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Black Friday 2010 Gadget Battle: Vote for the Best eReader

Updated
By Josh Smith, dealnews writer

Only 5% of adults have indulged their inner techie and bought themselves an eBook reader, which leaves a lot of you still out there questioning whether or not to make the jump. If what’s keeping you on the fence is the cost, then this holiday season’s price war may be your entry into the market.

If the reason you haven’t jumped yet is because you can’t figure out which eReader to buy, then we’ve got all the info you need to sort through the options and get the best value for your dollars.

We’ve rounded up the top eBook readers (and left out a few you shouldn’t even consider — sorry, Sony) for a showdown quarterfinal. This is just the first of our Black Friday 2010 Gadget Battles, where we'll be sorting through the most coveted buys of the season in eReaders, video game systems, HDTVs and mobile computers. We will crown one overall best choice, by our experts and by you.

So take a look at your choices, then tell us your vote!

First, a few key things you need to know:

  • Screen Technology: eBook readers either offer “eInk” displays that provide a paper-like reading experience or color LCD displays that are more like your cell phone. eInk displays offer longer battery life and are easier to read in the sun, but can’t deliver a color browsing experience like a LCD display.
  • Connectivity: If you want to be able to buy books anywhere, you need 3G like a cell phone. If you are fine with access in your home, office and other hotspots, you’re ok with WiFi only. If you’re always connected to your computer, USB is your most basic option.
  • Book availability and cost: Keep in mind, once you pick an eBook reader you can’t switch stores. Most of the big players all offer New York Times Bestseller eBooks for around $9.99 and offer samples, so the difference is in which has a better selection for your needs. Plus, a few eBook readers connect with your local library and allow for borrowing.


Price*
Screen
Connections
Battery
Overall Value
Amazon Kindle WiFi/3G+WiFI
$139
$189
6" eInk
WiFi
3G + WiFi
USB
A month of battery life with wireless off. (2-3 weeks with WiFi on, 10 days with 3G on)
High!

Over 725,000 eBooks (610,000 are $9.99 or under) plus newspapers, magazines and 1.8 million free pre-1923 titles, via Amazon.

Web browser available, black and white display. Lending coming soon, and will update to existing models.

Lots of access to content and long battery life. WiFi only is a better deal if you don’t need to have access anywhere.

Nook Color
$249
7” Color
Touch-
screen
w/backlight
WiFi
USB
8 hours with WiFi off
High!

Over two million, including free classics, most at $9.99 or less. Also has newspaper and magazines, via Barnes and Noble. You can also borrow eBooks from libraries.

Support for games, music and web browsing. Read full eBooks in any Barnes and Noble Store for free up to one hour a day,plus there's a ending feature to share with other Nook owners.

Many extras and lots of ways to get free eBooks, plus a wow factor on the screen.

Nook WiFi/3G
$149
$199
6" eInk
3.5”
color
touch=
screen
WiFi
3G + WiFi
USB
10 days with wireless off, 2-3 days with wireless on
Moderate!

Over 2 Million, including free classics, most at $9.99 or less, via Barnes and Noble. You can also borrow eBooks from many libraries for free.

Free in store reading up to one hour a day, lending to a friend, web browser for black and white browsing, some games available.

The small color touchscreen increases the cost, which makes it hard to compete with the Kindle.


Kobo
$139
6" eInk
WiFi
USB
Up to two weeks, or 10,000 page turns
Low!

238,602, many available for $9.99 and under, via Borders. Compatible with many library eBook borrowing services.

Quilted back for a real book feel and always displays the cover of your current eBook when off; again, like a real book.

While the old Kobo used to offer a cheap entry into eBooks, the current price and features don't distinguish it from the (better) Kindle.

*Prices are MSRP as few deals can be found on these new eBook readers.

Now it's your turn to vote! Tell us which of these is your choice for the best buy, and we'll calculate that into our decisions. If you've got more to say that just picking your choice, join us on our Facebook page and continue the discussion.





Josh Smith is a freelance writer who writes frequently about technology and consumer electronics and is based in Ohio. Follow him on Twitter — @josh_smith. You can also sign up for an email alert for all dealnews features.



For more great Black Friday coverage:

Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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