General Question

archaeopteryx's avatar

Kindle vs. Android Tablets..?

Asked by archaeopteryx (873points) September 21st, 2011

Hello Fluther,

I am interested in owning a Kindle device, because it’s really helpful to just carry my entire personal library with me and just pull it out and start reading whenever and wherever I feel like it.

But at the same time, I can also see that Android-powered devices (Notice, I said Android, NOT iPad because I loathe Apple products) such as Samsung’s Galaxy Tab can do so many other things besides storing e-books (e.g.: Internet, telephone, storing music, etc), and they’re almost as cheap (or expensive) as the Kindle (Kindle Deluxe, to be more accurate). Of course, not to mention the great advantage of having a colored screen as opposed to Kindle’s non-colored screen.

So I’m not quite sure what to buy, and I could really use your thoughts about that.

Thank you very much.

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23 Answers

sushilovinfun's avatar

I first owned a Kindle and found it rather limited, both in terms of comparative price choice in the Amazon store and a few other things. I am a grad student, so I get a lot of .pdf files to read and I found that the .pdf reader on Kindle was pretty poor and choppy. I also happen to be one of the few people who is a fan of a backlit screen because I can take it just about anywhere. I did find the Kindle to be an easier device to transport, but I wouldn’t go back to it. Instead I got an Asus Transformer which does the job just fine and now I have access to many more stores for books, articles, comics, etc.

YoBob's avatar

I don’t own a tablet so I can’t really speak for them, but I do own a kindle and am very happy with it.

Firstly, do not expect a kindle to be anything other than a book reader. It is not as versatile as a tablet. However, there are some great features that tablets don’t offer. For one thing there is the epaper display that has a very paper like appearance and is readable in bright sunlight. Additionally, since power is only used when the page is changed, as long as you don’t keep the built in wi-fi enabled one battery charge will literally last for over a month.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Big diff between a tab and a Kindle. If you’re interested in a purely ereading device, both the Kindle and the Nook e-ink products stand out because battery life is forever (well practically) on those. Any color, backlit tablet will have a multitude more uses, with infinitely less battery life.

YoBob's avatar

@sushilovinfun – I also had problems with .pdf files because the format was generally too wide for the screen. However, kindle does offer a free .pdf conversion utility. You just email the .pdf file and the converted version gets downloaded to your kindle complete with the formatting that will let you re-size the font, etc…

tedd's avatar

Personally I favor regular books.

But if you were going to go for one, at the moment kindle is probably the way to go. They’re designed specifically for this, going as far as to have the screen look like regular paper rather than a back-lit screen (less stressful on the eyes).

Be wary though, it won’t be long until they’re selling you “temporary licenses” to read your books.

JilltheTooth's avatar

If size (actual carrying, physical size) is important to you, the Nook is smaller than the Kindle, but they both are excellent products for what they do.

archaeopteryx's avatar

@tedd Actually, that’s one major thing that keeps me from dealing with e-book reading devices, and especially Kindle. Their use of DRM and other, similar means of restrictions is simply obnoxious, to say the least.

archaeopteryx's avatar

@tedd
Actually, here’s something that seems similar to what you were talking about. It seems like some “ebook lending” system similar to that of regular book lending found at libraries:

http://androids.ac/5xf

JLeslie's avatar

I have an Ipad, I assume the android is similar in that the screen is back lit and almost impossible to read in bright sunlight, while the Kindle is more like reading a paper page. So, if you want to be able to read anywhere, and the main purpose is for reading books and periodicals, I would say go with the Kindle.

If my assumption about the android screen being like an ipad or most computer screens is wrong, than ignore my advice.

gorillapaws's avatar

If you don’t want an iPad, and the Kindle’s DRM is a problem for you, I would just wait for Android to catch up to iOS. All of the non-iPad tablets are getting pretty dismal reviews at the moment, but they’ll eventually catch up.

sushilovinfun's avatar

@JLeslie You are completely right, though remember that the advantage of reading at night that the iPad/Android provide.

wundayatta's avatar

You have to also consider the issue of phone service or internet service. I’m not sure if Kindle only uses free wifi or if it has 3G access, but tablets can also use 3g services, but they have to pay for them. That’s an additional cost to make the tablet more fully functional—so as to get internet and what not.

My understanding is that Kindle can only download books and possibly access email and some blogs, although those may cost extra. I hope someone can set me straight on the issue of costs for various services because I’ve been wondering. Have I got it right?

JLeslie's avatar

@sushilovinfun True, but you can turn on a light, it is hard to turn off the sun. I think there is a kindle that comes with a light.

fizzbanger's avatar

My vote is for the Kindle. Then again, I don’t see any use for a tablet other than a shiny screen that’s a bigger version of my smartphone, and a smaller version of my laptop. It would be totally redundant.

The Kindle is really light and easy to carry around and the battery lasts for days. I like reading by natural light anyway, but occasionally use a clippy light in bed.

@wundayatta I’ve never used it for anything except reading books. I use my phone for all that other stuff. I’m willing to pay $10 for a book that would otherwise cost $24 in hardcover, with the added benefit of not having piles of books take over my little apartment.

And, I’m not anti-downloading-things-for-free, but I like to think I’m supporting an author by actually paying for their work…

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I will only say one thing about the ereader/tablet world- do not get a Pandigital tablet (the Barnes and Noble tablet). My husband bought me one, thinking he was getting me something amazing, and it SUCKS. No battery life at all, and a pain in the ass to download books.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Yeah @WillWorkForChocolate , my sister has one and has a problem with it. I have the nook that uses e-ink and I love it, but I don’t like backlit stuff anyway, it gives me a headache.

SpatzieLover's avatar

The Kindle is awesome for reading in bright sunlight or tucked up in your bed at night. Nothing beats. The battery life is amazing.

Tablets, IMO, are a waste of money and energy.

Nullo's avatar

The Kindle’s real strength is battery life – you can go about a month on one charge. The tablet PC will run out quite a bit more quickly.

@WillWorkForChocolate The Pandigital Novel works once you learn its quirks. Turn off the wifi to increase battery life. Download e-books and load them manually. Drag your finger diagonally across the screen to turn the page.
It’s not the best, but it’s cheap! And it’s popular with modders, who have come up with code to make it useful.

Aethelflaed's avatar

If you’re looking to have something that’s lighter than a book, go with the Kindle. Tablets are really quite heavy. And there are ways around the DRM, should you be so inclined…

Bellatrix's avatar

I went through this process recently. I ended up buying a Sony VAIO netbook because it is small, but much more versatile than a tablet. In the end, this was a better option for me. I need to be able to type fast and a tablet doesn’t really meet that need unless I also have accessories with it. Tablets just don’t have the same level of functionality for the price.

With the Kindle etc. the downside for me as an academic is I cannot make notes on the document and then print it off. I don’t always want to work from a screen. I like to highlight text and annotate the content. With the online version of Kindle and the real deal (I believe) you can make notes, but you can’t print off your notes. Sort of useless for me. So make sure you consider how you will use the books. Will be using the device to work with academic texts or just for reading for leisure.

flutherother's avatar

I use a Kindle for reading and have found it is easier to handle than a paperback. A paperback is always trying to close itself and the pages curve in your hand. With a Kindle the page is perfectly flat and the screen is always easy to read. I finished the book I was reading at the airport on Tuesday but I found another to read right away on my Kindle. I have a far better selection of titles stored in my Kindle than is available at the airport bookshops.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@flutherother And a Kindle you can read with one hand, but tablets require one hand for holding and another for swiping the touchscreen.

jerv's avatar

Most of the books I read are gaming books. The hardcopy versions are 8½“x11” hardcovers with color printing, and converting them to any sort of text format pretty much destroys them; you lose too much formatting, tables don’t show up right, diagrams are missing… in short, any sort of electronic device I use to hold electronic versions of those books must have a color screen and the ability to handle PDF files. That eliminates almost all of the e-readers (especially the Kindle) except for the Nook Color, but allows just about any tablet.

Now, the Nook Color is an oddball. See, it’s an e-reader, but it has the same specs (CPU, RAM, storage, etcetera) as my Droid X; the only major differences are the larger screen and the lack of cell coverage on the NC. Here is the kicker though; a lot of people “flash” them to no longer be an e-reader, but an actual, full-fledged Android tablet. And they only cost $250 with no contract required!

Be careful though. There are some Android tablets out there for cheap, but you will find that many of those are so inferior that you will wish you spent five times as much. Some of them have a battery life of only a couple of hours, some use resistive touchscreens instead of capacitive and thus require you to press hard enough on the screen to risk cracking the glass in order to register (capacitive screens need a mere brush), and some are just utter shit. If you go the Android tablet route, you will want to stick with name-brands; Motorola, Samsung, etcetera.

Or split teh difference and get a Nook Color :D

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