Best ereader in Australia

All is not equal in the battle between Kindle and Kobo.
  • Best ereader overall

    Kobo Libra
    H2O

    Read our review
    4.75 out of 5 overall
    Page-turn buttons
    Waterproof
  • Best budget ereader

    Kobo
    Nia

    Read our review
    4 out of 5 overall
    Easily adjustable backlight
    Custom touchscreen controls
  • Best mid-range ereader

    Kindle Paperwhite

    Read our review
    4 out of 5 overall
    Crisp, bright display
    Slim and lightweight

When it comes to smartphones and laptops, there are so many different brands and models out there, it can be pretty overwhelming to make that final decision. The same can’t be said for ereaders.

If you’re a bookworm looking to go digital, you only have two choices of brands (Kindle or Kobo) and half a dozen models to choose from. That said, with fewer options, it can often be even trickier to narrow down which one is best for you. So, to help make that decision a little easier, we’re breaking it down into three price categories: budget (under $150), mid-range (under $250) and premium ($250 and over), as well as our top pick overall.

Best budget ereader

Kobo Nia

Kobo Nia Review

If budget is your primary concern, the Kobo Nia is your best bet. Retailing for around $149.95, it’s $10 more expensive than the entry-level Kindle, but a few features give it the edge over Amazon’s budget ereader. While the Kindle Store admittedly has pretty much every book under the sun, it’s basically your only option for buying books on a Kindle. With the Kobo Nia, you can purchase ebooks from the Kobo Store, third-party retailers like Booktopia and Dymocks, and even borrow ebooks from your local library.

Design-wise, the Nia comes up trumps yet again with its grippy backing (perfect for long reading sessions) and 6-inch higher-resolution 212ppi display, compared to the meagre 167ppi display (also 6-inch) found on the base Kindle.

Runner-up: Kindle

Amazon Kindle (10th generation) Australian review

While we prefer the Kobo Nia, the Kindle is by no means a bad ereader. In fact, if you’re already pretty ingrained in the Amazon ecosystem, you may prefer the Kindle thanks to Prime Reading (which gives Amazon Prime subscribers free access to over 1,000 ebooks) and Kindle Unlimited, the company’s subscription book service. On the downside, it’s not quite as comfortable to hold, and that lower-res display doesn’t play as well with graphic novels and ebooks featuring images.

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Kindle vs Kobo: What's the difference?

The differences between Kindle and Kobo are much like the differences between iOS and Android. Both do the same thing, just in different ways. While Kindle has the benefit of reading social network Goodreads integrated into all of its devices, its software is limited in terms of what file types it’s compatible with. Kobo, on the other hand, is compatible with .epub files, the most popular ebook format among third-party retailers and libraries, while Kindle users are stuck with Amazon’s proprietary file type, meaning you’re stuck buying books directly from the Kindle Store.

For a full breakdown of the differences between the two (and which brand we prefer), check out our full Kindle vs Kobo guide.

Best mid-range ereader

Kindle Paperwhite

Woman holding a Kindle Paperwhite against a blue wall

There’s not much separating the Kindle Paperwhite and its closest rival, the Kobo Clara HD. They’re almost the same price ($199 for the Paperwhite, $189.95 for the Clara HD), come with the same 8GB storage, both have a 6-inch, 300ppi display and bright backlight. However, the Paperwhite’s waterproof body and flushed screen just put it in front of the Clara HD, which is susceptible to splashes and sports a recessed display.

It’s comfortable to hold, reasonably priced, and thanks to its slim, lightweight, waterproof design, the Paperwhite is the perfect companion for everything from commutes to beach trips. The only thing it’s missing is adjustable warm light to protect those peepers from nighttime blue light exposure.

Runner-up: Kobo Clara HD

At this price range, you’ll be happy with either the Paperwhite or the Kobo Clara HD. It simply comes down to what’s most important to you: waterproofing or warm light. Though the Clara HD isn’t waterproof, it does feature the latter, so for avid nighttime readers, there’ll be less eye strain than you’d find with the basic white light found on the Paperwhite. We also prefer the Kobo’s software and the fact that it’s compatible with any .epub file, which are far more ubiquitous than Kindle’s proprietary ebook files.

Best premium ereader

Kobo Libra H2O

A woman holding a Kobo Libra H2O ereader

I spent about 1,400 words waxing lyrical about the Kobo Libra H2O, so it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that it’s earned the title of the best ereader overall. This beast has it all – waterproofing, page-turn buttons, adjustable warm light, comfortable design and larger 7-inch, 300ppi display which, in my experience, is the perfect size for reading most books – especially graphic novels (albeit in black and white). Plus, despite its premium features, it could still reasonably be called ‘mid-range’ thanks to its very reasonable $269.95 price tag.

Honestly, we can’t see any reason to opt for the more expensive Kindle Oasis or massive 8-inch Kobo Forma over the Libra H2O other than if you really, really want your screen to be flush with the device’s bezels or want your ereader made from a more premium material. Other than that, there’s no beating the all-round killer value that the Libra H2O offers.

Runner-up: Kindle Oasis

A woman holding a Kindle Oasis Oasis ereader against a blue wall

At an RRP of $399, the Kindle Oasis definitely isn’t cheap. However, for your money, you’ll get a beautifully-designed aluminium body and the most features found on any Kindle model to date. Like the Kobo Libra H2O, it sports a 7-inch, 300ppi display and page-turn buttons for easy single-handed reading. It looks great and is reasonably comfortable to hold, but when you can get the Kobo Libra H2O for more than $100 less, it’s a far less tempting deal.