iPad worth it as an e-reader?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by PaulWog, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. PaulWog Suspended

    Jun 28, 2011
    I'm sure this question has been asked a million and one times. However google is no friend to me when it comes to this, as the hits are amazingly uninformative.

    The iPad 2 16GB Wi-Fi is $519 here in Canada, which is not a cheap price. There is no student discount, nor any sort of bundle price with the purchase of a Macbook (which I will be purchasing soon) -- so it's going to be a whopping large chunk of money if I do intend to purchase an iPad 2.

    The e-reader I am interested in (the Kobo Touch) is $139, which is rather cheap. It really just pays for itself in the end (after just a few books), since most of my books are in text format on my computer already...

    Anyways, what I'm wondering is this:

    Is the iPad 2 worth the premium as an e-reader. It gets less battery life (significantly less), and is larger, but it complements its e-reading capabilities as not only a portable entertainment hub, and not only an impressive chunk of metal and glass, but also as a somewhat decent productivity machine in some ways.

    Does the iPad 2 end up glaring more in your eyes (causing eye-strain)? Would e-ink be preferable? I'm looking at it like this:

    $139 for an e-reader
    or pay $380 extra and get everything the iPad 2 has to offer
  2. TheGenerous macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2010
    I'm an Austronaut
    I use the kobo app for iPad. I have bought like four books and before the iPad I read them on the computer screen.

    personally I don't like the page refresh on ereaders, and the iPad can read color pdfs. i've an iPad since they came out last year and I like it
  3. Aamir macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2010
    If all you're going to be doing on it, is reading e-books, then no. It's a huge waste.
    E-ink is typically easier on the eyes.
    If you plan to use Safari or check your e-mails, or watch a movie or even listen to music, the iPad is the way to go.
    If you only plan on doing one or two of those things, do yourself a favor, and get the original (refurbished) iPad. :eek:
  4. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Why not the Kindle? If you're only looking for an eReader, the Kindle can't be beat.
  5. thelookingglass macrumors 68000

    Apr 27, 2005
    I've had a Kindle 2, a Kindle 3 and an iPad. Both Kindles are gone and I use my iPad exclusively to read books.

    Absolutely love the iPad. But, I also think Kindles are poor reading devices (and I know I'm in the minority on this). The screen refresh on the Kindle is annoying, particularly if you want to skim through the pages quickly or jump to a different section of the book. I also, ironically enough, get LESS eyestrain on my iPad. For one reason or another, the contrast of the Kindle screen is too low for my taste and always looks sort of dim/blurry. It's like reading a newspaper printed on recycled paper. The problem is just exacerbated in low light conditions. Which brings me to my final point ... the Kindle requires some external source of light to read in dim or no-light conditions.
  6. viewfly macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2009
    You can't read an iPad or any smartphone well outside in daylight.

    The kindle like e- ink reads easier the more light there is, even beach sunlight. Even with polarized sunglasses. In the dark, you need a light with a kindle, but not with the iPad. Polarized glasses kill reading on an iPad or smartphone / laptop.

    I have both. That is the best option, unless you have no need for the other iPad features.

    An e-ink kindle is like a real page of paper: it needs external light. This is a plus for reading outside.

    Sent from my iPhone 4 with TapaTalk.
  7. JeffMorse macrumors regular

    May 12, 2010
    I've had both. I sold my Kindle when I got an iPad. If you read outdoors a lot, you can't beat a Kindle for that. An iPad makes for a crappy outdoors ereader. If you don't get eyestrain on a regular computer monitor the ipad won't cause those issues.

    I read on my ipad all the time. The downside is I often wind up doing other stuff when I'd normally be reading on it... if you'd consider that a downside.
  8. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    i have an ipod touch, kindle dx (big one), and ipad1

    this is where i got started. if your stuff is already in text form, then you are all set. it is really quite nice. however, most of my stuff is in pdfs, and they do not do so well on a small screen. i sometimes read this on the train or other places where a larger device doesn't work so great.

    kindle dx
    the best e-reader on the market. the only large screen reader available, so the only one able to display pdfs close to their native size (sony has a weird-shaped poorly spec'd tng). eink is a real joy to read. the battery life is phenomenal. i usually read this at night in bed or at home, or use it in conjunction with other devices while doing research. this is my favorite reader.

    every day i use this as an ereader. i have digitized everything in my life (except the dog), and i can carry it all with me. i find it just fine to read for long stretches. it is also much more flexible than the dx. eink is just nice to read, and it cannot be beat. but, in the end, i carry around the ipad because i have a lot of stuff i want to get done, and i don't have room in the man purse for two readers.

    kobo is a losing proposition. i could not imagine buying it over the fabulous kindle or the equally (now superior?) nook ereader. kindle will be reefreshed shortly. you may want to wait and see.

    but, i would recommend both the kindle and ipad. if you have to get one, then the kindle (assuming you are planning only to read). it all depends on your lifestyle.
  9. PaulWog thread starter Suspended

    Jun 28, 2011
    Thanks for the recommendations and help overall.

    I've read my reviews, done my homework, and checked these things out in person. After some more thought (I doubt anyone cares too much, but if you read forums just for the heck of it), here's my decision:

    The iPad 2 is really interesting. Sadly, the main reason I want one is simply because the shell is so beautiful. It looks like the most fun thing to carry around. And I remember my first portable DVD player (family portable DVD player) back about 12 or 13 years ago... it sported a 7-inch bland display. I remember thinking about what the ideal portable movie player would be, and truly the iPad is the closest thing to what I had imagined: A flat pad with a nice colorful display.

    However, in practice, I presume the iPad 2 would end up being a closet dust-collector for me. I remember I was in love with the iPod Touch at first as well. I got one, and I realized that I don't enjoy music on the go. I enjoy music when I'm at home, or in my car, or in other situations where an iPod really isn't a major convenience to me: So the iPod became a toy for a bit. I'd play some games on it, view movies, etcetera. But that was a novelty that died out after a few hours a week of fun, for just a few weeks.

    So I think the iPad 2 will end up being little more to me than a fun chunk of metal and glass. The idea is excellent, but I think in practice I'd be throwing my $$$ away at this point.

    An e-reader with e-ink (and I like the kobo touch for a few reasons after having seen it in person, and looking up some tech specs in terms of what I want it to do), I think will be my best option. And the price is excellent.

    In the future, though, if Apple ever manages to put one of those no-glasses 3D displays on the iPad (natively, not with any add-ons that I've heard of that are somewhat gimmicky), I might come back to look at the iPad. There comes a point when a toy is too much fun to pass up. But at this point... a giant touchpad and a nice screen aren't enough for me. Mainly that's because I don't enjoy the touch-based games too much, and I don't view movies on the go enough; I also care little for on-the-go internet.

    Thanks for the help :) I'm glad I've gotten to make a decision. The opinions above definitely have helped me come to a reasonable decision for now. Depending on what the iPad 3 or iPad 4 have to offer, I might buy into them later... :D But I think I'll pass the iPad 2 by and hope for better in the future.
  10. NebulaClash macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2010
    You did the right thing which is to check out the devices in person and not listen to what anyone else says. Fact is we are all different. I cannot stand e-ink, find it strains my eyes, but I've read the iPad for hours on end happily. I've read more than 200 books on it so far, so I know from more than a year's experience that the iPad is the ebook reader for me. Every time I've tried a Kindle or a Nook, I cannot stand their screens.

    No idea why that is. I know from the responses on this message board that most people feel the opposite, that e-ink is their preferred technology and that it is easier on their eyes. Why are my eyes different? No idea, I just know what works for me is not what works for everyone else.

    So my advice is to ALWAYS try these devices for yourself and pick the one that works for YOU. If I had listened to these message boards and gotten an e-ink device, I would have been very unhappy. We're all different. Get the product that you like best and ignore what anyone else says (including me).
  11. tstarks33 macrumors regular

    Jan 28, 2008
    Nook Touch is easily the best e reader right now. Kindle might retake the lead thus fall when it introduces new models.
  12. skillz1318 macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2006
    I have the newest generation Kindle and iPad 2. I do use the kindle app on my ipad for reading, but only when my kindle isn't with me or my wife is using it. The kindle is much easier to read and MUCH easier on the eyes. Also most of my reading is on my patio or at the pool and the iPad is worthless outdoors.

    Also the Kindle is much lighter and when reading for extended periods of time, MUCH more comfortable.
  13. spiderman0616 macrumors 68040


    Aug 1, 2010
    I would never have bought the iPad as only an e reader.

    That being said, I use it as an e reader a LOT, and I find it to be just fine. I even had it out on the back porch in the sun the other day and at certain angles, I was able to read without any glare issues. I'm not saying there's not a problem with glare, but it is possible to read outside on an iPad.

    Would I rather use my wife's Kindle as my primary e reader? Probably. But instead I have a much more multi-functional device that runs multiple e reader apps as well as kids books and magazines in full color.
  14. NebulaClash macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2010
    I find the iPad to be MUCH EASIER on the eyes than the Kindle.

    See how that works? My opinion works for me, but not for most. Which is why it is MEANINGLESS for each of us to chime on this issue as if what works for you will work for every person on Earth. We each have to decide for ourselves what our eyes prefer. It is NOT the same for all of us.
  15. iSingandiDance macrumors 6502a


    Apr 24, 2010
    I've read one book, The Help, on it.

    If it wasn't for the great storytelling and craftmanship of the writer, I would have definitely opted for a physical copy. It's just extremely straining on the body and eyes. I tried reading Infinite Jest on it and just couldn't finish it.

    However, it is indispensable as a .pdf reader for sheet music and how-to books, e.g., origami diagrams are very vibrant.
  16. SA22C macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2010
    Top Gear Test Track.
    If I were in the market now, I'd wait for a bit until the Mac Mini gets a refresh and then I'd get one of those for home use and an iPad 2 for mobile use and skip the MacBook altogether. Since the iPad 2 came along, my MacBook Pro gets less and less usage.
  17. BubbaMc macrumors regular


    Nov 15, 2010
    In my experience the iPad 2 is a bloody fabulous e-reader.
  18. vega07 macrumors 65816

    Aug 7, 2006
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    I can't read for more than one hour on the iPad due to eyestrain and headaches. I can read for 4-5 hours on the Kindle before my eyes need a short rest. And it's so much lighter than the iPad. I really wonder how people hold their iPads lcomfortably while lying on their beds. It's impossible for me.

    FYI, the iPad is a fantastic magazine reader.

    I love both devices.
  19. thelookingglass macrumors 68000

    Apr 27, 2005
    I've got a really thin and light folio case that can act as a stand as well. Works great in bed. I don't really have to support the weight of the iPad.
  20. NebulaClash macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2010
    As I lie in bed, the iPad is resting on my stomach or chest. No problem at all.

    I can read all day on the iPad without eye strain.

    However, Kindles and Nooks are so cheap, get both. Then you have the iPad for productivity and everything else, and you have a dedicated ereader that is cheap for reading books. And if you're like me, and cannot stand e-ink screens, skip the ereader and get the iPad that does it all.
  21. Sanveann macrumors 6502


    Jun 21, 2009
    I have the Kindle 3 and an iPad 2. I much prefer to read books on the Kindle -- it's smaller, lighter, and easier on my eyes, plus I can take it outside and read while my kids are playing. I love my iPad, but I almost never use it for reading books.
  22. za9ra22 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2003
    I have a Sony 650 e-ink reader and an iPad 2. I expected the Sony to be my primary e-reader because it is smaller, lighter and can be used outside without suffering glare or washout, but in fact the ipad has proven to be my reader of choice because it gives me much greater control of text sizes, background and brightness, handles pdfs much better, and can be used in low-light environments without a secondary light source.

    The iPad is often said to be problematic as a reader due to size and/or weight, but in fact it's not that much bigger than a normal book, and no heavier than most.

    The only times I've found myself switching back to the Sony is when I need the 2-3 week battery life, or if I'm reading on a bright day outside. On balance however I tend to read more often in the evenings, where the iPad's LCD screen is more useful.
  23. NebulaClash macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2010
    Yes, it is funny how people complain about the iPad being heavy, while not minding a hardcover book. Or complaining about eye strain on an LCD screen, while writing that complaint on an LCD-screen laptop.

    You bring up a good point about reading the iPad in dim lighting conditions, such as the bedroom at night. It's a valid point to note that you might read on the beach a dozen times a year, but you can read in your bedroom at night 365 times a year. Plan accordingly.
  24. PracticalMac macrumors 68030


    Jan 22, 2009
    Houston, TX
    You get $600 more use out of the iPad then any eReader.

    Look beyond the limitation of an eReader and think what else can you do.
  25. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    This about sums up my experience as well.

    The iPad isn't that great to read on and when you compare it to a dedicated device like the Kindle, there really is no comparison at all.

    Web surfing, watching movies in bed, watching videos while cooking, playing games are all great uses for an iPad; reading a book just isn't part of this list.

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