Mobiles & Tablets

Tablet versus e-reader comparison

Mahananda Bohidar 7th Aug | Updated on August 07, 2013

No matter how many people claim they would not be caught dead with a digital book reader, the truth is more and more bibliophiles are slowly switching to the digital platform. But here too, there are two separate camps – one that swears by the simplistic, monochromes of an e-reader and the other that prefers the multi-functionality of a tablet. Here’s a little gyaan to help you discover which one works for you best.

If reading in colour is important to you, then tablets are the way to go. Illustrations, and graphics don’t come alive on an e-reader they way they do on a tablet. These could be magazines, destination guides, cookbooks, comic strips or even textbooks. If you’d rather be buried in the deep, black and white prose of Poe to Palahniuk, then you’ll love the reader.

A big factor in choosing which device to read on is also the time you spend on it. If you are the types who can stay immersed in an ebook for hours on end, then your eyes will thank you for choosing an e-reader. Reading on a tablet for more than an hour or so, no matter how low the brightness has been set to, can result in undue stress on your eyesight and even slight headaches in some cases. Here, electronic ink totally scores over LCD displays.

If you want constant access to the internet while reading then e-readers are a big no-no. Most of them are equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity but typing and consequently browsing on an e-reader is tedious work. The refresh rates of the display as compared to that on a tablet can be painfully slow. While most of us are used to swiping, scrolling and pinching away to glory the e-reader falls short in all these aspects, and consequently in the overall user interface when it comes to anything apart from reading. Strangely, this is a big plus for some, who claim there’s nothing to distract them from reading when they are on a e-reader.

However, multi-functionality also means you will have to shell out a lot more to buy a tablet than for an e-reader. And, the extra components which work to enable different functions on a tablet add to its bulk. Most e-readers currently available in the market are lightweight enough for one-hand reading for long periods of time.

Another aspect to keep in mind is the variety of books you can download. A Kindle for example will let you download directly only from the Amazon’s Kindle Store. But if you have an Android tablet, you can not only use the Kindle app on it (and buy books from the Amazon Store) but also from the Google Play. This makes for a great range of choice, although Amazon itself possibly stocks every book you can think of. And last but not the least, nothing, and I mean nothing, beats the battery life of a simple monochromatic e-reader. It stays up for so long, it would put the blue pills to shame!

Published on August 06, 2013

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