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iPad myths: The iPad is a better ebook reader than the Kindle

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There’s heated debate in some internet forums about the relative merits of the latest generation Kindle and the iPad as ebook readers. As an owner of both I think I can make an objective assessment of their relative merits.

The Kindle’s size (similar to a paperback), very low power consumption, light weight, and reflective screen makes it a much more convincing ebook reader for general text such as novels. The battery life is superb with Amazon quoting up to a month’s use before it needs recharging. I took it on holiday recently and used it for several hours each day, reading five books over two weeks. At the end of the holiday the battery was only down to about 30% charge. However, although the Kindle now has native support for PDF documents, its small screen makes viewing  Letter/A4 formatted PDF documents difficult.

By comparison, viewing PDF documents using the GoodReader app on the iPad is a pleasure and the touch UI comes into its own for navigating and zooming. But in all other respects the iPad has similar weaknesses to a laptop computer with limited battery life (less than a day) and a screen that’s difficult to read in bright sunlight. There’s no getting away from the fact that the iPad is an extraordinary device and after a few days use it became my ‘go to’ device for internet browsing and viewing/updating files in Dropbox and Evernote.

It’s worth noting that neither device is perfect. Even Apple’s iPad apps crash from time to time and yesterday the Kindle locked up and drained its battery in a matter of hours.

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Written by Sea Monkey

December 6, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Posted in Comment

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