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eReader Comparison; Kindle vs. Nook vs. Sony PRS600 vs. Literati eReader Shootout

Amazon Kindle vs. Barnes and Noble Nook vs. Sony PRS-600 (and PRS-350) vs. Sharper Image Literati

By Jack Burden and JM Butler Granite counters for alabama: granite countertops sylacauga alabama gmq tops.


After much testing we have created what we consider the most important categories for quality comparison with E-book readers. Since Ereaders are still fairly early in their adoption phase there are only a few on the market. Our professional review team thoroughly compares them and puts them through about every kind of situation from holding the eReader up for long periods of time, to reading in the dark, to E-book download speed and convenience. We hope you find the comparison useful in making your decision which Ereader is right for you.


The Nook and Sony PRS-600 were my favorites in terms of attractive appearance. I like the matte metallic screens on the Sony eReaders both PSC 350 and 600 in silver or red. The PSC300 by Sony is the smallest eReader we tested and super sleek. Another slick aesthetic aspect of the Sony eReader is that the controls are barely visible at the bottom of the unit.

The Nook is offered only in white with a gloss tapering framing bezel with rounded edges. I did not find that the gloss frame presented any glare problems with reading. I like the looks, but truth be told, the device looks distinctly more feminine than the Sony or Kindle. The Nook has a touch screen LCD control panel at the bottom that maintains its attractive standard.

The Kindle is the thinnest of the bunch and has a graphite gray (or white) matte framing bezel. In my opinion Amazon has given too much attention to the matte finish. It's a little boring and plain though it does have rounded tapered edges. The raised letter keyboard on the bottom of the device is also frankly a little ugly in the day of the touch screen.

Last on the list is the clunky Literati. It's super tall 8.5" height is the first sign of awkwardness. The devices screen frame is gloss black and is nearly 3 quarters of an inch on sides and top. The raised letter keyboard takes up an 1.5 inches on the bottom of the e-Book reader. At first glance, it would be difficult to know what the main function of the device is – maybe a super large phone with texting ability?

  1. Sony PRS-600,PRS-350 & Nook (especially for females)
  2. Amazon Kindle
  3. Literati

Comfort in Hand

The Amazon Kindle and Sony PRS-350 are extremely light, comfortable and easy to hold while reading. The Sony PSC600 and Nook are also compact but heavier, thicker and will tire the arm or hand a little quicker. The Literati is in no way comfortable. It's clunky and ergonomic design was thrown out when making it.

  1. Kindle and Sony PRS-350
  2. Nook and Sony PRS-600
  3. Literati

User Controls

The user interface of these 4 devices run the gamut of what is available. The PRS-600 has few hardware buttons and relies mostly on a touchscreen interface, the Nook uses a small touch screen to control the larger electronic paper screen and buttons for page turning, the Kindle eschews all touch functionality in favor of hardware buttons and a QWERTY keyboard and the Literati uses a hardware keyboard and touch sensitivity on the unit case for turning pages while the screen itself has no touch features.

All of these hardware interface styles work, it's going to come down to personal preference for which works best for you. I, for instance, am not a fan virtual keyboards or virtual buttons, I like to have tactile feedback so I know when I press something without having to verify it by looking at the screen. Other people here prefer using the touch screen with the stylus and use virtual keyboards all the time on their mobile phone so they do not present a problem.

For on-screen navigation the Kindle and Literati use a 4 way control button with a button in the center for confirming selections. The Nook uses a similar 4 way controller on it's touch screen and the two Sony models use the touchscreen itself where you use the included stylus or your finger to make direct selections. For selecting items from a menu or getting to a specific point on the page, direct selection on the touch screen is certainly the fastest.

  1. Sony PRS-600 & PRS-350
  2. Kindle
  3. Nook
  4. Literati

E-Book Download Ease

The Kindle and Nook can both use WiFi (all versions) or 3G (3G versions) to access the online bookstores both units are tied to. The Literati can use WiFi to access to access Borders' KoBo store. All three of these are convenient and easy ways to download books. The eBook files are small so even when accessing the Kindle or B&N stores over low speed cell phone lines the files download quickly and you can load plenty of material onto your ereader within minutes. Built in or touch screen keyboards make searching easy and all the stores offer the New York Times best seller list, the stores' own hot books lists and other suggestions if you just want to browse. The PRS-600 and PRS-350 do not have any wireless connectivity so they rely on you downloading books on a computer and transferring them via USB or memory card to the unit, this is easy enough for the computer savvy but for the non-technically inclined or for those not near a computer it's going to be inconvenient when compared to the others. It does include software to access the Sony bookstore to download and manage your library, if you are familiar with using iTunes to purchase and transfer music to an iPod you will find managing the Sony ereaders to be a similar experience.

  1. Kindle and Nook
  2. Literati
  3. PRS-600 & PRS-350

Readability, Font Size, Contrast, Screen Uniformity

The Nook, Kindle and Sony PRS600 (and PRS350) all have the same non-lit e-ink screen and about the same font size as standard though all may be modified to various font sizes. The Kindle has 3 font options and 8 sizes with adjustable line spacing. The Nook has 3 available fonts with 6 font sizes but non-adjustable line spacing. The touchscreen layer on the PRS-600 and PRS-350 make it more succeptible to glare in bright conditions but it's not much more reflective than the others.

The Literati has 2 fonts with 5 font sizes. The screen brightness is adjustable since this is a back/side lit screen. There is annoying flicker from the screen when in dim lighting. The paragraph spacing is too far apart. The smallest font size is barely small enough to be able to fit a medium length paragraph on the screen. Reading dialog of short sentences can be especially annoying.

  1. Kindle
  2. Nook
  3. PRS-600 & PRS-350
  4. Literati

Page Turn Speed and Function

The Sony PRS-600 has a touch screen interface that allows the user to swipe the screen to turn the page, cool. There are also convenient and nearly hidden buttons on the Sony for turning forward or back.

Page turn with the Nook and Kindle is by way of buttons only, conveniently placed on both sides of the unit.

The turn speed of the Literati is actually very good owing to the LCD screen rather than the e-ink screen. Due to it's refresh rate the page turn is very seamless with no annoying flicker reset. However, hitting the touch buttons perfectly is another matter. They work sometimes and other times they dont so you might have to hit the page turn button two or three times each time you want to turn the page. That's a huge drawback and just short of a defect.

  1. Sony PRS-600 or PRS-350
  2. Amazon Kindle
  3. Nook
  4. Literati (fast but unreliable)

Highlight Functionality

The Sony PRS-600 (or PRS-350) touch edition has an included stylus and the touch screen allows underlining, circling, and margin notes. Of course, all of this is saved in the book for future reference. For students this could be a deal winner for the Sony. You could also use your finger nail or another device to accomplish the same. It's a great extra feature that the others do not contain.

The Kindle has a fairly reasonable underline ability by which the user clicks the four way controller and drag the courser across the verbiage you want to underline, then click the controller a last time to set. With the Nook the courser moves much more slowly and the touch screen LCD controls are also slower to operate. But the operation and how it works is the same. The Literati does not contain an underline or marking feature ability.

  1. Sony PRS-600 (or PRS-350)
  2. Amazon Kindle
  3. Nook
  4. Literati

Dictionary Functionality

All of the ereaders in this article feature built in dictionaries for looking up words while reading or independently. The Kindle and the 2 Sony ereaders have a feature which sets them apart from the other two, highlight a word with the cursor on the Kindle or the stylus on the Sonys and the definitions pops up in a small window without taking you away from the page you were while the Nook and Literati take you away from the page to a new dictionary page. This may seem like a small convenience but in action it's a very nice feature and will have you expanding your vocabulary as you use the speedy look up. With the touch screen and stylus and the Sony readers are especially fast.

  1. Sony PRS-600 & PRS-350
  2. Kindle
  3. Nook
  4. Literati

Irregularities and Downfalls

In this section we detail anything we find "wrong" with the ereaders covered in this article.

Kindle – Less file format compatibility than any of the other units. No ePub format compatibility makes the Kindle less simple to use with content from places other than amazon. There are converters available but since they are not officially supported and often not user friendly will still must count this as a negative.

Nook – Using both an electronic paper and an LCD touchscreen together can offer a jarring, disconnected experience. The LCD screen moves and updates much faster than the e-ink screen so when using one to control the other you run into delays which hamper the interface at times, it's certainly no deal breaker but it can be off-putting. Another issue we ran into was when downloading sample books from the B&N store we sometimes got nothing but the same overview found on the book's webpage rather than an actual sample.

Sony – Lack of any wireless functionality is a problem. At a higher price than the WiFi Nook or Kindle not having wireless capability is definitely a setback. If you want to add books to your ereader you have to be near a computer that has your reader management software installed.

Literati – The poor screen uniformity, miniscule battery life, page turning inconsistency, lack of any highlighting or annotating and clumsy overall design are all major downfalls of the Literati.

Extra Features

The Kindle and Nook both feature rudimentary web browsers, these are useful in a pinch but not something you'd want to browse the web on with any regularity. Don't expect to surf the web like you would with a smartphone or tablet. The Kindle and the Nook also both have an MP3 player built in and small speakers and headphone jacks. These MP3 players will never be mistaken for a iPod or other dedicated MP3 player or even a smartphone but they do offer the ability to play back music which is a nice extra in a device really made for reading. The Nook has a few games built in, you can play Sudoku or Chess though the user interface for them, Chess especially, leaves a lot to be desired. Kindle has office time killing classic Minesweeper but again on an ereader this is more a novelty than an actual feature.

The Kindle features a text to speech function that will read your book to you in a computerized voice. The cadence and delivery isn't bad but it's probably not something you would want to use often and it is only available on books where the publisher allows it.

The Sony ereaders can be used as a scratch pad with stylus and also have a picture viewer. The scratch pad can be quite useful for taking quick notes but an e-ink screen is far from ideal for displaying photos.

The Literati has no extra features to speak of.

  1. Kindle
  2. Nook
  3. PRS-600 & PRS-350
  4. Literati

Battery Life between charges

The battery life of the units with electronic paper displays can be extraordinarily long. The Kindle and Sony models offer the longest battery life. Even with heavy reading a full charge in these units can last longer than two weeks and with light reading can even get you close to three weeks to a month of charge time. The Nook uses an e-ink screen for reading but also has a small, color, LCD touch screen that uses slightly more power than the above two but still can last up to two weeks under normal reading conditions. With it's LCD screen the battery life in the Literati is far lower than the other units, we managed to drain 75% of the battery in just 3 hours of reading.

Using the wireless or leaving it on will lower the battery life in all the units that have wireless so to keep the battery life up and also to extend the life of the battery itself we recommend keeping the wireless off unless you are actively using it.

All of these ereaders include a USB cable for charging the unit while connected to a computer as well as for transferring files to and from the device. The Nook, Kindle and Literati also include an AC adapter for charging the unit with a wall outlet. Sony sells an AC charger for their units but charges an additional $29.99 for this accessory.

Of the 4 ereaders tested the Nook is the only one with a user replaceable battery, the others will have to be sent back to their respective manufacturer to change the battery but this is something you certainly won't have to do with any regularity and if you are the type that replaces gadgets every few years you may never have to return an ereader for a battery change.

  1. Nook (similar battery life but user replaceable battery gives it the edge)
  2. Kindle & Sony Models
  3. Literati


The Kindle is $139 for the wifi version and $189 for the 3G version. The Nook is $10 more for either. The Literati has one model and costs around $119. The Sony PRS-600 is $169 for non-wifi, while the smaller Sony PRS-350 is $139. We're partial to the Amazon eBook store selection by a slight margin due to more titles and perhaps more sample 1st chapters. The Kindle is also the lightest and thinnest eReader of the bunch. The Sony has no wifi which is a drawback there while containing the nifty touch screen for highlighting and page turning. The Nook has good looks, a nice LCD user interface which feels more like Apple iphone technology. The Literati has a lit LCD screen but the text area is too narrow due to the margins and narrow screen.

  1. Kindle Wifi
  2. Nook Wifi
  3. Sony PRS-600 & PRS-350
  4. Literati

Overall Rankings

We calculated the final ranking by assigning 4 points to 1st place, 3 points for 2nd, 2 for 3rd and 1 for 4th.

Amazon Kindle – 35 points

Sony PRS-350 – 35 points

Sony PRS-600 – 34 points

Barnes & Noble Nook – 32 points

Sharper Image Literati – 16 points

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