can hardly tell the difference.
To be fair, the said feature is still not polished yet, so expect it to improve in the years to come.
The Amazon Echo Studio also has seamless integration with the Amazon Fire TV Stick, though it does support all other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu as well.
You are also given the option to link up another Amazon Echo Studio speaker so that you can have them work in tandem to provide you with even better sound. I do not have a second unit though, so I cannot really tell anything about this. But, the feature is there if you want to get another unit.
Aside from 3D audio, the Echo Studio also acts as a control hub for your smart devices. You can use Alexa to turn off your lights at a specific time of the night or you can have it play your favorite track if you want. The possibilities are endless.
Do keep in mind that while it should support most of the smart home devices that you can buy on the market, there are some products that do not play ball.
For instance, some smart locks can only be supported using Apple’s Siri, so you cannot control that using this device.
You can also link up a second Echo Studio speaker if you have one and you can use both of them to provide you with an even more powerful and more immersive listening experience.
You can control the speaker’s features by manually tapping on the buttons at the top of the device or by downloading its companion app.
Amazon has finally solved the issue of the Amazon Echo speakers of the past by giving you a relatively large speaker that can do a lot of things.
The Amazon Echo Studio has support for 3D audio, but you will need to have an Amazon Music HD account to get a hold of the said feature.
You can also use the speaker to control your smart home devices which is pretty nice. The microphone is always on listening mode so that you can call Alexa’s attention at a moment’s notice.
Normally, I would expect a product like this to cost more than $300, but the Amazon Echo Studio actually costs just $199. I guess getting another one is not too far out of the equation, eh?
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