Kindle vs iPad – Kindle, iPad comparison from iPad reviews

There are lots of Kindle vs iPad comparisons in the first set of iPad reviews – Unfortunately, their Kindle, iPad comparisons are half-baked. None of the reviewers read a couple of books each on the Kindle, iPad and took notes on the differences in experience, reading speed, eye strain and so forth.

Most of them were busy with the hard task of watching movies back to back to see how long the iPad’s battery would last. Only one reviewer (Walt Mossberg) mentions actually reading a complete book on the iPad.

This post will look at Kindle vs iPad by compiling all the reading related Kindle, iPad differences listed across the top 5-6 iPad reviews and adding on some of what’s missing.

Kindle vs iPad – iPad advantages from the reviews

  1. iPad has sizzle, flash, and looks very pretty. 
  2. iPad has a color screen. It’s IPS LCD so it’s better looking than most LCDs.
  3. The iPad screen is bigger and you can go to two page view.
  4. Easier to navigate than the Kindle as it has a touchscreen. Also, search is supposedly excellent.
  5. The page turns are applauded both for the fancy animation and the quicker speed. 
  6. The backlit LCD screen means reading at night doesn’t require a reading light. Plus you can adjust screen brightness.
  7. Walt Mossberg said he did not feel any eye strain from reading on the iPad. Please check for yourself as most/some people do get eye strain from extended reading on LCD screens.
  8. iPad is called ‘vastly superior’ for magazines and newspapers. 
  9. You can bookmark individual words.
  10. You don’t need to buy a separate ebook reader.

iPad advantages that don’t get mentioned

  1. It supports ePub books that don’t have DRM. That means free Google Books etc. ought to work.
  2. There are PDF apps that will let you read PDFs on the iPad.
  3. There are lots of apps for writing (like AwesomeNote, My Diary, Memento) that you could use to turn the iPad into eReader + eWriter. 
  4. Text to Speech via the VoiceOver feature.
  5. Automatic screen rotation with screen orientation lock button – The Kindle only has manual rotation.

Will be updating this list (and the next one) as more data trickles in.

Kindle vs iPad – Kindle advantages from the reviews

  1. Kindle has 450,000 books as compared to the iPad’s starting selection of 60,000 titles. 
  2. Kindle books are cheaper for non-Agency Model Publishers.  
  3. Kindle is much cheaper at $259.  
  4. Kindle is lighter (10.2 ounces) and you can read with one hand. iPad is ‘much heavier’ (1.5 pounds) and ‘most people will need two hands to use it’ according to Walt Mossberg.
  5. Kindle has much better battery life (2 weeks with wireless turned off). iPad’s battery life is 10 to 12 hours.
  6. Kindle lets you add notes – iPad doesn’t.
  7. You can read on the Kindle in direct sunlight.
  8. You can use various Kindle Apps to read Kindle books on Mac, PC, Blackberry, iPhone, and even iPad. iBookstore books only work on the iPad (they might add Mac support and iPhone support down the line).

Kindle Advantages that don’t get mentioned

  1. eInk is better for longer reading spells than LCDs – even IPS LCDs. If you read in 15 to 20 minutes bursts then a LCD screen is good enough. Longer and eInk will most probably work much better for you.  
  2. Free Wikipedia access via 3G and free Internet Access via 3G. If you buy a Kindle in the US you get free Internet Access in over 100 countries. The Browser is very primitive but it lets you access the mobile email sites and Google.
  3. Text to Speech via the Read to Me feature. Publishers sometimes block it out – However, those Publishers will probably block it out on iPad too. 
  4. There’s a Kindle App Store on the horizon and it ought to add at least some good apps – perhaps even a few great ones.

The reason so many journalists feel that ‘it remains to be seen’ whether eInk is better than LCD for reading is that they didn’t really read entire books – they were too busy reviewing the iPad. Perhaps 5 to 10% of the population finds no difference between 4 hours of reading on eInk and 4 hours reading on LCD screens (including Walk Mossberg) – So please check for yourself.

A Note of Thanks and a Conclusion

First, a quick note of thanks to the reviews referenced –

  1. Ed Baig’s iPad Review which includes a lot of Kindle vs iPad comparison points.
  2. Walt Mossberg actually read a few books on the iPad.  
  3. David Pogue also included good Kindle vs iPad points
  4. PC Mag’s Tim Gideon actually wrote an entire, long section comparing iPad’s iBooks App with the Kindle

What’s the Conclusion?

The conclusion is that you have to check out reading on the iPad yourself before buying.

  1. If your focus is on reading books or $500 is too much for you then the Kindle is the easy choice.
  2. If your focus is on multi-tasking or watching movies or playing games then the iPad is the right choice.
  3. If you read less than 1 book a month the iPad is probably the right choice. 

The Kindle is focused on reading and leads to owners reading more. The iPad will have a lot of different things to do and it’s rather unlikely you will read more or even as much.

Just consider the lists above and factor in what’s important to you – iPad and Kindle are both really good at what they’re supposed to do (let’s trust the iPad reviews). Kindle vs iPad comes down to what you want to use them for, how much reading you’ll do, and whether you want to read more than you currently do (Kindle) or less.


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