eReader Overview: 2011 Redux

E-Ink vs LCD

This, for many, will be the main factor in deciding which eReader you choose.

E Ink screens read much like a regular book and can even be read in direct sunlight. They offer significant amounts of battery life due to the screen only drawing energy when it refreshes. Many eReaders sporting this type of screen can last for weeks on a single charge. E Ink technology does come with a downside, though – there’s no built-in backlight, so you’re going to need some source of light to read an E Ink screen, just as you would with a book.


In the other corner is more traditional LCD technology. LCD displays come with a backlight that produces nice, colorful images much like cell phones, computer monitors and televisions. While E Ink readers look similar to text from a newspaper or book, LCD screens offer a read more akin to the full-color experience of reading a magazine. However, LCD screens can be difficult to read in direct sunlight and have a much shorter battery life than their E Ink counterparts – most only last roughly 10 hours. They also tend to be more expensive.

E Ink readers this year are also coming out with touch screens, which was a feature previously found on only LCD devices. Just know that if you decide to go touch screen, it will cost more than a standard E Ink screen.

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October 27, 2011
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