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.

Kindle vs iPad Review

Let’s walk through a Kindle vs iPad review that looks at which is the better eReader – the iPad or the Kindle.

Update: $199 Kindle Fire Kindle Tablet is now out. Will put up a Kindle Fire vs iPad review soon.

This specifically compares the $259 Kindle 2 against the Apple iPad ($499 WiFi, $629 3G). There’ll be a separate Kindle DX vs iPad post later.

Please note that –

  1. If you want a multi-purpose device then iPad is the right choice for you. No need to read the rest of the post.
  2. If you will be reading less than a book a month then the iPad is definitely the better choice.
  3. If you want a dedicated eReader than the Kindle is better – read the post and see the pros and cons.
  4. If price is an issue then the $259 Kindle is the clear choice.

Let’s look at Kindle vs iPad in detail.

Kindle vs iPad Review – iPad advantages

The best way to think of the iPad is as a larger iPhone – one with a 9.7″ screen. The iPad’s advantages are –

  1. It does a lot of things – movies (including HD), TV, color screen web browsing, playing games.
  2. Very good looks.
  3. Larger screen size – the screen is a 9.7 inch IPS display. IPS is really good screen technology.
  4. Full capacitive touch screen and it’s in color.
  5. 1 GHz Apple A4 processor.
  6. 16, 32, and 64 GB of flash storage – That’s much more storage than the Kindle.
  7. 802.11n, WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1 in the 3G model and WiFi and Bluetooth in the WiFi model. Kindle doesn’t have WiFi or Bluetooth.
  8. Accelerometer and Compass. Kindle doesn’t have either.
  9. Good battery life of 10 hours. Standby of over a month. This is still much less than the Kindle.
  10. iPhone Apps – iPad gets all iPhone Apps. The new SDK includes an iPad simulator.
  11. Excellent for newspapers – you get color photos and inline videos and more.

The iPad is optimized for movies and games and doing everything. It also happens to let you read – quite well.

The iPad models are priced at –

  1. WiFi  models at $499, $599, and $699. Available around March 27th, 2010.
  2. WiFi+3G models at $629, $729, and $829.

iBooks Store for iPad – iPad as an eReader

The key features of iPad’s iBooks Store –

  1. Menus look like bookshelves with titles on the shelves.
  2. Partnered with Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, MacMillan, and Hachette.
  3. You can look at reviews and download samples – very similar to the Kindle.
  4. Publishers can choose B&W or color content. They can embed video too.
  5. You can turn pages by tapping the screen or by dragging your finger.
  6. You can change the font and the font sizes.
  7. It’ll offer fiction and textbooks.
  8. It uses ePub format.

It’s quite good.

Kindle vs iPad – Kindle advantages

  1. Price – At $259 the Kindle is much cheaper than the iPad.
  2. Focused on reading – Fewer distractions and the whole device is built with reading in mind.
  3. More compact and lighter. iPad weighs 1.5 pounds and is 0.5″ thin – the Kindle is thinner and lighter (0.36″, 10.2 ounces).
  4. Screen is better for reading.
  5. Free Internet.
  6. Free Wikipedia in 100+ countries around the world.
  7. Amazing battery life of 2 weeks with wireless off and 1 week with wireless on.
  8. iPad has Text to Speech just like Kindle so no advantage there.
  9. Cheaper Prices on books from non-Agency Model Publishers. Same price on Agency Model Publishers’ books.
  10. Wider range of titles. Kindle Store has 450,000 titles while iBooks has 60,000 (30,000 of which are free public domain titles). Kindle for iPad app sort of negates this advantage.
  11. Readable in direct sunlight.

We don’t know what sort of apps we’ll get in the Kindle Store – However, they might make the Kindle better.

Kindle vs iPad – Which is the better eReader?

Let’s consider the reading experience on both devices and the major factors that go into making a great eReader.

Please note that we’re considering books – if you’re buying an eReader primarily for newspapers and textbooks you should stick to the iPad.

  1. Getting Books – A tie. It’s easy to get books on both.
  2. Cheap Books – Kindle wins because it will have lower prices (except for Agency Model books).
  3. Reading Books – The Kindle’s eInk screen is better for reading.
  4. Price – Kindle easily wins.
  5. Screen Quality – iPad has an excellent quality screen and is bigger at 9.7″.  eInk is better for reading. iPad wins.
  6. Color – iPad has color. Kindle doesn’t.
  7. Touch and Multi-touch – iPad wins.
  8. Portability – More compact size and better battery life make the Kindle the winner.
  9. Reference and surfing the web for information – iPad wins as it has a better browser and you can see a page at a time.
  10. Store and Software – All the various Stores and software are available as iPad apps. iPad wins.
  11. Ease of Use – This is a tie.
  12. Content Portability – Both Apple and Amazon use proprietary technology. iPad has apps from all stores so it wins.
  13. Free Internet Access – Only on the Kindle and also includes free Whispernet in 100+ countries.
  14. Text to Speech feature – Tie as both have it.
  15. Adding notes – iPad’s iBooks doesn’t allow notes (neither does Kindle for iPad). Kindle does allow notes.
  16. Reading in sunlight – Kindle wins.

Based on these 16 reading related features we have the Kindle and the iPad almost in a tie – Kindle wins 7 areas, iPad wins 6, and they tie in 3 areas.

The Kindle wins overall because it wins in some of the most important areas – price, cheap books, readability of the screen, and portability.

Please weigh the factors according to what you value and consider essential to reading.

A few factors that might be important to you (although they aren’t strictly to do with reading) –

  1. Looks – The iPad wins.
  2. Doing things other than reading – iPad wins.

Kindle vs iPad – Recommendation

This Kindle vs iPad Review arrives at quite a straightforward conclusion –

  1. If you want a device optimized for reading or price is a priority then the clear choice is the Kindle.
  2. If you want a device that does a lot of things well, including reading, then the iPad is the clear choice.

The $499 WiFi iPad makes it very accessible (do factor in the price of data plans if you get the 3G iPad).

Kindle vs iPad is an easy decision because these are very different devices built for two distinct sets of customers.