THE e-reader has reached adulthood, and bloomed with the addition of a touchscreen. Do touchscreen e-readers look better? Yes: they look more sleek and almost sexy. Are touchscreens necessary? Perhaps not.
The reader experience is not so different to what we had when we were thumbing tiny keys, but, with the exception of the iPad, the touchscreen adds a silky, pleasant quality to the whole experience.
With choice of e-readers rapidly expanding as people increasingly leaving paper books behind, we roundup the latest touchscreen models, including the yet-to-be-released Kindle Touch.
KOBO TOUCH, £110
Is WHSmith’s agreement with Kobo to sell its Touch a useful service or a strategy for self-preservation? Probably both. It’s a way to keep the newsagent relevant, and the tablet is not too bad. Our very own Steve Dinneen’s verdict on the tiny Touch (the screen is six inches and can fit in your suit jacket pocket) is that though the bookstore lacks Amazon’s finesse, it’s “a surprisingly adept challenger” to the Kindle Fire. www.kobobooks.com/touch
IPAD 2, STARTS AT £399
Where the iPad 2 really comes into its own is magazines. Not any Tom, Dick or Harry magazine, but one specifically designed for the device. The user experience is a dream if you like the depth of built-in videos, clever formats and vibrant colour. However, the reflective screen is not to everyone’s tastes as it can make reading in sunlight difficult, and is an expensive option for a pure reading experience. store.apple.com/uk
SONY READER TOUCH PRS-650, £200
A compact six inches, sleek in black, silver and red, this reader looks good. Like the Kindle, it’s equipped with the best E-ink Pearl touchscreen technology, which delivers a more high contrast screen. More expensive than the Kindle Touch (should it launch here), and the Kobo, though it’s a good product, we can’t help wondering why you’d plump for Sony. www.sony.co.uk/hub/reader-ebook
KINDLE TOUCH 3G, $149 (3G AND WI-FI): US ONLY
Not yet available in UK, the Kindle Touch launches in the US at the end of November. Lighter and silver-coloured, it is part of the legion of new Kindle launches (including the Fire). It is keyboardless, and the touchscreen has the latest e-ink technology. Pros are that you won’t have to connect to Wi-Fi. Cons are that there’s no confirmation of when (or even whether) it’s coming to the UK. Do we need a touchscreen version of an already great product? We shall wait and see. www.amazon.com