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EBook Readers Vs Tablet PC's - Kindle,iPad vs Tablet Pcs

Updated on January 14, 2013



The rapid pace of technological innovation is leaving us breathless (not to mention Bankrupt!!!) with manufacturers coming out with an amazing array of Gadgets like eBook readers, Tablet PC's, 3D Smart Phones etc leaves us utterly confused as to what should be bought?

Should I buy an eBook Reader (Kindle, Kindle Fire, Nook), Smart Phone (Samsung Galaxy S 2, S3, Note, iPhone 5) and A Tablet (Samsung Galaxy Tab, iPad/iPad mini)


Should I buy a Smartphone and a laptop and do everything on these two devices,


Should I stick to a basic phone, a tablet and a Laptop..aarrgh..the list is endless.

The frustration one feels when one has purchased the Samsung Galaxy Tab and then they come out with the Galaxy Note which actually suits your requirement better, or worse still, buying a Blackberry tablet because you own a Blackberry phone and then one day, the phone dies on you and you want to buy that beautiful iPhone 4s but suddenly you realise that your Blackberry tablet is not fully compatible with the iPhone...How frustrating is that!!!!!

Then comes the other question.. while I am travelling, I would like to read my favourite books but due to weight restrictions you cant carry too many books. So you want to buy an eBook reader. But which e book reader should I buy? If I buy the Nook (from Barnes and Noble) then eBooks come in a different format(ePub) but the Kindle has a different format for which a converter is needed. Some books are available for free in ePub format whereas I need to buy the same to read them on a Kindle.

What to buy?

I debated this question in my mind for a long time, did a lot of research and finally decided to buy a e-book reader and not a tablet PC. Why did I decide to buy a ebook reader over a tablet, was the first question asked by my friends. Well, asking the question was the easy part. Replying to it was time consuming, So I decided to write this small article that would help people make a reasonably informed decision what to buy. However a word of caution: If you are looking for technical specifications in this article, then this is not for you. However, if you are looking for what these devices can do for you and how to evaluate it if it is a value buy, then this article is for you.


Everyone know that humans are depleting Earths green cover at an alarming rate. Paper is one of the largest consumers of trees. Therefore it makes sense to migrate to a paperless world wherein, technically speaking, paper would be substituted with electronic documents. The advent of computers promised this paperless world, however, the opposite happened. As it became easier to store documents and printing became easy, the number of printouts actually increased and this correspondingly increased the consumption of paper around the world. The main reason for this was that it was extremely difficult to maintain the integrity and authenticity of Electronic Documents. So for critical financial transactions and other records, the use of paper not only continued but also increased. The second reason was that earlier PC's were extremely bulky and not portable (can you imagine taking a CRT PC monitor to bed to read a book!!!!) . The advent of lightweight LCD screens, long lasting batteries made the dream of curling up in bed with an " EBook Reader" a possibility. The third (but not the last reason) was the availability and suitability of content (Books, documents etc) in electronic form, which could be read without straining the eyes.

Now with the advent of digital signatures, the vision of a paperless world is close to becoming a reality. Many Banks, brokers etc are offering incentives to take documents in electronic form over. Therefore, the time has now come for people to shun paper and save our environment. However, to do this, one has to substitute paper with a viable alternative. Therein comes Ebooks and Tablet PC's. The succeeding paragraphs shall briefly bring out the various factors to consider before buying them. In addition,check out this article to get another perspective on the same.

Some Photos of Kindle and the iPad

Click thumbnail to view full-size
KindleOld Vs New KindleSide-by-side iPad running Kindle app vs Kindle DX2 in shaded natural light. iPad has a "bluer" white than Kindle which is yellower. In general, the text on the Kindle is more stable, higher resolution. The iPad seems more ephemeral, rushed.Apple Ipad
Old Vs New Kindle
Old Vs New Kindle
Side-by-side iPad running Kindle app vs Kindle DX2 in shaded natural light. iPad has a "bluer" white than Kindle which is yellower. In general, the text on the Kindle is more stable, higher resolution. The iPad seems more ephemeral, rushed.
Side-by-side iPad running Kindle app vs Kindle DX2 in shaded natural light. iPad has a "bluer" white than Kindle which is yellower. In general, the text on the Kindle is more stable, higher resolution. The iPad seems more ephemeral, rushed.
Apple Ipad
Apple Ipad | Source


As brought out above, Ebook readers need to have the following characteristics:-

(a) Portable

(b) Ergonomical (should not strain your eyes)

(c) Lightweight

(d) Durable

(e) Long Battery Life

(f) Availability of Content for reading

So, do the ebook readers available today have these characteristics? Simply put , yes, they do. How does the Apple iPad compare with the Kindle? Well, as the world is looking for the ultimate convergence device (a device which can be used as a phone, PC, Reader, Camera, Personal Information Manager, Mapping device, Internet browser, Television etc...Short of being used as weapon too :)), different products would have different functionalities. Sometimes, we get dazzled by the array of choices we have and then go crazy trying to figure out which product has better features, that we lose sight of our requirements. We can buy the ultimate convergence device with a gazillion features, but a sobering thought: Do I really use all the features? The answer in most cases is a big NO. Not because we don't want to use it, but because we don't have the time to figure out how to use it and by the time we do, something better has come out into the market and Human nature being Human Nature..we have got to have it..upgrade...So therefore, the learning curve starts again.

Therefore, if you own a iphone, ipod etc etc..and have no problem with the fact that the iPad cannot play flash and don't mind Steve Jobbs dictating how you upload and sync your data, the the iPad is for you. The iPad can do many things other than being a eBook reader which the Kindle cant. However, the Kindle does the job of letting you "Curl up in Bed" with a book extremely well. It has a lot of content available on the web, it is light, has a lot of juice(lasts really long) and is lightweight and cheap and does not strain your eyes like the colorful iPad.So if you want Style and Bling factor go for iPad and if you want style and functionality for for Kindle. It's a great deal. A funny thing...I actually got an iPad manual in the Kindle store to be read on Kindle!!! How ironic..

Finally, Buy an eBook reader, if you like to read, don't want to lug heavy books around, don't want to clutter your house with books, save our environment and in general love reading. Don't buy it because it can help you to 100 other things of which 98 you shall never do and still pay for. Check out some reviews at GsmArena for a detailed review.


After figuring out what to look for in an eBook reader, here is a brief introduction to a fantastic, multipurpose device called the Tablet PC's. If you are familiar with Laptops, Notebooks, workstations etc then it wont be difficult to introduce tablet PC's. Tablet PC's are adjustable Laptops, whose screens can be rotated 180 degrees to look like a flat book. Some images of a Tablet PC are shown below. The best part of Tablet PC's is that you get the computing power of a Laptop, the functionality of writing on a computer screen with a special resistive/capacitative pen and experience the multitouch functionality of an iPhone. These Tablets are perfect for persons who:-

(a) Require to take notes (students/Lawyers/Doctors etc).

(b) People who hate to type.

(c) Secretaries

(d) Business Users

(e) Scientists/Researchers etc.

A tablet PC has a digitizer which converts the handwritten text to typed text with excellent accuracy. Most tablets have WACOM digitizers. Tablet PC's are expensive and can cost upwards of $1500 up to $3000 or even more. They are light, robust and have screens that can readable in bright sunlight. These gadgets are beautifully engineered and some of the most popular ones are the HP 2730p, HP 2710p, HP 2740p, Dell XT2, Lenovo X200, Lenovo X201, the fujistsu series and many others. Some good news for budget consumers who like tablet functionality but not its premium price, lenovo has a low end model called S10-3t , for about $400-$500. Writing on a Laptop is a different experience and one that I would strongly recommend. Should you buy a tablet PC? Well if you fall in one of the above categories, then yes and the best part...Use it as an eBook reader also. So you kill two birds with one stone. For a good collection of these devices visit The Amazon Store for more information. The slide show below gives you an exposure to what these devices look like.

Tablet PC Model Pictures

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Lenovo S10-3TDell XT2Hp 2710pHP  2740pLenovo X 200HP 2730p
Lenovo S10-3T
Lenovo S10-3T
Dell XT2
Dell XT2
Hp 2710p
Hp 2710p
HP  2740p
HP 2740p
Lenovo X 200
Lenovo X 200
HP 2730p
HP 2730p

Factors to Consider

So at the end of the what does one buyng or how does one decide on what to buy without wasting money or time. I asked many of my friends what would be their main consideration before looking to buy such a product. The following factors emerged

1.Ease of use

2. Value for Money Features.

3. Cost

4. Degree of Obsolescence- embedded devices like tablets and eBook readers lend themselves to hardware obsolence very fast and therefore may not be very economical if your requirements are going to scale up.

5. Battery Life - One Gadget doing it all shall drain its battery very quickly and you shall have to always keep it on charge.

5. And most importantly - Will it help me to achieve what I want..

A ebook reader costs approx $200- $800 depending on the configuration and the features that you want, but a half decent tablet would come for at least $1200 (this does not include the low end ones shown above). My personal favourite is the HP 2740p, followed by the Dell XT2/XT3 (I own the 2710p and am planning an upgrade). A friend owns the the Dell and he is able to do everything he desires). But again I would recommend the reader to take stock of his/her requirements before jumping in to buy. To keep it simple, if you only want to read books, go for Kindle. If you want to read books and do other stuff (like write letters, Watch movies, pics etc) at a reasonable cost- iPad, Samsung galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom. However, if you want the functionaility and flexibility of a Laptop and an Ebook Reader thrown in..GO for a Tablet PC. you wont regret it because, not only is it portable, it is powerful, much more flexible and allows you to do much more than all these devices put together. In fact a a 3G/4G Phone with a high end tablet pc (about $2200 +) can meet all your requirements for at least 4-5 years.

At the time of publishing this hub, Blackberry has also released their Tablet PC called PlayBook. It is in stores, but has not been very well received because of its restrictions. So take alook. Some sites giving additional information are Gizmodo, Endgadget and Tech Radar. For a insight into the tablet Craze, this article gives an insight into the Evolution of the Tablets and reasons for their success

In Conclusion - What to Buy

So dear reader, at the end of the article - what is that you should buy ? Here are some quick hints to help you make a choice.

The Internet User

If you are an Internet user only and want to use your device for Browsing, Social Networking, Financial transactions and chatting (audio + video) and want great battery life, go for a Tablet (if budget is a constraint) or a Tablet PC (If budget is not a constraint). The Apple iPad is a lovely choice, however, Android based tablets are more flexible and shall survive in the long run. You can choose only the Wi-Fi option and use your 3G/4G phone as a wi-fi hotspot tp browse the net (so not only you save money, but also can chat using all the features that the tablet has to offer).

The Student

If you want to write notes, do programming, browse the net, read documents in various formatsand in general want to tinker with various softwares - Tablet PC all the way. A little expensive, but far more flexible and suited to your needs.Coupled with a 3G/4G phone and a wi-fi hotspot and a bluetooth headset, you are ready to communicate and take on the world. The initial cost is definitely higher but it works out cheaper in the longer run and should last you through your graduation. There are cheaper options also available (Lenovo Ideapad) which can suit your budget.

The Bookworm

If your only aim in life is to read books and are not interested in anything else - an eBook reader (Wi-Fi only) with a 3G/4G phone being used as a hotspot to download stuff from the net, should suit your requirements. No point wasting money on a tablet as the phone shall allow you to browse the net and carry out social networking and basic to advanced browsing and the eBook reader shall allow you a decent screen size to read books. So why waste money!!!

Why I don't advocate the Wi-Fi + 3G option is that Never put all your eggs in one basket i.e. if something were to go wrong with either of your devices, at least you have the other to carry on with life!!!

The Business user

A tablet is the best option if you don't have too many documents to generate and presentations to make. If that is the criteria, then a tablet PC is the best option as it is the pinnacle of convergence. An eBook reader is of no use to them. Imagine juggling with an eBook reader, Tablet, Laptop and a Phone!! You would go crazy and the others would agree.. :)

So I hope this article has helped you to analyse the various pros and cons of these devices and to make a decision on what to buy...Please do leave some feedback to help me make the article better...Happy Shopping..


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      Johnk539 3 years ago

      Wow! This could be one particular of the most useful blogs We've ever arrive across on this subject. Actually Excellent. I'm also an expert in this topic so I can understand your hard work. gecefdkfdkea

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      movingfinger 5 years ago

      Thanks stef.. Tablets are good if you are on the net and do everything on the net. Tablet PC's are good if you are a power user (programming, e-reading etc and pretty much whatever you want to do with a desktop), and ebook readers are only for reading and probably browsing the net for books. therefore, Ebook readers are the cheapest, Tablets come next followed by Tablet PC's. There is a new type of laptop/tablet PC called the Ultrabook..which is becoming popular.. so the consumer is spoilt for choice..:)

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      stef 5 years ago

      Veryuseful article. I appreciated. The only what I missed is information; if reading ebooks on Tablet is as confortable for my eyes as on Reader. Currently, I do not have either one.

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      movingfinger 6 years ago

      you are correct about tablets becoming more popular than smart phones in the near future. However, carrying a 7 or 10 inch communication device may not be practical. I forsee a huge growth of tablet usage among studednts and if they are adopted by schools to replace notebooks, then sky's the limit.