Saturday, August 21, 2010

E-Readers (Kindle vs iPad... and 2xSony)...

Carly left me a comment, asking advice about e-readers, and since I love my Kindle I'm very, very happy to take some time to answer this... :)

First of all, Carly's comment: "Hi Anso I see your Kindle in the pictures :) I am really keen to get one and I remember your wonderful review post on your blog a while ago. My question for you is the ipad or the kindle, I have a hankering for a kindle but the ipad is also an e-reader. The obvious difference is the price and as I already have plenty of mac hardware I am trying not to give in to temptation... so my question is do you use your kindle more than your ipad as your e-reader of choice :) thanks"

Right, where to start? First of all, I have a Kindle 2 (or second generation) which you can't really buy anymore (unless you buy it second hand). I bought mine in January from Amazon in the US. The Kindle 2 looks like this:

The new Kindle 3 is due to be released by Amazon on the 27th of August (yes in just a few days). You can buy a WiFi only version for £109 at the moment or a WiFi+3G for £149 from Amazon UK. I love my Kindle so much that I have actually pre-ordered this in WiFi+3G. Why? Well, it's a bit of a luxury really as I could have easily made do with my Kindle 2 (and I will still keep using this from travelling and stuff like that) but I just couldn't resist something even a little smaller and crisper etc. This is the Kindle 3:

And then we of course have the iPad which is an e-reader amongst lots of other functions:
Right, my opinion, if you want an e-reader and nothing else, it is very simple ---> the answer is to go for a Kindle. 100% for sure. No doubt at all! Reasons? I could make a huge list but the main things are that Kindle is very kind on the eyes and therefore reduces eyestrain, the text is more crisp (and again easier on the eyes), and it's both smaller and lighter (more portable) than and iPad.

An iPad, to me, is almost a little too big to carry around with you every day (unless you have a laptop bag or rucksack) while the Kindle easily fit in a medium sized handbag. It is quite nice to read on an iPad (the Kindle is better though!) but one thing you'll notice if you read for a while is the weight. It kinda starts straining your hands a bit. Over time this becomes quite tiring.

However main thing I think is the glare factor. The Kindle gives hardly any glare at all, while the iPad clearly does, sometimes really terribly so. What's even better is that you can easily read on the Kindle outside (even on a sunny day!) while reading on the iPad outside is NOT that easy at all. (If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, you know what the display looks like in the sun - the iPad is the same). Even inside, having a light on, the iPad is very affected by glare while the Kindle handles this very well.

I can also add 2 Sony readers into my e-reader review. First we have the Sony PRS600. This is a current model with a touch screen:

And the Sony PRS505, which is a slightly older model:
Ross had the opportunity to borrow both of these for the weekend from a friend and we had lots of fun playing around with them and comparing them to the Kindle. My opinion is that the touch screen on the 600 is pretty rubbish! We both thought it was terrible to use. Neither the 505 nor the 600 came even close to the Kindle when we compared how clear and crisp (and this, plus the glare factor, is of course the most important things when it comes to e-readers!) the text was. We were quite surprised just how much the Kindle outclassed both these models!! Ross had the option of buying either of these really cheap, but we decided that they were not even worth £20 and he'd rather put the money towards a Kindle. To be totally frank, the 600 model was so bad we wouldn't even use it if we were given it for free! It was just terrible.

So we're back to the iPad vs the Kindle. Even though the iPad is nice to read on, I'm struggling to think of points where it beats the Kindle! One thing is that if you read at night, the screen is back lit (while you need a light with the Kindle - just like you would with a book)... however this also gives more eyestrain. The other positive that I can think of is the format it uses for e-books: EPUB. EPUB is more widely available in on-line stores. With the Kindle (which uses the MOBI format) you're kinda relying on the Amazon store. For me that is not a problem as they have a huge range of books to good prices (and it was always my bookshop for paper books before my Kindle anyway). However if you have un-DRM'd books in a different format, it's super quick to use a program like Calibre to convert books to the MOBI format. We're talking only a minute or so per book :)

If you scroll down to the bottom chart on this page you can see a good overview on what e-readers handle what formats :)

To summarise: if you want something where you can also play games etc, then of course go for the iPad, but if you really only want an e-reader, the Kindle wins hands down on basically every aspect! And it's much cheaper too :) I have only ever used my iPad as an e-reader while flying (as it was handy to have access to books and games in one unit), otherwise I wouldn't even dream of picking up my iPad to use as an e-reader over my Kindle!

Hope this was of some use to you Carly, and anyone else thinking about the same purchase... :) If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask, I'm only happy to help! :)

*** For more Kindle info, please see this post ***


Carly said...

Hi Anso, I was so excited when this popped up in my feed!

What an amazing post, I can tell you are a huge kindle enthusiast. I really really value you taking the time to write this because I think if people have and love products that speaks volumes to me: and guess what I have pre-ordered my kindle :D I think they should pay you commission lol I literally cannot wait to receive my new kindle thanks Anso!

Carly said...

Just a couple more questions then I'm done... Do u have a reason for choosing the 3G model? dies the kindle 2 have 3G? I have ordered the wifi only model now I am debating changing as the models haven't shipped yet.
Have you found yourself downloading a kindle edition of your favourite paperback books? I think I would be tempted just to have them in my e book collection but thus seems a little obsessive lol
Thanks for the info really appreciate it