Like most of you, I like my Kindle paperwhite. I could not only stock several books without consuming any physical space, but I can also highlight text, bookmark pages and also create flashcards to boost my vocabulary. And not to forget the battery lasts for weeks, and the screen is easy to read even in bright sunshine.
But like every coin, there was a flip side to this as well, I was missing features like being able to take notes, write on it, install third-party apps. To tackle this confusion, I did some heavy lifting for you. Here are the best e-ink devices and Kindle alternatives you can try. Let’s begin.
Best Kindle Alternatives
1. New Kindle
Even if you already have a Kindle, you might want to check out the newer versions as well. The 10th generation Kindle comes with a lot of features like built-in light, splash-proof, Audible support and much more. And if you are upgrading for old Kindle, you will find the text is sharper on the Paperwhite.
Check out: Amazon Kindle 2019: Is it Worth Buying?
Of-course you get Amazon’s magnanimous book database and also Audible’s audiobook support. You can’t really complain about the battery life, the last I charged my Kindle was a month ago and it still has a lot of juice left. All Kindle models also support the Whispersync feature so you can make an easy shift to listening to the books you’re reading across platforms.
- Same Book Database
- Option to borrow books.
- Kindle Unlimited at $9.99/month
- Availability of Kindle app on iOS, Android and PC/Mac
Buy Kindle on Amazon
2. Kobo Forma
Picking from where we left, the support of a large book database, good form-factor, and support for major file formats are features that you’d look in other readers, and Kobo is one of the best kindle alternatives.
While Kindle devices can not open ePub directly, which is an open-source format, Kobo is able to do it natively which gives a head start to KOBO.
Kobo doesn’t have an audiobook database like Amazon’s Audible, other factors still make it a good alternative. It supports comfortable-light which essentially cuts out the blue-light, helping your eyes to not strain in longer sessions. Though Kobo has a dictionary and note-taking features, it falls back on Amazon’s X-ray feature which helps to know details about specific characters and look-up Wikipedia. If you’re an avid Audible user, you don’t have the option to listen to audiobooks on this one. Luckily, there are no ads in any of the Kobo devices.
3. Sony DPT CP1 10 Digital Paper
Kindle and Kobo devices are able to give users a great reading experience but for being truly paper-like, you need a feature like being able to write on the device. To fill that gap Sony has placed this device. There are two models currently with this being the 10.3-Inch model there’s RP 1 which is a bit bigger at 13.3-inches. It comes with a resolution of 1650 x 2200 and is extremely lightweight at just 234 gms.
While this isn’t exactly a book reader, if you’re a student and you write a lot, it comes with a stylus that gets it close to paper-like feel. The stylus also helps you annotate the documents, making it great for scholars. The stylus has two buttons with one for quick highlighting and the other being eraser. You can place it on either side of the device and it connects like a magnet. There are two tip options, a pen, and a pencil to choose from. In terms of reading and writing on the device, you have a matt scene that imitates a paper-like feel. It can also be connected to a PC using Sony’s desktop software and act as a writing pad with projection on a larger display.
One thing you must keep in mind that this device can only run PDFs and can be transferred using the digital paper app. Sony added the page jump feature in the update but there is still no table of contents which makes it hard to toggle between pages. While annotations are great on the device, it lacks the bookmark feature which is common in most e-readers. There is also no front light, so you have to depend on the light around you for illumination. You need to charge the stylus.
I could only suggest this device if you read a lot of PDFs. Let’s say you’re a research scholar and you’ve to read thousand of pages. With the CP1, you can do that strain-free and also add annotations.
4. ONYX BOOX Note Pro
Sony’s CP 1 is the right piece of hardware coupled with outdated software support. ONYX BOOX Note Pro does everything that CP1 does plus it has a lot extra up its sleeves. It runs on Android 6.0 and under the hood, it has a Quad-Core Processor, 4GB RAM, and 64GB storage. Not only that you have a type-C charger as well. This device is an amalgamation of an e-book reader and a note-taking device. So, it has all the annotation features. In addition to that, you can bookmark pages and look up words in the dictionary. Now coming to note-taking, the device has both capacitive touch and a stylus, so you can write on PDFs, make handwritten notes or simply draw. It supports most formats like PDF, EPUB, HTML, MOBI, DOC and also WAV and MP3.
Like the Kindle and Kobo, ONYX BOOX Note Pro has a front light and the temperature can also be controlled depending on the time and comfortability. In case you’re reading PDFs, you can straightway take hand-written style notes. If you feel bored with reading books, you can connect to Bluetooth speakers to enjoy audiobooks and music and even use the text-to-speech feature and listen while it reads aloud from where you left.
5. Yoga Book C930
Buying an e-book reader or a note-taking device means that you’ll have another device added to your everyday carry list. Lenovo had a better idea and saved you from that, with the first laptop to have a dual screen with e-ink technology. It’s interesting to compare it to Kindle as it’s not a dedicated book reader.
Coming to the specs, it features a QHD display and the second being e-ink which also acts as a keyboard with Haptik feedback. The e-ink panel besides being a keyboard also acts as a sketch pad, so you can have an image on the main screen and a drawing board on the other.
It also works with most Windows apps, so for example, if you’re using One Note, you can sync and never miss an idea. There is a stylus with over 4,000 pressure levels. While it can’t parallel with the Kindle or the Kobo’s weeks of battery life, you have to deal with a little over 12 hours of battery life. It is also an e-book reader and supports major formats like EPUB, MOBI, etc. You get a Gorilla Glass screen with Anti-glare finish to minimize eye strain. Oh! you can also double knock at the back of the laptop to pop it open, fancy yeah!
You don’t have to worry about connectivity as it supports LTE connectivity, so you can insert your SIM card and be connected on the go!
Buy Lenovo Yoga Book C930 from Amazon
6. Kingrow K1
The first time I stumbled upon an e-ink phone was by YotaPhone. It didn’t fare well and the company went bankrupt. Taking the baton forward is Kingrow K1. It looks like a phone, to begin with, but is still made up of plastic. As it runs on Android, you’ve everything that a normal phone has just in an e-ink display.
There is no Play Store but the Kindle app is pre-installed and you also have the option to sideload apps. The main reason behind this is making it a productivity package and for someone who reads a lot but doesn’t want to have a conventional smartphone, this might be a great starting point.
Also Read: Best Feature Phone in Every Category
The Kindle app comes pre-installed, you can change the brightness, tweak the text size and enable inverted mode as well. It does have haptic feedback and stereo speakers. You can browse the internet but the scrolling lags and there are frame-rate drops for video playback. It might be not the replacement for an e-reader but if you’re looking to have a phone with an e-ink. You don’t even need to think about the battery for weeks, plus there is a headphone jack as well.
While the first phase of this crowdfunded product has already been shipped, I’m hoping to see it on the market again, soon!
Basic Specific Comparison
|Oasis||Forma||Yoga Book C930||ONYX BOOX Note Pro||Kingrow K1||Sony DPT CP1 10|
|Screen||7 Inch||8 Inch||10.8 Inch||10.3 Inch||5.17 Inch||10.3 Inch|
|Storage||8/32 GB||8/32 GB||128 GB SSD||64GB||16 GB||16 GB|
While Kindle is undoubtedly the winner if you want a large database, Amazon’s support system and also added features like Whisper-sync, X-ray, etc. If you’re outside the USA, Kobo’s readers with 300 PPI as standard, OverDrive support could take Kindle’s throne easily. Moreover, if you’re a scholar and just want to stick to reading a large number of PDFs and want to annotate, Sony gives a very paper-like feel, but I suggest going for the ONYX BOOX Note Pro for a better overall package. So, here was my list of the best e-ink devices and Kindle alternatives. If you’ve something to share, comment below!