One thing that has definitely changed in recent years when it comes to dedicated reading devices is the portability factor.
For a long time most ereaders came in smaller 6-inch sizes, and there were even a few with 4-inch and 5-inch screens, but now there are a lot more ereaders with wider asymmetrical designs and larger screens that are harder to take with you because they’re too big to comfortably fit in a pocket.
Most people probably rely on reading on their phones instead carrying a second device, but that doesn’t work if you’re reading outside in the sun. Even at full brightness an LCD screen can’t compare with an E Ink screen under bright light—it’s not even close.
If you follow this blog, you know I’m a big fan of ereaders with larger screens and I’ve been critical of Amazon for years for ignoring this market. Not everyone has great eyesight and a lot of people only read at home so having a small portable ereader doesn’t make much sense.
Lately, I’ve been using the Kindle Voyage a lot because I often read while walking, and I really appreciate its smaller size because that makes it more portable than current models, except the entry-level Kindle but the Voyage is ten times better despite being much older. And that’s part of the issue: most smaller ereaders are now low-end budget models with inferior screens and less features than larger models. That’s why I wouldn’t mind seeing Amazon release another premium 6-inch Kindle with page buttons, but that’s probably never going to happen.
Ultimately I think that having one small ereader for portability and one larger ereader for reading at home is the best option, but that’s probably not practical for some people.
What do you think? Would you rather have a small, lightweight, highly-portable ereader that you can easily take with you everywhere, or would you rather have an ereader with a larger screen?
It’s probably a bit different for ladies that carry purses, but for me if an ereader doesn’t fit in a pocket it’s staying home. I like asymmetrical devices like the Kobo Libra 2 and Kindle Oasis, but they’re just too wide to comfortably fit in most pockets.
Charles Kemp says
I have gotten use to the 6.8 inch PW5 and love it, I am 75 I don’t have a vision problem that glasses can’t handle but it is just enough of a size difference to really make a difference.
When I’m at home, there are many options for reading. Sometimes I read on my Kindle Oasis, sometimes on a Surface Pro with keyboard removed, sometimes on my monitor.
On the go is a totally different story. I use a PocketBook Lux 5 because it fits in my pocket. The PocketBook is slow to load and the sync functionality is absolute hot garbage. But I love the form factor, and as long as I don’t need to sync reading position, it’s a great portable reader.
I pre-ordered the Kobo Clara 2E yesterday in hopes that it is as portable as the Lux, but with working sync.
We’re all used to having bags or just carrying our stuff with us. Nothing fits in pockets anymore except maybe your phone.
Believe me or not, but I was thinking just about the same other day. And since I’m totally on Kobo, I was thinking to get something smaller than Libra (I have Libra H20). Even it is small, it is still bulky утщгпр especially with case on. I have Elipsa also, but that one is not even moving out of my work desk, constant note taking and some non-fictional literature reading primarily. Aura One just stuck being unused in a LOOOONG while I still like this device for what it is.
Basically I’m waiting for Kobo Clara 2E to be released 😀
Having never, ever carried a reader device in a pocket, portability is something I’ve NEVER worried over. Every reader I’ve bought, from the original WiFi Nook, has fit in my bag, with case! And that includes my 8″ Kobo Forma.
The small screen readers just have so little text on them when font size is adjusted for my eyes, they just aren’t that pleasant for me to read on. And as I sunburn easily, I’m not likely to be standing or sitting unprotected in the sun for any length of time, so that’s not a worry either.
So you could say I”m definitely in the larger screen camp!
Steve H. says
I am definitely in the large camp…really like my Kobo Sage….but the right 10 inch device might make me purchase. I used to have a Kindle DX and consider Amazon not coming out with a similar sized device as business malpractice.
Most clothes I wear don’t have pockets. since covid I downsized my purse. I didn’t want to sit it down anywhere. But it does hold my kindle 6.8. And my large phone – I don’t read on my phone. I take my kindle everywhere. I don’t go many places any longer, but even on a grocery run I have it – – never know when my car will break down! I loved my voyage! But the charging port loosened up enough to not connect enough with the cord.
My Kobo Sage is my portable ereader because, yes, it fits in my purse. My Elipsa is the one that always stays home. I don’t even carry my phone in a pocket – too big! Women’s pockets are usually pretty useless.
I have a Hisense A9 alongside my ereaders (Kobo Libra 2, Kindle Oasis 2, Kindle PW5). It’s very portable, runs Kindle/Libby/Koreader pretty well, almost as well as a dedicated ereader. Pricy though…
Agree with you 100%, I would definitely buy two eReaders, a larger one for home, and a smaller one to bring along with me everywhere!
I care more about lightweight than size. I used to take the Sony DPT-S1 on the subway. I only really use smaller ereaders when traveling and that is in part to limit the damage if lost/stolen.. Having said that, I did use to carry the PRS505 in jacket pocket, but that was before large screen readers existed
I have many devices (app 30) from 5.2 inch to 10.3. Of these, I mainly use Likebook Aliita (10.3 inches, 512 GB SD) for Notes, Tolino Epos 3 (8 inches) for books at home and Inkpalm 5 (5.2 inches, 115g) for on the go.
For travel I use my Meebook P78 Pro + 512 GB SD card.
I don’t see the point of large ereaders for casual reading. Paperbacks are pocket sized and easily portable, so that’s what I want in an ereader, too. The Sony prs-300 is my go-to ereader and works just fine for my needs.. no fancy colors or wifi or pens, just a basic reader.
Portability and pocketability are not the same thing. Every Kindle I’ve had since the Kindle 2 is portable. Most have not been pocketable. My 8th Gen Basic and Voyage can be pocketed, but I’ve never done that. Well except for in big coat pockets. But that really is only in cold weather. And my duffel coat pockets can even fit a Kindle 2. And no reader I’ve owned since has been bigger than the Kindle 2. Kindles go in a bag or I just hold them in my hand. All perfectly portable.
Like Nathan, I would like a larger ereader for home use and a smaller one for when I am out and about. I pre-ordered Kobo Clara 2E as my current Clara has been having issues for sometime so replacing with the 2E model. A smaller ereader is my preference as I get around by public transportation and my own two feet. Also have shoulder issues so need to keep my purse/bag lighter in weight. Had ordered the Libra 2 twice earlier this year but both models had major freezing issues so returned it and did not want to chance it a third time.
I love my 5” InkPalm and read 2 books a week on it. It’s really light to hold, always in my pocket and I prefer it over my 6/7/8/13” readers for regular e-books.
I also love my inkpalm, I bought it for travelling, but almost immediately started to us it exclusively, and I read a lot!
I cannot understand why Kobo does not make an updated version of the mini, that would be great.
I love my old pocketbook mini. I have kobo sage and pocketbook mini. Pocketbook is the best for outside, is always with me.
I went from the original Kobo Glo to the Clara HD and I’ll never get anything above 6 inches because these fit perfectly in the backpockets of my jeans. Even if I’m at a place where no bags are allowed I can keep my ereader with me and have entertainment in case I have to stand in a queue (happened multiple times already).
Unless I am reading at night and need the orange light I use six inch ereaders because they are lighter.
My first Kindle went everywhere with me. When I got my second Kindle one stayed at home, the other was always in my bag. Having a home and a traveling Kindle always made since to me. I prefer the six inch Kindles for going out because they are lighter.
I switched from the Kobo Libra *back* to my Glo HD because I missed the pocketability.
For a long time, I’d believed that the ‘ideal’ line length is that preferred by professional typesetters (50-60 characters per line; it requires impossibly small fonts on a 6-inch screen). In practice, I haven’t found the shorter line lengths any worse to read. Some research even points to the shorter line lengths being easier for some to read (see https://jov.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2142896). I’d definitely prioritise pocketability over longer line lengths. Other than for reading PDFs or Manga, or wanting very large font sizes, I haven’t found any benefit to a slightly larger eink screen.
Lou Sevens says
Lou Sevens here- I am EXTREMELY pleased the 10.2 inch Kindle scribe is coming this year.
I have the last year paperwhite, and due to some trade in credits have a Oasis that I like for the buttons and a second paperwhite- although I ordered my scribe- I might trade in the 2nd PW but thought about it and I actually do use all 3 and rotate them.
I don’t find them really portable in the sense that I would always have them in a backpack etc. I do not really enjoy reading on my phone
Fergus Duniho says
I normally take my ereader along in my backpack. It’s designed for laptops, and I could carry my DX in it, but for reading purposes, I normally just carry my Paperwhite 5. My smaller Paperwhite 4 is useful if I want to read while standing in line, but I rarely do that, and I find it most convenient to read a book on a single device, since I rely on WiFi, which is not usually available when I’m away from home. For holding my PW5, I got a case with a strap and a stand buikt into the inside front cover. By sticking a plastic coat hanger through the strap, I can easily hold it with either one or both hands. But since the coat hanger is a little too long to fit in my backpack, and it works best when I can rest the Kindle on something, such as my stomach while reclining, I mainly use it at home.