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The 4 Best Tablets For Reading In Direct Sunlight

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Spending days outside reading can be fun, but if your preferred method of reading is an e-reader, glare can often make your tablet’s screen virtually unreadable. Luckily, for beach days or summer afternoons outdoors, the best tablets for reading in direct sunlight have anti-glare screens with easy-to-read e-ink text, so you can read what’s in front of you without any eye strain.

What To Look For In A Tablet For Outdoor Reading

As you continue your search, you’ll likely encounter Amazon’s Kindle brand, which includes a number of e-readers outfitted with e-ink text, as well as a few extra features great for outdoor reading, like library compatibility and a waterproof design. While the Kindle Paperwhite is a standout tablet for reading that is truly the best investment for reading outside, there are other variations still worth your time, including the classic Kindle and a kid-friendly Kindle, both at a slightly more affordable price. There’s also a great Kindle alternative on this list, which has an integrated Overdrive app, so it’s well-suited for dedicated library readers.

While the tablet field is wide and includes a lot more than just e-readers, because many popular tablets like iPads and even the Kindle Fire are backlit, they tend to be a bit harder (or near impossible) to read in direct sunlight. For that reason, there aren’t any on this list.

Still aren’t sure which e-reader is best for sunlight? Here are a few excellent options to help you get started.

Shop The Best Anti-Glare Tablets

In a hurry? Here are the top picks for tablets that you can still see when you’re outside in bright sunlight.

  1. The Best Overall, All Things Considered: Kindle Paperwhite
  2. Another Kindle That’s More Budget-Friendly: Kindle (Original)
  3. The Best Kindle Alternative & The Best For Library Readers: Kobo Clara HD
  4. The Best For Young Readers: Kindle Kids Edition

1. The Best Overall, All Things Considered

The newest version of the Kindle, the Kindle Paperwhite (8 GB) is super lightweight and comes with e-ink text, a weeks-long battery life, and an IPX8-rated waterproof design. The screen also gets 10-times brighter and now has an adjustable warm light. In other words? The perfect tablet for reading outdoors.

The larger 6.8-inch glare-free screen is easy to read, even in direct sunlight, and it can easily sync with library apps on your other devices like Libby or Overdrive so you can read library books. And, since the screen light can be adjusted, this e-reader transitions from bright outdoors to indoors to nighttime with ease. It also allows you to listen to audiobooks on the e-reader using Audible (subscription not included). Linked here is the ad-supported version, but you can also get it without lockscreen ads for slightly more money.

Positive Amazon review: “My husband bought this for me for Mother’s Day and it’s a game changer! The battery life is awesome I feel like I never have to charge it. I can take it outside by the pool and read and it looks just like a paper back book, no sun glare or anything. I take it everywhere with me. I cannot go back to reading on my phone!”

2. Also Great: Another Kindle That’s More Budget-Friendly

With a $90 price tag, this basic Kindle is a great choice for reading outdoors and has some (but not all) of the same features you’ll find in the Paperwhite above. For one, it has a 6-inch glare-free screen and an e-ink display that’s visible in direct sunlight. It also can sync with your library apps on other devices in order to send library books to your Kindle. (No Kindle model allows you to download library apps directly on the device.) You can easily adjust the brightness on the screen when you move from outside to inside as well. You’ll also have a sizeable 8 gigabytes to work with. And, it boasts a similar battery life to the Paperwhite above, and is compatible with Audible so you can listen to audiobooks from the device.

The big sacrifice with this device is that it lacks a waterproof design. For those readers who plan on reading at the beach or poolside, this is definitely a drawback and makes you a bit more vulnerable to water damage, which isn’t covered by Kindle’s basic one-year warranty. (However, there’s a two-year accident protection plan that does cover water damage for just $15 more.)

Positive Amazon review: “I purchased this to travel because it's lightweight, has long battery life and can be viewed in the sun. I didn't think I'd use this at home, but I actually like it better than reading novels on my iPad. I just changed from 4 to 5 stars because someone helped me connect my Apple earbuds via the Bluetooth setting.”

3. The Best Kindle Alternative & The Best For Library Readers

If you’d prefer something besides a Kindle, and don’t buy a lot of books through Amazon or Audible, this Kobo e-reader is a great alternative. It has a 6-inch, glare-free e-ink screen that’s easy to read in bright light, and is even outfitted with Comfort Light Pro technology, which gradually reduces the amount of blue light the e-reader gives off at night. This e-reader features 8 gigabytes of storage, and has built-in Overdrive integration that makes for the easiest experience for library readers (provided your library uses Overdrive).

It features a similar layout to the Kindle, but with the added capability of buying books from different platforms, including Kobo’s wide eBook store. This lacks the waterproof capabilities of the Paperwhite, and you won’t be able to listen to audiobooks on this device. That said, there are plenty of reasons to love this e-reader, and it’s great for reading in direct sunlight.

Positive Amazon review: “I was looking for an e-reader that I could see outdoors and one that I could load my google play books. This was the only one that fit those requirements. I love being outdoors but I'm not one to just sit out in the sun. With my Kobo I can read and enjoy the outdoors. I also have most of my books on Google Play and after a rough start, I'm not very technical, I was able to download everything easily. I was amazed at how lightweight and comfortable it was to hold.”

4. The Best For Young Readers

  • Also available on QVC, $120

For younger readers, you can’t beat the Kindle Kids edition. It has all of the best features of the adult-friendly Kindle, including the 6-inch glare-free, e-ink screen that’s easy to see in the sun and a weeks-long battery life. And, while not waterproof, it even comes with a case that protects it from damage. This e-reader also comes with a year of Amazon Kids+, so your emerging reader can explore thousands of new books for free, and you’re covered by an upgraded two-year warranty when you purchase this device (though some reports say this covers water damage, others don’t — so best to avoid water with this e-reader).

Unlike the Amazon Fire Kids tablet, this lacks the app features and video capabilities that might distract from reading, which may be a pro if you’re looking to limit certain types of screen time, or a con if you’d rather have an all-in-one entertainment device for your child. This option also has 8 gigabytes of storage, comes in four different colors, and also has built-in parental controls.

Positive Amazon review: “My 8 year old bought this for herself with money she saved. She could work the touch screen immediately out of the box, and within minutes understood how to access and download books. As you enter a parental code in it, the child cannot accidentally order books that cost money. [...] The screen has a back light that allows you to read even in the dark, but the screen is glare free in bright sunlight. Frankly, even if I were ordering a new kindle reader for myself as a 43 year old, I would get this one over the same adult version.”

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