Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Another iPad/Kindle comparison

A busy site (many updates at least) is GoodeReader. They get a lot of info out about new devices. I'm glad we have sites servicing the desire for information about ereading devices.

I have respect for these guys, it's clear that they are very sincere about what they do. But about their iPad/Kindle comparison, I do have a couple of protests:

1: They say correctly that the iPad is too heavy for one-handed use for long. Yep, weight (680 grams) is an issue with the iPad. But then they also say that the Kindle weighs "next to nothing". This would be true if he was holding a Kindle 3, which is amazingly light (290 grams), but he is actually reviewing a Kindle Dx, and it is a lot heavier (530 grams).

2: They say that the Kindle has better screen contrast than the iPad. While it's true the Kindle is the right choice if you have lots of light, like direct sun, I am puzzled by this statement, since the low contrast (grey background) of the Kindle is one of the main reasons I'm not using any of my four Kindles all that much despite the delightful low weight of the Kindle 3. (Update Jan 2013: the Kindle Paperwhite has solved the problem of the dark screen. It's a great device for long form reading.)

3: They say that the Kindle's physical keyboard is easier to use than the iPad's virtual one. But you will notice that on the iPad he is actually typing, while on the Kindle he is just waving his fingers in the air above the keyboard to symbolize how easy and fast it is to use. In fact it's not. Unlike some people I'm not a huge fan of the iPad glass keyboard, but the Kindle's is not great either. You simply can't type fast and use several fingers. The keys are very small and a bit hard to push, and you have to use one finger and push one key at a time, very deliberately.

4: They say that the iPad can be distracting from reading because of all the things it can do. Very true! But he claims that the iPad will distract you in the middle of reading with a popup saying "you have mail". I don't know what kind of email client he is using on his iPad, but I have never, ever had a "popup" like that when using the iPad.  Also, if you don't want to be distracted, don't use the email app on the iPad, it's simple, and don't buy any apps which may distract you.

5: They say that the book selection is much bigger for the Kindle store than in the iBooks store. True, but if you get the (free) Kindle app for the iPad, then on your iPad you will have the Kindle selection plus the iBooks selection, plus various kinds of reading which you there are no apps for on the Kindle. (Other ebook apps, RSS feed readers, and so on.)

6: They say that the Kindle store book selection is not different depending on which country you are in. This is  not true. While I have not had problems myself, I have heard about people who can't buy the books they want on the Kindle store because the particular book they wanted can only be sold to people on US ground.

7: I agree with his positive review of the new William Gibson book Zero History, but I notice that the only book they have on the Kindle Dx is the dictionary... I wonder how much they have really used this device?       :-)

8: They say correctly that both devices can surf the web. But I wonder if they have really tried it much on the Kindle? It is a very, very, slow and patience-testing experience. I would only use it if I really had to, and had no other device near. Seriously, page-loading, and particularly navigation, is painfully slow on the Kindle.

My own sum-up comparison is that the iPad is far more flexible, much faster, and has a much better screen (and color). And it's a multi-purpose device.  The Kindle is lighter, cheaper, and can be used in sunlight. It's only meant for reading, which will be an advantage for some, not for others.


ganesha games said...

I agree with everything that you said, owning both a Kindle and an Ipad I speak from experience. And I was one of those who initially was biased in favor of e-paper and thought you couldn't read for long time on the ipad. Now I read exclusively on the ipad, and I buy paper books only if they aren't available in digital format.

eolake said...

Thank you for the info, much appreciated.

Myself, I tend to do everything, including reading, in small bursts, so I'm no good for testing this, but you have discovered that a backlit display is no problem for a couple of hours reading?

(I think that a big text size and a not-too-bright display may be important.)

(My dream iPad is just the same, but with the Retina display and weighing under 400 grams!)

Ganesha games said...

Yes the key is keeping the ipad FAR from your eyes, and to dim the light, increasing the font size. I read for hours no prob.

eolake said...

Yes, font and size are important. For many years I've thought too much web text is too small. My preferred font is Verdana or Georgia (both made for the scree) in around 18 point.

I think the Sepia setting in the Kindle app for iPad is pretty nice.

eolake said...

For those without access: the sepia setting has a beige background, and sepia (brown) text.

It's great to have the Kindle app on the iPad!