Popular eReaders offer seperate strengths for students

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By Kristen Cloyed, Entertainment Editor

Over the last six months, the eReader market has been bursting with new products. Despite having so many choices, the Barnes and Noble Nook and the Amazon Kindle are still the most popular among consumers. The two companies have been fiercely trying to top the other, slashing prices and releasing newer models. Amidst all the cutthroat competition, it’s hard to tell which eReader comes out on top.

    Both products have pros and cons, so choosing the right one depends on its intended use.

    As a regular eReader, the Nook Touch is the best choice. The Nook currently has a larger selection of books. Nook owners can check out eBooks from the library and trade books with other users, although only for a short period of time. The most surprising perk of the Nook is that users can read any book for free while in a Barnes and Noble store.

    The Kindle is better for reading textbooks, which could be a deciding factor for students. The Kindle DX has a larger screen perfect for viewing large Portable Document Format (PDF) files. The Kindle also has a text-to-speech feature that can come in handy.

    If you’re an avid reader and space is a concern, the Nook is a better choice. The Kindle has more storage space—one gigabyte more to be exact—but the Nook’s storage can be expanded with a memory card.

    The Nook Color is more of a tablet—almost like an iPad—than an eReader. It’s currently the only color eReader on the market. Aside from reading, the Color can be used to stream music, play games and send e-mails. It is also offers Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint document support. Additional apps for the Color can be purchased in the Nook store.

    If price is a concern, the most basic Kindle costs $114. This “special offers” model comes with automatic advertisements in the form of sponsored screensavers. If money’s tight, these ads aren’t really a pain. The most basic Nook runs about $139. The most you are likely to spend on a Kindle is $379 for the DX model, while the most the Nook will set you back is $249 for the Color model.

    Both the Kindle and the Nook have great battery life.  They can last for more than 10 days without recharging. There is a major difference between them, though. The newest Kindle model has a battery life of two months without using Wi-Fi. The Nook, on the other hand, has a removable battery, meaning you can always have a spare on hand if your Nook runs out of power.

    If you plan to read for long stretches, be sure your pick has eInk. The backlighting of LCD displays is sometimes hard on the eyes and causes an irritating glare. Both the Kindle and the Nook have eInk products.

    Finally, there are a few smaller issues to consider. Amazon has a reputation for excellent customer service, something that can save the day when you’re in a bind. The Kindle also turns pages faster. The small time difference from the Nook isn’t much, though—just a few seconds.

    You really can’t go wrong with either brand of eReader. With such diverse choices, the decision is more based on personal preference than anything else. With both companies working hard to improve their products, the eReader market can only get better.

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