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E-Book-Reader at "Stiftung Warentest": "Good" devices exist in the Amazon cage, but also in freedom

Martin Jungfer
Zurich, on 18.07.2022

Stiftung Warentest" has tested eight new e-book readers. Seven achieved the grade "good". Which one you choose, however, depends more on individual preferences than on this test.

E-readers are in season twice a year: at vacation time and at Christmas. They are given as gifts under the Christmas tree or bought to save space in the suitcase. For those who read a lot at the beach, an e-reader also saves weight and can be downloaded at any time should the reading material run out.

In a test by Stiftung Warentest, two devices from Amazon received top marks and were also among the most affordable. The "Signature Edition" is the only reader in the test field that even allows wireless charging.

Kindle Paperwhite: Overall rating "good

Kindle Paperwhite 2021 (6.80 ", 8 GB)
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 (6.80 ", 8 GB)
Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition (11th Generation) 2021 (6.81 ", 32 GB)
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition (11th Generation) 2021 (6.81 ", 32 GB)

But they have a catch: You can only read books on these e-book readers that you have purchased from Amazon. So with a Kindle, you're a prisoner of the Amazon system. With non-Amazon devices, you're free to choose where you buy your digital books or whether you borrow them from the online library. With the Tolino or the two Kobo devices, there are preloaded stores, but they are only an option, not a constraint.

If you don't mind the captivity of Amazon, you will get devices with the two Kindle Paperwhite models from the test that received a "very good" rating for picture quality and workmanship. In terms of battery life, they beat the competition by a long way. According to "Stiftung Warentest", the Kindle Paperwhite offers 133 hours of average reading time before it has to be recharged. The next best device in the test just manages 45 hours, and the other devices have a runtime of just over 20 hours.

The battery life correlates with the screen diagonal. While the two Kindle devices measure 17 centimeters (6.8 inches) diagonally, the largest device in the test has 26 centimeters (10.2 inches) to offer. Of course, displaying more on more surface costs power. To put this into perspective, a page in a paperback book has a diagonal of about 21 centimeters.

In the table with the test results, "Stiftung Warentest" also indicates the resolution of the e-book readers. It is in the range of 1920 by 1440 pixels, and the Amazon devices have a "no information" rating. Even though Amazon doesn't state this, it could have been easily found out. It is 1264 x 1680 pixels. However, it does not really matter in the end because the number of pixels is almost irrelevant for displaying a book page anyway. That's why all devices in the test received the rating "very good" for image quality - with the exception of the Pocketbook Basic 4.

E-book readers: These devices all received a "good" rating

I have already described the strengths of Amazon's e-book readers above. Here is a brief overview of the devices that were otherwise in the test.

Kobo Elipsa

The Elipsa from Kobo, a manufacturer based in Canada, manages an overall rating of 1.7 and thus "good", just like the Amazon devices. With a diagonal of 26 centimeters, it has the largest screen, but also weighs almost 400 grams. The battery has a tested runtime of 19 hours. Like all devices, it comes with an illuminated display and you can also borrow books from libraries digitally thanks to the system openness. With over 28 gigabytes of memory, the Elipsa from Koba can hold most books. You should know that hardly any e-book needs more than one megabyte of memory, so it doesn't really matter whether an e-book reader comes with 8, 16 or 28 gigabytes. Unless you want to create a digital library with tens of thousands of books.

What justifies the considerably higher price of the Elipsa, you might ask? That's explained pretty quickly: The Elipsa is not only an e-book reader, but you can also write on it and convert your notes into PDFs or typed text, for example. However, this did not play a role in the "Stiftung Warentest" test, which is why the apples to oranges comparison can at least be cleared up a bit.

Elipsa (10.30 ", 32 GB)
Kobo Elipsa (10.30 ", 32 GB)

Kobo Sage 8

The Kobo Sage is cheaper than the Elipsa, but received exactly the same score. It is even rated higher for robustness and workmanship. It is smaller and lighter (242 grams) with a diagonal of 20 centimeters. The battery lasts for 13 hours. The Sage 8 has a button for mechanical page turning. This is missing from Amazon's Kindle readers, which require swiping on the display.

Tolino Vision 6

The Tolino Vision 6 is priced on par with the Amazon devices and has similarly good test scores. The only difference is that the battery life is much shorter at 23 hours, but that is not a problem in everyday use. The Vision 6 also has a button for turning pages and a mode for lefties. With 214 grams, the device is one of the lightest.

vision 6 (7 ", 16 GB)
tolino vision 6 (7 ", 16 GB)

Kobo Libra 2

The Kobo Libra 2 was the lightest with a weight of 214 grams and the smallest Kobo device in the test with a screen diagonal of 18 centimeters, but it has the monster storage space of 28 gigabytes just like its bigger siblings.

Libra 2 (7 ", 32 GB)
Kobo Libra 2 (7 ", 32 GB)

Pocketbook Inkpad Color

Most of the books I read are: black text on white paper. That's why pretty much all e-book readers are also made to put black text on the surface. If you have colored books, for example graphic novels or comics, you're well served by Pocketbook's Inkpad Color. "Stiftung Warentest" also gives the e-book reader, which is a bit out of the ordinary with its color feature, a "good" rating. It even lasts a few hours longer than its monochrome colleagues, despite a fairly decent screen diagonal of 20 centimeters.

InkPad Color (7.80 ", 16 GB)
PocketBook InkPad Color (7.80 ", 16 GB)

Which e-book reader is the right one?

Even after studying the test report from "Stiftung Warentest" is clear:. There is no one device that can be recommended without reservation. All of them now have a backlight and are protected against splash water. Amazon certainly offers an attractive price-performance ratio, especially the battery life is a real trump card. On the other hand, you are captive to the Amazon store.

According to "Stiftung Warentest", the Tolino Vision 6 is as good as the Amazon Kindle devices, but it also allows borrowing digital books and shopping in various stores. By the way, I will take it and the Libra 2 model from Kobo with me on vacation and test it. After returning from the pool and the beach, I'll post the test report here. If you are interested, click on "follow author". You will then receive emails when I have published new articles here in the magazine.

Titelbild: Perfecto Capucine / Unsplash

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Journalist since 1997. Stopovers in Franconia (or the Franken region), Lake Constance, Obwalden, Nidwalden and Zurich. Father since 2014. Expert in editorial organisation and motivation. Focus on sustainability, home office tools, beautiful things for the home, creative toys and sports equipment. 

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