Best ereader in Australia
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
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.
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.
Kindle vs Kobo: What's the difference?
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
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.
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
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.
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.