What's the best e-reader in 2018

E-book reader put to the test : The library always with you

As a freelance editor, he writes for digitalPhoto, Tech.de and PC Welt, among others, and operates the Tutonaut help portal. He prefers to test tablets, eBook readers and televisions.

Thousands of books on one small device - now possible thanks to the e-book reader. The e-ink displays are now so mature that it almost reads as if on paper.

Of the 23 devices we tested, 16 are currently still available. In our test, the price range was between 50 and 300 euros. In the test, you will not only find out more about the individual products, but also interesting facts about e-book stores, free e-books and other loan options.

Waterproof: Kindle Paperwhite 2018

The Kindle Paperwhite is the fourth generation of this e-book reader. We think it's great, especially because of the new features. The 2018 version has more internal storage space, there is also a Bluetooth connection for playing the Audible audiobooks and the device is now also waterproof. In addition, the illumination and workmanship have become a little better, provided you have no problem with the Amazon binding, you will find a great overall package here.

The device looks similar to its predecessors, but a few design aspects have been taken over from the expensive colleagues.

For example the display glass, which is no longer offset, but flush with the housing. There are no buttons for scrolling; you scroll through the pages using the touchscreen. In general, this works well, but if you only use one hand, we would have preferred switches.

It is also smaller than the Paperwhite of the previous generation and also lighter at 180 grams. The device is nice and handy and even after several hours the weight does not bother you in the hand.

The housing is now waterproof according to IPX8, so it would withstand two hours one meter deep in fresh water. We were able to read in the tub without any problems.

The device is charged with a micro-USB cable, it does not have a USB-C port. Depending on the brightness of the display, the device will last a few weeks before it has to be recharged.

The memory has eight or 32 GB and even the smaller version has 6.5 GB available, enough for thousands of books. It might only become a problem if you want to store a lot of audiobooks. Because a 15-hour Audible book needs a little less than 500 megabytes of storage space. The investment in more storage space is then worthwhile.

The navigation works well and fonts and lighting can also be set, all of which is quick and intuitive.

The display has also been improved. The resolution of the e-ink display is still 1448 × 1072 pixels, which is 300 ppi pixel density and more or less standard. The illumination is a bit more homogeneous, because there are now five LEDs instead of four. Nevertheless, this device is a bit darker than its predecessor, but we still think the new version is better when comparing the display. The lighting can also be completely deactivated.

The e-books are well presented on the 6-inch display. This is due to the balanced display illumination, but also to the good settings. Nine different fonts are offered, which are easy to read in every zoom level. The reading experience should be like on paper. We were unable to determine ghosting, which means that the page content remains glowing when you turn the pages.

What we like: as with the Tolino, there is also OpenDyslexic as a font, which helps dyslexics with reading. You can choose from 14 font sizes and also set the severity of the fonts, including the margins and the line spacing. The font settings can also be saved as a profile, so that changes can be made quickly.

Notes and markings can be made quickly, foreign language and unknown words can be looked up or translated. We also like the page flip function, which can be faded in at the bottom of the screen with a swiping gesture. Then a reduced side view and a position bar are shown, so you can quickly navigate through the book. The read page remains open. This is good for non-fiction books, for example, so you can quickly look at the glossary.

Here you can also find the audiobook section Audible. The audiobooks are played on connected speakers or Bluetooth headphones. The listening progress is synchronized, so the coordination with the Audible smartphone app works well.

However, you should keep in mind that the device only has access to audiobooks from the linked Amazon account from which the books originate. A separate Audible account cannot be used at the time of our test. Apart from that, we think the integration of Audible is good. It's just a shame that music or audio books bought elsewhere as MP3 cannot be played here.

There is also an Audible subscription for which you pay around ten euros a month and get an audio book for it a month, and you can buy more for ten euros.

Features such as Freetime or X-Ray are also included. With the latter you get information about the plot or protagonists of the book. Freetime is a child safety feature, so you can only release selected books for the children or limit the usage time. It's quick and easy to set up.

But are there any disadvantages? This device is not perfect, the somewhat sluggish operation bothered us to some extent. If you search the Audible or Kindle store, it works well, but the display of customer ratings or results is rather slow, at least it feels like it. But this is actually the case with all test devices.

PDFs are still not fun. We had a test PDF from O’Reilley, which we could view in full screen, but the processor no longer wanted to zoom. Unfortunately, this also applies to the other devices in the test.

We would have liked a filter for blue light or, as with the Tolino, a color adjustment of the screen to the ambient light. The version with special offers for 20 euros less should also be mentioned. When switching on, ads for new eBooks are displayed here, but not when reading. The device is also available without buying special offers.

Good alternative: Tolino Vision 5

The Tolino Vision 5 is a revised version of the all-rounder. It was definitely worth it. Its appearance is more reminiscent of the Kindle Oasis, which is also noticeable on the buttons for scrolling.

The buttons are on the handle bar, so you can hold the device well. The bar can be used either on the left, right or below. Reading in landscape format is very pleasant and if you hold the device with both hands, you feel reminded of a real book. With IPX8, the device can also be taken to the bathtub and should withstand a depth of two meters for up to 60 minutes. We tested it in a less extreme way, but it survived a short bath.

The battery has become smaller compared to its predecessor, so if you always read with the light on, the device has to be charged more often. We read with it for about 30 minutes every day during the test and so we got by for about two weeks without a load.

The screen has become 7 inches larger, the resolution is 1264 x 1680 pixels and we have nothing to complain about with the backlight. You can read comfortably on the device all day, a night light can be switched on at night, the lighting then becomes reddish. There are also many customization options for the typeface.

In contrast to Amazon, you can also copy ePub files to the device here. The library is also designed to be accessible, and navigation through the various books works well.

The online shop offers a free choice, even if the experience on Amazon is more rounded. Tolino simply brings the dealer website onto the display, but thanks to the e-ink display, the surfing experience is not as comfortable as on a smartphone or tablet.

It is therefore easier if you buy the books on other devices and then load them onto the eBook reader using the Tolino cloud. Thanks to online storage, you can also quickly send existing eBooks to the device.

But the Vision 5 is not perfect either. In terms of navigation, there were minor dropouts in our test, as did when turning the pages. Overall, the device looks a bit more sluggish than its Amazon competitors. Two times we got an error message while reading and shopping and ended up on the start page again.

Sometimes the device didn't notice that we had turned the display, we had the problem with the 13.1 firmware version. So we hope that an update will fix it.

In the onleihe forum some people reported that there were problems with the use of this platform, but we were unable to reproduce this in the test.

We think that the Tolino Version 5 is a good update overall, we like the case and operation, and it is great to read. Thanks to the 7-inch screen, the books are well presented and the lighting is also good.

The somewhat sluggish operation bothers us, but the free choice of platform is great, even if the book search is not quite as intuitive. There are no audio books here, they are still only available via the Tolino app.

Otherwise you will find a good alternative to the Kindle from Amazon, especially if you want to do without the Amazon link.

Noble: Amazon Kindle Oasis 3

The Kindle Oasis 3 is a premium range from Amazon, and has been in its third generation since 2019. The display is now larger, which will be appreciated especially with smaller font sizes.

In addition, the color temperature can now also be adjusted; it can be changed to reddish in 24 levels. Here, too, as with Tolino, the color temperature changes automatically according to the time of day.

We think the lighting of the display is great, even better than the backlight of the Kindle Paperwhite. If you choose the maximum brightness, the text becomes rich in contrast and the background is almost completely white. That and the adjustable color temperature deliver a great reading experience.

We also like it visually, the aluminum case looks high-quality and there are two scroll keys for the touchscreen. Switching between the right and left hand while reading is also convenient thanks to the design and the device is also waterproof.

Nevertheless, we also have criticisms here: there is a microUSB connection and still no USB-C connection, and WLAN with 5 gigahertz is not supported. A headphone output would also be desirable here, as Audible books can only be played via Bluetooth.

Still, it's great for Kindle lovers, you have to decide for yourself whether the device is worth the higher price.

Great library: PocketBook Touch HD 3