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Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Kindle killers: The best smartphones for reading books

Want to start reading on your phone? It may be time to invest in one with a high-quality big screen

More and more people are reading on their smartphones. According to a global survey of 2,000 people by market researcher Nielsen, 54% use their smartphones to read books, at least some of the time. This number is up from 24% in 2012. The survey, released in December, also suggests that the percentage of those reading mainly on e-readers, such as Amazon’s Kindle, dropped from 50 to 32 over the same period.

There are clear advantages to catching up on your reading on a smartphone. First, it is convenient, because you’re likely to carry the phone with you through the day. Second, you don’t need to carry paper books or a separate e-book reader. Third, smartphones with big screens are convenient to read on.

We pick the phones with the best screens for reading across all price points, with the primary criteria being screen size—more than 5 inches.

UNDER 10,000

YU Yureka Plus

5.5-inch screen; Full HD (1,920x1,080 pixels)

This is an in-plane switching (IPS) screen, which means that the colours look fantastic—the black text is easy to read on a typical white or cream background of e-books and Web pages. Compare this with more expensive phones, which still offer 720p screens as the standard.

Asus ZenFone 2 Laser

5.5-inch screen; 1,280x720 pixels

This IPS screen has good viewing angles. The text reproduction is crisp, which makes smaller font sizes easier to read. Overall, it’s a very good phone.


Microsoft Lumia 640XL

5.7-inch screen; 1,280x720 pixels

This screen has the added advantage of the ClearBlack technology, which reduces reflections and enhances the content on the screen. The colours are adequately rich. This is the only Windows Phone device on this list.

Samsung Galaxy E7

5.5-inch screen; 1,280x720 pixels

Samsung’s preference for AMOLED screens means you get enhanced brightness levels and really rich colours. Some users may find the colours too rich, but the excellent contrast makes this easy to read on, be it on a train travelling to work or while sitting at an airport lounge.


Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML

5.5-inch screen; Full HD (1,920x1,080 pixels)

This IPS screen’s reproduction has been enhanced for better colours, making it more vivid than most other IPS screens in phones. It has excellent contrast too—the blacks are deeper and the whites, purer.

OnePlus 2

5.5-inch screen; Full HD (1,920x1,080 pixels)

The quality of the display is better than its predecessor, the OnePlus One, and the screen is brighter too. The sharpness has been enhanced, and text is easier to read. It’s slightly reflective outdoors, but the brightness compensates.


Samsung Galaxy S6

5.1-inch screen; 2,560x1,440 pixels

If you don’t mind the slightly smaller screen size (compared to 5.5-inch phones), this super AMOLED is a great canvas for reading on. The high density of pixels has a positive result on sharpness. Plus, the great deep black colours and the pure whites can make the e-book page feel like an actual paperback.

Google Nexus 6

5.96-inch; 2,560x1,440 pixels

This mammoth phone, made for Google by Motorola, has a screen which is easy on the eye. It packs in a high resolution, which makes the screen very crisp. The adaptive brightness feature works well enough to negate the slight reflections that would show up when it’s used outdoors in the sun.

ABOVE 40,000

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

5.5-inch screen; 1,920x1,080 pixels

This rather fine display seems to have got everything spot on—colour, brightness, black levels and sharpness. The Display Zoom feature ensures that uncomfortably small text is not a hurdle. The only niggle is that the iPhone 6 Plus feels bigger than most other 5.5-inch phones.

*Prices may vary

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