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2011 Holiday Buying Guide for EReaders

We’ve posted a comparison table between the three reading tablets and a hands on review of the Vox, the Nook Tablet and the Kindle Fire. Not to mention the Kindle Touch, Nook Touch, and Nook Color. But once you have the device or your loved one has the device, what next? Now it is time for accessories.

The Case

I used to be a huge proponent of the cover versus the sleeve but since the advent of the gorilla glass, I’ve changed my mind. It is harder to scratch the screens on these devices and the cases are often holding the devices in by unsightly elastic bands on the corners. I’ve been using my devices naked more often and really enjoying those devices in that manner.

For the eink readers, a case might be better choice if you do a lot of walking and reading and don’t plan to remove your device from the case.  The Amazon sells a light case for the Kindle Touch that runs off the power of the Kindle itself. I have one for my Kindle Keyboard and love it.  Barnes and Noble offers a huge variety of beautiful cases. My favorites are the ones where the reader clips in.

Kindle Touch CoverMadeline Cover

But I’m not often carrying my eReader, Tablet or iPad outside of my purse while moving about.  Further, a case can add a lot of extra bulk and for Tablets and iPads, that extra bulk isn’t worth it.  Thus, what I do want is to protect the face of my device from the keys, tweezers, pens or other random stuff that might scratch it. If you want to use the device without bulk, get a sleeve.

The other benefit of the sleeve? You can get anything from a very inexpensive neoprene sleeve to some gorgeous handcrafted cases. ($9.99 – $79.99).

Kindle Fire Kindle 3 Kindle Keyboardipad sleeveNeoprene Sleeve for Kindle Fire

 

The Power

I like to keep a power cord in my purse so that if my device gets low on power I will be able to charge it away from my home.

Retractable micro USB2 AMP Wall chargerNook Tablet Power KitTwelve South PlugBug

  • Kindle Fire: Needs a 2 AMP plug and any microUSB cable.
  • Nook Tablet: Uses a proprietary USB cable.
  • iPad: Needs a 2 AMP plug and a proprietary USB cable.

A couple other neat power sources includes the power brick for the iPad/iPhone/iTouch/Kindle Fire/Nook Tablet.  It provides a 2.1 amp USB port and can provide up to 10 extra hours for your tablet. ($99) An alternative is the ThinkGeek iGeek Large Capacity Portable Charger.  It allows for two USB connections (1 amp & 2 amp ports) and offers up 17 hours of movie time for the iPad2.  ($61.99) The travelers charger from Restoration Hardware rolls up while traveling and unrolls to provide a plugin tip for iPhone/iPad2, Mini USB, Micro USB, Samsung.

eb7b_igeek_large_capacity_portable_chargerRoll Up Travel Charger

And for in your car?  Turn the cigarette lighter into a plugin with ThinkGeek’s Coffee Cup Power Inverter. ($24.99)  Ned says this isn’t very manly so you could get this one instead.  I use a simple USB micro charger in my car. It’s nearly flush with the panel and in my Kia, the cigarette lighter top actually can close over this one.  Ned got the other one because it has a little handle to pull out the USB charger but it doesn’t sit as flush.  Make sure that the USB charger is compatible with the iPad if you want to use it to charge your Nook Tablet or Kindle Fire.

 

b29e_coffee_cup_inverterKensington K39224US PowerBolt Micro Car Charger for iPad, iPhone and iPod, including iPhone 4Satechi ST-2412 Car Lighter USB Charger Adapter with Smart Converter for iPad 2, iPhone 4S, Android Phones, BlackBerry Playbook, HTC Flyer

Keyboards

Only the iPad allows for a connection of a keyboard and while most are expensive, I do recommend one.  A keyboard really extends the functionality of the iPad. I’ve tried several.  I do not recommend the soft keyboards, particularly this device. I got this one as a member of the Amazon Vine program and while it is great for protection of the iPad, the keyboard part of it is really awful.  You could feel a single stamen (for lack of a better word) that needed to be pressed squarely in the middle or you would get multipllllllles of one letter.

I also don’t recommend the Apple bluetooth keyboard because if you carry the keyboard around in your purse the keys will eventually fall off.  Yes, this is from personal experience.

Logitech ZaggAdonit KeyboardKensington KeyFolio

The first thumbnail is for the Logitech Zagg Bluetooth keyboard.  The pros to this keyboard is that it works as a hardcase for the iPad and you can use the iPad in either portrait and landscape form.  The device is rechargeable via a micro USB and holds its power for around 3 weeks with casual use. The keys are nice sized and there is top row that allows you easy access to volume, home, and music control.  The con is that I have found the edges to be very sharp. You cannot change the angle of viewing. (This looks to be similar to the Logitech but at half the cost) ($72.95)

The second thumbnail is for the Adonit Bluetooth keyboard.  A friend of mine bought this and let me borrow it for a few days to test it out. (We traded).  The pros to this keyboard is the quick eject feature as well as the soft resting pad for your wrists.  There are several view angles.  The cons are that the keys are slightly smaller than that of the Zagg.  The device is not rechargeable but instead relies on 2 AA batteries. (This might be a pro for others)  The keyboard only works in landscape format and it is more difficult to use on your lap versus the Zagg. ($89.99)

The third thumbnail is the Kensington Keyfolio.  Another friend of mine has this.  I did not get to borrow before the review but I did play with it at a day long meeting.  The pros of this keyboard is that you can use it in both landscape and portrait format without ever removing the device from its case.  The keyboard keys are about the same as the Zagg.  The angle of viewing is adjustable.  You can easily access all ports without removing the device, including the camera. The cons are that you really can’t use this on your lap very easily.  Also, there is no quick release like the previous two which makes it more difficult to use while in bed.  It is more bulky than the previous two.  ($61.62)

Other Accessories

These are small accessories but might make great stocking stuffers.

Carson Cleaning Cloth3 Pack Stylus PenQuirkyFlexi Tie cord keepers

  • Cleaning cloth and cleaning spray.  This one from Carson retracts the cloth by the cables.  $4.61
  • For those who don’t like fingerprints on their touchscreen, they might like the touchscreen stylus pen.  3 pack for $6.85
  • Cord helpers. The Quirky keeps your earbud cords untangled and serves as a stand in a pinch ($4.99). These larger flexi ties (set of 6 for $8.85) for larger cord clutter.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

24 Comments

  1. sandy l
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 06:29:55

    FYI. Etsy.com has some wonderful handmade e-reader cases. And most are reasonably priced.

    ReplyReply

  2. Danielle D
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 07:42:41

    Jane, where can we buy the 3 pack for the stylus?

    I love my covers by JAVOedge.

    ReplyReply

  3. Carin
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 08:09:16

    Thanks for the round up, Jane!

    I love my JAVOedge cover for my iPad. It’s gorgeous and it up ports my iPad at an angle while I’m sitting at the table. It can hold the iPad in portrait or landscape mode, and the cover still folds nicely behind the iPad for when I’m curled up on the couch reading and don’t need it propped up.

    I think I’m going to get those styluses (stylii?) too. My grandmother got an iPad this year and it’s hard for her to tap small targets.

    Also, if you are just using a pocket for a case for your device, decalgirl.com has some awesome removable stickers. Tons to choose from, they adhere really well, yet come off when you’re done. They are perfect cut to fit your device. I’ve got one on my phone and one on my Sony ereader that makes me smile every time I use it!

    ReplyReply

  4. Shannon Stacey
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 08:20:26

    One thing to watch for with iPad keyboards: some of them have removed the right “shift” key to make the keyboard more compact, which would drive me mad.

    After a little ring-around-the-keyboard, I settled on the $69 Apple bluetooth keyboard, which was perfect for me, especially since it’s exactly the same as my Macbook keyboard. Needless to say, it wouldn’t work as well for somebody looking to use it on the subway or at a conference.

    And I had found myself taking my Kindle 3 out of the lighted case more and more often and, after an incident with the cat wrecked the lighted case, I decided not to replace it. I prefer the Kindle naked. :)

    ReplyReply

  5. Laura Florand
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 08:43:36

    Jane, I’m probably missing something or missed another post, but though you refer to the Zagg, I don’t see more on it? I am curious if you have more thoughts on that one, because it is the one I am leaning toward.

    Thank you for the reviews of all these accessories! My husband needed more ideas for Christmas presents for me. :) Beyond chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate, of course…

    ReplyReply

  6. Jane
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 09:16:46

    @Danielle D I swear when I went to bed last night, the links worked. Here is the link for the stylii/stylus.

    ReplyReply

  7. Jane
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 09:21:39

    @Laura Florand: The Logitech one is the Zagg keyboard. The first one. The cons are that I find the edges to be a bit sharp on the wrists and there is only one viewing angle.

    ReplyReply

  8. Danielle D
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 09:51:06

    Thanks Jane for the link.

    ReplyReply

  9. Darlynne
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 10:47:03

    I bought Javoedge covers for my eink Nooks and love them. Unlike the flimsy elastic corner holders on other covers, Javoedge’s leather frame holds the Nook firmly and securely. Plus, they’re much more reasonably priced (or they used to be, others may have dropped their prices) than anything else I found at that time.

    ReplyReply

  10. Laura Florand
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 11:19:42

    Thanks, Jane! For some reason I only saw “Logitech” before. :) And I didn’t realize Zagg and Logitech were the same.

    ReplyReply

  11. Laura Florand
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 11:22:49

    I think I must still be confused, because what I draw up for Zaggfolio in my searches looks different from the Logitech Keyboard you link to. Is it actually the same thing? I don’t know if I can actually post a link here, as I’ve never tried, but here is the Zaggfolio I saw on Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/ZAGG-ZAGGfolio-Apple-iPad-FOLCARBLK97/dp/B005C2A4DO/ref=dp_cp_ob_e_title_2

    Thanks for all your reviews of these. It’s very helpful!

    ReplyReply

  12. Brian
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 12:01:15

    Another brand of cover folks might like are the ones from Oberon Designs (available for a lot of different devices). Very nice, very high quality, although they are pretty expensive. I’ve got one for my K3 and it’s really nice, but be aware they are a fairly thick leather and some might find them a little bulky.

    ReplyReply

  13. Brian
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 12:06:45

    @Laura Florand: Zagg makes stuff in partership with Logitech and also makes their own stuff. They make the keyboard case that comes with the Logitech keyboard (the one Jane liked to above) and also make the ZaggFolio…

    ZagFolio…
    http://www.zagg.com/accessories/zaggfolio-ipad-2-keyboard-case

    Logitech/Zagg…
    http://www.zagg.com/accessories/logitech-ipad-2-keyboard-case

    ReplyReply

  14. Jane
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 12:07:48

    @lauraflorand. I’m sorry. I haven’t tried that Zagg out. It looks like a good one though.

    ReplyReply

  15. Victoria
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 12:10:17

    Just a note about kindle cases that kindles clip onto:

    I LOVED my leather kindle cover (this one: http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Leather-Updated-Design-Keyboard/dp/B004JXVOEU/ref=sr_1_20?ie=UTF8&qid=1323626480&sr=8-20) for my kindle 3. Then the kindle stopped turning on, froze all the time, and started dying after each recharge within hours. At first I thought it was because my kindle was old, but turns out that clippy things interfere with the function of the kindle. (http://www.amazon.com/cover-causes-Kindle-freeze-reboot/forum/Fx12U61UWYSO3UY/Tx17O3815XVEMVM/1?asin=B003DZ163E)

    The minute I removed the kindle from its case, it started functioning perfectly again.

    Apparently, they updated the case this year and it works without problems (I received mine for Christmas last year, pre-update), but I’m not sure I trust those clippy cases anymore. Which is a shame, because the case was really pretty and definitely protected the kindle beautifully.

    ReplyReply

  16. library addict
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 18:30:46

    I have an Oberon cover for my Sony. It does make the device heavier, but I like the fact I can bend the front cover over behind it to make a sort of stand.

    ReplyReply

  17. Laura Florand
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 18:58:05

    Thanks, Brian and Jane! I thought I was being particularly clueless. :)

    ReplyReply

  18. Mary G
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 21:34:37

    Thanks so much for your thorough research. Helps so much.

    ReplyReply

  19. Jo D
    Dec 12, 2011 @ 02:21:08

    Another accessory to consider is a skin. Now there are several Kindles in the family I’ve ordered some skins from decalgirl.com so we’ll be able to easily spot whose is whose.

    ReplyReply

  20. Cindy
    Dec 12, 2011 @ 07:04:32

    The elephant cover that is pictured…does it fit a Kobo? And what site is it from?

    ReplyReply

  21. Brian
    Dec 12, 2011 @ 08:30:34

    @Cindy: If you click on the picture it will take you to the shop selling them (it’s an Esty shop). It also gives dimensions for that case (it fits the Kindle 3/keyboard, but could fit other things) and they have other sizes and other animals available as well.

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/BoutiqueID?ref=seller_info

    Be aware it says orders will be processed in January so if it’s for a gift…

    ReplyReply

  22. M.E. Anders, the Cult Slayer
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 06:24:48

    Thanks for this list. I am collecting information about the various iPad options, since I plan to buy one in the next couple months. Now, I know what type of keyboard to get. Woohoo! :)

    ReplyReply

  23. Stumbling Over Chaos :: The linkity post in which I realize I missed my sixth blogiversary
    Dec 16, 2011 @ 07:35:02

    [...] Gift guide: For people with ereaders [...]

  24. Kim
    Dec 18, 2011 @ 15:07:34

    Thanks for the suggestions, Jane. I ordered the 3 touchscreen stylus pens & they work great.

    ReplyReply

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