Amazon Kindle vs Nook vs iPad [e-Readers Comparison & Review]

January 5, 2011, By Fouad Bajwa

The e-reader movement has swept across the world adding a good number of devices to help develop the e-book market. Today, the most famous brands in the e-reader market include Barnes and Noble’s Nook, Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad with Samsung and iRobot slowly catching up but the first three dominate the market.

Comparison Amazon Kindle vs Nook vs iPad: Battle of the e-Readers

If you are interested in purchasing an e-reader and do not have an idea about the differences between them, then this comparison is definitely for you. Let us look at the various competitive features on Kindle, Nook and iPad respectively. We are going to take a different approach in comparison based upon usage experience:

Look and Feel

The look and feel of all the devices is different. The Kindle, has a button based keyboard on the bottom or simply a physical keyboard. The keyboard is clunky and I have learnt from many Kindle users that they hardly use the keyboard and it takes up a lot of interface screen space.

There are two versions of Nook on the market, Nook 1 and Nook 2. Nook1’s design has a 3.5′ inch LCD Touch screen beneath the main screen that gives a scrollable interface with links to the library, collections, search, view your e-books by scrolling through the covers but is very small interface. On the other hand, Nook2’s screen is larger than Kindle but iPad beats both of them to it. Secondly iPad has a full screen display.

Kindle’s readability of its type through E-Ink Technology which makes the on-screen type crisp and easier to read with no back-lit screen that reduces eye-strain. E-book pages can be turned quickly with the next button. The Kindle display is equal to the size of many paper back books. You can also read on the Kindle in the sunlight.

Usage Analysis and the iBooks on iPad experience

  1. Kindle turns on faster, the pages turn quicker, the downloads are quicker, the syncing is quicker. The Kindle also has more applications for the PC, the MAC, the iPhone and iPad while allowing these devices to also sync with the Kindle. The benefit of this feature is that if you were reading something on your iPhone or MAC and you switch on your Kindle, it will know exactly where you left off reading on your previous device and load the same page on Kindle. That is pretty neat for people that read a lot!
  2. The iBooks application for iPad takes full advantage of its approximately 10 inch large screen with full color display, quick ebook and document loads enabled by virtual page modes that gives the full feature of page curls while turning pages like a real book supported by a single page and double page display. This mimics both a single page display and a regular book fold. iPad’s screen size remains twice the size of Kindle’s and Nook’s screens and this enables lesser page turns on the iPad and less stress on the fingers!
  3. iPad’s display also gives real book like life to any e-book document with its rich color and the ability to hold it close to you or a bit further. iPad enables the most visually rich e-book experience but its App store lacks the amount of ebooks and publications that Amazon offers through its Kindle store but this is countered by loading Amazon Kindle Application for iPad from the App Store. This is the same for loading books from Barnes and Noble as almost every famous publisher in the industry has created a free iPad application making it available through the App Store.

Displays

  1. iPad : 9.7 inches with a 1024 x 768 LCD in full color
  2. Kindle 3: 6 inches with a 600 x 800 E Ink display in 16 shades of gray
  3. Kindle DX:9.7 inches with a 1200 x 824 E Ink display in 16 shades of gray
  4. Nook2: 7 inches with a 1024×600 display in full color

Kindle’s Sleep Display

The Kindle has a sleep display when its turned off and it can show a e-book cover picture or so without using the battery.

Weight

The Kindle is lighter than the Nook. The Nook is heavier at 12.1 ounces than a Kindle that weights at 10.2 ounces whereas iPad is heavier than both weighing around 1.5 pounds for the Wifi and 1.6 pounds for the 3G verion.

3G and WiFi

All of the three devices come with Wifi but Nook1 came with 3G and Wifi whereas Nook2 only has Wifi. Kindle also carries 3G and iPad comes with three models carrying only Wifi and 3 seperate models carrying both Wifi and 3G.

Operating Systems

Nook’s responsiveness is slower than the Kindle as Nook uses the Google Android OS that causes frequent waits for tasks to open or close or respond. Nook’s touchscreen is not very responsive and one may have to tap it a couple of times to get stuff done or just to wake it up from sleep mode. Kindle is using its own OS which is quicker in responsiveness to the Kindle. iPad on the otherhand is really faster than both the Nook and Kindle as the device comes with a very fast processor and remarkably responsive interface.

Supporting Book Stores

As all three devices interface with their manufacturer or company’s bookstore. Barnes & Noble e-book pricing was initially more expensive than the Amazon Kindle Book store but they gradually reduced their prices to compete with Amazon. Barnes and Noble still stands the leader in having the largest number of e-book and electronic publications offering. Though, the Amazon’s Kindle store hosts one fourth of what Barnes and Noble does but still it is quicker to access and browser than the e-book through Nook on Barnes & Noble’s store. This is where the Kindle keyboard tends to be handy.

On the other hand, iPad tends to run content from both book stores of Kindle or Nook and then its own App Store increasing the amount of options for the user so you get to buy from everywhere for iPad. Nook’s store content samples are available in larger amounts of information than Kindle’s. iPad offers on-device features such as web browsing, multimedia, and App Store integration and support as is with iPhone unlike the other e-Readers. Barnes & Noble still leads with the amount of titles it has available to all three competing devices with more than 500,000 free e-books that that also include various newspapers, magazines plus a variety of free daily content.

Web Browsing

Both the Kindle and Nook1 provide limited basic web browsing. Though Nook2 gives the ability to browsing in color, the iPad still beats all of them with rich color and content based web browsing through both Safari and third party web browsers.

Lending Books

In Kindle and iPad, you cannot lend your content by default to other Kindle and iPad devices. Nook carries a lend feature whereby you can lend e-books to Nook, iPad, iPhone, PC or Mac. You can lend books to other people with a Nook and vice versa for up to two weeks.

Customization

On the Nook2 and iPad, one can save custom backgrounds with user created images and photos whereas this is not possible in Kindle to personalize your device’s background environment.

Storage Capacity

  1. iPad ranges from 16GB, 32GB and 64GB internal and not expandable
  2. Kindles give 4GB of internal storage and are not expandable.
  3. Nook ranges from 2GB to 8GB enabled with expandable storage

Battery life:

  1. iPad 10 hours on Wi-Fi, 9 hours on 3G
  2. Kindle: 1 month wireless off; 3 weeks Wi-Fi; 1 week 3G
  3. Nook 8 hours wireless off

Costs

(prices vary in different countries)

The iPad ranges between $499-$829 and comes in different storage size versions with either only Wifi or both Wifi and 3G AT&T Dataplans so six versions of the same device. The Kindle comes in two models, Kindle 3 and Kindle DX with the prices rangig between $139 and $189 for Wifi only while $489 with both Wifi and 3G AT&T Dataplans. Nook2’s price is $249 respectively with no 3G as Nook1 only comes with both Wifi and 3G.

Why should you buy a Kindle, iPad or Nook?

  1. There is no Flash playback in all the three devices. However iPad has a Youtube application that plays all the videos on the Youtube website.
  2. If you want a standard and cheap e-book reader, purchase a kindle and it has free 3G. Despite the fact that Kindle started the e-Reader or e-book reader movement around the globe. It costs around $139 making it the most cheap e-Reader on the market today.
  3. If you want to use a single multifunction device to read your e-books, compose, browse and exchange emails, create documents on the fly, communicate on the go, surf web pages, listen to music or watch videos in with good quality, play games, use interactive publications like magazines and newspapers etc, then go for an iPad. Remember, the iPad can jump alot in price with its 3G Dataplan, its third party accessories and application purchases. I have the $499 simple Wifi and 16GB version that has already cost me over $1000 due to all the stuff I bought with it.
  4. For the traveller kind of business or professional, travelling light is recommended!
  5. Only iPad carries numerous third party applications that can be bought or downloaded and installed for free.
  6. The Nook remains out of the list because it really doesn’t add up for its price and comparisons to Kindle and iPad.
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