Digital Crave

Ebook reader or tablet? How to decide

Marc Saltzman
Digital Crave

View photo

.
ebook reader or tablet

Whether you spend time in your favorite coffee shop, in airports or on public transit, you no doubt have seen a good number of people flipping through digital pages of an electronic book reader or touchscreen tablet.

You’re finally ready to buy one for yourself, but the big question remains: Which one?

Ebook readers and tablets might look similar at first glance, and they’re both touchscreen-enabled, but they serve different purposes and can vary greatly in price. To make matters more confusing, a new crop of premium ebook readers with tablet–like functionality and color screens are now available, with a cost somewhere in between regular e-book readers and full-blown tablets.

To help you decide which one is for you, consider the following look at each choice.

EBOOK READERS

What are they: As the name suggests, ebook readers – sometimes referred to as e-book readers or simply e-readers – are ideal for people who like to read. They’re designed primarily for downloading electronic books (ebooks) from a wireless store, or in some cases you can download the books on your computer and transfer them over to the ebook reader via USB cable. Most ebook readers also let you download and read digital magazines and newspapers. With ebook readers, simply tap or swipe the page to flip through the “pages” of an ebook, plus you can enlarge, shrink or change the font; tap a word to look up a definition (or in some cases, make annotations); and many ebook readers let you borrow books for free from your local library (excluding Kindle).

Benefits: Ebook readers are usually smaller and lighter than tablets, which make them more portable and easier on your wrists while holding, plus they have non-glare (and usually non-illuminated) screen that makes it better to read in bright sunlight, if need be (not so easy to do on a backlit tablet). Ebook readers are also more affordable than tablets, starting at about $80 for an entry-level model from a brand name like B&N Nook or Kobo; Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader models cost more, but there are less expensive ebook readers, too, from lesser-known brands like Aluratek and Pandigital (starting at $50). Ebook readers also have a battery last lasts an entire month, on average, compared to 10 hours at most for tablets (the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite can last 2 months).

Drawbacks: Ebook readers are ideal for reading ebooks, but not much else. This is fine for those who only want to read on them, but the lack of power and limited functions (like no video playback) and no (or few) apps means the experience is, well, limited (yes, there are also those hybrid ebook reader/tablet products that have a little more umph under the hood, color screens and the ability to do more than just display books). A black and white screen is ideal for books and newspapers, but there’s an obvious trade-off when reading magazines without color. Finally, ebook readers typically have screens that measure 5- to 7-inches, but some people prefer reading on larger tablets as you can fit more words on the page.

TABLETS

What are they: Touchscreen tablets — like the mega-popular iPad, as well as Android, Windows 8/RT and BlackBerry PlayBook models – are also thin and light devices you can tote around, wherever life takes you. You use your fingertips to tap, swipe and pinch through content on the screen, which typically ranges from 7 to 12 inches. Tablets have a color and usually glossy screen and built not just for reading ebooks, but also checking email, browsing the web, playing games, listening to music and watching video. Tablets usually have two cameras, front and back. Downloadable apps number in the hundreds of thousands, and are downloaded from various online app stores, wirelessly. All tablets have Wi-Fi and some can take a SIM card for cellular connectivity (monthly data plan required).

Benefits: Tablets are a computer – just like your laptop – even though it’s crammed into a super thin and lightweight body and relies on touch instead of mice and keyboards. As a result, you can do almost everything on a tablet you would on a more conventional laptop or desktop, including document creation, video chats, shopping online, reviewing calendar appointments and even making a phone call with one of the many free VoIP services (Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity required). In fact, tablets can do things your other computer probably can’t, such as take pictures and shoot HD video, help you navigate city streets using GPS and wirelessly play music on nearby Bluetooth headphones or speakers. As you can see, tablets are very versatile devices that also boast large and colorful screens, and they’ve got support for hundreds of thousands of apps at both the Apple App Store and Google Play, to customize the functionality of the tablet in a variety of ways; tablets have free apps for all the major ebook companies, too, including Kobo, Kindle, Sony Reader, and others. Tablets also have more accessories than ebook readers, ranging from cases and keyboards to stands and speaker docks.

Drawbacks: Tablets can cost 4 to 5 times as much as an ebook reader. For example, the Kobo eReader Touch Edition with Wi-Fi costs just over $100, while the fourth-generation iPad (now called “iPad with Retina display”) starts at $499 and Microsoft’s Surface starts at $499. There are less expensive tablets, of course, such as the Google Nexus 7 (from $199) and iPad mini (from $329), but because a tablet can do so much more than an ebook reader, and with more power and speed and a beautiful color screen, you need to pay for these added luxuries. Tablets are also usually a bit heavier and bigger than dedicated ebook readers, which makes them less portable and not as comfortable to hold for extended periods of time. For bookworms, tablets have screens that are ideal for indoors but not so much outside because they’re backlit and glossy (and thus, words are hard to see or there’s glare) — but on the flipside, most ebook readers require a light on or small lamp beside you to read in dimly-lit environments.

SUMMARY

As you can see, whether you go with an ebook reader or tablet boils down to what you want to do with the device, where you’re going to use it and what your budget is.

If all you want is a portable and affordable ebook reader, there’s no need to buy a pricier tablet with all the bells and whistles you won’t use. On the other hand, if you’d like a thin, lightweight and touchscreen device to carry with you — one that does a lot more than a basic ebook reader, and you prefer a larger and color screen, too – then a tablet is what you should invest in. Again, keep in mind there are “tweener” products, too – such as the $199 Kindle Fire HD or Nook HD, and $170 Kobo Vox.

Whichever device you decide to go with, happy reading!

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Entertainment Tonight
    • White House Correspondents Dinner host blasts Trump, despite being asked not to

      How do you hold the White House Correspondents Dinner, a long-running tradition of roasting the president, when the president is so famously bad at taking a joke?

      The Independent
    • After the Fyre Festival disaster, maybe don't trust models like Bella Hadid when they sell you things

      Now that the complete disaster that was Fyre Festival is over, it's time for the very attractive people who promoted the event to apologize.  On Saturday, model Bella Hadid let her fans know she was sorry about what went down.  SEE ALSO: Here's the official postmortem statement from Fyre Festival organizers ❤️... pic.twitter.com/5XqHXBGIn9 — Bella Hadid (@bellahadid) April 29, 2017 That's an apology, sort of. I mean, maybe don't promote some totally random thing that you've never experienced or barely know about next time. SEE ALSO: Instagram influencers are utter nonsense, and Fyre Fest proves it Hadid was one of the models—along with Elsa Hosk, Emily Ratajkowski, Lais Ribeiro, and Hailey Baldwin—who hyped up Fyre Festival on Instagram.  @rose_bertram: "Make sure to get your tickets for @fyrefestival 珞weekend two still available! #fyrefestival". #haileybaldwin #bellahadid #rosebertram #HaileyUpdates A post shared by Hailey Baldwin Updates (@baldwinsupdate) on Apr 4, 2017 at 6:43pm PDT In case you were wondering, Fyre Festival did not look like this. Instead, it was filled with disaster relief tents, gourmet meals consisting of cheese slices on bread, and fleeing festival-goers—many of whom paid thousands of dollars for the privilege.  Hadid and pals weren't the only models promoting the festival. The organizers also invited less famous models and "influencers" to attend for free if they posted about the event on Instagram.  Amanda Riley told her tragic story to The Hollywood Reporter .  "I was in L.A. about six months ago when I was offered these tickets — everything paid for. The organizers were trying to get a lot of promotion from models. A couple of friends and I were going to go; everything was paid and comped in exchange for a couple of posts to help them with marketing." Which she did! Packing to leave my home in Los Angeles to head back east to my home and my @wilhelminamodels family in NYC for 24 hours before heading to FYRE festival in the Bahamas for the weekend. Los Angeles will always be my home and this is probably the hardest it's ever been to leave but I'll be back soon (hopefully) Until next time LA xo  #LifeOfAmandaRiley A post shared by Amanda Riley Ferree (@lifeofamandariley) on Apr 25, 2017 at 6:41pm PDT It turns out she got stranded in Miami, so she didn't get to witness the horror in the Bahamas for herself.  "I got lucky since I didn't pay upfront for anything," she wrote. "Worst case, I have to buy one flight back to New York." Um, sad? Anyway, she ends her story with this: "I’m staying out of it because I’m kind of complete with it. My friends and family are safe. And I didn’t pay for anything. So I just don’t want anything to do with that company anymore or deal with these people." Unlike Hadid, she doesn't even apologize for shilling for Fyre Festival—although, to be fair, she didn't promote it as hard.  The lesson here: Don't do things just because models tell you to. Because there's a pretty good chance they'll keep promoting things they know nothing about for cash and free stuff.  WATCH: This electric surfboard can move without the waves

      Mashable
    • Three massive tornadoes have hit Texas this weekend, and the videos are absolutely terrifying

      Natural disasters can be terrifying. And now, three massive tornadoes have hit Texas this weekend, and the videos are really scary. While…

      Hello Giggles
    • Trump hints that the US may be sabotaging North Korea's nuclear program

      It happened again — a North Korean missile launch exploded in the air, over land, just a few...

      Business Insider
    • A Massive Lake Of Molten Carbon The Size Of Mexico Was Just Discovered Under The US

      A recent scientific discovery has drastically changed our view of the global carbon cycle and identified a new significant risk. Researchers have discovered a giant lake or reservoir made up of molten carbon sitting below the western US. The molten carbon (primarily in the form of carbonate) reservoir could drastically and immediately change the global climate for over a decade if it were to be released. Thankfully there is little risk in the near future of this happening. The carbon sits 217 miles beneath the surface of the Earth in the upper mantle and has no immediate pathway to the surface. In total the lake covers approximately 700,000 square miles, approximately the size of Mexico. This

      Forbes q
    • Details Of Aaron Hernandez's Suicide Emerge

      Toxicology report revealed no traces of “K2,” or synthetic marijuana — or any other illegal drugs — in Hernandez's system.

      International Business Times
    • Bills fire general manager Doug Whaley one day after draft

      The Buffalo Bills are starting over in their front office.

      Shutdown Corner
    • 'KUWTK': Scott Disick Goes on Rampage After Hearing Kourtney Kardashian Is Dating: 'I've Been Really Present'

      Things get worse when Kim Kardashian discovers a girl in Scott's hotel room.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Kelly Ripa to Announce New Co-Host on Monday’s Show

      A year after Michael Strahan’s messy exit, Kelly Ripa is poised to announce her permanent co-host on Monday’s edition of “Live with Kelly.” Ripa teased the news to come with a short video distributed on her social media platforms Sunday afternoon. “We’re going to need a bigger mug,” Ripa wrote. The video depicted Ripa sitting... Read more »

      Variety
    • Kelly Ripa Expected to Announce New 'Live' Co-Host

      Ripa says they're going to "need a bigger mug" in fun social media post

      People
    • Journalist Tweets Photos Of Empty Seats From Trump's 'All-Time' Record-Breaking Rally

      President Donald Trump said that the crowd at his Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, rally Saturday broke the “all-time” record for the arena and that people were lined up outside hoping to get in.

      The Huffington Post
    • Bella Hadid has issued a statement on the disastrous Fyre Festival

      If you’ve been watching social media this weekend, you’ve heard about the disaster that was the Fyre Festival. In the latest news, Bella…

      Hello Giggles
    • One of Trump's most controversial advisers is reportedly out of the White House

      Sebastian Gorka, a controversial White House adviser who works on national security issues...

      Business Insider
    • 27 players left college early and fell out of the 2017 NFL draft. Why scold them?

      It happens at every NFL draft and happened again this year. More than a couple of players left collegiate eligibility on the table to declare for the draft, and then they didn’t get drafted. This year’s draft had 95 players with “special eligibility” and eight more who left their college teams early after graduating, and now the Associated Press’s Ralph Russo has the count at 27 undrafted underclassmen.

      SB Nation q
    • A doctor called his broker during a delivery. It will cost $33.8 million.

      Marla Dixon was in the final stage of labor and ready to deliver a baby boy when the obstetrician arrived at her bedside at North Shore Medical Center in Miami. The doctor ordered nurses to restart a drug to strengthen contractions, failed to perform a Cesarean section — and walked away from Dixon’s room for long periods, once for an eight-minute phone call from his stockbroker, the verdict said. By the time the baby was delivered on Dec. 2, 2013, he was blue in the face and his limbs were limp, according to the verdict handed down by U.S. District Judge Robert Scola. It took a medical team to revive the infant, named Earl, Jr., and by then he had severe brain damage from lack of oxygen, according to the lawsuit filed by Dixon and the boy’s father, Earl Reese-Thornton, Sr.

      The Charlotte Observer q
    • In pictures: Saturday's Premier League action (52 photos)

      Best of the action from all five Premier League games on Saturday.

      Yahoo Sport UK
    • Kendall Jenner just blew our minds with waist-high boots

      We love a wild fashion statement, especially when it allows us to skip a getting-dressed step. This is even better as the temperatures…

      Hello Giggles
    • This Is the Best Airline in the United States

      Curious which carrier is the best airline for you? These are the best airlines, whether you want cheap airfare, lots of routes, or on-time arrivals.

      The Cheat Sheet q 33 min ago
    • Pastor admits impregnating teen, gets 3-6 year prison term

      WEST CHESTER, Pa. (AP) — A suburban Philadelphia pastor accused of sexually assaulting and impregnating a teenager has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to three to six years in prison after a judge rejected an earlier plea agreement as too lenient.

      Associated Press