Summer beach and poolside weather is here, and this is the time when a portable e-reader can be so handy, portable, and fun. But you don’t want to let moisture or sand get into your device and damage it, which is why protection against the elements is so important. Manufacturers have responded by making some awesome, genuinely waterproof e-readers, and if you can afford the extra cost they usually charge, it’s a great investment. But if not, just shop around for an economical waterproof pouch to protect your e-reader. Plus, if the pouch or device is truly waterproof that means it can also do a better job of protecting your device from sand, dirt, and dust. You’ll be able to use them year-round, whether you’re camping, traveling, or just reading outdoors where a rainstorm might catch you off guard.
Upgrade to a Waterproof E-Reader
The Kobo H2O was the first fully-waterproof e-reader, and it’s still a top choice for a well-protected device. But now there is a second edition that’s even better. The Kobo H2O Edition 2 is waterproof from the inside-out, for up to an hour in two meters of water. It also boasts comfortlight technology to be easier on your eyes at night, and sports a 6.8 inch screen plus lots of other sophisticated and elegant features. You can check out a review of it, which outlines all the key features, on this website under the Buyer’s Guide section. You’ll also find several other e-reader devices there, including the newest Kindle Oasis, sometimes called Oasis 2. It’s another waterproof device that can survive submerging in two meters of water for up to 60 minutes. This Kindle is the first one made by Amazon that is waterproof, and it also offers an adaptive front light. That light automatically adjusts the brightness of the display based on your surroundings. If you’re in a shady spot it brightens, for instance, and if you move to full glaring sun the light dims to adjust.
Lesser-Known Waterproof E-Readers
The big names in waterproofed e-readers are Kobo and Kindle, but there are some others that boast waterproofing features. If you look around you may find a pre-owned or refurbished Nook Glowlight Plus e-reader. Those were discontinued, and cannot be purchased new from the manufacturer. But while they were still being made by Barnes and Nobel one of the selling features was that they were waterproof, for up to half an hour at a depth of one meter. Another waterproof e-reader, still in production, is the Tolino Epos…which has a touchscreen that is nearly 8-inches big. The Tolino Epos also utilizes the same kind of comfortlight technology found on the Kobo H2O, as a bonus. But don’t look for the Tolino Epos unless you live in Germany, Italy, Belgium, or Holland. Those are the only markets where it is currently for sale.
Waterproof Carrying Pouches
The WALNEW is an example of an inexpensive and universally-adaptable waterproof pouch that you can use on a variety of devices. That includes the Kindle Oasis, Paperwhite, and Fire 7 as well as Kobo Touch, iPad Mini, and other devices. It only costs about $10 at Amazon, is one of its best-selling waterproof pouches, and is eligible for free shipping. It’s basically made from tough PVC plastic, and has three different zip lock strips to ensure a good all-around seal. The manufacturer says that you can still work the touch pad and navigation button on a Kindle, through the cover, which also has a lanyard for carrying convenience.
Always Do a Leak Test
There are lots of similar pouches and covers that offer waterproofing, and you can browse and do comparison shopping to find the one that suits you best. But here’s an important tip to follow before you use any kind of protective waterproof pouch. Always test it beforehand. Place thin paper, like toilet paper or a piece of paper towel, inside the pouch. Seal it and submerge it in water for several minutes. Then check to see if the paper is still completely dry. If it is not dry, then neither will your valuable device be if you use it in the pouch and the pouch gets wet. That’s a good way to detect a defective pouch and get a replacement or refund before you risk using it to safeguard your device.
Many fans of e-books think of a top-of-the-line Kindle Oasis or a newest-generation waterproof Kobo e-reader as the priciest. But you could probably have at least one of each for what it costs to buy just one Onyx Boox e-reader gadget.
What is Boox?
Boox is made by the Chinese company Onyx International, which has made and sold portable e-reader devices for about a decade. The company has evolved by specializing in making Boox e-readers that are super-interactive when it comes to scribbling or drawing right on the touchpad. The Boox products appeal to creative people ranging from music composers and authors to architects and engineers. The company sells a few different versions of e-readers, priced as high as nearly $800 for the Boox Max 2 device. But is it worth it? You’ll have to decide, based on what the device offers that other e-readers may not be able to deliver.
The Boox Max 2
This e-reader, like many other premium models available from other manufacturers, offers realistic e-ink and electronic paper. It also has a large 13.3-inch screen. But one thing that sets the Boox Max 2 apart from other devices is that you can write on its screen, and it looks and feels almost like you’re writing on actual hard-copy paper. You can use your fingers or a stylus, and this device offers two gigs of RAM and 32 gigs of storage capacity. It’s computing is powered by a 1.6 Ghz Quad-core CPU processor, and supports dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1. The battery life is similar to that of other high-quality e-readers, and can generally last for up to a month between charges. It’s thin, but hefty…just under a pound and a half. That makes it more of a tablet…and it can be set on a stand so that the screen is angled toward you more like a tablet. Speaking of angling the screen, another feature that you won’t find…at least not yet…on other e-reader devices is a physically flexible screen. The high-resolution 2200 x 1650 pixel screen is actually a little bit bendy. Why you would need that is a good question, though, so it is arguably a cool trick to impress your friends that may not be worth the added cost of the Boox price tag.
The Boox Note
There is also the Boox Note e-reader, which sells for about $550 and has similar technical specs but a smaller 10.3-inch screen. The e-ink is crisp and paper-like, and the anti-glare technology lets you read or do writing and drawing even in bright, direct sunlight. The touch screen has more than 4,000 degrees of pressure sensitivity, which means that you can apply more or less pressure to draw thicker or thinner lines on the screen. You can also shift from a single-page view layout to a double-page view, resembling both sides of an open book or magazine shown on the screen. That’s handy if you want to display something you’re reading on one side, and then have a page of notes you’re taking on the opposite side of the screen. Written notes, sketches, and anything else you want to scribble is done using the Boox Note App, and whatever you draw or write appears instantly with no lag time.
If you only need an e-reader, a Boox product is not for you. But if you engage in lots of writing and drawing, and the ability to do that right on the screen in a fluid, instantaneous way is important to you, the Boox may be appropriate. The key is to understand that its function as an e-reader is only one aspect of what these tablet-style drawing boards offer. Other dedicated e-reader devices do a better job of providing an elegant reader experience. But they don’t have the bells and whistles of a Boox when it comes to taking notes or making sketches.
Check Out the E-Reader Buyer’s Guide
A great resource for helping you choose the right e-reader is the free e-reader buyer’s guide on this website. You will get a quick snapshot of e-reader products from Kindle, Kobo, Apple, and Nook. Click on a particular brand name and you’ll see a list of their current popular e-readers. You’ll also see the basic technical specs for each device. To dig deeper and learn more about a particular model or device, just click on “more info”
That’s where you’ll find an overview of the product, as well as a summary of the technical specs and a summary of the pros and cons of the device. Narrow down the selections that fit your needs, budget, and personal preferences and you’ll wind up with a short list to help you when you shop. It only takes a few minutes to gain a really good understanding of what kinds of e-readers are on the market, and which ones are suitable for you. That saves you valuable time, and also has the potential to save you money when you’re ready to invest in a new or refurbished e-reader for yourself or a friend.