Skip to content

Tabets VS eReaders — Which Is Better For You?

March 21, 2011

Author: Jared Scott

eReaders and tablet computers are some of the latest technology in personal electronics. These two types of devices are very different in most ways, but they share the capability of acting as eReaders, which has many folks wondering if they should get a dedicated ebook reader device, or a more full-featured tablet computer. This article will provide some objective information on the differences between the two.


First, it’s important to define which devices qualify as tablets or eReaders. Anybody who is new to this technology and shopping for a tablet or eReader could quickly become confused about this terminology.

Tablets include the following: Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, and Motorola Xoom. These are the most current tablet computers available.

eReaders include the following: Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo eReader, BeBook Neo, Sony Reader, and many others.


The functionality capability between tablets and eReaders is the main difference between these two types of devices.

eReaders are devices that are dedicated to ebook reading. They were designed primarily for that function. With an eReader, you can purchase ebooks, download them to the device, and read them. Some eReaders have limited access to the internet through a basic browser. Some can function as MP3 players, which means that you can listen to your music or audiobooks on them.

Tablets can read ebooks, but they can do a lot more than that. The iPad can use all of the same apps that are available for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Both the Samsung Galaxy and Motorola Xoom run on the Android OS, and they can use any of the apps that are available in the Android Market. Depending on the specific model, tablets can record HD video and take high-quality photos. Tablets can display and play any type of media, including music, movies, and games. They have fully functioning web browsers and email capabilities. You can also manage your calendar and contacts just like on a smartphone.


Tablet computers are currently priced at around $500-$700. eReaders cost about $130-$300.


The type of screen that a tablet computer has is very different than the type of screen that most eReaders have.

Tablets have LCD screens, just like any touch-screen phone or laptop. They are capable of displaying video and animations. LCD screens are back-lit, meaning that they emit their own light. These screens are glossy, which means that they can show reflections and glare in sunlight.

eReaders have e-Ink (electronic ink) screens. These screens are matte instead of glossy, which means that they do not show reflections or glare even in bright, direct sunlight. This means that you can use them to read outside or directly by an indoor lamp. They do not emit their own light, so the effect of reading on these screens is very similar to reading from paper. e-Ink is not capable of displaying media like color photos or video. It is made to render text similarly to print on paper.

Battery Life

The battery life of eReaders is significantly better than that of tablet computers. eReaders can typically last for a month of regular use without having to be charged. Tablets can run out of battery life within a few hours. This is mostly due to the screen type and the fact that they do a lot more internal processing than eReaders.

Size and Weight

All eReaders generally weigh about the same as a standard paperback book, which is around 8 ounces. Tablets weigh approximately three times that much, depending on the model. If your primary use for the device will be reading, then this weight could be significant when holding up the device for extended periods of time.

eBook Selection

If ebook reading will be a main function of the device for you, then it is important to learn how and where you will be able to get ebooks for the device. For example, a tablet that runs on the Android OS will require an Android-compatible ebook reading app. The ebooks purchased for the device must be compatible with that app. Another example: Kindle users are very restricted in their ebook shopping choices because the Kindle can (generally) only read Kindle ebooks purchased at On the other hand, other eReaders like the BeBook or Nook are compatible with Adobe PDF or EPUB ebooks that are sold at a variety of different ebook stores. The iPad has the native iBooks application, and can also read ebooks with a variety of other ebook apps.


The most important point to take away from this is that tablets can do a lot more more than read ebooks, however, that functionality comes with a much higher price tag. When deciding on which type of device to buy, consider whether or not you would use all of the features offered by a tablet and whether the high price would be justified for your personal situation.

Article Source:

About the Author

Jared Scott has over ten years experience working in the eBook and e-Reader industry. His eBook Reader Software blog is updated regularly with informational posts relating to eBook software. Current top recommendation: Android ebooks for the new Android OS tablets like the Xoom or Galaxy Tab.


My comments about this article:

I was glad to find this article online to post here. The author has provided a great set of basic information that compares tablet and e-reader devices. Some of it is pretty obvious, like the fact that tablets can do much more an e-readers, but some people might not know about the differences in screen type or battery life. With tablets and e-readers becoming more popular lately, it’s good for consumers to have enough information to make a good decision about which type of device to buy.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: