The Best eReaders You May Have Never Heard Of

Apr 26, 2011

The task of shopping for the right e-reader might seem daunting with so many options on the market. Even choosing between the big players like the Nook, Kindle, iPad, Kobo, and Sony can seem impossible, but the selection is far wider than that.

There are a number of e-reader options other than the major brands, and some of them have features that differentiate them from the more popular models. Everyone is looking for something different. Some people may want an ebook reader that is more lightweight than the Nook Color or iPad. Maybe you crave a wide variety of functions but cannot afford to spend $300+ on a device. Maybe you want a touch screen display but also need a reader with a long battery life. Whatever your needs, there is a device out there for you.

There are a number of good options flying under the e-reader radar. Here is a quick rundown of readers that are worth taking a look at and a few of the special features they have to offer:

Astak EZ Reader Pocket Pro - $149

• The device supports over 20 open file formats. This is compatible with just about every type of ebook published. This is a great feature for those who wish to access ebooks from libraries or download public domain reading materials.
• It is both compact and lightweight, and is therefore great for traveling. Slip it into your pocket and go anywhere.
• Text to speech allows you to listen to books. This is a great feature for those who like to listen to books while commuting or traveling.

Interead Cool-ER - $249

• At $249, the Cool-ER is much less than other e-readers such as the iPad but more than the Kindle.
• It comes available in eight different colors, making it one of the more stylish e-readers. If you want the perfect color to match your personality, there are many options.
• The Cool-ER is also compact and lightweight, which makes it very portable and easy to hold. Some readers are a bit heavy to read on for extended periods of time, but you'll find that this one doesn't leave your hands cramped.

Cybook Opus - $189

• Opus is the lightest e-reader on the market. It weighs only 5.3 ounces! This makes it very easy to hold for long periods of time and also makes it quite portable.
• The battery lasts for two weeks or 8,000 page flips, so you'll have plenty of time to read a few books on a single charge. This is a great feature for those who are always on the go.

Cybook Orizon - $249

• Orizon is the thinnest e-reader on the market. So compact that it takes up almost no storage space.
• A cool touch screen e-paper display is easy on the eyes and can be rotated in any direction.
• Long battery life provides the user with up to 10,000 page turns per charge. This means you can read 20+ books on a single charge.

Alex E-Reader - $399 (discontinued)

• The color touch screen pad allows for easy navigation.
• The interface rivals the Nook and Kindle, as it is very user-friendly and provides many options for the user.

Although many of these devices aren't as feature-packed as the mainstream readers such as the iPad, Nook, and Kindle, they are all very functional and provide the user with an excellent reading experience. Many of them are smaller and lighter than the more common brands. Also, most are offered at competitive prices and are definitely worth taking a look at if you are on a budget.