How to choose an e-reader

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PHOENIX – There’s nothing like kicking back with a good book, but in the digital age, you don’t need an actual book to do it.

If you’re one of many people thinking about buying an e-book reader, you have many options. How do you know which one is right for you?

Ken Colburn of Data Doctors sat down with Kaley O’Kelley to talk about three of the most popular gadgets – the Nook Color from Barnes and Noble, the Kindle from Amazon, and, of course, Apple’s iPad.

All three are designed to be portable although they vary in weight. Basically it comes down to functionality, how and where you intend to use it, and price.

For people who just love to read, the Kindle is a good option. It’s $139 or $114 if you’re willing to deal with some ads. If you’re going to be doing any Internet related activities (like checking e-mail), the Kindle might not be your best bet.

“For the Web, the Kindle is painful,” he said.

While it’s not the greatest for the Web, the Kindle is the one to beat when it comes to screen glare. You can read it outside in the bright sun with no problem whatsoever.

“This is much better for daylight, the worst for laying in bed at night reading because there’s no backlighting,” Colburn said. Colburn calls the Nook Color the “poor man’s iPad.” It’s full color, has a touch screen and features a far better Web surfing experience than the Kindle. There are also several Android-based apps with more on the way.

Barnes and Noble has also come up with a touchscreen black-and-white Nook for $139. It’s due on the market shortly. A little bit smaller than other Nooks, this one is made specifically to go head to head with Kindle.

The other benefit of the Nook over the Kindle is that if there's a problem, you can take it to a local store instead of having to send it back.

When push comes to shove, though, the iPad is Colburn’s undisputed favorite.

“The ultimate vacation machine – let’s face it – is the iPad,” he said.

In addition to books and Web capabilities, the iPad also features a full range of entertainment and productivity options. The only drawback is that lovely glossy screen can have an issue with glare in sunlight.

What it all boils down, to Colburn said, is not only how much money you want to spend, but also if you plan to more than just read books.

For just reading, the Kindle and the Nook are great options. For a more robust experience, the Nook Color is the way to go. If you want the whole enchilada and a side of chips, go with the iPad.