Thursday, March 28, 2013

E-Reader Series: If I Had to Do It Again, Would I Get an eBook Reader over a Tablet?

This is what I've been thinking about the last few weeks and it's a hard question to answer. Overall, I really do love my Kindle Touch. Still, I wonder if I should have waited. Here are some reasons that I would consider getting a tablet instead of the Touch:

Why a Tablet Is Better Than an E-Reader

  • More versatile. Tablets are made for more than just reading books. You can play apps, music and video on them. There are dozens of apps for tablets whereas the Touch is made just for reading ebooks and nothing else.
  • Operating system. Operating systems on tablets are made to be fast and easy to use.
  • Graphics. You can see the covers of books as you're going through them to figure out what you want to read.
  • Same size. Now that 7-inch tablets are all the rage, you can get awesome tablets that can also be held on one hand. This makes reading in bed easy. The release of the iPad back a few years ago caused a slew of copycat tablets that were all about 10 inches. Now that the 7-inch tablet has caught, in part spurred by the Amazon Fire tablet, there are many choices for smaller tablets that can be held in one hand.
  • Battery life. Maybe batteries on the tablets won't last a month, but many are made to last 10 hours of active use and up to a couple weeks on standby. This means at the very least, it should last all day and you can then charge it while you sleep so it's ready for the next day.
  • Kindle app. No matter what tablet you get, whether it's Android, Windows RT or iOS, there's an app that allows you to access your Kindle library. This means that you can read your ebooks on lots of devices rather than being stuck with only reading on your Kindle. 
  • Read non-Amazon ebooks. Not only that, but on tablets you can get apps for other e-readers, such as Nook, so that ebooks that you've bought through other sources can also be read on your tablet. With a Touch (as well as other Kindle devices), you're limited to only purchased made through Amazon.

Why an E-Reader Is Better Than a Tablet

So you're probably wondering, if a tablet is so much better, why should I even consider an e-reader? Well here are some thoughts about that:
  • Eye strain. It's possible that reading on a tablet may cause more eye strain than an e-ink reader like the Touch. However, if you have problems with eye strain, the recommendation is that every 20 minutes, focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. I know that from my experience, I have not had any problems reading on the Touch any more so than reading a book.
  • Doesn't work in bright light. So a few years ago, I was working from home on my laptop and I got this bright idea that I would take Alex, who was a toddler then, outside of our four-plex to play on the grass. I would take my laptop so I could get some work done and still keep an eye on him. Well, that worked not at all because the light from the sun completely washed out my laptop screen and I couldn't read a thing. For this reason, the e-ink display wins. If you want to read at the beach, at the park, or anywhere else outside, a tablet just won't do.
  • Cost. When it comes to price points, nothing beats a Touch. With the Kindle Touch now only $69, there's really no reason to say no. And despite the fact that I was so excited when the Paperwhite came out (and it was only $20 more than what I paid), honestly I don't think it's essential to have one instead of the Touch (unless you think you'll be reading in dark or very low light a lot). I can't think of an instance where I haven't had enough light from a lamp, an overhead light, or the sun to read just fine.

What Should You Get Then? A Tablet or an E-Reader?

That is a question you'll to answer yourself, but I think the major factor that comes into play is the price. For only $69, you can have your own e-ink reader, so if you can't shell out $200 or more for a tablet, why not get a Touch. 

However, if you can afford a tablet, and especially if you want to do more on than just read ebooks (such as using apps and watching Netflix or movies and TV shows), I would definitely recommend a tablet. There are so many to choose from and they all have their benefits, so it will take some research to decide which one is right for you.

And really, if you can swing it, I'd get one of each. There will be times when one or the other will work better  for that situation. You could keep the Kindle in your purse ready to read if you ever need something to pass the time (without worrying about the battery being dead) and bring the tablet with you when you're going on a long trip and need to keep your kids occupied. For that matter have both with you so your kids can play games while you're reading a book—everyone wins!

So do I regret getting the Touch? No, not at all. Whether or not I get a tablet in the future, I will continue to read books on my Touch. Overall, I love it.

Do you have an e-reader or tablet? If so which one do you have and do you love it?


  1. I'm excited to read this post! We are hoping to purchase a table of some short soon for our family! We want a tablet that I could download and use photoscape on- I'm not sure if this is possible? Do you suggest a certain tablet? And do you use it for your blog?

    1. I'm not familiar with Photoscape. When it comes to tablets, you can do anything that there's an app for. If it's an Android app (such as those found through Google Play or Amazon App Store), then you can use it on compatible Android tablets. If it's an iPad, then it needs to be an app available in the iTunes App Store. I don't think there's a mobile app available for Photoscape, so I would say at this point it's not possible.


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