As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website. If you make a purchase through links from this website, we may get a small share of the sale from Amazon and other similar affiliate programs. You can read our complete legal information for more details.
With a plethora of options available, it’s essential to understand the key differences between an e-ink tablet and an iPad or Android tablet.
This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the world of e-readers and tablets, offering detailed comparisons and outlining the advantages and drawbacks of each device.
We’ve delved deep into this burning debate to shed light on the differences between e-readers and tablets, and help you make a better decision.
Related: Best e-ink devices for note taking & writing (these have e-reader capabilities in them too)
Dive into our E-ink Tablet vs Tablet comparison to find the perfect device to satisfy your reading preferences and lifestyle.
- What is the difference between an e-reader and a tablet (example – iPad/Android)
- When would you want to use an E-reader rather than an iPad or Android tablet?
- Different types of e-readers
- Detailed comparison of differences between an E-reader and a Tablet
- Advantages of a Kindle PaperWhite or Kobo Clara over an iPad or Android Tablet
- Are e-readers worth it?
- What Technology is used in an e-reader & e-paper?
- Bottom Line
What is the difference between an e-reader and a tablet (example – iPad/Android)
- E-readers are read-only devices; iPads and e-paper tablets allow note-taking, sketching, and annotation.
- Tablets like the iPad have larger screens, more pressure sensitivity, full-color images, better connectivity options, and access to a wider range of content.
- E-Readers have much better visibility in sunlight/outdoors compared to tablets like the iOS (iPad) or Android Tablets due to the E-ink display – the e-reader doesn’t need a display light like an iPad does to view it outdoors, the sun allows you to read easily on it.
- Tablets are more suitable for internet browsing, app usage, media consumption, and multitasking.
- E-readers have superior e-ink displays, causing less eye strain than traditional LCD screens and significantly longer battery life (weeks of battery versus less than one day of an iPad). Most e-readers do not have video playback capabilities, while tablets do.
- E-readers provide a distraction-free reading experience, while tablets have access to various apps and features. They are lighter, more portable, and offer large storage capacity, making them ideal for on-the-go reading.
|Screen Size||10 inches or larger, good resolution||10 inches or larger, good resolution|
|Battery Life||Long-lasting, weeks to months||Shorter, typically a few days|
|Functionality||Optimized for reading and note-taking, limited functionality||Versatile, can handle multiple tasks|
|Portability||Lighter and more compact||Heavier and less compact|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, limited connectivity options||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular data|
|Library Organization||Good organization, limited cross-referencing features||Good organization, more flexibility in organizing files, cross-referencing features|
|Sturdiness||Can be fragile, but can be protected with a strong case||Can be fragile, but can be protected with a strong case|
|Luxury Bonus Features||Limited options||Attachable keyboard, covers that double as stands, Bluetooth connectivity, pen storage, etc.|
As shown in the above chart, E-readers, as their name implies, are tailor-made for voracious readers seeking a traditional, distraction-free reading experience.
These specialized devices boast long battery life, crisp screen resolution, and a compact design, making them a delight for on-the-go readers
…however, e-readers have limited functionality and connectivity options compared to their tablet counterparts.
Computer Tablets (ex: iPad Mini), on the other hand , are versatile multitaskers. Although they might be bulkier and less portable than e-readers, tablets like the iPad or Android offer a plethora of connectivity options, better organization features, and shorter battery life. These devices also come with luxury add-ons such as attachable keyboards and covers that double as stands.
Some e-ink tablets, like the reMarkable, Supernote, MobiScribe, and Onyx Boox Note Air2, even allow users to write, sketch, and store notes on the device.
Keep in mind- an e-reader tablet is read only, while certain e-ink devices (e-paper tablets) and iPads allow for note e- taking, sketching and annotation.
Related: Remarkable 2 Review: Is It Worth It?
Examples of why a tablet can’t replace an e-reader
So why can’t a tablet replace an e-reader? The answer lies in the unique characteristics of e-ink displays. E-readers triumph over traditional LCD screens when it comes to reading text, offering less eye strain, longer battery life per charge, and enhanced outdoor visibility.
Related: Best Tablets for Writers
Note: e-readers provide a focused reading experience without the distractions of app notifications and multiple features.
While E-readers provide a distraction-free reading experience, tablets can be distracting due to their access to a wide range of apps and features. Additionally, e-readers are lighter, more portable, and offer huge storage, making them ideal for on-the-go reading and organization. However, tablets offer larger screens, more pressure sensitivity, full-color images, better connectivity options, and access to a wider range of content through third-party apps.
When would you want to use an E-reader rather than an iPad or Android tablet?
E-readers are specifically designed for avid readers who prefer a more traditional reading experience. As the name suggests, they are ideal for people who simply like to read, and are primarily designed for downloading electronic books, magazines and newspapers from a wireless store.
With their non glare screen, elimination of distractions as it’s purely focused on e-reading and not iPad notifications, significantly better battery life, and tactile page-turning features – e-readers are ideal for enjoying your favorite books and magazines in the sunlight.
If you are primarily interested in reading books and other written materials, an e-reader may be the ideal choice for you. They offer a traditional reading experience, are more portable, and are often more affordable than tablets like an iPad, however, e-readers typically rival the price point of many inexpensive android based tablets – which cause many to ask the question of why they should use an e-reader rather than a tablet.
Advantages of using an e-reader rather than a Tablet (iPad, Android)
- More comfortable and enjoyable reading experience due to non-glare screen
- More affordable than tablets
- Can hold thousands of books, convenient for traveling and commuting
- Customizable font sizes and built-in dictionaries
- Longer battery life than tablets
E-readers offer a more comfortable and enjoyable reading experience. Their non-glare screen and portability make them a better choice for reading in bright sunlight.
With e-readers, you can easily adjust the font size and have a built-in dictionary to improve the reading experience.
E-readers are more affordable than tablets and can hold thousands of books, making them convenient for traveling and commuting. Additionally, their battery life lasts much longer than tablets, making them a practical and long-lasting choice for serious readers.
Drawbacks of e-readers compared to Tablets
- Limited internet connectivity and lack of options
- No camera for storing notes with photos
- Most options are black and white only
While e-readers offer many benefits, they also have some drawbacks. One of the most significant is their lack of options and internet connectivity. Unlike tablets, e-readers do not have a camera or web browser, which can be a disadvantage for some users.
Moreover, most e-readers only display black and white, which can be limiting for reading certain types of content, such as illustrated books or magazines. Additionally, while some e-readers have the ability to store notes, they do not have the capability to store photos along with them.
Different types of e-readers
There are e-readers, and e-ink devices that allow you to both read and write on the device (e-paper tablets). Example of e-paper tablets include the Kindle Scribe, Supernote, Remarkable 2, while e-readers like the Kindle Paperwhite, Kobo Clara are for reading only and note writing.
Detailed comparison of differences between an E-reader and a Tablet
Let’s dive into the exact design, hardware, performance, and features that make an e-reader and a tablet (like the iPad or Android based tablet) different.
If you’re looking for a device that can handle PDFs and letter-sized pages, you’ll want to choose a device with a screen size of 10 inches or larger. While both e-readers and tablets offer this screen size, e-readers tend to have better resolution, which makes text and images look sharper. However, if you need a device that offers a good writing feeling, you may want to consider a tablet. Tablets typically offer touch screens that allow you to write with a stylus or a finger.
When it comes to battery life, e-readers have a significant advantage over tablets. Most e-readers can last for weeks or even months on a single charge, which makes them ideal for on-the-go reading and note-taking. Tablets, on the other hand, need to be charged every few days, which can be inconvenient when you’re in the middle of a long reading or note-taking session.
E-readers are designed primarily for reading, while tablets are more versatile and can be used for a wide range of activities. If you need a device that can handle multiple tasks, such as web browsing, video streaming, or gaming, a tablet may be the better choice. However, if you’re primarily interested in reading and note-taking, an e-reader may be the better option. E-readers are optimized for reading, with features like e-ink displays that reduce eye strain and glare, as well as annotation tools that allow you to mark up documents.
Both e-readers and tablets are portable, but e-readers tend to be lighter and more compact. This makes them easier to carry in a purse or backpack, and more comfortable to hold for long periods of time. If you need a device that is easy to transport, an e-reader may be the better choice.
Both e-readers and tablets offer Wi-Fi connectivity, which allows you to download and transfer documents. However, if you need to side-load documents from your Android phone, you may want to consider a tablet. Tablets also tend to offer more connectivity options, such as Bluetooth and cellular data, which can be useful if you need to access the internet while on the go.
If you plan to read and annotate a large number of documents, you’ll want a device that offers good library organization. Both e-readers and tablets allow you to create folders and categories for your documents, but tablets offer more flexibility in terms of organizing your files. Some tablets also offer cross-referencing features, which allow you to link documents to each other.
If you’re worried about dropping your device or live in an area with a lot of ice, you’ll want to choose a device that is sturdy and durable. While both e-readers and tablets can be fragile, you can purchase a strong case to protect your device.
Luxury Bonus Features:
If you’re willing to splurge on a device, there are several luxury bonus features that you may want to consider. These include attachable keyboards, covers that double as stands, and Bluetooth connectivity. If you’re left-handed, you may want to choose a device that stores the pen on the left side. Additionally, if you have a large music library, you may want to choose
Advantages of a Kindle PaperWhite or Kobo Clara over an iPad or Android Tablet
When it comes to reading, there are several advantages that a Kindle PaperWhite or Kobo Clara has over an iPad or Android tablet. First, e-readers are designed specifically for reading, making them more comfortable to hold for extended periods of time compared to heavier and bulkier tablets. They also have e-ink screens, which are easier on the eyes and better for reading in bright sunlight than backlit tablet screens.
The Kindle and Kobo are a few examples of e-readers that have much longer battery life than tablets by weeks, rather than days since the iPad lasts less than 1 day on battery life – for example, the kindle paperwhite lasted me for weeks on a single charge.
They also offer access to online bookstores, where users can buy and download books in seconds, and some models have adjustable font sizes and types, making them more customizable than tablets for reading preferences.
…e-readers have fewer distractions than tablets (a lot fewer at that) – with no access to social media, games, or other apps that can take away from the reading experience. This creates a more immersive and focused reading environment, allowing readers to truly adn completely engage in the material… and escape from the distractions of daily life.
In conclusion, while tablets may offer more versatility and features, when it comes to reading, a Kindle PaperWhite or Kobo Clara offers a more comfortable, customizable, and focused experience.
Are e-readers worth it?
E-readers like the Kindle models (paperwhite, oasis for example) are worth it for several reasons when distraction free, digitized reading is required. They are convenient for traveling since they are lightweight and take up little space, making it easy to carry a large number of books with you.
E-readers also allow for easy and quick searching for books, which can be a time-saver. Additionally, e-readers offer personalized reading experiences, including font size and style, and can be helpful for language learners.
They are also environmentally friendly, as they can reduce the need for paper books, and have a long battery life compared to other electronic devices. Overall, e-readers offer many benefits that make them worth considering for avid readers.
Additional Requirements to consider before choosing
When choosing between a tablet and an e-reader, there are several factors to consider. If you prioritize reading and annotating documents, an e-reader may be more suitable as it offers a more paper-like reading experience and can handle e-ink annotations.
Additionally, e-readers have longer battery life and are generally more lightweight, making them easier to carry around.
However, if you also need a device for other purposes such as browsing the internet or using various apps, a tablet might be a better option. Tablets tend to have better processing power and higher resolution displays, making them the suitable choice (for almost everyone) when it comes to media consumption and multitasking – Most e-readers don’t have video playback.
They also often have larger screens, which can be beneficial for reading PDFs and other large documents without zooming in.
Another important factor to consider is the device’s ability to easily side-load documents. If you frequently download papers from sources like libgen or sci-hub, an e-reader might be a better choice since they usually have simpler and more straightforward methods for adding your own documents. If you need a device that can easily connect to cloud storage services and other devices, a tablet is likely to be more suitable.
Other considerations include the device’s library organization, the ability to sync with reference managers like Zotero, and the durability of the device. While tablets may offer more luxury features like attachable keyboards, music players, and USB-C ports, it’s important to prioritize the features that you actually need to get the most out of your device.
Related: BOOX Note Air 2 Vs SuperNote A5x/A6x – Both are capable for e-reading, but also note taking.
What Technology is used in an e-reader & e-paper?
E-readers are electronic devices designed to display digital content, such as e-books, magazines, and newspapers, and are typically used for reading purposes. E-readers aim to replicate the experience of reading a physical book, while e-paper is intended to mimic the appearance of printed ink on regular paper. The primary distinction between e-paper and computer or iPhone screens is that e-paper does not emit its own light, unlike backlit displays.
E-paper, which is fueled by e-ink technology – provides several advantages such as high-definition and paper-like appearance, ultra-low power consumption, long refresh time, and flexible design.
…the technology also has its limitations, such as limited color range and slower refresh rate than other display technologies.
Can you read books on a tablet
Yes, you can read books on a tablet using e-reading apps such as Kindle, Nook, or Google Play Books. Tablets also offer the ability to download other reading apps, such as PDF readers and comic book readers.
Are e-readers smaller than smartphones?
Typically, e-readers have larger screens than smartphones. For example, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite has a 6-inch screen while the iPhone 13 has a 6.1-inch screen. However, there are some smartphones with larger screens than e-readers.
Should I get a larger screen when choosing a e-reader?
The size of the screen on an e-reader depends on personal preference and intended use. If you plan on reading mostly text-based books, a 6-inch screen may be sufficient. However, if you plan on reading magazines, comics, or PDFs, a larger screen may be more suitable. Consider the weight and portability of the device when choosing a larger screen size.
Can I draw on an E-reader?
While e-readers are primarily designed for reading, some models do come with a touchscreen and stylus that allow for note-taking and basic drawing (e-paper tech). However, the functionality is limited compared to dedicated drawing tablets or devices such as the iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil.
Which is easier on your eyes when reading: An iPad or an e-reader?
An e-reader is generally easier on your eyes when reading compared to an iPad. E-readers use e-ink displays, which mimic the appearance of printed text on paper and cause less eye strain. E-ink screens also have a matte finish and don’t emit light directly into your eyes, reducing glare and making them more comfortable for extended reading sessions, especially in sunlight or outdoors.
Both e-readers and tablets have their advantages, but the choice ultimately depends on your priorities as a reader. If a traditional, distraction-free reading experience is what you seek, an e-reader is the way to go.
If versatility and functionality are more important to you, then a tablet like the iPad or an Android device would be a better fit. Whichever device you choose, remember that the key to a fulfilling reading experience is the content you consume, and the joy of getting lost in a great story.