Tablets, Books or e-Readers: Which is Better? (Includ. Decision Tree)

December 2, 2019

As prices are starting to drop, this is the best time to invest in an eReader. However, with so many options available out there, it can be difficult to decide which one will work best for you. You may have heard of the Amazon Kindle and Kobo, but there are so many other choices on the market.

Here you will learn about the various eReaders and determine which one will work best for what you want.

Face-Off

There is an argument to be made for both traditional books and eReaders. Yet, how do they compare?

eReader vs. Traditional Books

With the rising popularity of electronic books, there are still many readers out there who prefer to read from a printed book. Though some avid readers would suggest that in order to get the whole reading experience, you need to feel the book and turn the pages physically, there is an argument for eBooks.

As the world leans towards the digital side of things, many books are becoming available in various digital forms. As a result, people are getting instant access to books they would otherwise have waited a while for when only print copies were available. Today, no book is exempt from the digital universe. You can get an eBook about sewing, love stories, and even university textbooks on an eReader and have access to it the minute you purchase the digital copy.

However, for all there is to be said about the digital book, there is still a lot going for tradition print copies. One of the best things about having an actual physical book is that it is easier to reference certain pages than it would be with a digital copy.

The traditional printed version of books isn’t going away anytime soon. However, there are situations where an eBook provides more of an advantage over the traditional media.

eReader vs. Tablets

Since the advent of the eBook, there has been a debate as to what digital media was best for acquiring books. However, the question as to whether or not a tablet or eReader is ideal can be a very simple one to answer. When it comes to price, the eReader comes out cheaper each and every time the average reader and average tablet are compared. Furthermore, if your motivation for having a handheld digital device is to read, then it makes no sense to purchase a tablet.

As tablets and eReaders come closer together in price, then the line between the two becomes more blurred. Sometimes it can be difficult to find a good reason for getting an eReader over a tablet when tablets clearly have more functionality.

The biggest reason to opt for an eReader over a tablet is subjective by the individual. If your primary goal is to read, then an eReader is enough. If you need to read, but easily get distracted by everything else a tablet can do, like surf the internet, then you may want to steer clear. Additionally, eReaders screens are designed for hours of reading time that a tablet is not made for and that makes a huge difference for your eyes.

Factors To Consider When Choosing An EReader

There are several considerations you want to have on your radar when on the market for an eReader. Have a look.

Screen Type

There is a variety of eReader displays that come into play when choosing an eReader.

  •         LCD is fairly new screens for an eReader and generally come on readers that have more functionality than just reading. However, they are backlit which can be hard on the eyes long-term. You find the LCD screen type on the Kobo vox and the Nook Color also has that type of screen. 
  •         eInk is the top of the line screen types for eReaders. They are designed to mimic a paper-like reading experience and are less stressful on the eyes. Almost all the Kindle devices are eInk and so is the Kobo Wireless. 

Size and Weight

eReaders tend to come in a wide range of sizes and weights. To break it down, most eInk readers tend to be around the 6 inches screen size for optimal reading. 

When it comes to the 6-inch screen size, that is trademark of the Kindle. Almost all models of Kindle, some of the Kobo and a few Nooks are 6-inches. 

However, LCD screens tend to be bigger, bulkier, and much heavier. Where the eInk readers are lightweight and easy to carry around in a deep pocket, the LCD readers have larger batteries making them heavier and bulkier. 

Furthermore, LCD readers come in larger sizes due to the versatility of the device.

Interface

eReaders come with three primary interfaces. They are either button controlled, touchscreen, or a little of both. In today’s market, the touchscreen interface is by far the most popular as it is easy to maneuver and easy to work with. 

However, cheaper model eReaders still contain buttons for control. Some eReader tend to use both the button and the touchscreen experienced. The buttons control the power supply, and the touchscreen allows you to flip through books with ease.

Battery Life

eReader tends to have a longer battery life than your standard tablet. The average reader lasts up to 4 weeks with regular usage. 

However, if you aren’t a frequent reader, that battery life can extend up to 2 months. 

On the flip side, if you are an avid reader and live, breath and eat books, then you may only get up to 2 weeks of use out of your reader on a single charge. 

For average use the Kindle Paperwhite can last up to 6 weeks on a single charge. Whereas, the Nook GlowLight lasts 4 weeks on a single charge at average use. 

Decision Tree

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Features

There is a large range of features that you can get with eReaders depending on which one you choose. However, some must-have features that are worth your while are:

  •         The eyestrain debate – You don’t want an eReader that is going to hurt your eyes. Having one that is designed for hours of reading without straining your eyes is optimal. The best screen type for prolonged reading is the eInk.
  •         Waterproofing – If you tend to read in the bath, by the pool or at the beach, then a waterproof eReader is best for you. However, if you simply curl up in your favorite chair or bed, then this feature will be unnecessary.
  •         Anti-Fingerprinting – Using a touchscreen eReader having anti fingerprinting is essential. The last thing you want is trying to read a book and having fingerprints smearing your view of the letters. It is annoying and very frustrating to clean off. Having a screen that doesn’t allow for fingerprints is a dream.

 Highlight and Note – If you are a student, a teacher, or someone who is reading for educational purposes both professionally and personally, then having a highlight and note function is critical to you. This function allows you to jot notes down in the back of any specific section of a book and you can also highlight the moment inspiration hit.

Paperwhite – The Kindle has beaten the constant battle of a clear screen in sunlight or in the dark without straining your eyes. How they did it is with the paperwhite.. If you love lounging outdoors on a sunny day with a good book or curled up in bed with the lights off, then you need a paperwhite. These eReaders make it so you can see the screen easily in both sun and dark. 

Capacity

When it comes to eReaders, there isn’t much in the way of storage options. Your standard readers come with 4-8GB of space. Some of the higher-end ones come with up to 32GB of storage space. However, to put that in perspective, an 8GB eReader can store up to 2000 books, and that is enough for most. However, if you are the avid reader who gets through a book in a day, then the 32GB is much more to your liking.

Store Access

Which store you prefer to purchase your books from will determine which eReader you choose. There are some that are store specific and others that are more versatile.

  •         Kindle – All books for a kindle come from Amazon
  •         Kobo – All the books for this device are found in the Rakuten Kobo Store.
  •         Nook – Holds books that come from Barns and Noble.

If you want more store versatility, then you may want to consider a tablet and downloading the various apps for each store. However, each store has a complete collection of most books.

Price

There is a large range of price options when it comes to an eReader.

For the lower-end readers, you will be looking in the $60-$100 range, and these readers don’t have many bells and whistles. Instead, they are standard readers with minimal storage and aren’t backlight, making reading in the sun or dark places difficult. In this price range you can get the Nook GlowLight 3 or the Kindle Paperwhite. 

The mid-range and the most popular are the $100-$200 price range for a reader. These come with both LCD and eInk screen types, and they do have some of the most wanted features like touch screen and anti-fingerprint or glare. These readers also have the options for storage size, and some may or may not have additional apps that can be used on them depending on the model. In this price range you can get most eReaders on the market. Some of the best include the Kobo Libra H2O or the Nook GlowLight Plus.

The high-end eReaders are over $200, and they are almost always eInk with all the bells and whistles. These particular readers have added features like games, internet searching and much more. With a high-end reader, you can hold thousands of books and do everything from highlighting to waterproofing. These are among the most expensive eReaders and for over $200 you can get the Kobo Forma or the Kindle Oasis.

Brand Names and Where can you buy them?

There are a few popular brand names of eReaders on the market, and they each have a variety of price ranges depending on features and storage options.

Kobo: The Kobo eReader is designed for Rakuten Kobo books. These readers accept pretty much any format of the book, and they do format fairly easy for reading. Most come with eInk displays and have a comfort lighting system to help you avoid eyestrain when reading. The battery on the Kobo eReaders tends to last quite a long time, and the storage capacity is between 8GB and 32GB.

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Kindle: The Kindle is one of the most popular eReaders, and it is designed for Amazon Kindle books primarily. It doesn’t accept other formats very well, but the higher-end models can adjust, alright, for whatever format you have. Most kindles are waterproof, and they have weeks of battery life in them. Almost all kindles have built-in lights for easy reading.

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Nook: This eReader is designed specifically for Barnes & Noble books. These readers don’t accept formats as well as the Kobo does but better than the Kindle. However, sometimes, the format translation is skewed making it difficult to read. However, the Nook does have backlighting and anti-fingerprinting technology. Most of the Nook eReaders have a good capacity for storage, and their batteries tend to last up to 4 weeks.

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If you search for eReaders, you will see that Kindle, Nook, and Kobo all have various models that range from just released to a few years old. What is the difference? Most newer models contain wifi connectivity and the ability to do more than just read. The functionality of the newer models is astounding as they resemble more of a tablet than an eReader. Are they worth the price tag that comes with the newer models? Whether or not you want to spend that kind of money is up to you. You need to determine if having an eReader with more functionality and added bells and whistles is worth the price tag or not.

If reading is your thing and you are simply looking for a digital library, then you don’t need the newer models when older ones at lower price tags are still great for reading and book collecting.

Make Your Choice

There are many great choices when it comes to choosing an eReader, and in the end, you need to decide for yourself what works best for you. The various features and styles of eReaders can be difficult to weave through, but what you need is not what the next person is going to need.

Where do we see eReaders going? More and more eReaders are losing their appeal as tablets and smartphones can download the apps and obtain the same amount of reading material as another device would. In the future, it would not be surprising if the eReader becomes more of a tablet device with much more functionality instead of a digital library.

Though traditional paper books are not going anywhere, digital reading is increasing in popularity due to convenience. However, don’t expect that the eReader will continue to rise as other options are increasingly more available.

Kenny Trinh

Kenny Trinh

Building his first desktop at the age of 10, start coding at 14 years old, Kenny knows a thing or two when it comes to finding a good laptop and he aims to share everything he knows. Current go-to laptop: Apple Macbook 12 inch.

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