The prices of the WiFi and 3G models of the iPad and the data plan prices are very relevant – How do they compare to the Kindle and its free 3G WhisperNet?
- Kindle, iPad comparisons are hard to do because the prices put the devices in two different brackets.
- The eInk screen and the battery life make the Kindle a better eReader. Meanwhile, the iPad is better at everything else (including things the Kindle just can’t do).
Let’s dig into Kindle, iPad prices and total cost of ownership and see what value for money they provide.
Price Comparison for Kindle, iPad
The Device Cost
Here are the prices -
- Kindle – $259.
- iPad WiFi – $499 for the 16 GB model, $599 for the 32 GB model, and $699 for the 64 GB model.
- iPad 3G (includes WiFi) – $629 for the 16 GB model, $729 for the 32 GB model, and $829 for the 64 GB model.
- Kindle DX – $489.
This is what it comes down to -
- Kindle 2 is $240 cheaper than the WiFi version of the iPad.
- Kindle 2 is $370 cheaper than the 3G version of the iPad.
That clearly makes the Kindle 2 the best choice for anyone who is cost conscious.
The 3G Data Plan Cost – $180 a year for limited, $360 a year for unlimited
With the iPad you get to choose between -
- No plan and using just WiFi.
- $14.99 a month for up to 250 MB of data.
- $29.99 for unlimited data.
Both plans give you free use of AT&T WiFi hotspots.
One great feature is that you can activate the plan at any time from the iPad itself and you can cancel any time – there is no contract.
You get two categories of uses for the iPad -
- Someone who gets the unlimited plan and surfs the Internet a lot and watches movies and more. That’s a completely different use-case from reading and will cost $30 a month i.e. $360 a year.
- Someone who mostly reads and uses the Internet for reference. Here you pay $15 a month – that’s $180 a year.
With the Kindle you get free wikipedia and free internet – However, the browser is too basic to compare to a device optimized for surfing.
Free is good though – you can do things like use twitter, check up on weather and news, and even check email.
Kindle, iPad Comparion – The Cost of eBooks
If reading is the main thing you’ll be using each for it’s worth looking at the cost of ebooks -
- Kindle has $9.99 books and lots of cheap books from independent authors.
- Kindle for iPad is probably going to be released and offer the same prices for the iPad.
- The default iBooks Book Store for iPad is supposed to be promoting $12.99 and $14.99 prices.
As long as you stick with Kindle for iPad you should be fine.
What is the Total Cost of Ownership?
Let’s assume you own the device for 3 years.
With the iPad, your options are -
- $499 WiFi model and surviving on free WiFi – Just $499. That’s $166 a year approximately.
- $629 3G model and using the $15 a month limited data plan – Total of $1,169. That’s $390 a year approximately.
- $629 3G model and unlimited $30 a month plan – Total of $1,709. That’s $570 a year approximately.
We get a decent amount of functionality with the 2nd and 3rd options -
- 250MB a month allows for a decent amount of surfing and even some amount of videos and photos.
- With the third option you get a ton of use – movies, unlimited surfing and more. That being said, $570 a year is very, very high.
With the Kindle, you have no data plans (neither on the Kindle, nor on the Kindle DX) -
- $259 Kindle with free whispernet and free surfing (on a basic browser). That’s $86 a year approximately.
- $489 Kindle DX with free whispernet and free surfing (slightly better due to larger screen). That’s $163 a year approximately.
Kindle and 16 GB WiFi iPad offer the best value for money
When you look at it in terms of value for money the best options are -
- Kindle offering free wikipedia and free basic browsing for just $86 a year. The Kindle 2 offers absolutely amazing value for money.
- The $499 WiFi iPad offers the next best value for money. For just $166 a year you get a device that offers a lot.
- Next is the Kindle DX – a larger screen than the Kindle 2 and free basic browsing for $163 a year.
- Then you have the 3G versions of the iPad with the limited data plan – the data might be limited but it’s $180 a year which is not bad.
- Last you have the unlimited data plan with the 3G iPad – It’s ridiculously expensive at $570 a year and it’s also unlimited browsing and video.
Please note that this assumes you use Kindle for iPad to buy your books. If you choose iBooks you might end up paying $3 to $5 more per ebook.
Recommended – $86 a year Kindle 2 and $166 a year WiFi iPad
This little analysis clearly shows what your best options are -
- For a reading device the Kindle, with its amazingly low $86 a year total cost of ownership, is the clear winner.
- For a multi-purpose device (or a textbook or newspaper reader) the 16GB WiFi iPad is the winner.
Assuming 3 years device life isn’t unreasonable – plus both devices hold their value very well so you could sell either after 1.5 to 2 years without losing much.
The Kindle, iPad price comparison again highlights the fact that we are dealing with two very different devices. It also shows that both the Kindle 2 and the WiFi iPad offer surprisingly good value for money.