With the holiday season in full force, a lot of gift-givers are going to be considering one of the new color e-readers that have been introduced recently: Amazon's Kindle Fire, the Kobo Vox and Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet.
Many people are still unsure whether these devices should be considered high-end e-readers or low-end tablets. The 7-in. tablets are designed to read books, of course, just like their smaller, simpler e-ink predecessors. They do a lot more as well, including letting you watch TV and movies, listen to music, browse the Web, check email and run apps.
However, they are smaller and not as fully featured as tablets such as the Apple iPad 2 or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. But they are not as expensive either; while both the iPad 2 and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 start at about $499, the Kindle Fire and Kobo Vox each cost $199, while the Nook Tablet runs a bit higher at $249.
After taking an initial look at the three e-readers when they were released in November, I lived for several weeks with them and put them through their paces: reading and buying books, watching TV and movies, listening to music, checking email, running apps -- pretty much anything you'd do with an e-reader. As a result, I was able to come to some pretty definite conclusions.
So if an e-reader is in your holiday plans or beyond, check out my in-depth look at which is the best and why.
|Amazon Kindle Fire||Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet||Kobo Vox|
|Processor||TI OMAP 4 dual core||1GB TI OMAP 4 dual core||800MHz|
|MicroSD card||No (cloud storage)||Yes||Yes|
|Display||7-in. IPS (In-Plan Switching), 1024 x 600||7-in. VividView IPS, 1024 x 600||7-in. FFS+ (Fringe Field Switching), 1024 x 600|
|Android||Gingerbread (2.3)||Gingerbread (2.3)||Gingerbread (2.3)|
|App store||Amazon AppStore||Nook Apps||GetJar|
|Size||7.5 x 4.7 x .45 in.||8.1 x 5.0 x .48 in.||7.57 x 5.06 x 0.53 in.|
|Weight||14.6 oz.||14.1 oz.||14.2 oz.|
|Built-in streaming media services||Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Amazon Cloud media player, Amazon Prime||Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora||None|
|Document formats||Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, DOC, DOCX||ePub, PDF, LS, DOC, PPT, TXT, DOCM, XLSM, PPTM, PPSX, PPSM, DOCX, XLX, PPTX||ePUB (including fixed layout and enhanced)|
|Media formats||Audible (Audible Enhanced AA, AAX), JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8||MP4, Flash, 3GP, 3G2 MKV, WEBM (Video Codecs: H.264, MPEG-4, H.263, VP8), JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP, MP3, MP4, AAC, AMR, WAV, OGG (Audio Codecs MP3, AAC, AMR, LPCM, OGG Vorbis)||JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP, MP3, AAC, 3GP, MP4, M4A, FLAC, OGG, WAV, MID, WEBM|
|Content source||Kindle Store||Nook Store||Kobo Store|
|Battery life (as claimed by vendor with Wi-Fi off)||8 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback||11.5 hours of continuous reading, or 9 hours of video playback||7 hours|