tablets

Amazon Kindle Keyboard Review

Has an excellent screen, killer battery life and makes buying eBooks ridiculously easy.

March 04, 2011
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Device & Specs

It's the battle of champions: the iPad Vs the Kindle. The two favorites for the title of the top eBook reader or tablet are very different players, though, with the Kindle in the featherweight class (at just 8.5 ounces) and the iPad being a heavyweight, at just over 23 ounces. And the two devices are designed for rather different purposes, with the Kindle being purely an eBook reader, while the iPad is designed to replace a laptop by offering eBook, music, video and the ability to expand the functions by running apps purchased online. So, the choice between the two comes down to what you want. If you want to just read books on the road, the Kindle is the best pick. If you want to read books (except in direct sun), listen to music, watch videos, play games and browse the web, the iPad is the way to go.

Screen

The two devices take different approaches when it comes to the screen. The iPad offers a big, bright LCD screen, while the Kindle has a smaller e-ink screen that has no backlight. The result is a different set of strengths and weaknesses, with the iPad offering a bigger screen that looks great indoors, but poor outside. The Kindle, however, offers a screen that is sharp and readable in everything from very dim light to direct tropical sun.

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Battery

Both devices include large batteries, but the iPad has an all-round shorter battery life.This is because the big LCD screen uses much more power than the small passive e-ink screen of the Kindle. In our tests reading an eBook, the iPad lasted just 5 hours and 37 minutes, while the Kindle lasted over 24 hours. If you are close to a power source, this may not be an issue, but the iPad is going to be a dead weight if you are going anywhere without a daily power source. The only exception to this was when playing back audio, where the iPad lasted much longer than the Kindle: we estimate that the iPad could keep playing audio for up to 16 days, while the Kindle could only manage about 3.

eReader

Both devices do a very decent job of working as eBook readers, but with different approaches. The Kindle is like a paperback book (small, convenient, black and white) while the iPad is a hardback, coffee table edition (big, color, gorgeous looking, but somewhat difficult to carry around). And they work the same way as their book counterparts: the Kindle would be the one you take on vacation, while the iPad is the one you use at home.

Internet

The iPad is the clear winner as a general internet device. Both devices come in different versions with different levels of Internet access, including those with 3G cellular modems and WiFi only devices (which are the versions we tested). They offer different levels of use for these connections, though, with the Kindle offering book downloads and an “experimental” (translation: very simple and unsupported) web browser. The iPad offers extensive email, browsing, and media streaming features that put the Internet at your fingertips, including support for Internet video and audio services such as Rdio, Pandora and Hulu.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Product Tour
  3. Screen
  4. Battery & Controls
  5. eReader
  6. Music & Audio
  7. Email & Web Browsing
  8. Internet Apps
  9. Apple iPad Wi-Fi (16 GB) Comparison
  10. Barnes & Noble Nook Color Comparison
  11. Sony Reader Touch Edition Comparison
  12. Conclusion
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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