iPad for reading?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by east1999, May 30, 2011.

  1. east1999 macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2011
    Hey guys,

    I'm interested in getting an iPad for pdf reading. I'm not at all happy with how Kindle handles said documents. However, I'd like to know how you feel about the iPad as an e-book reader. Do you feel any eye strain after a while? Is it comfortable to hold the iPad for long periods of time? Does everything 'fit' in there or would you rather have an even larger tablet? Any serious difference between the iPads 1 and 2 in this matter?

  2. French macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2011
    Honestly the answers to your questions are subjective. I personally do not have issues reading on a backlit device, but my husband watched a movie the other day and felt a headache coming on after he was done.
  3. RWinOR macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2010
    Greenest and wettest place in North America
    We use our Ipad 1 for reading magazines, internet news, books, PDf's, and my wife is in grad school so she has some of her school books on the device as well. We love it. She uses it on the city mass transit trains, in the car while I am driving, on the airplanes. You can use it everywhere, to do most types of reading. Wonderful device. We have all our music on it as well so if she is commuting she plugs in earphones while she is reading.
  4. Legion93 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2011
    Death Star, Rishi Maze
    There is no doubt that iPad will give you eyestrain, after all you're looking at an LCD screen with backlight so if you stare at it for long periods of time (in this case reading documents) it will give you eyestrain to a certain extent. I would recommend a Kindle (being as I own one it is excellent for reading even at bright sunlight unlike the iPad). However since you say your experience with the Kindle is not preferable, you could try other ebook readers such as the Sony PRS-650 touchscreen device.

    Surely it would be excellent to read on the iPad especially in low-light conditions, if you do I would advise you to turn down the brightness to around 50% to avoid extensive strain on your eyes. The iPad handles PDFs very well, but another feature to consider is battery life. With an ebook reader you can get around a day's worth of reading. For my experience, the iPad doesn't cause any strain when used with the brightness low, after all you're staring at a backlit screen so it is just as equal to staring at a TV screen.

    I forgot to add that the iPad adds quite a lot of weight compared to electronic ebook readers so I don't know if you are comfortable holding something quite bulky in your hand, perhaps you can use the iPad stand/dock or smart cover to read in a comfortable position?

    Plus, you can benefit from the larger screen; much easier to read.

    Since you're interested in reading PDF documents, I would advise you to go with the iPad, it is very fast, smooth and offers excellent features with a touch of a finger at the screen. Hope this has helped :)
  5. geo111 macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2011
    I use my iPad2 for reading with no problems at all. My preferred eBook app is Stanza and it works really well.
  6. ChristianVirtual macrumors 601


    May 10, 2010
    I'm reading more and more since having iPads. Kindle App for actual books and iBooks for PDF. Works well for me. Have many apple PDF files for development or OSX copied to iPad for offline reading.

    I tried once a real kindle, awesome display, no doubt. But since I never had trouble with iPad I have no need to switch. Can read easy some hours on iPad.
  7. WarpSpawn macrumors member

    May 30, 2011
    Overall I think the iPad makes an excellent PDF reader. Eyestrain will depend on the individual but I am generally ok, as long as the backlight is set to something sensible.

    As far as weight is concerned, it can be a little heavy for one handed use but two handed or propped up should be ok. Depends what you are reading as to how this compares but I reckon it is no heavier than most text books, catalogues or hard backed books.
  8. crobbins macrumors 6502


    Nov 11, 2006
    I have read numerous books on the iPad now. I also do all of my PDF handling and viewing on the iPad now. I think it is a great device for PDFs. If I didn't have the iPad, I would likely still be using a computer to read PDFs so it would have a backlight in it either way.
  9. bowlerman625 macrumors 68020


    Jun 17, 2009
    Chicago, IL area
    My wife uses hers to read eBooks. She has never complained about the experience.
  10. vw195 macrumors 6502

    Dec 27, 2008
    I do not like to read books on the ipad. I like my nook color or my wifes kindle for that. Having said that, imo nothing beats the ipad2 for pdf viewing
  11. KevinC867 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 8, 2007
    Saratoga, CA
    I thought I would be using my iPad a lot for reading, but I find that it is too big and heavy for comfortable reading in bed and elsewhere. I bought a Kindle 3 shortly after reaching that conclusion.

    The Kindle is the perfect reader for me. The fact that the Kindle's screen is easy to read outside in the sun is a huge advantage for me.

    If I don't have my Kindle handy, I'm more likely to use my iPhone 4 as a book reader than my iPad.

    However, that's just me. Many people are perfectly comfortable with the size and weight of he iPad for reading. Eye strain can be reduced by adjusting the brightness when reading in a dim environment. Even the 16GB iPad has room for a huge number of eBooks. (They are just a few megabytes each.) You won't need the iPad 2 for performance, but you may appreciate the smaller size.
  12. Boxer757 macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2009
    I own both an iPad2 and a Kindle (the little one). The Kindle is great for books but too small for PDFs IMO. On the iPad, PDFs work great with the right app - easy to manipulate, especially if you need to mark them up as you read. However, eye-fatigue is a concern. That factor really depends on the individual. Some will get a headache after a couple of hours reading on LCD, while others can stare at that display all day long and not be bothered. To test, perhaps you could read PDFs for a few hours on your computer and see if it causes eye-strain.

    If you are going to be reading a lot of PDFs for extended periods of time, e.g. 100's of pages in a sitting (I know we got there easily in my grad program) then perhaps look into the KindleDX. I believe you can find refurbs for around half of what a new 16GB wifi ipad2 would run you. You can't beat e-ink for readability IMO and the increased screen real estate is invaluable for PDFs.

    Seems to me it comes down to:
    A) How much are you going to read in a sitting (the more I have to read, the more likely I am to go with e-ink)
    B) How much do you need to be able to "mark-up" the PDFs (iPad wins here hands-down, though the Kindle is adequate for minimal note-taking)
    C) How prone are you to eye fatigue from backlit screens
    D) How important are "extras" to you (obviously, the iPad is capable of all kinds of things the Kindle will never be able to do)

    Just my $.02 and a few things to think about...
  13. MayorQuimby macrumors member

    Apr 17, 2011
    I prefer the iPad to e-ink which I find too dim. I also hate the e-ink refresh.

    With that said - it does take some tinkering. Ideally the iPad would have some sort of matte surface like my Plasma (panasonic matte plasma no longer made) along with higher resolution.

    But even the current iPad 2 is fine if you use the proper settings. I use Stanza whcih allows you to dim the screen by sliding your finger vertically. Certain font sizes on a creamy off-white background and low brightness make reading just fine. Keep the pad at least 1.5 feet away from you and you'll be surprised to find that it's a pleasant experience. It's not paper but it's pretty good.

    BTW - I find that I read much more quickly vs. a physical book which I found rather strange.
  14. Zeos macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2008
    I have a Kindle and iPad. I use the iPad for technical PDFs and it works great. Goodreader is my preferred app for that. As long as I manage screen brightness, I don't notice any eye strain. For novels and the like, I do prefer the Kindle, since it is so light and I am able to immerse myself in the book easier.
  15. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    Before I bought the iPad (1), had not intended to use it much to read books, now I use it all the time to read pdf's and books ( both kindle and iBooks). only complaint is that it does get heaving holding in one hand. However I have the Apple case which adds to the weight and iPad2 is lighter as well.
  16. Mode-III fan macrumors member

    May 7, 2011
    My experience over the last year with reading on an iPad has been great except for the iPad's weight and size when attempting to read laying down. I have not had any eye strain problems, but as others have mentioned, this has to be a subjective thing.

    In general, the iPad 2 is over 10% lighter than the first version (exact difference depends on which models are being compared). I imagine this will help a lot with holding the iPad 2 over long time periods.

    A potential advantage of the iPad over dedicated e-book readers is the functionality of apps designed for handling pdf files, enabling various editing and note taking features.

    I also find the non-backlit e-ink devices need some inconvenient method of lighting in dark settings. A moot point of course with an iPad (unless it's too bright :D)
  17. Cantisama macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2011
    I've read on my iPad every day since I got it last year, usually manga scanlations and technical documents. It may help to keep the brightness low; I put mine as low as it can, still very readable and no eyestrain or headaches. Reading off a backlit screen is much more enjoyable than something like a Kindle since you don't have to angle the screen just right if the lighting in your room sucks. You do have to make sure you read in a room with windows closed... the slightest sunlight ruins screen readability.

    PDF handling is far beyond the experience I had with my Kindle DX. Highlighting, annotating, live cropping to maximize the screen, true full screen (I never understood why Kindle wastes screen space in pdf mode reserved for menu bars), pinch to zoom, color display, and easy downloading/uploading documents to/from your iPad to/from email, websites, and cloud file services.

    You won't regret going with an iPad for reading. If you do get one make sure to get GoodReader app, it will handle all your pdf needs.
  18. macpluslaptop macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    The ipad is an extraordinary pdf reader. It's an indispensable part of my research now. I use iAnnotate to highlight, and Papers to store other pdfs that I just need to have handy. Also Dropbox is an excellent way to get pdfs from your computer to your ipad.

    I also have a Kindle 3 (small) to read books on. I prefer the Kindle e-ink for reading, but for researching (as indicated) anything involving pdfs, it's my iPad.

    I do have to remember to back the iPad up, however. If anything ever happened to it (loss, theft, damage) it would be catastrophic. With portability comes complications...
  19. Smoothness macrumors regular

    Apr 6, 2011
    Kindle on iPad works fine for me, just finished reading heroin diaries
  20. pb5300 macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2011
    Personally I use my iPad for casual reading RSS feeds, blogs etc anything with many images or multimedia content. I have only read one book on the iPad and found it gave me bad eyestrain after prolonged reading. For long form reading like a novel the Kindle is much easier on the eyes and much lighter so I would definitely recommend it over the iPad.
  21. WarpSpawn macrumors member

    May 30, 2011
    One thing that put me off the Kindle as a main reading device was the lack of a backlight that is a necessary part of the e-ink concept at present. I would certainly consider one to accompany the iPad, if I had the spare cash, especially with the ability to sync between different Kindle devices and apps. I remain unconvinced that it will ever offer a satisfactory PDF reading experience in its current form.
  22. Rdclark macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2011
    There's nothing better than the Kindle for reading text that can re-flow. If I expect to be reading for more than a few minutes I choose my Kindle. The natural optics (including using natural reflected light), the lightness and ease of handling, the formatting choices, all add up to an experience that just feels right. I would rather read a novel on my Kindle than any other way.

    Obviously, anything that doesn't re-flow easily, like PDFs, magazines, most web pages, etc., will benefit from a larger screen, and from color with most such content. Particularly, for me, comic books and graphic novels.

    But the glare is a real issue with the iPad. If I weren't a pasty Irish cellar dweller who never goes out in the sun, I might have to look into a solution to this, because it's a problem for me even with ordinary office lighting.
  23. misdy macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2011
    I have an ebook reader, but I consistently choose my iPad to read on, since last year when they first came out. I read for long periods of time (6+ hours) and I do okay with it. Like others, I turn my screen brightness down pretty low so it doesn't hurt my eyes, which it will do if I leave it too bright.

    Also, to make it easier to hold and handle, I have one of the moleskin style book cases, a Dodocase. It makes it a lot easier to read lying down.
  24. ninerfan macrumors regular

    Apr 8, 2011
    It is pure magic for me. I didn't have any kind of reader, other than my iPhone, prior to getting my iPad 2 a month ago.

    I don't seem to have a problem with eye strain and I love the ability to adjust the size of the font and the brightness of the screen. But, the very best part is that I can check books out of the library 24/7. I have been an avid reader my whole life, but now I am devouring books!! Magic!!
  25. Smoothness macrumors regular

    Apr 6, 2011
    Maybe that's whyni dnt mind the iPad, my brightness is always real low

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