I decided to do a test between the Kindle 3, Kobo WiFi, and Sony Daily Edition to compare which offered the best newspaper reading experience. I subscribed to the New York Times on all three devices and here’s the results.
A subscription for the New York Times costs $19.99 a month and is delivered daily. You can also buy them by the issue for 99 cents. As of this writing, the Kindle subscription comes with a free 2-month trial, the Kobo subscription comes with 1 month free, and the Sony subscription comes with a 2 week free trial.
All three have auto-delivery for newspaper and magazine subscriptions so each morning you can turn the device on and the newspaper is there waiting. No having to load it onto the reader with a computer or having to manually download it (provided the wireless is turned on, of course).
The subscriptions all have the same exact articles and sections (essentially the same thing that’s available online for free at NYTimes.com). The articles have one image associated with them if one is available for the article, but not multiple images. Each section breaks down into a list of titles and summaries for navigating between articles. The Sony and Kobo show thumbnails along with the titles and summaries; the Kindle does not.
Kindle 3 NYT Review
The New York Times subscription on the Kindle 3 loads fairly fast when navigating between sections and articles. There’s a menu that displays at the bottom of the page for accessing the section list and for jumping to the next and previous articles. The section list shows the number of articles in each section. Click the section heading to jump to the first article or click the numbers to show the list of articles.
When reading an article most of the same functions apply as with reading ebooks: you can add notes, highlights, run searches, rotate the screen, check the dictionary, reference Wikipedia or search Google, and adjust font type, size, spacing and margins. You can even have the article read aloud using text to speech. There are no bookmarks however, but you can clip articles to be saved in the clippings folder, which is saved as a TXT file.
Kobo WiFi NYT Review
The Kobo WiFi was just recently released and so were Kobo’s newspapers subscriptions. Given that, I won’t bash the NYT subscription on the Kobo too much because they haven’t had much time to refine it yet. But the bottom line is there are some issues. For the most part, it works okay, but is very slow to load and it has problems moving between sections, taking as long as 30 seconds to load, sometimes not loading at all until you keep pressing the page turn buttons.
There aren’t a lot of features. You can change the text size, jump to the next and previous sections, and view the section list. No bookmarks, notes, landscape mode, etc. It remembers the last page read.
Daily Edition NYT Review
The Sony Daily Edition lives up to its name. It works very well for newspaper subscriptions. It loads fast, the touchscreen makes it super easy to use and move between articles, and all the touchscreen functions work for newspapers: you can check the dictionary, reference Wikipedia, add notes, highlights, bookmarks, jump to page, go back and forth with the history, etc.
The newspaper viewer adds four buttons to the bottom of the screen to quickly jump to the next and previous articles, go to the section top (the list of articles within a section), and access the table of contents. The TOC lists all the sections and then all the articles within that section.
Overall, unless you want to be able to have the articles read aloud using text-to-speech, the Sony Daily Edition is hands-down the best ebook reader of the three for newspaper subscriptions (it costs about twice as much so it should be).
The touchscreen makes moving between articles a breeze by being able to tap on-screen selections instead of having to move a cursor around. All the on-screen functions like dictionary, zoom, and adding notes work well. Additionally, the Daily Edition loads pages the fastest, the newspaper viewer has a clean, uncluttered layout, and the larger screen is a benefit too.
The downside is that Sony only has a fraction of newspapers to choose from compared to Amazon. Sony has 26 and Amazon has 146. Looks like Sony has some catching up to do.