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The best ebook reader to buy right now

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The best ebook reader to buy right now

Any ebook reader will let you cram a Beauty and the Beast-sized library’s worth of books in your pocket, but so will your phone. An ebook reader offers a more book-like reading experience, with fewer distractions and less eye strain, and many include extra features, like adjustable frontlighting. Some really are pocketable. Others are waterproof or offer physical page-turning buttons, while a few even let you take notes.

I’ve been using ebook readers for nearly a decade, and I’ve gone hands-on with dozens, from the Kindle Paperwhite to lesser-known rivals like the Pocketbook Era. Whether you want something your kid can throw against the wall or a waterproof, warm-glow Kindle that won’t ruin your spa ambiance, these are the best ebook readers for everyone. 

The best Kindle

A hand holding up the Kindle PaperwhiteA hand holding up the Kindle PaperwhiteA hand holding up the Kindle Paperwhite

$140

Amazon’s latest Kindle Paperwhite has a 6.8-inch E Ink display with adjustable color temperature for nighttime reading. It also boasts a fast processor, months-long battery life, IPX8 waterproofing, and a USB-C port.

Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.9 x .32 inches / Weight: 205 grams / Screen area and resolution: 6.8-inch screen, 300ppi resolution / Storage: 8GB or 16GB / Other features: IPX8 waterproofing, Bluetooth audio support 

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If you mostly buy ebooks from Amazon, you’ll want a Kindle, and the 11th-gen Kindle Paperwhite is the best choice for most people. Starting at $139.99, it’s cheaper than the Kobo Libra 2 — my top non-Amazon ebook reader, which I’ll dive into later — for many of the same features. Those include a large 300pi display and an adjustable warm white frontlight, which make for a clear and enjoyable reading experience. The latter also conveniently improves sleep by cutting down on blue light that interrupts melatonin production. 

That warm white frontlighting is an advantage over the cool white of the $99.99 base-model Kindle, and unlike the base Kindle, the Paperwhite has IPX8 water resistance. The $189.99 Signature Edition Paperwhite also has an auto-adjusting frontlight and no lockscreen ads. It also has wireless charging, which is a rare feature to find in an e-reader.

The Kindle Paperwhite comes with an adjustable warm white frontlight.
Photo by Chaim Gartenberg / The Verge

Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world, and it dominates the US ebook market, so Kindle owners have access to advantages owners of other ebook readers don’t. Much of Amazon’s hardware strategy depends on offering cut-rate discounts to pull you into its content ecosystem. If you have Prime and buy a lot of Kindle ebooks, the Paperwhite is the best choice because Amazon makes it incredibly easy to buy and read its stuff. Its ebooks and audiobooks are often on sale, and Prime members get more free content through Prime Reading. Rivals like Kobo offer sales, too, but it’s hard for them to offer discounts as steep as Amazon does.

There are downsides, though. The Paperwhite has lockscreen ads unless you pay $20 extra to get rid of them. It’s also too big to hold comfortably with one hand. Perhaps the Kindle Paperwhite’s biggest flaw, though — which it shares with all Kindles aside from Fire tablets — is that it’s not easy to read books purchased outside of Amazon’s store. Kindle ebook formats are proprietary and only work on Kindle. Unlike Kobo and other ebook readers, Kindles don’t support EPUB files, an open file format used by pretty much everyone except Amazon. So, for example, if you often shop from Kobo’s bookstore (or Barnes & Noble or Google Play Books or many other ebook stores), you can’t easily read those books on a Kindle without using a workaround. There are ways to convert and transfer file formats so you can read on the Kindle and vice versa, but it’ll take a couple of extra steps.

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However, if you don’t buy your books elsewhere or you don’t mind shopping from Amazon, you’ll be more than happy with the Kindle Paperwhite.

Read our full review of the Kindle Paperwhite.

The best non-Amazon ebook reader

The Kobo Libra 2 features physical page-turning buttons along with a sharp 7-inch E Ink display free of ads. It also boasts IPX8 waterproofing and 32GB of storage.

Dimensions: 5.69 x 6.36 x 0.35 inches / Weight: 215 grams / Screen area and resolution: 7-inch screen, 300ppi / Storage: Up to 32GB / Other features: Physical page-turning buttons, waterproofing, Bluetooth audio support 

The Kobo Libra 2 is an excellent alternative to an Amazon ebook reader, especially for readers outside the US. It’s just as nice as the Paperwhite, with many of the Paperwhite’s standout features, like waterproofing, USB-C support, and a 300ppi display. It doesn’t work as well with Amazon’s ecosystem, of course, but it offers a few extra perks that make the e-reader, in some ways, even more enjoyable to use.

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The Kobo Libra 2 is my favorite ebook reader to use

For one thing, it supports more file formats, including EPUB. It’s also much easier to directly borrow books from the Overdrive library system, while native support for Pocket means you can read your saved articles offline. The Libra 2 also comes with easy-to-use physical buttons and starts at 16GB of storage, double the capacity of the base Paperwhite. There are no annoying lockscreen ads to contend with, either. Plus, instead of a flat-front screen, the display is slightly recessed into the frame. I loved that as it meant I didn’t accidentally tap the screen and skip a page, as I often did with the Paperwhite. It also kept the screen cleaner and — combined with the wide side bezel — made the Libra 2 more comfortable to hold.

1/3

The Kobo Libra 2 comes with physical page-turning buttons.
Photo by Sheena Vasani / The Verge

The Kobo Libra 2 is my favorite ebook reader to use. I kept having to restrain myself from using it all the time to give the other e-readers on this list a fair chance.

However, at $189, it costs $50 more than the ad-supported Paperwhite, though it’s only $20 more than the ad-free Paperwhite. That gap widens even more when the Paperwhite is on sale, which it regularly is. Plus, as somebody whose digital library consists mainly of Amazon ebooks, I found the fact that I couldn’t easily and quickly read my vast collection of Kindle books frustrating. You can do it, but you’ll have to convert file formats using third-party apps, which can take time, especially if you have a large library. But if those things don’t matter or apply to you, the Kobo Libra 2 will give you the best digital reading experience of all the e-readers on this list.

The best cheap ebook reader

A hand holding the 2022 Kindle in front of red flowers.A hand holding the 2022 Kindle in front of red flowers.A hand holding the 2022 Kindle in front of red flowers.A hand holding the 2022 Kindle in front of red flowers.

$100

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Amazon’s new entry-level Kindle is essentially the budget-friendly, 6-inch version of the Kindle Paperwhite. It lacks waterproofing but otherwise is similar with the same sharp display and USB-C support.

Dimensions: 6.2 x 4.3 x 0.32 inches / Weight: 158 grams / Screen area and resolution: 6-inch screen, 300ppi resolution / Storage: 16GB / Other features: USB-C support, Bluetooth audio support 

The base-model Kindle ($99.99 with ads) is the best cheap ebook reader. Its 300ppi resolution makes text clearer and easier to read than the lower-resolution screens on other ebook readers in its price range, and its 16GB of storage is double even that of the Paperwhite. It even has USB-C for relatively fast charging. 

Reading on its six-inch screen feels a little more cramped than it does on the larger displays of the Kindle Paperwhite and Kobo Libra 2. However, the flip side is that its small size makes it pocketable, light, and easy for small hands to hold. Combined with its relatively affordable price, the Kindle is also the best ebook reader for kids — especially in the kids version Amazon sells for $20 more. It shares the same exact specs but is ad-free with parental controls, a two-year extended replacement guarantee, and a case. It also comes with one year of Amazon Kids Plus, which grants kids access to thousands of kids books and audiobooks for free. After that, though, you’ll have to pay $79 per year.

The kid-friendly version of the Kindle comes with colorful cases.
Image: Kindle Kids
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The base Kindle doesn’t have extra conveniences like the physical page-turning buttons found on Barnes & Noble’s entry-level e-reader, the Nook GlowLight 4e. However, you do get something more important: snappier responses. On most of the other entry-level ebook readers I tested, including the GlowLight 4e, I had to wait a few seconds after tapping the screen for the page to turn. The Kindle, in comparison, offered no perceptive lag.

There are other tradeoffs. There’s no water resistance, unlike the Paperwhite, and battery life is good, but it’ll last you three weeks tops — not months, like the Paperwhite. And because it’s an Amazon ebook reader, you’re also locked into the Amazon ecosystem and have to pay extra to get rid of ads. But if you can do without all of that, the Kindle delivers the essentials for under $100.

Read my full review of the Kindle.

The best ebook reader for taking notes

The Kobo Elipsa 2E is an ad-free 10.3-inch e-reader you can write on with the included stylus. It offers a whole host of useful features, like the ability to convert handwriting to typed text and a great selection of pen types.

Dimensions: 7.6 x 8.94 x 0.30 inches / Weight: 390 grams / Screen area and resolution: 10.3-inches, 227ppi resolution / Storage: 32GB / Other features: Handwriting to text conversion, magnetic stylus, Bluetooth audio support 

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Of all the large ebook readers I tested, the Kobo Elipsa 2E stood out the most because of its excellent note-taking abilities. You can directly write on pages, and the notes will not disappear, which makes for a more intuitive note-taking experience than the Kindle Scribe, which only supports on-page notes on select Kindle titles. Otherwise, you’re limited to making annotations on cards that are like disappearing sticky notes. 

You can also sync your notes with Dropbox or view them online, and Kobo can even convert handwriting to typed text. Amazon rolled out a similar capability for the Kindle Scribe, but it can only convert handwriting to typed text when you export notebooks and not as accurately. By contrast, Kobo lets you convert your handwriting not just while exporting but also from within a notebook itself.

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The Kobo Elipsa 2E lets you insert diagrams, convert handwriting to text, and can even solve math equations for you.
Photo by Sheena Vasani / The Verge

The Elipsa 2E also offers other helpful note-taking tools. It’s even capable, for example, of solving math equations for you. You can also insert diagrams and drawings, and it’ll automatically snap it into something that looks cleaner and nicer. There’s also a great selection of pen types and ink shades. 

True, the Kindle Scribe starts at $60 less, but the Kobo Elipsa 2E comes with twice the storage. You can step up to the 32GB Kindle Scribe if you want the same storage capacity, but that puts it at essentially the same price as the Kobo. I recommend just forking out the money on the Elipsa 2E instead.

I also recommend the Elipsa 2E over the Onyx Boox Note Air 2 Plus, even though it, too, offers much better writing tools than the Kindle Scribe. That’s because it costs a whopping $449 and also isn’t as readily available in the US market. The Onyx Boox Note Air 2 Plus also comes with too many distracting extras, like an easy-to-access music player and the Google Play app store preinstalled so you can download multiple reading apps, including both the Kindle and Kobo apps. However, Kindle and Kobo notes didn’t show up on the Onyx Boox Note Air 2 Plus — and you can’t annotate their books anywhere as easily as you can on their respective devices.

1/2

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The Kobo Elipsa 2E comes with an included stylus.
Photo by Sheena Vasani / The Verge

Note-taking capabilities aside, the Kobo Elipsa 2E is also a good e-reader, but it comes with the same strengths and weaknesses as other Kobo e-readers. There’s support for a wide range of file formats, but you can’t easily read Kindle books without converting them first. Its 227ppi display is also slightly less sharp than the 300ppi screen found on the Kindle Scribe and the Kobo Libra 2. However, the 10.3-inch screen does balance things out a bit and makes text easier to read, so it’s not really a noticeable drawback.

Other ebook readers that didn’t make the cut

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There are some other ebook readers I tested that I didn’t feature above but are still worth highlighting. Here are the most notable:

If you’re looking for a non-Amazon alternative that’s more affordable than the Kobo Libra 2, the Kobo Clara 2E is worth a look. It sells for $139.99 and also offers waterproofing as well as a sharp, 300ppi display, but it lacks buttons. As I mentioned in my review, I also liked that it doesn’t come with ads but found it’s not as fast as the Kindle Paperwhite. However, now that I’ve used the e-reader for quite some time, I find it’s snappy enough, and the occasional lag isn’t as distracting as I imagined it’d become. The Libra 2 is still faster, though.

In 2023, Barnes and Noble released the new Nook Glowlight 4 Plus. If you own a lot of digital books from Barnes and Noble, this could be a good Kindle alternative. Otherwise, I’d still recommend the Kobo Libra 2 to everybody else. The $199.99 Nook Glowlight 4 Plus is a good e-reader with a lot to offer, including a lovely 300ppi screen, waterproofing, physical page-turning buttons, and even a headphone jack. However, it’s just not as snappy, which makes setting it up, buying books from the device itself, and navigating the interface a slow ordeal. It didn’t help that the screen sometimes froze, too, which meant I had to restart the device while in the middle of a book.

Finally, I didn’t mention the Kindle Oasis, which has physical page-turning buttons and which many consider a high-end device. At this point, though, it’s old, hard to find in stock, and lacks some features even the base Kindle offers — like USB-C support. That makes it less appealing at $249.99. If you are willing to pay that much for a high-end reader, I’d take a look at the Kobo Libra 2 or the Kobo Sage instead. The latter is $239.99 ($30 off), yet not only does it come with buttons and USB-C, but you can also use it to take notes. The eight-inch screen feels very cramped to write on, though, so I wouldn’t recommend it as a primary note-taking device. 

Update February 2nd, 2024: Adjusted prices and added new related links.

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Microsoft is working with Nvidia, AMD, and Intel to improve upscaling support in PC games

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Microsoft is working with Nvidia, AMD, and Intel to improve upscaling support in PC games

Microsoft has outlined a new Windows API designed to offer a seamless way for game developers to integrate super resolution AI-upscaling features from Nvidia, AMD, and Intel. In a new blog post, program manager Joshua Tucker describes Microsoft’s new DirectSR API as the “missing link” between games and super resolution technologies, and says it should provide “a smoother, more efficient experience that scales across hardware.”

“This API enables multi-vendor SR [super resolution] through a common set of inputs and outputs, allowing a single code path to activate a variety of solutions including Nvidia DLSS Super Resolution, AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution, and Intel XeSS,” the post reads. The pitch seems to be that developers will be able to support this DirectSR API, rather than having to write code for each and every upscaling technology.

The blog post comes a couple of weeks after an “Automatic Super Resolution” feature was spotted in a test version of Windows 11, which promised to “use AI to make supported games play more smoothly with enhanced details.” Now, it seems the feature will plug into existing super resolution technologies like DLSS, FSR, and XeSS rather than offering a Windows-level alternative. 

Microsoft says that the new API will be available soon via a preview version of its Agility SDK. It plans to offer a “sneak peek” of how DirectSR can be used during a developer session at the forthcoming Game Developers Conference (GDC). The session will take place on March 21st, and will include representatives from both Microsoft as well as Nvidia and AMD.

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Apple warns against using rice to dry out your wet iPhone; here’s what to do instead

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Apple warns against using rice to dry out your wet iPhone; here’s what to do instead

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Cellphones getting water damage is nothing new. Before the iPhone, I had a flip phone that fell into a swimming pool. The first thing everyone told me to do was to dry the phone out with rice.

The idea is that the rice will draw out any excess water, saving your phone from being destroyed by water damage.

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This method remains many people’s tried-and-true method for saving a waterlogged phone, and I’ve seen it work firsthand. 

However, a new support document by Apple has just come out, and the company is asking people to please not place their iPhones in a bowl or bag of rice.

CLICK TO GET KURT’S FREE CYBERGUY NEWSLETTER WITH SECURITY ALERTS, QUICK VIDEO TIPS, TECH REVIEWS AND EASY HOW-TO’S TO MAKE YOU SMARTER

An iPhone in a bowl of rice (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Why shouldn’t you put your wet iPhone in rice?

Apple is now warning customers that placing their iPhones into a bowl or bag of rice might actually slow down the drying process and damage their phone’s internal components. In particular, the company warns that small particles of wet rice may end up in your iPhone, damaging the phone’s logic board.

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REVOLUTIONARY DEVICE LETS YOU POINT, CLICK WITH YOUR TONGUE

iPhone rice trick 2

Wet iPhone (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

What Apple recommends you do instead

Next time your iPhone takes a dip in the swimming pool or the toilet, instead of running for the rice in the cabinet, Apple suggests doing this instead.

Step 1 – Tap the water out

Apple suggests that your first immediate step should be lightly tapping the iPhone against your hand with the charging connector pointed down. This should pull some of the water inside your iPhone out. Don’t be alarmed if only a few drops of water come from the connector port. Leave your iPhone somewhere dry, with some airflow.

iPhone rice trick 3

Image of an iPhone and power cord (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

MORE: BEST ACCESSORIES FOR YOUR PHONE

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Step 2 – Wait 30 minutes, then try to charge your iPhone

You should leave your iPhone alone for a period of 30 minutes. Once 30 minutes have gone by, you can attempt to charge your iPhone again. If your iPhone charges, congratulations. There’s no water damage to your iPhone and you can resume using it. If you receive an alert saying “liquid detected in USB-C (or lightning) port,” you unfortunately still have water in your iPhone. However, luckily, hope isn’t lost.

MORE: 5 BEST PORTABLE PHONE CHARGERS OF 2024

iPhone rice trick 4

Liquid Detected alert on iPhone (Apple)

CLICK TO GET KURT’S FREE CYBERGUY NEWSLETTER WITH SECURITY ALERTS, QUICK VIDEO TIPS, TECH REVIEWS AND EASY HOW-TO’S TO MAKE YOU SMARTER

Step 3 – Leave your iPhone in a dry area for 24 hours

If you receive an alert saying “liquid detected in USB-C (or lightning) port,” you unfortunately still have water in your iPhone. Apple warns against using a blow-dryer or any other heat gun device to dry your iPhone after it takes a splash. You should instead leave your phone in a dry area with some airflow and allow for 24 hours to pass. A room with a ceiling fan is a great place to leave your iPhone while it dries.

iPhone rice trick 5

Charging Not Available alert on iPhone (Apple)

Step 4 – Retest the connector

After 24 hours have passed, you should try to charge your iPhone again. If your iPhone charges, you are all good. If it doesn’t charge, Apple recommends removing the charging cable from the wall outlet and changing electrical sources for a moment. Apple recommends against trying to insert a cotton swab or any other foreign object into your charging port.

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If your iPhone’s charging port is damaged or not working properly, you may want to consider alternative charging methods that do not rely on the port. For example, some iPhones support wireless charging, which uses a magnetic pad or stand to charge your phone without plugging in a cable. This way, you can avoid inserting anything into the port and prevent further damage. 

Now, if all that doesn’t work and your iPhone still does not charge or shows signs of water damage, such as a wet screen, distorted audio or malfunctioning buttons, you may need to contact Apple for repair or replacement. You can check your warranty status and common issues not covered under warranty by clicking here.

Remember to back up your data before sending your iPhone for repair, as you may lose some or all of your information.

MORE: HOW TO PROTECT AN IPHONE & IPAD FROM MALWARE 2024

Kurt’s key takeaways

It’s important to remember that all iPhones since the iPhone 12 are able to safely withstand submersion in water of up to 20 feet for 30 minutes. If you do end up dropping your iPhone in the water, just don’t run for the rice.

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Do you think Apple should make their iPhones more water-resistant or waterproof? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

For more of my tech tips & security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to Cyberguy.com/Newsletter.

Ask Kurt a question or let us know what stories you’d like us to cover.

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Copyright 2024 CyberGuy.com. All rights reserved.

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X adds live video to Spaces instead of bringing back Periscope

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X adds live video to Spaces instead of bringing back Periscope

Spaces, the live audio feature for X, is now letting hosts turn on their video during chat sessions. The platform formerly known as Twitter announced the news on Wednesday as owner / CTO Elon Musk reposted a walkthrough from a user named “Dogedesigner.”

Spaces users will notice a new option to “enable video” when they first create a new Spaces session. Hosts can opt for either their phone’s front or back-facing cameras as well as either a landscape or vertical view of their video feed. 

The Video Spaces are available on the iOS version of the X app, but we haven’t seen them available on Android or the web yet. Multiple users reported significant lag while trying out the feature so far.

Right now, only hosts have the ability to turn on video. The end result is a prominent display of the host’s video feed, which is then surrounded by icons of co-hosts, speakers, and any listeners. At first glance, it’s an environment that resembles Twitch — expect for the fact that any selected audience members can chime in at any minute. A host’s video feed also only lives inside a Spaces session, so users will have to join the session in order to tune in.

When Elon Musk announced that Spaces would get video late last year, his description of it sounded closer to a videoconferencing app or video call app like FaceTime, where the video feed switches to whoever is currently speaking. 

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But for now, a typical Spaces with video session prominently features the host’s video feed, which is surrounded by the smaller icons of any other speakers, co-hosts, or listeners in the room. It’s not exactly like Twitch since anyone you give permission to can speak back to you, but it does turn the host into the main event in a similar fashion. 

The new video integration of X Spaces is separate from the platform’s existing live broadcast feature, which lets users directly livestream video. Spaces functions as a live chatroom, where multiple users can tune in and speak. In contrast, the audience in a typical live broadcast can only comment or send hearts

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