kindle for reading or ipad???

Are there any Kindle users on this board?

How well does the ipad work for reading? I’ve tried reading a few times on the iphone, and within a few minutes, the letters are swimming on the screen. Right now, I’m considering the Kindle for $190, but wonder if I should hold off a few months a buy an ipad, instead. The ipad concerns me a little as a reading device, simply because of the glare. I have difficult eyes, so the quality of the visual matters to me a lot.

Could those of you who have experience with these devices advise me?

Very good reading experience, I would say. There is now the possibility of zooming in on parts of pdf pages, which makes most of them readable too.
I haven’t ever seen an iPad, but I’m fairly sure the reading experience is better on Kindle (or similar e-ink device). Plus the battery life is far better.
No reading in the dark though. It is easier to read paper than a kindle in dim lighting, or by candlelight such as is sometimes necessary here in Kenya.

I haven’t used a Kindle, but I definitely prefer my Sony Reader for reading over the iPad. The e-ink experience is much better and more akin to reading paper. The iPad certainly isn’t a horrible reading experience - quite the contrary - but I just don’t seem to be able to set in to reading a long work such as a novel on a screen that is shining light in my eyes. Which may just be psychological, because I can browse the net for hours and not be bothered by it.

I would recommend going to a store and trying out an iPad, though, because if you have to choose then obviously it is multi-purpose and you can do a lot more with it. But if you’re only bothered about something solely for reading, e-ink is the better choice in my opinion.


I’ve seen a Kindle in action, but never used one extensively. I use an iPad constantly for reading. Therefore, in concert with the previous posters, I shall defend my experience and denigrate what I don’t own. (Perhaps we are all justifying our cost outlays, KB) :open_mouth:

Actually, the Kindle app for iPad is a great reader, though I prefer Stanza, which recently had an upgrade. The white light doesn’t bother my eyes, but of course that’s very subjective. The ability to expand and shrink text easily is (for me) an important feature.

But the clincher is the fact that the iPad has a constellation of apps that support the act of reading: copy/paste into an e-mail or note-taker, follow links in a web-browser, jot down ideas and memos elsewhere. Later iterations of Kindle or other readers may one day do that, but it’s also possible that the iPad will keep outdistancing them.

You can expand or shrink text on an e-ink device, too - at least you can on the Sony Reader, so I assume you can on the Kindle. In reality I still prefer paper over both; it’s just that for me, e-ink is a closer approximation and I don’t enjoy reading from a screen. But you also have to bear in mind that by the time I come to read at the end of the day, I’ve already spent ten hours squinting at code in a 10-point font.

Not sure what you mean about justifying cost outlays, by the way - I already have an iPad and no doubt one day will be giving out money to an iPad coder, just so I can get on with the Mac version in peace. :slight_smile:

I own both the Kindle and the iPad, so no silly “mine is better than yours” stuff. I use the Kindle to read and the iPad for everything else. If you find that letters swim around on the iPhone for you, then the iPad will not much improve the situation for you. It’s just a bigger screen, nothing magical about it when it comes to visual recognition of letters. Putting 3 times more of them on the screen at once isn’t going to change variables that make it difficult for you to read on the iPhone for any duration of time.

Here is what has happened since I’ve owned the iPad. I tried reading on it for a few nights. My arms got tired from holding that big glass and metal thing up for an hour. Tried reading sideways with rotate lock on and that was better. Still, after a day of staring at a computer screen and working, the last thing I felt like doing was staring at another computer screen until I fell asleep. On a personal note, I found the iPad’s other features too distracting. I’d leave the Kindle app to check out something on Wikipedia or a dictionary and then end up forgetting to return to the book. Kindle’s word and Wikipedia search is very basic. Information only, and so I never felt tempted to keep roaming about after I had looked up what I needed to have clarified.

I have largely ceased using the Kindle for any of its extra features though. There is no reason to any longer. The iPad browses the web, checks e-mail, and all of that stuff much better than the Kindle does. So the book reader apps on the iPad have been left dormant. I never use them. And meanwhile Kindle’s extra features are likewise ignored. It doesn’t surprise me, in a way that is exactly what I expected to have happen. The iPad isn’t really (really) a book reader. It’s a something-like-a-netbook-but-not-really-portable-computer. The Kindle is just a book reader, pure and simple. Two weeks of battery power, much cheaper, no glow, ink surface, words. And yes, you can change the size of the reading font, as well as the page margins, or have it read aloud to you in a reasonably good voice. As for taking notes and marking passages—I find the Kindle to be just about as good as the iPad for that. The keyboard is smaller, but tactile, so speed is about the same.

If I were in the market for a reader right now though, I would however wait and see which device ends up working best with Google. I think they might be the winner, even before they’ve started. Amazon is not a bad second choice though. When I speak of winner, I don’t so much mean which device will “sell the best” or anything crude like that. I merely mean: which format will be the one that becomes the next mp3—the one that makes device wars silly, because you can use it anywhere.

I don’t own any e-reading device, which makes me perfectly qualified to comment 8)

I just want to expand the discussion a little to suggest you look at the Barnes & Noble nook. Why? Well, the main reason is that I don’t like Amazon – as a publisher, I feel they squeeze the life blood out of us. But also, the nook is only $150 for the wifi version, so a little less costly. And it will soon have the ability to browse the web, which I don’t think Kindle can do yet.

The nook also has buttons for flipping the pages forward or backward while you’re holding it with just one hand, which seems to me to be a nice feature.

UPDATE: Oh, yes. The other feature is that the nook doesn’t lock you into Amazon’s proprietary e-book format.

Anyway, just a sort of contrarian view.


I’ve had Kindle for a couple of months and yesterday I bought Ipad. Here is my comparison so far.

For reading fiction, Kindle is the way to go. It is not so heavy and you can hold it much longer while you are in bed. You can read out in the sun, without reflexes from the glass and grease from the fingers. It has much longer battery life.

For reading pdf files, iPad is much better. So I read technical books on iPad. I use an app called GoodReader for pdf files. GoodReader costs 1 dollar at AppStore. For looking at web pages Ipad is good. But iPad is not a production tool, like your Mac. But when my back of the neck hurts and my mouse arms hurts I take a break from my Mac and read on iPad sitting in a sofa or lying in bed. For outside experience you must be in the shadow, otherwise iPad gets hot and shuts itself down. Also have a cloth with you because all the grease from fingers show on screen.

So I use KIndle, Ipad and my Mac in different situations and love all three of them. But if you can’t afford all three of them here is my priority.

  1. MacBook
  2. iPad
  3. Kindle

It also depends if you are more into fiction then nonfiction. If you are more in fiction then you might put Kindle before iPad.

That is a good point, actually. For PDFs the iPad is better, and since most of my PDFs are technical manuals I don’t really have a problem with using an LCD screen for them. It’s actually very nice to have a separate PDF-dedicated screen sitting beside the monitor for coding and reference. I keep it sitting in the keyboard dock on power, so battery isn’t a concern either, and searches are swift with the keyboard. I don’t think I’d want to use the Kindle in the same way, even if I could.

I have seen the retina display on the iPhone 4 and concur with many of the reviews – it is magnificent, easy on the eyes, and words on the screen appear to be physically there – above the glass – instead of merely reproduced under glass. To my eyes, it’s even better than e ink.

I mention this because I wonder if it’s not worth it for the budget conscious to wait and see if the next gen iPad will include some or all of the retina display goodness. A retina display e-reader (and comic book reader!) might be worth the wait.

Retina Display is just marketing-speak for high-density pixel displays. Devices have actually been pretty close to it for a while. Some of the newer non-iPhone touchscreen smartphones are at around 200ppi (or more, in the case of the Droid, at 260ppi, not a huge difference between iPhone 4G, really), and Apple’s is now at 320ppi. Whether or not they can get a high-density screen in larger format for the iPad depends on whether or not the screen manufactures that Apple buys from can produce the technology for them. An important clue here, perhaps, is that iPad’s 132ppi is less than older generation iPhones, which were 163ppi. It might be difficult to keep density high at larger areas.

iPad’s current pixel density is at about 130ppi, which is lower than the Kindle’s 160, but not by much. While increasing the ppi to laser printer quality would certainly help out the iPad, the density issue is the least of my complaints with using the iPad for sustained reading. I think it is interesting that nobody has complained about the iPad’s relatively low PPI. In fact everyone I’ve seen gushes about the gorgeously crisp display. It makes me wonder how much of the +150ppi rush is analogous to the megapixel rush in digital cameras, or the megahertz rush in CPUs before that?

I don’t know about that. From what I understand, the iPhone 4 manufacturing process adheres the LCD to the glass, which creates the illusion of physical type in a high quality magazine.

Of course, I know better than to argue tech with Ioa. But I know what I saw.

I have seen nothing to indicate that the glass itself is doing anything to increase the quality of the underlying display. I am not a physicist, but I’m pretty sure that, at most, what glass can do is stay out of the way. At least in this context. Poor quality glass will distort, blur, and colour shift what the raw LCD is generating, so the more clear and transparent the glass is, the better it will be as a protective surface. I’m not sure if it would be physically possible for a smooth sheet of low-refractive glass to improve what is underneath it. Glass can be used to increase certain image properties as light passes through it—consider the camera lens after all—but the emphasis there would be on certain properties. Lenses are week in other areas, especially around the edges where refraction and chromatic aberration becomes an issues, producing undesirable light bending effects even on the most expensive lenses.

Digression aside, everything I’ve seen about the new glass technology is that it is more scratch-resistant and thus will retain its clarity and LCD transmission, without cover-screen protection, for longer periods of time. Even Apple’s superlative-filled iPhone page doesn’t claim that the glass makes the pixels easier to read than they would if there was a cheaper coating.

But on its durability, I wonder how it compares to other glass coatings? Their page only touts how strong it is in comparison to plastic. We all know you can scratch a plastic surface with your fingernail. That’s like promoting how strong your steel is because it’s 3,000 times tougher than pine wood. :slight_smile:

Sorry, I just read marketing from any source with a very cynical retina.

As for what you saw: I think you saw a laserjet quality digital screen, which would, yes, look quite a bit like a magazine. Which is mighty impressive, no doubt about it, I just don’t think the protective glass coating had much to do with it.

Sidenote: I think the only exception to what I’m saying is when glass is specifically used to correct a flaw in the underlying light transmission, or to smooth/diffuse light in situations where a pure transmission would be undesirable. Example: the AA filter over a digital camera’s light capturing chip. These spread out light frequencies on a microscopic scale, causing it to scatter and impact several light sensitive cells, reducing pixel overload and decreasing moire patterns and other issues. In this case, it could be said that a specially design glass surface is “improving” the light passing through it—but if you really get technical about it, it’s actually corrupting the transmission in order to cause the underlying flaws in an array of photosensitive cells to be less readily visible in the final photograph.

It’s not the glass, it’s the adherence.

John Gruber:

As I wrote after examining Apple’s iPhone 4 demo units after the WWDC keynote, the Retina Display’s overall effect is like that of high-end glossy magazine print — except that it updates live. It’s living breathing print. I don’t recall ever having seen motion graphics of this resolution, anywhere. And (again as noted previously) it’s more than just the pixel resolution — it’s that the LCD is so much closer to the surface of the glass. Like pixels on glass rather than pixels under glass.

Okay, I’ll grant you that. :slight_smile: I would myself classify that under my original assertion that the best glass can do is stay out of the way. Moving the transmission surface closer to it; reducing the thickness of the glass; all different ways to accomplish this. It would be a stretch to say that reducing the space is actually improving the underlying transmission though. It’s just reducing the amount of distortion involved.

Why I’ll grant you that anyway is: the thickness and sturdiness of the glass is a part of the package whole package. The same Retina Display behind a less advanced glass surface might theoretically not look as good.

on the dpi thing… it might be more a limitation of the video subsystem available for low power devices. How much video ram can you really fit in that device?

The current iPad is using the PowerVR SGX chip, which I don’t think has any onboard RAM. The iPad instead utilises as much of its internal 256MB of system RAM for the GPU as is necessary.

The iPad’s ppi is calculated by using the Pythagorean theorum: sqrt(1024^2 + 768^2) divided by the diagonal screensize, 9.7" = 132ppi (rounded off).

So, working backward and assuming the same physical size screen, a 326ppi iPad screen would have a diagonal resolution of 3,162 pixels. Thus, a calculated estimated pixel dimension of 2,529 x 1,897. To put that into perspective, the Apple 30" monitor is 2560 x 1600. However, the vast majority of video memory is wasted in most cases. It doesn’t take “much”, even with page flipping (and does the iPad even do that?) to display that many pixels, keeping in mind that the mobile devices are not doing full 3d rendering of the windowing system like Mac OS X does (and so would need less RAM to display what the 30" needs to display). All Apple would have to do to fix the situation is throw more system RAM into the iPad—so long as the SGX can keep up with the throughput—and it might very well not—that’s a lot of data to be piping around! They might have to do that for the next generation anyway, with multitasking in the pipeline.

Conversion to normal speak: Jaysen has a good point. Keep in mind the 30" requires a relatively high-end video card and two DVI cables. :slight_smile:

I think that the other point would be that the resolution of a 4g is really only just catching up with an iPad. A better way to say it is that the retina only makes it so that you can display really small fonts on the phone.

uh … guys … aside from the fact that i didn’t understand ANYTHING that you’ve been saying (however much i enjoyed it, of course!) i’m still wondering: if i want to download books and read them + annotate some of them and then move the annotations for other use, is the kindle the best way to go?

remember: bad eyes, headaches from glary screens, addictive reader.

would i be better to buy the kindle or wait a few months and buy the ipad?

money is – always – a concern. but my eyes are the main concern.

Buy the book?

Or a kindle. iPad will kill you. But I don’t have a pad so I am along basing this on what I hear others saying.