Since their inception, both the iPad and the Kindle have enjoyed an enormous amount of media attention. Even for the tech-savvy consumer, the sheer volume of information available about both products can be overwhelming. For this reason, it may be difficult to distinguish between the benefits and drawbacks of each invention. However, there are a few fundamental elements of the iPad and Kindle that are likely to affect your satisfaction with either product. After exploring these essential features, it should be easier to decide which product is better suited to your needs.
Before comparing the quality of these items, it is first helpful to establish which elements of the iPad and Kindle are under evaluation. Are we assessing every feature of the iPad, or simply its function as an e-reader? The iPad, unlike the Kindle, contains a staggering array of features apart from its e-reading capabilities. In addition to its well-publicized and remarkably efficient web browser, the iPad also provides users with access to Apple’s App Store, a database of over a quarter million downloadable programs. Applications related to virtually every cultural and academic category—from market news to movie times, constellation guides to cookbooks—are available through the App Store. Alternatively, Amazon’s Kindle does not contain any of these features; instead, it functions strictly as an e-reader. Therefore, if you are looking for more than an opportunity to read digital books, the iPad is clearly a better option.
Although the iPad is a more attractive product overall, comparing the e-reading features of these two items is a more complicated venture. To begin with, there is a significant contrast between the brightness of the Kindle and that of the iPad. Unlike the Kindle, the iPad uses a powerful backlit LED display. This means that, in dark areas, the iPad is much brighter than the Kindle. However, in some cases, the iPad proves to be so bright that it causes serious eye strain over time. As a result, you may find that you can only read on the iPad for a relatively short period. Furthermore, the brightness of the iPad’s display is almost completely nullified by the introduction of natural light. Reading outside or in a well-lit room can cause so much glare that the text is difficult or impossible to read.
On the other hand, the Kindle’s display is noticeably less bright than the iPad. However, this weakened brightness can also be an advantage; not only does it diminish eye strain, it also reduces glare. Consequently, your reading habits will obviously affect your preference for these separate styles of brightness. If you frequently read in darker areas and for short periods of time, the iPad is likely a better option. Alternatively, if you often read in lighter areas and for a prolonged period, the Kindle should be your choice.
In addition to these brightness distinctions, the physical construction of the two products is also worth mentioning. The most immediately recognizable difference between the iPad and Kindle is the size and weight. Although the iPad is somewhat easy to hold and carry, it is considerably heavier than the Kindle. Furthermore, the size of the iPad—equipped with an almost ten inch screen—makes it much more difficult to transport. By contrast, the smaller, lighter Kindle can be taken almost anywhere. If you plan on frequently carrying your e-reader outside the home, the Kindle is a smarter option.
The last significant difference between these two items is the cost. Retail prices for the Kindle range from $139 to $379, depending on its size and storage capacity. On the other hand, the iPad—with its laundry list of additional features—is notably more expensive, with prices ranging from $499 to $829. Given this price disparity, the Kindle appears to be a better option for those exclusively concerned with e-reading. However, if you are in the market for a more comprehensive entertainment experience, the iPad is probably a wiser purchase.