iPad vs Kindle for Reading E-books? The Answer Is Simple

kindle vs ipad for reading e-books

If you want to read digitally, you may be wondering how the iPad and Kindle stack up against each other and if it’s worth getting a Kindle even if you already own an iPad. The answer is quite one-sided.

A few years ago a Kindle or e-book reader was one of the few relatively popular gadgets I didn’t already own. I simply didn’t see the need as I already owned an iPad mini. However, one day when I was visiting a mall in Sweden, I saw a pretty good offer on the Kindle Paperwhite. The exchange rates were favorable and my curiosity got the better of me, so I bought it for around 100 EUR / 110 USD. 4 years later this has turned into a bit of a love story. My iPad mini is long gone but my Kindle is with me everywhere I go.

fantasy e-books on kindle

The Kindle is greater than the sum of its parts

You may be forgiven for thinking that the iPad is superior if you read a review outlining the technical pros and cons between a Kindle and a tablet. Sure, the iPad has a crisp color display and on the surface, the differences are subtle. However, those small differences are the ones that really matter for your reading experience and they are completely one-sided in favor of the Kindle.

Here’s why the Kindle wins…

‘You don’t get fatigued from holding it

Even if you compare a Kindle with the lightest iPad mini, it is almost still only half the weight at around 200g / 7 oz. For instance, the recommendable The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson is a huge 1007-page volume that is hard to put down. If you use an iPad, your arms will be dead before the next Highstorm.

Some will argue that you simply put the iPad on your lap, but trust me, that will kill your neck as you will be looking down for a long period of time.


reading on a kindle in the sun

You can read in the sun

The e-ink screen on the Kindle works a bit like real paper. There is no glare like on a glossy iPad screen, which is virtually impossible to see in direct sunlight even with the brightness on max. During summer, this is a huge dealbreaker for the iPad. Who doesn’t want to enjoy the sun while reading?

You can bring it to the pool

With an IPX-8 rating, the Kindle is water-resistant. It doesn’t mean you can go diving with it, but if you accidentally drop it into the pool or spill something, it will survive. Combined with the ability to read in the sun, this is perfect for a pool vacation.

reading on water-resistant kindle by the pool

ipad in a bag

It is less prone to theft

And speaking of pool vacations, there is nothing more annoying than getting your things stolen or needing to keep an eye on your bag all the time when you go for a swim. The Kindle is less likely to be stolen than an iPad because it is only a fraction of the value.

It is better for your eyes

Reading on the Kindle causes less eye strain. Particularly, if you read for longer durations, which I suspect most people do.

eye strain

iphone notifications

You don’t get distracted

No pop-ups, notifications, or temptations to check TikTok. Bringing the Kindle, you force yourself to relax and unplug (almost).

The battery can run for weeks

With an iPad, you have to recharge after some hours. If you read in bright light, your screen will need to be high on brightness too, which will reduce the battery time even further. The Kindle, on the other hand, can last for weeks on a charge and if there is light around you, you don’t even have to use the light on the Kindle.

white usb cable on white table

broken ipad screen

It doesn’t break as soon as you say floor

My Kindle has lasted 4 years now and if I clean it, it looks almost as new. I haven’t even bothered buying a cover, as it costs almost half the price of a new Kindle. It is much more durable than a tablet, which makes it easier to transport and bring outside. Given that you can forego the cover, the weight remains the same, whereas you would probably increase the weight on any iPad by buying a protective cover.

The few exceptions

There are always exceptions, of course. If you want to read comics or generally something with a lot of graphics, the iPad is a better choice. However, in that case, I would buy physical copies as the experience on iPad is not really great either.

If you have a special need for other stores than Amazon, the iPad may be able to accommodate that. The Kindle is manufactured by Amazon and exclusive to their store. If you can read in English, you will probably never miss anything and the prices are competitive.

iPad vs Kindle is the wrong question

Before I bought the Kindle, I was curious if the Kindle was better for reading e-books than a tablet or just a cheaper alternative.

As an owner of both an iPad and a Kindle now, I would argue that the question is wrong. It is not a matter of buying either. What you should be asking is this; Is it worth getting a Kindle if I have an iPad already? And the answer to this is a resounding yes. You should have both because they’re for two different purposes. Making a direct comparison is simply wrong.

The Kindle is superior for reading e-books for a simple reason; it’s what it was made for!

Last remarks

Here are some last bonus tips that you may be wondering about.

Which model to buy?

There are a lot of different Kindle models but the Kindle Paperwhite generations provide by far the best value for money. They have a good resolution for crisp text, a decent bezel, and are extremely affordable. You only need a more premium model if you also want to use it for audiobooks. However, I would recommend using your phone for that any day.

Go buy your Kindle Paperwhite now! (I get a small commission at no extra cost to you if you use the link).

What about audiobooks?

In my personal opinion, audiobooks are great … for falling asleep and missing half the book.

One response to “iPad vs Kindle for Reading E-books? The Answer Is Simple”

  1. Josie Avatar

    My personal pace has slowed down over the years — I’m 84 y.o. — but nevertheless, I find my Kindle annoyingly slow. One day when my Kindle was at home and I was out, I thought I’d try my iPhone and hot dog! Lightning fast. Because of my lifestyle, features like reading in sunlight or next to a swimming pool are irrelevant. There are many other positive features as well. For me, turning pages quickly is way more important than Kindle’s assets. For those reasons, I’m about to buy an iPad.

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