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2019 Best E-readers for the Beach and the Outdoors

Updated November 2018. For those of you that are hanging on to your paperback books on the beach, more power to you! I have always been a die-hard book vs. e-reader person so packing a few titles is something I always did on a beach vacation. Now I have a Kobo Touch filled with books that I can lug around always.

For those of you researching which e-readers are the best ones for a beach vacation here are some details on the latest models out there and which bells and whistles you may not want to pay the extra cost for.

My pick for the best E-readers for the beach is the new Kobo Forma. The reason why it supports the most book formats, is waterproof, has a rotating screen for easy and more comfortable reading. All the Kobo models also have front light and brightness adjustments that are far superior to Kindle models. See eReader model comparison charts below.

Best E-readers for the Beach and the Outdoors

What are the Best e-readers for the Beach?

Choosing Between Kindle vs. Kobo Best Beach Friendly Models

To make this easier, here is a handy chart comparing the best for the beach Kindle with Kobo models, if you would like to see details on each companies models then scroll down.

NEW! TOP PICK!
Kindle OasisKobo Forma
  • Size similar to Kobo
  • Harder to read other book formats with the Kindle models which focus on .mobi
  • e-Book Prices are lower
  • Good battery life
  • No light or advanced brightness controls
  • Size similar Kindle
  • Can purchase books at more places as it supports more formats
  • Easier to read other book formats.
  • Good battery life
  • Front light and auto-brightness for low light reading
Best for Amazon Book BuyersBest for People who get books from multiple sources
Shop Now: Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UKShop Now: Kobo US | Kobo CA

 

E-reader Descriptions

Here I outline all the current models of e-readers best for outdoor reading. I will start with comparing Kindle models if you would like to jump down to Kobo models click here.

2019 Kindle E-reader Options

I have a library of epub books so researching a Kindle is not the best option as it’s e-reader doesn’t read epub files easily. Kindle, however, has four models of e-readers all at various price points.  If you are a die-hard Amazon shopper then consider these models:

2019 Models: Kindle | Kindle Paperwhite | Kindle Oasis

BEST FOR THE BEACH!
ModelKindleKindle PaperwhiteKindle Oasis
Price$$$$$$$
Screen Display6″
167 ppi
6″
300 ppi
7”
300 ppi
Dimensions160 x 115 x 9.1 mm169 x 117 x 9.1 mm159 mm x 141 mm x 3.4-8.3 mm
Weight161 g205 g194 g
Back LightNOYESYes
adaptive light sensor
Storage Capacity4 GB4 GB8 or 32 GB
WaterproofNONOYES
Shop NowAmazon US
Amazon CA
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon CA
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon CA
Amazon UK

 

Supported Formats: Kindle Format 8 (AZW3), Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion. NOTE DOES NOT SUPPORT EPUB!!

Read more: Gift Guide of Best Devices for Creating a Smart Home

Kindle (basic model)

This Kindle is the oldest and simplest model of Kindle reader, but it has been updated. This model does not have paperwhite or backlight features. It will store thousands of books, and when wifi is off, the battery will last about four weeks. This model is also the most affordable of the Kindle readers.

Shop Now: Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

Kindle Paperwhite (mid-range model)

The mid-range model of Kindle also stores 1000 books. However, it has a bit better resolution and a backlight for reading in the dark. The Kindle Paperwhite will also run eight weeks when WiFi is turned off. The Paperwhite is an affordable option for an outdoor e-reader at the beach.

Shop Now: Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

Kindle Oasis (waterproof, high-range model)

If you are an avid reader and looking for more advanced features and you have a budget of over $300 for an e-reader, then you can consider the Kindle Voyage and Kindle Oasis models. These eReaders have ergonomic handgrips which move the centre of gravity to your palm making them more comfortable to hold. They are ideal for one hand reading, and you can turn the page with either a touch display or using the turn buttons located on the hand grip. The difference between the two models are in their led lights, and the Oasis comes with a leather charging case.

Shop Now: Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK


Accessories for your Kindle

If you invest in a Kindle eReader here are some favourite accessories to consider. I would recommend a good case to protect your investment. They range in style from plastic smart covers to high-end leather covers. These also make great gifts for travel lovers.

Shop Now: Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK


Kobo Canada_Devices

2019 Kobo E-reader Options

I think Kobo has edged out Kindle to produce the most models at different price points. Also, their Kobo Forma is super lightweight, waterproof and has a rotating screen making it hands down the best eReader on the market.

2019 Models: Kobo Forma | Kobo Clara HD
2018 Updated Models: Kobo Aura | Kobo Aura H20 | Kobo Aura One

Not WaterproofNot WaterproofBEST FOR THE BEACH!BEST FOR THE BEACH!BEST FOR THE BEACH!
ModelKobo Aura
(2nd Edition)
New! Kobo
Clara HD
Kobo Aura H2O
(2nd Edition)
Kobo
Aura One
New! Kobo
Forma
Price$$$$$$$$$$
Screen Display6″
Carta E Ink
212 ppi
6″
Carta E Ink300 ppi
6.8”
Carta E-Ink
265 dpi
7.8″
Carta E Ink
300 dpi
8.0″
Carta E Ink
300 dpi
Dimensions113 x 159 x 8.5 mm159.6 x 110 x 8.35 mm129 x 172 x 8.8 mm138.5 x 195.1 x 6.9 mm160 x 177.7 x 8.5 mm (thickness at gripping area) & 4.2 mm (thickness at the thinner side)
Weight180 g166 g207 g230 g197 g
Back LightComfort LightComfortLight PROComfortLight PROComfortLight PROComfortLight PRO
Storage Capacity4 GB8 GB8 GB8 GB8 GB
WaterproofNONOYESYESYES
Shop NowKobo US
Kobo CA
Kobo US
Kobo CA
Kobo US
Kobo CA
Kobo US
Kobo CA
Kobo US
Kobo CA

 

Kobo e-readers can process a variety of ebook formats:

  • eBooks: EPUB, PDF, and MOBI
  • Images: JPEG, GIF, PNG, and TIFF.
  • Text: TXT, HTML, XHTML, and RTF.
  • Comic Books: CBZ and CBR.

Note Re: Kobo Model Battery Life

An interesting note about Kobo’s e-readers is they no longer have detailed descriptions on battery life. They all say “weeks of battery life” now with a disclaimer that states “depends on individual usage.” My older model did not have great battery life, but these newer models which include backlighting and other bells and whistles will drain depending on if you keep the wi-fi on, use the backlight a lot etc. Kobo Discount List.

KOBO AURA (Basic Model)

This is the most basic Kobo model on the market. The Kobo Aura has a more advanced 6 inch Carta e-ink touchscreen. The Aura does come with a backlight and has 4GB of storage. The product also has excellent discounts which put it closer to the price point of the Kobo Touch.

Shop Now: Kobo US | Kobo CA

We look at the best e-readers on the market for the beach and outdoor ebook readers. A look at the different models, their features and types of files they can process. | #ebooks #e-reader #beach #travelgear #kobo #kindle |

New! Kobo Clara HD

Added to the Kobo lineup late in 2018, is the compact baseline model the Kobo Clara HD. It really is just an upgrade to the Kobo Aura baseline model. This model is smaller with a 6″ screen and more lightweight at 166g. This is a more affordable option and includes the ComfortLightPro for easier reading in the dark.

Shop Now: Kobo US | Kobo CA

KOBO AURA H20 Waterproof

The second edition waterproof model. This model is the newer Kobo model. Kobo Aura One, however, comes with a much higher price tag than the Kobo Aura H2O. This model is 6.8″ Carta E Ink screen with 265dpi and 8GB of storage. We have all been waiting for a waterproof e-reader, this model takes it to the next level! The claim is waterproof for 30 minutes in 1M of water so unless you are reading underwater. I think this is going to be perfect for the beach, pool or tub!

Shop Now: Kobo US | Kobo CA

KOBO AURA ONE

The premium Kobo Aura One, model is also waterproof. It is basically like the new Aura H20, but it has a larger 7.8″ Carta E Ink touchscreen with 300dpi and a higher price point. The Aura One also included 8GB memory and the Comfort light pro.

Shop Now: Kobo US | Kobo CA

New! Kobo Forma – Our Pick for BEST eReader for the Beach

The Kobo Forma promises to be the most comfortable eReader in their lineup. It has an ergonomic curved design and the option to read in both portrait and landscape modes. If you prefer holding the device in your left or right hand – well switch it around, and the pages will adjust accordingly.

The new Kobo Forma also integrates with Overdrive to help borrow books from your local library directly from your Kobo – this is a big deal and massive improvement for those of us who have to download the books from the library and then upload them to our Kobo devices.

Add in the fact that this eReader is also waterproof and includes the ComfortLight PRO which adjusts to colour temperature based on the lighting and you can see why this is now our pick for the best eReader for the beach.

Shop Now: Kobo US | Kobo CA

Kobo Canada Aura Edition 2

Tips for Buying an E-Reader for Outdoor Reading

The Pros and cons of taking an e-reader to the beach

Lightweight Store Loads of Books

The pros for packing an e-reader is simple. They are small and thin, and they store hundreds of books. So if you are like me and don’t know which books to take from your collection and sometimes go through more than one book on a vacation, then an e-reader is a great option. It takes up no room in your suitcase, and you will never run out of reading material or lug around books that you don’t get to read.

Easy Access to More Books and Easy Technology

On the beach, you only need one hand and a tap of a finger to turn the page leaving your other hand available for a drink! If you have a 3G or data-enabled reader then you can download a new book right off the beach (the con of which would be the roaming charges you will incur). Most e-readers come with wi-fi, so you can download books using that connection.

Don’t Worry if you get it Wet

There are now waterproof e-reader models on the market! So you can take your ebook with you into the tub or pool! If you have an old e-reader, the solution to this problem is covering it with a waterproof case or zip-lock bag, but if you travel to water often like me and love taking your e-reader with you, then you may want to upgrade.

Beware the glossy colour tablet

My only advice here is the obvious one do not buy an LCD tablet or e-reader thinking it is going to be ideal for the beach. Sure the tablets and LCD e-readers are great as they have internet access, store music, and some games which make them great for vacations, but on the beach or out in the sun they fail miserably.

Here are a few models you should take off your list if you are considering an e-reader for outdoor reading. Kindle Fire, Nook Color Tablet, Samsung Galaxy, Kobo Arc, iPad or smartphones like iPhone or Samsung Galaxy.

woman on chair reading on beach best e-readers for the beach and the outdoors

What You Need to Consider When Buying an E-reader for Outdoor Reading at the Beach

Make Sure it has E-ink Technology

If you are planning on reading outdoors (on the train, in the car, in the backyard or by the pool or beach) the first and most important thing on your list should be, does the e-reader have e-ink technology? What is e-ink technology? Well, the simple explanation is that it is a digital format of paper. It displays words on the screen, but it looks like words typed on paper. Since these screens don’t have a glare and are matte finish, they are easy to read under many different shades of light. This technology is excellent at mimicking your book and once you start to appreciate the added benefits of an e-reader the die-hards who say they like to hold a book or read from paper will be swayed.

Also, I recommend the newer models of e-ink technology which offer a “glow” or backlight. Backlit readers allow you to read in the dark or when you have limited lighting. When the power goes out, or you are in a dimly lit room you just turn on the glow and read on!

Know which E-book Formats it can read

If you are a die-hard Amazon shopper then obviously the Kindle is for you. The catch is that if you want to buy or borrow e-books from your library, you may run into problems.

Amazon has its format for e-books know as the azw or the mobi format while other e-readers use epub as their format. At the end of the day, you want an e-reader that can read multiple formats so you can get material from other sources other than the store you bought the e-reader from. For the average user, this means it should read epub, pdf, HTML, jpg, and png. If you get a Kindle it doesn’t read epub the most standard book format, and if you get a different model of e-reader it likely won’t read mobi files, and we all know that Amazon has the best prices on books. Hopefully, this will change in the future, and e-readers will eventually have a standard format that wins out.

Review its Battery Life

Your next concern should be the unit’s battery life. With most e-ink readers this is not a problem, your battery will likely last up to a month on one charge. Since they don’t display colour or play music, their batteries last much longer. Unlike your tablet, you can take your reader to the beach and not be concerned with the charger or run out of power mid-day.

Read more: Gift Giving Guide of Best Gifts for Travel Lovers

We look at the best e-readers on the market for the beach and outdoor ebook readers. A look at the different models, their features and types of files they can process. | #ebooks #e-reader #beach #travelgear #kobo #kindle |

Looking for a gift for your travel lover – check out our article Best Gift Ideas for Travel Lovers.

Do you have a favourite e-reader that you take with you on your travels? Let us know what you recommend in the comments below. 

16 COMMENTS

  1. Good advice. I’m mentioning this because you write frequently. The word “it’s” means “it is”. When you are trying to show possession, use its, not it’s. For example: It’s a fact that its front light feature is superior.

  2. It’s an interesting article. in today’s time the trend of E-readers is increasing day by day and all of the travellers wanted to read it on e-reader so that they can spend a good time on beach. Thanks for sharing this type of information!!

  3. Nice information on the blog and choice of destination. Thanks again for sharing these wonderful post.

  4. Such a awesome article you wrote up! This post is really very good and nice information. Thank you so much for sharing a wonderful post.

  5. This is an amazing Gear for all the travelers. The popularity of adventure lovers and E-readers is increase day by day. The e-reader is the best thing for spending a wonderful time in beach and outdoors. You selected the best of all of them. All the beginner will get the best information and travel gear from here.

  6. Thanks for the review Sharon. I love my Kindle Paperwhite. I bought it a couple of years ago because of the weight of books in my suitcase. Now I use it exclusively – goes everywhere with me in my purse.

  7. Hi,

    All super solid options here.

    I’m a Nook guy for now. As we hop around the world uploading a book or 2 in each location helps us keep our reading and writing chops and we also have a form of entertainment in more remote areas, like here in the jungles of Fiji.

    I like the beach explanation too. I fear getting water or sand on the Nook but knowing that more durable, weather resistant models are out there it may be time to do some shopping, at least when I head home to NJ in 2 months.

    eBooks really do rock and e-readers are the ultimate convenience. Carrying so much info at one time to any spot on earth is a real blessing.

    I do the paperback thing here and there but am largely an e-reader guy. Too convenient for me.

    Thanks for reviewing.

    Tweeting soon.

    Ryan

  8. I don’t know why it took us so long to get a Kindle as well. I guess we liked the idea of carrying books around and how you could trade as you go but with the Kindle it is so much better. No more worrying if the next hostel will have something worth reading. :)

  9. I don’t know why I debated for so long over buying a Kindle, but as soon as I bought it I was glad I did. I have an older version (the one with the keyboard) but it has served me well. Saved me from utter boredom in foreign countries with no English bookstores. Gave me entertainment when I just wanted to close my eyes and relax with earphones (yes!) and let me play games on a plane. I’ve debated buying a newer version, but mine has a feature they’ve deleted: I can turn pages back and forth on BOTH sides of my Kindle. So I’m not going to switch until it dies. It’s served me well for three years. Hope it lasts for a whole lot more.

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