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Weighing your e-reader options isn't as difficult as, say, deciding on a new smartphone. There are fewer models to sift through, for one, and your allegiance to Amazon or B&N could further narrow things down. Still, you have a range of options in every camp -- from barebones devices meant for reading and nothing else to full-fledged tablets with the higher-end specs to match. Below, we make the case for some of our top picks.
ON THE CHEAP
At $69 with Special Offers, Amazon's Kindle is about as cheap as you can get without sacrificing a reliable reading experience. You'll have access to the e-retailer's vast library of e-books, and the glare-free display is great for a day on the beach. Of course, the Kindle Paperwhite offers more bells and whistles (and a superior screen), but for the price, you can't go wrong with this model. -- Sarah Silbert, Senior Editor
Key specs: 6-inch E Ink display, 2GB of memory, holds up to 1,400 books, USB charging cable, up to one month of battery life with wireless off and half-hour of daily reading, 5.98 ounces.
Price: $69 on Amazon
Give the gift of e-reading -- for the cost of a couple of hardcovers. The Simple Touch isn't exactly state-of-the-art these days (Barnes & Noble recently introduced its higher-end Nook GlowLight, for instance), but it's still a solid reader for those who don't want to spend an arm and a leg. The $79 Simple Touch has both a touchscreen and physical buttons, plus a battery that should last for about two months. -- Brian Heater, Director of Media
Key specs: 6-inch (800 x 600) E Ink display, 2GB of memory (holds 1,000 books), expandable by microSD up to 32GB, micro-USB connector, more than two months of battery life with wireless off and half-hour of daily reading, 7.48 ounces.
Price: $79 from Barnes & Noble
I've owned several Kindle e-readers, so it was an absolute no-brainer to upgrade to the Paperwhite when it first debuted last year. Not only does it have a touchscreen, but its adjustable backlight also lets me read in bed without disturbing my spouse. The new Paperwhite's higher-contrast display and faster chip make it a better buy than ever for the book lover in your life. -- Nicole Lee, Associate Editor
Key Specs: 6-inch Paperwhite display with built-in light, 2GB built-in storage, holds up to 1,100 books, 1GHz processor, up to eight weeks of battery life with wireless off and light setting at 10, 7.3 ounces.
Price: $119 (with Special Offers) on Amazon
MONEY IS NO OBJECT
If you're a stickler for quality in dedicated e-readers, it doesn't get much better than Kobo's Aura HD. Its 1,440 x 1,080 e-paper screen produces very sharp text and displays more per page than its peers. The device also has more built-in storage than many rivals, and it supports a wide range of document formats. -- Jon Fingas, Associate Editor
Key specs: 6.8-inch (1,440 x 1,080) E Ink display, 4GB of built-in memory, expandable up to 32GB via microSD card, 1GHz processor, up to 2 months of battery life with half-hour of daily use, 8.5 ounces.
Price: $170 from Kobo
Despite lacking Google Play access, Amazon's top-of-the-line Kindle Fire HDX sports a 1,920 x 1,200 (323-ppi) display, 2.2GHz processor and a Mayday helping-hand feature. If that special someone's reading and viewing habits are already tied to Amazon's ecosystem, this slate will definitely enhance said consumption. Just be sure to shell out the extra cash to dismiss those Special Offers... permanently. -- Billy Steele, Associate Editor
Key specs: 7-inch (1,920 x 1,200) display, quad-core 2.2GHz CPU, up to 64GB of built-in storage, Mayday button, front-facing camera, up to 11 hours of battery life with mixed use/up to 17 hours when reading, 10.7 ounces (WiFi-only model).
Price: $244 and up (without Special Offers) on Amazon
In the market for an Android tablet? Sony's Xperia Tablet Z has a lot going for it, including a 1080p display with good viewing angles and an attractive, water-resistant design. An added bonus: the IR blaster and remote apps let you use this slate to control your TV.a Rafflecopter giveaway
- Entries are handled through the Rafflecopter widget above. Comments are no longer accepted as valid methods of entry. You may enter without any obligation to social media accounts, though we may offer them as opportunities for extra entries. Your email address is required so we can get in touch with you if you win, but it will not be given to third parties.
- Contest is open to all residents of the 50 States and the District of Columbia, 18 or older! Sorry, we don't make this rule (we hate excluding anyone).
- Winners will be chosen randomly. One winner will receive one (1) Sony Xperia Tablet Z.
- If you are chosen, you will be notified by email. Winners must respond within three days of being contacted. If you do not respond within that period, another winner will be chosen. Make sure that the account you use to enter the contest includes a contact email. Social media contact details are not carried over into our system.
- This unit is purely for promotional giveaway. Sony and Engadget/AOL are not held liable to honor warranties, exchanges or customer service.
- The full list of rules, in all its legalese glory, can be found here.
- Entries can be submitted until December 31st, 2013 at 11:59PM ET. Good luck!
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch
Amazon Kindle Fire 2nd-gen
Barnes & Noble nook Simple Touch
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2nd-gen