E-readers offer good portability and price

LOS ANGELES More than half the people in Ellie Schoenbaum's book club use an E-book reader. They said it's screen is easy to read and you can take it anywhere.

"Going on trips we used to carry a separate suitcase between my husband and I of all the books we wanted to read," said Schoenbaum.

Consumer Reports tested the Kindle, along with more than a dozen other E-readers, including the Nook from Barnes and Noble. Testers evaluated the ease of reading and downloading books, and how fast the pages turned.

Most of the readers, including the Kindle and the Nook, use e-ink technology, which is only black and white. Others use a backlit LCD screen like a laptop. They can display color and, unlike e-ink, they're bright enough to be read in the dark. They do pose a problem with screen glare outdoors, though.

"I'd say the color screens are almost impossible to read outdoors," said Rich Fisco, Consumer Reports. "On the other hand the e-ink screens are almost like reading a real book."

In the end, Consumer Reports gave top ratings to the 3G Kindle, which costs $189.

"It's the best reader we've ever tested," said Paul Reynolds, a tester with Consumer Reports. "The type is crisp and easy to read. The battery life is outstanding, as is the speed of the page turns."

But you can save money buying the $139 Kindle, which is identical to the 3G except you can only download content via Wi-Fi.

"We also recommend the Barnes and Noble Nook. It doesn't score quite as high as the Kindle, but you can use it to download free library books. The Kindle doesn't accept library books," said Reynolds.

Another reader to consider is the Samsung Galaxy, on sale this week. It is the first major competitor to the Apple iPad, but with two built in cameras and a much smaller screen. It also supports Flash-based videos and games. Consumer Reports has not reviewed it yet.

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