eReaders – Kindle v Nook v iPad

A friend of my wife’s posted a note asking what people thought of the various devices and which one would they recommend. Someone wrote a long response that basically recommended the iPad. My wife, sister-in-law, and I started to debate it a bit. My sister-in-law just got a Nook, and she likes it, but price was a factor for her.

There are quite a few Kindle v iPad comparisons on the Internet from various people. Having owned a Kindle, and using an iPhone for media consumption now, I’ll give you a few thoughts.

eInk v LCD

The iPad has an LCD screen. The Kindle and Nook use eInk. I think both work well, though I think over hours, like reading for 4-5 hours in a row, I think it’s easier on eInk. However not a lot easier, and it’s rare that I read that long. Usually I’ll read for an hour or two and do something else.

In direct sunlight, eInk is like paper. LCD is not, but it’s not horrible. I usually read with a black background, white letters inside, but I flip that for outside reading on the iPhone. It works well for me, and even in direct sunlight, with sunglasses, it works OK. Not as good as the eInk, but OK.

Weight and Ergonomics

The iPad is definitely heaver. I’ve compared them in stores and I think if you tried to hold this away from you, or in your arms in bed without resting it on something, it would be hard. However I thought the Kindle I had was also heavy on my arms when reading in bed and holding it up in the air.

One nice thing on the iPad is you have the option to rotate it and read sideways. That is sometimes easier to hold and manage.

In terms of moving among books and turning pages, I used to think that the Kindle worked great. However after doing the swipe or tap thing on the screen, I think that is better. Miles past pushing buttons, IMHO.

Multimedia

How many of you are dedicated readers? I assume you read if you’re considering a Kindle, but is it worth it to have a dedicated reading device? I will say that I liked having a Kindle, but I liked the convergence more of using an iPhone. I am tempted to go with an iPad if I want a bigger device since I can do other things. I can check on Twitter, or play a game.

Or more importantly, read a color book, or a multimedia book. I think those will become more prevalent over time.

Risk

These are relatively expensive devices. Even at the $140 for the new Kindle, if it breaks, you will be upset. Probably less upset than if your $500 iPad broke, but still upset. You’ll want to be careful with either of these, and not throw them in a bag. Get something fairly sturdy so if someone sits on it, it won’t break.

Cost

I think ultimately it comes down to this for most people. If you don’t mind spending $500 on a device for fun and leisure, get the iPad. If you can just read, and then do other things on a computer, go with the Nook or Kindle.

Nook v Kindle

I think it’s a toss-up here. The Amazon catalog might be a little bigger, but the Nook has a couple nice features, like reading in store and the Lend-Me feature. Again, it’s a toss up to me. Pick the one you like.

Conclusion

I think the iPad is better. I have a Windows 7 tablet and it’s not even close to as convenient as an iPad. In the store, the Win 7 tablet is too heave to comfortably read with, carry, work with, and the Win 7 touch is flaky. The iPad is crisp and responsive, and just works. With the new multi-tasking in iOS4, it is very tempting to me. I’m waiting to see if a friend has used it for presentations and how that works before I make my decision.

The other nice advantage I see is that I can buy books from both Barnes and Noble and Amazon on the iPad (or use free books from Google), or even get books from a few other places. I can get PDF documents, and I can see color. The images on the Kindle device, or Kindle app, are poor. Some books in iBooks have great images. Even charts and non-color diagrams are better on the iPad in iBooks.

You can make your own decision, but is you can afford it, I think the iPad is better. However, if you can wait, I’d look to see what happens in 2011 as companies release Android and Windows tablets to compete with the iPad.

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