Kindle vs. iPad – Which Device is Better for Reading?

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Apple’s latest iPad is now on sale, and predictably, there’s a whole lot of hype surrounding it. But how does it fare for digital readers, and, most importantly, how does it stand up against the most classic of all e-readers, the Amazon Kindle?

In this article, I’ll be answering that question by taking a thorough look at some of the pros and cons of these two industry-leading devices, strictly from a bookworm’s perspective.

So, has Kindle finally met its match? Let’s find out…

Kindle vs. iPad – Which Device is Better for Reading?

Both the Amazon Kindle and the Apple iPad have come a long way over the years, but one general rule has always remained the same; Kindle is designed specifically for reading, whereas the iPad is intended as an all-around multi use device.

Amazon’s Kindle has long been recognized as the ultimate gadget for bibliophiles, which makes sense since it was the first ever e-reader to hit the market. In fact, it’s the reason why so many of us have switched to digital reading in the last decade. Now, Amazon actually sells more e-books than physical hard copy books, so it’s safe to say that even us bookworms have entered the digital age.

Meanwhile, Apple’s iPad has been leading the way in hybrid tablet devices since its original inception in 2010. This multi use gadget can take on the role of an e-reader, but it’s also a laptop, a camera, and an entertainment system all rolled into one.

So, when choosing between these two game-changing pieces of tech, the first thing to consider is what features you need from a device.

Yes, you want an e-reader; otherwise, you probably wouldn’t be reading this post, but do you also want a tablet that allows you to watch shows and movies, face time with friends, and browse the internet?

If the answer is yes, then you already know what to do.

But perhaps you already have all of your tablet needs fulfilled, and you’re interested in what each of these devices can offer solely to your reading experience. If so, stick with me.

1. Budget

Let’s start with the all-important question of price.

It will come as a shock to no one that the latest iPad will leave a considerably larger dent in your pocket than the newest Kindle, but you might still be pleasantly surprised about what you get for your money. The multifunctional iPad starts at just over $300, which isn’t such a bad price after all when you consider its impressive capabilities.

But of course, Amazon’s Kindle is still much kinder on your wallet, with the latest incarnation, the Kindle 3, coming in at well under $100, even without any discounts or offers. If you snap one up during Black Friday or Prime Day, then you’ll save even more.

But you’ll also need to consider the cost of e-books. This is where Kindle is a clear winner; the vast majority of all Kindle books come in at $9.99 or less, whereas e-books bought at Apple’s iBooks store are capped at a hefty $15.99 each.

That being said, no matter which device you opt for, you’re not necessarily limited to Amazon or Apple when it comes to purchasing e-books. But more on this later…

2. Portability

Size and weight are two big factors to consider when choosing an e-reader; after all, one of the major benefits of switching from hard copy physical books to e-books is to make reading more portable, right?

When it comes to weight, it’s another win for Kindle, whose latest device is just 7.2 oz, almost half that of the 14.1oz iPad. This is pretty significant when you consider how comfortable each device is for reading at length. Holding something twice as heavy for hours on end while you’re immersed in a good book can cause significant wrist strain over time.

Kindle is smaller too, measuring just 6.7×4.6×0.36, compared to 9.4 x6.6×0.3 for the iPad. This makes Kindle a much more portable, pocket-sized option overall.

But of course, smaller isn’t always better, especially when it comes to screen size. If you enjoy reading on a bigger screen, then consider opting for an iPad, whose 9.7-inch display is significantly larger than Kindle’s 6 inch one.

3. Storage

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that the iPad has significantly more storage than the basic Kindle, 32GB compared to Kindle’s 8GB. Having said that, you can still carry up to 5000 books on a Kindle, so if you’re only using your device for reading, ask yourself, do you really need that extra storage?

4. Screen Readability

Apple’s iPad’s 9.7inch screen features an LED-backlit IPS display which is awesome for viewing sharp full-color images, for example, in e-comics and online magazines. If full resolution artwork and graphics are a priority for you, then there’s no doubt that the iPad is superior.

But while the iPad can’t be beaten on resolution, it still lacks the all-important anti-glare features of Amazon’s Kindle. Kindle’s paper-like matte display and e-ink technology mimic the experience of reading a print version of a book better than any other device. It performs well even in full, bright sunlight, eliminating glare, lessening eye strain, and giving you an all-around easy and comfortable reading experience.

Meanwhile, the iPad’s backlit LED screen can be a struggle if you’re a fan of reading on the beach, and it’s also not quite as gentle on the eyes when used at night time either. If you love reading for long periods of time in any environment, then Kindle is the kindest option for your eyes.

Bonus Read: Top 9 Best E-Readers of Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

5. Battery Life

There’s a huge difference in battery life between these two devices. Apple’s iPad can clock in a respectable 10-14 hours on a full charge, and while this is pretty impressive for such a powerful tablet, it’s got nothing on Kindle, which can last an incredible 2-3 weeks. So, if you’re heading off on vacation, you can safely leave your charger at home!

Kindle’s lack of cutting edge features and overall simplicity as a dedicated e-reader means it can run for much, much longer on a single charge than its more advanced Apple counterpart.

6. Performance

The Apple iPad features a tiny silicon A4 chip that provides a super-fast, seamless performance. The result is intuitive navigation and lighting speed page turns, taps, and overall response time.

That being said, while Kindle doesn’t boast quite the same performance-enhancing technology as the iPad, the latest model has come along leaps and bounds when it comes to faster page turns and intuitive navigation.

So although the Apple iPad wins here, both devices offer a pretty seamless performance, and most users won’t notice a big difference between the two. 

7. Content Options

iBooks has over 150,000 e-book titles to choose from, but that’s nothing compared to the big daddy of digital reading, the Amazon Kindle store. With over 800,000 titles on offer, it’s still the biggest selection of e-books on earth.

But that doesn’t mean that Kindle scores a win regarding content options, as the free Amazon Kindle app is also available to iPad users, giving you full access to all those books, no matter what device you’re using.

It’s also worth noting that the Kindle 3 still doesn’t support ePub files, whereas the iPad does. This is a pretty big deal for a lot of digital readers since ePub files, like the ones found on online libraries and open-source, public domain sites, need to be converted to a Kindle-friendly format first, using a tool such as Epubor Ultimate.

Overall Readability: Kindle or iPad?

Comparing the Kindle and the iPad is a little like comparing apples and oranges; they are two very different devices that can be used in very different ways.

The Kindle is a dedicated e-reader, whereas the iPad is a multi-media machine that allows you to do much more than just read e-books.

It’s pretty clear that when it comes to sleek sophistication, the iPad wins hands down. The Kindle is a much more basic, low-tech option, but this might actually be a win for a lot of readers. It certainly is for me.

Personally, I find Kindle’s simplicity much more conducive to reading; the lack of entertainment options, pinging notifications, and general distractions mean that I spend a lot more time focusing on my book, which is exactly what I want to use my e-reader for.

So while Apple’s iPad is a much more powerful, stylish, and streamlined device, the simple, understated Kindle is the overall winner when it comes to reading.

Its superior battery life, portability, and anti-glare screen mean it’s the best option for reading for long periods of time, in all environments, whether in bright sunlight or at home in bed.

That being said, if you’re looking for an e-reader that can also double up as a powerful, multi-media device, then the iPad’s shortcomings as an e-reader might well be worth putting up with for the all-around Apple user experience.

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