Bokeen Cybook Ocean: An e-reader with the largest of screens
Oasis, H2O, Ocean – there’s definitely something in the water when it comes to these latest e-readers. With the Cybook Ocean, though, you get text flowing beyond the normal screen size, giving 79 per cent more reading space on its eight-inch edge-to-edge display.
We would like to say the Ocean hasn’t cut any corners in terms of design but it has, right there on the bottom left. But it’s missing more than that tiny piece: while it’s solidly built, Ocean is uncomfortable to hold due to its sharp edges.
One of the nicest things about the Ocean is that the screen is flush with the bezel and this makes going page-to-page in a book pleasurable. It also uses a font called Caecilia which is designed to make reading easier.
The Ocean’s 800MHz chip makes it the slowest of the e-readers featured here and it is prominent when compared to the other devices. The Ocean has a 160ppi paper-like, anti-glare display, a month’s battery life with Wi-Fi disabled and it weighs 300 grams. You can expand the 4GB storage space to 32GB via microSD.
Spec-for-spec, Ocean is a few years behind in the reading class and it is in danger of drowning very fast.
The Cybook Oceam costs £145/$210. For more information, visit bookeen.com.
Kindle Paperwhite: Amazon’s sharp-screen reader
While the Kindle Oasis is Amazon’s flagship device, this budget beauty undercuts all of its rivals. The third-gen model is still without audio features but it uses low-power Carta E Ink technology and comes with a built-in light. But at 205g, it’s heavier than the Oasis.
The Paperwhite takes the familiar Kindle form of a six-inch screen surrounded by a reasonably wide black plastic frame but it’s symmetry really is nothing to write home about. Still, it’s function over form: you simply tap the screen to turn the pages or view the menu.
The latest Paperwhite introduced an eye-pleasing 300ppi screen and a crisp, readable Bookerly typeface. You almost feel like you’re reading a proper book thanks to the typesetting engine which lays everything out in the same way as you’d expect on a printed page.
This is no slow finger reader. It’s got a 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM together with 4GB of storage and access to the Kindle cloud. It zips through page turns like World Record-holding page-turner Howard Berg.
Paperwhite versus Oasis may sound like a new Britpop battle but this is no cheap imitation: Paperwhite is top value.
The Kindle Paperwhite costs £110/$120. For more information, visit amazon.com.
Kobo Aura H2O: The e-reader you can drop in the pool
Kobo has made a splash in the e-reader market with the dustproof and waterproof H20 proving to be the perfect beach-bound summer blockbuster. Since it is IP-certified, it can be plunged in up to a metre of water for 30 minutes – as long as the port cover is closed, anyway.
Even though, at 6.8 inches, the 265ppi touchscreen is only a tad larger than the six-inch Kindles, it looks much bigger. But it feels heavier and heftier too. The angular back is more stylish than the front, making it nice to hold.
Aside from the built-in front light, there are 24 font sizes and 11 different font types. The H20 works with the Pocket app and lots of file types including ePub, PDF and MOBI. The Kobo e-reader store has access to more than 4 million books although it can be more expensive than Kindle.
You can expand the memory up to 32GB with a microSD card and you’ll have no problems familiarising yourself with its interface: the SimpleTurn feature makes flicking through pages as easy as tapping left or right. But, despite having a 1GHz processor, PDFs prove painfully slow.
Go elsewhere if you want 3G (this is Wi-Fi-only) but dive in for a supportive, well-built reader.
Kobo Aura H20. For more information, visit kobo.com.
Kindle Oasis: It’s thin, light and very expensive
With Oasis, Amazon has given the Kindle an overhaul to produce an e-reader pitched at the luxury end of the market. It comes with a book-like case that doubles as a battery booster, enabling it to be powered for months on a single charge. It ain’t cheap, though.
You’ll instantly notice how thin the Kindle Oasis is. Although the side you comfortably grip is 8.5mm thick, it tapers down to just 3.4mm. A couple of well-placed buttons let you flick through the pages or you can tap the 300ppi six-inch glass-covered screen instead.
Since it has 60 per cent more LEDs, the Oasis is brighter than the average Kindle. The light is shone from the side so it doesn’t sear your eyes and you can adjust it to suit your needs. It’s also a lightweight: it comes in
at just 131g.
What it lacks in not having any kind of audio facility, it makes up for in speed. The text flies on to the page and its performance will help you zip through the thousands of books you can fit into its 4GB of storage.
Undoubtedly the most advanced e-reader. It’s not waterproof but with crisp text and access to the vast Kindle store, it’s not wet behind the ears either.
The Kindle Oasis costs £270/310. For more information, visit amazon.com.