Hertz and Avis... Amazon and Barnes and Noble... The competition's getting hot now that Barnes and Noble has a very successful color LCD ebook reader in their Nook Color, and a touch screen E-Ink reader in the New Nook Simple Touch. Both booksellers offer a very large selection of books at similar prices, and wireless delivery of books, magazines and newspapers. Barnes and Noble has a physical presence so you can visit a store to check out a reader, look at accessories before buying them, and ask questions of the staff. Amazon has the Kindle 3 in several top retailers stores along with accessories, and boasts the largest online bookstore.
Not an easy choice. Take away the touch feature on the New Nook, and the two readers are quite similar. Both have 6" Pearl E-Ink displays with improved contrast, both have WiFi (the Kindle is also available with added 3G for a higher price) and both can store a lot of books. Of course, that touch feature is very important: not only is touch all the rage, but it makes for improved usability because you interact directly with the thing you want (you touch the book you wish to open, rather than using a directional controller and enter key to navigate to it and open it).
Both readers sell for $139, but Amazon also has an ad-supported version of the Kindle 3 for $114. The Kindle has a basic web browser, speakers, text-to-speech, a basic MP3 player and Audible book support (Amazon owns Audible, BTW). While the Simple Touch is following the trend toward making ereaders cheaper, lighter and less featured, the nearly year old Kindle 3 still has the broad feature set we saw on last year's E-Ink ebook readers. Will Amazon offer a touch screen E-Ink reader? Probably. Will it have reduced features to bring down size and cost? Who knows.
In our video comparison, we take a deep look at how main features work on each reader. For example, we look at the search function, format support, PDF handling, the on-device shopping experience, library organization and presentation, annotations and highlights, dictionary and more. We've tried to cover as much ground as possible in this half hour comparison, so sit back and let the smackdown begin.