tablets

Apple iPad Review

Apple created the market and dominates it with its mature first tablet.

February 26, 2011
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Device & Specs

These two devices could not be more physically different. The iPad is a large, heavy device, while the Kindle is a small, light device. Which you prefer depends on your priorities: the portability of the Kindle or the big screen and functions of the iPad.

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 much shorter battery life for reading an eBook, because the big 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 offer a range of functions as Ereaders and media players, but the Kindle is more focussed towards eBooks than other media. It can play audio files, but offers only limited storage (3GB) and lacks any sort of playlist support: you can only play files in alphabetical order. The iPad, by contrast, has extensive eBook support (through the iBook application) and can play back both audio and video, with an extensive set of features for finding, sorting and categorizing media through the iPod App.

Internet

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. Movies & Video
  8. Email & Web Browsing
  9. Internet Apps
  10. Amazon Kindle Keyboard Wi-Fi Comparison
  11. Barnes & Noble Nook Color Comparison
  12. Sony Reader Daily Edition Comparison
  13. 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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