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Kindle vs. iPad – which device is better for reading?

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Amazon Kindle vs. Apple iPad - which device is better for reading?
This short Kindle vs iPad comparison will help you pick up the perfect book-reading device / Images: Amazon, Apple

Both Kindle and iPad are equally helpful for reading ebooks. Everything depends on what, when, and how you want to read.

When it comes to mobile devices, an iPad and a Kindle are the most famous and desired brands. An iPad is a benchmark for tablets. A Kindle is a synonym of e-readers.

Many users who want to buy a device for reading, don’t look for general comparisons between tablets and e-readers. They want to compare specific brands and models. And two most sought-after brand names are Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle.

That’s why, on top of our popular questionnaire helping you choose between a tablet and an e-reader, we’ve compiled a list of tips and insights that will help you recognize which of your reading preferences will be met better by either device.

The overview doesn’t compare specific models. So, you won’t find here an answer to what is better for reading comic books – a latest Kindle Paperwhite or a newest iPad Pro 10.5.

Instead, you will see areas where a tablet from Apple works better than an e-reader from Amazon. And the other way round.

If you are afraid that this post will be full of technical details – relax. We’ve tried to make it as simple as possible, and describe benefits of these two devices through your needs.

iPad vs. Kindle for reading – comparison

Choose a Kindle if you read a lot

iPad or Kindle for reading - choose a Kindle if you read a lot

The Kindle is a single-purpose device. It’s designed for reading ebooks and listening to audiobooks (which is a different format of a book).

You can’t play games on a Kindle, reply to emails, or check out what’s new on Facebook. A Kindle offers a black-and-white screen of a size of a typical paperback book.

Because a Kindle is a dedicated e-reading machine, it offers features an iPad lacks:

  • long battery life
  • e-ink screen

If you read a lot during a day, an iPad might at some point require recharging. You’ll need to finish that book somewhere close to a power socket, or – just in case an iPad dies – take a power bank always with you. Both solutions are far from being comfortable.

When you have a Kindle, you can forget about a charger. Any Kindle model can run for weeks on a single charge. You can take a Kindle for your summer holidays, and it still won’t need to be recharged after you come back.

Choose a Kindle if you care for your eyes

iPad or Kindle for reading - choose a Kindle if you care for your eyes

The other benefit of a Kindle is even more important. If you read for long hours, you have to care for your eyes.

An iPad, just like any other device with an LCD color display (not only tablets but also phones) emits light directly into your eyes. It’s because an LCD screen produces images by using a light that is placed behind it. In other words: you are looking into the source of light.

A result? Eye strain. It may not happen if you use an iPad for half an hour, but you’ll definitely feel eye fatigue after reading a book all Sunday.

A Kindle saves your eyes. Its screen doesn’t need a light to produce a visible image. In other words: you are not looking into the source of light.

Choose an iPad if you want to read textbooks or comics

iPad or Kindle for reading - choose an iPad for textbooks and comics

A Kindle is perfect for reading novels. All you have to do is set the right font size.

Problems start to appear if you want to read ebooks that contain illustrations, graphs, or tables.

Kindle’s lack of color is not the major obstacle, though. It’s how graphic-rich books – such as textbooks or comic books – are developed for digital use.

First of all, some textbooks are still available in pdf format. If a pdf file is not reflowable, it means a page of a book is like a fixed image. You can’t make the text bigger by changing the size in the settings. All you can do is zoom into a fragment of a page. In such cases, an iPad is much more convenient.

The first benefit of an iPad is the size of the screen. A page fitting a 10-inch display of an iPad is bigger than on a 6-inch Kindle. Thanks to that, chances are the text will be readable without the need to zoom in.

Secondly, controlling an iPad is easier. Yes, Kindle has a touch screen, but as it’s e-ink, it works with a noticeable delay. It means you won’t be happy to pinch to zoom on your Paperwhite every few minutes.

Choose a Kindle if you want to focus on reading

iPad or Kindle for reading - choose a Kindle if you want to focus on reading

There are millions of apps for iPad. Thousands are available in the Books category.

I bet a Kindle or Google Play Books or iBooks app won’t be the only ones you download to your iPad from the App Store. Facebook? Note-taking apps? Games? Netflix? Photo-editing?

A Kindle does only one thing. It lets you read. No notifications, no desire to switch between apps or play with apps’ settings. No distractions.

The more you want to escape into the world of books, the more you will love your Kindle.

Choose an iPad if you want to read books to your kids

iPad or Kindle for reading - choose an iPad if you want to read with kids

Do you want to read books together with your kids? It’s a different story from reading for yourself.

A child needs color and wants to interact. A Kindle is just boring. It has a small black-and-white screen, displays static text, and can’t play sound without connecting to an external Bluetooth speaker.

Your child will love reading together – with an iPad. There are three main ways to do it.

  • pick up an standalone book application from the App Store,
  • pick up a book-reading app that offers enhanced ebooks (Kindle or Amazon Rapids are good examples),
  • pick up a language learning app.

Choose an iPad if you want to access different ebookstores

iPad or Kindle for reading - choose an iPad if you want to shop in various ebookstores

There are a few major ebook ecosystems you can choose from. Each one comes with an app for iPad:

  • Kindle Store – offered and powered by Amazon
  • Kobo – from Rakuten Kobo
  • Nook – by Barnes & Noble
  • Google Play Books

What you need to know is that once you buy an ebook in one ebook platform, you will have problems with moving it to another one.

If you buy an ebook in the Kindle Store, you can read it on your Kindle or in a Kindle app on your iPad.

However, if you buy an ebook in Apple’s iBooks Store, you won’t be able to read it on a Kindle, unless you make a complicated and time-consuming file conversion.

As you see, an iPad is a much better device if you want to have access to different ebook ecosystems. You can use it to read an ebook you bought when you had your first iPhone, but you can also read ebooks from Google Play or Kindle Store. It’s just a matter of picking up a relevant app.

Choose a Kindle if you want to read books outside

iPad or Kindle for reading - choose a Kindle if you want to read in the full sun

Where do you like to read most? At home, in the evening, or maybe outside, on the beach or in the garden?

An iPad doesn’t like the sun. Or maybe I should say: you won’t like your iPad in the sun. Because in the sun, a screen of an iPad is dark. You will hardly see anything. Increasing a level of brightness won’t fix the problem.

As I wrote above, an LCD screen shows images thanks to emitting light from behind. And in the full sun, the light from above is stronger than what’s produced inside an iPad.

It’s a different world with a Kindle. Its screen works differently. A display consists of thousands of microcapsules. An image – a text of a book – is created when microcapsules are positioned with either their dark or light side.

Thanks to a technology used in a Kindle, a text is readable both at home or in the direct sun.

Kindle vs. iPad for reading – a summary

5 areas where Kindle is better for reading

  • if you read a lot and for long ours
  • if you read novels
  • if you read during a day and outside
  • if you are concerned about your eyes
  • if you are a dedicated user of the Kindle Store

5 areas where iPad is better for reading

  • if you read comic books and image-rich books
  • if you read books with children
  • if you make notes while reading and studying
  • if you want to access different ebookstores at the same time
  • if you read in short sessions

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