Are you looking to buy a tablet for reading e-books?
Confused about whether should you buy a dedicated e-reader like Amazon Kindle or get a full-featured iPad?
We'll help you find the best tablet from a pure reading perspective.
Take the quiz to get a personalized recommendation or continue reading our in-depth research.
Amazon Kindle for Reading: Pros and Cons
- Perfect for outdoor reading
- Less eye-strain
- Battery lasts 2x of iPad Mini
- Powerful in-built features that enhance your reading experience.
- Black and white display
- Can download books only from Amazon.
- Reading PDFs can be a nightmare
iPad Mini for Reading: Pros and Cons
- Larger screen than the Kindle
- Supports other bookstores like Google Play Books, iBooks, etc.
- Superior note-taking experience and screen refresh rate.
- Works great with PDFs.
- Poor visibility under direct sunlight.
- Constant notifications can hamper your reading experience.
A Quick Note on Kindle vs. iPad Comparison
In our research, we mainly focus on pitting the best-selling model of Kindle—the Kindle Paperwhite against the iPad Mini 4.
However, this guide is equally relevant for a general comparison between the Kindle Oasis or Kindle Voyage against the iPad (2018) or the iPad Pro.
1. Where Do You Read More Often — Indoors or Outdoors?
If you usually read outdoors, the Amazon Kindle easily beats the iPad.
- Portability: You need something lightweight and portable when you're heading out. The 6" display on Kindle Paperwhite is perfect for reading and fits in most large pockets.
- Excellent screen visibility: Kindle's E-ink display provides a much better screen visibility, especially under direct sunlight. It offers a far better contrast and viewing angles. Unlike the LCD screen on the iPad, there's no screen flare.
- Holds charge for a longer time: Reading away from home usually means lack of power supply to charge your gadgets. Kindle lasts up to 6 weeks before you need to charge it again. No more hassle of carrying around powerbanks or such when you're outdoors.
If you read indoors, here's why an Apple iPad is superior to the Amazon Kindle.
- Larger screen size: Even the smallest iPad — the iPad Mini — offers a large 7.9" screen. More screen real estate can translate to a better reading experience.
2. What Kind of Books Do You Usually Read?
If you mostly read novels or other-plain textbooks—with little to no graphics—a Kindle Paperwhite is perfect for you.
- Powerful formatting options: You can quickly adjust the text size, change the font, adjust word spacing, margins, and layout, etc.
- Features to enhance reading experience: The Smart Lookup feature lets you quickly access word definitions via dictionary and Wikipedia. The X-Ray feature lets you flip through important passages and help you keep track of events and characters in the book. Kindle also makes it super-easy to translate passages, learn new words, and enhance your vocabulary.
If you read books that include heavy-graphics like comics, cookbooks, or academic textbooks, you might be better off with the iPad.
Here's why the Kindle isn't a good pick for reading books with heavy illustrations.
- Odd-formatting: A lot of academic textbooks have complex formatting which does not look good on a Kindle. Some words might overflow, and sentences may get cut-off abruptly.
- Lack of color: Kindle's E-ink display is black and white. Obviously, reading comics or cookbooks is less than stellar on a monochrome display. If academic textbooks contain color-coded pie charts or graphs, you won't be able to distinguish between different colors.
3. How Often Do You Read?
If you read every day or multiple times a week, you should buy a Kindle.
Here are some advantages of Kindle over the iPad if you're an avid reader.
- Less eye-strain: The E-ink display on Kindle doesn't emit harmful blue light. It's almost like reading on a regular paper. On the other hand, the iPad features an LCD display, which might cause eye-strain if you read for long periods of time.
- No distractions while reading: The Kindle is a single-purpose tablet built for reading. So, you get an immersive reading experience with absolutely no distractions. In contrast, an iPad can do so much more that it's very easy to get distracted by mindless notifications.
- 2x battery life: The Kindle Paperwhite lasts more than twice as long as the iPad Mini 4. You should buy a Kindle if you don't want to be hung around power outlets.
iPad mini 4
(Total screen-on time)
Upto 28 hours
Upto 13 hours
4. Do You Highlight Text or Take Notes Actively While Reading?
If you have a habit of highlighting text and making notes, the iPad offers a far better experience than the Kindle.
- iPad Pro supports Apple Pencil: The Apple Pencil lets you take notes or markup documents with high precision. The note-taking experience on Kindle is simply sub-par. The iPad Mini doesn't support Apple Pencil, but the note-taking experience is still miles ahead of the Kindle.
- iPad has superior refresh rates: The iPad Mini has a refresh rate of upto 60 Hz which makes it easy to select and markup notes quickly. Kindle's refresh rate is far lower, which results in a noticeable delay when marking up text or turning pages.
- Color-coded highlights: The iPad's display has a vast color gamut. You can easily color-code highlighted text. Needless to say, doing so isn't possible on the Kindle due to its black-and-white display.
5. Apart From Reading, Do You Need to Browse the Internet or Play Games?
If you're looking to do other stuff apart from reading, you should get an iPad, hands-down.
The iPad is a versatile device that can do so much more than reading books—like playing games, browsing the web, etc.
In contrast, the Kindle is a single-purpose device that is built only for reading. It comes with an in-built experimental browser, but the lack of color and slower refresh rate makes it almost impossible to use it.
6. Do You Have Existing PDF Books You'd Like to Load and Read?
If you have a lot of existing books in the PDF format, we guess you'd like to load and read them on your new tablet, too.
Let's get something straight.
Don't buy a Kindle if you're primarily looking to sideloading and reading PDFs. Converting and reading PDFs on the Kindle can be a real nightmare.
The folks over at The E-book Reader showcase how the Kindle handles PDF files.
PDFs simply aren't designed for the Kindle's display size, which can often result in poor formatting, inability to change fonts size, etc.
If your existing book collection consists primarily of PDF files, you should definitely consider getting an iPad. The iPad makes it easy to sideload PDFs and also offers far-better reading experience.
Over to you.
Kindle vs. iPad: Which one would you choose for reading and why?