The tablet vs e-reader debate will linger for perhaps as long as they both exist. This is in spite of the fact that each exists in its own realm which is vastly different from that of the other. Maybe it is the form factor but beyond that, it is almost chalk and cheese. Here are reasons why you should never opt for a tablet or otherwise depending on what your priorities are.
E-Reader devices typically come with E-Paper displays such as E Ink which is reflective in nature. What that means is it does not emit any light as such but relies on ambient light for readability. The feel it offers is almost the same as when reading print on paper. That way, the strain on your eyes is the least or as much as when reading any physical book.
However, e-readers can still be advantageous over physical books in that it allows for reading even in pitch dark conditions. That is achieved thanks to the strategically placed LED string lights that illuminate the display. Most modern e-readers also come with self-dimming technology that adjusts the backlights automatically in accordance with the ambient lighting conditions. This ensures you have the perfect screen illumination for the most optimum reading experience at all times.
So, if you are an avid reader and love spending long hours with books, then e-reader devices can be your perfect companion. With an e-reader, you can catch up with your reading anytime, anywhere, even if it is in the dead of the night. With the backlit display, you won’t even need external light for your reading, which means there aren’t going to be any annoying lights bothering your partner while you read.
E Ink display, by way of its inherent working principle, requires charge only when the page refreshes. There is a complex electrochemical process that goes on behind the scenes though to keep things simple, the device will draw power only when a new page loads. That way, the page can remain on and display an image for a long time without draining the battery.
No wonder companies claim an e-reader can last for weeks on a single charge. While that can vary widely depending on the actual usage and number of hours spent reading each day, it definitely is better than what even the most battery efficient tablet is capable of. This makes for another compelling reason to opt for an e-reader on top of those being extremely eye friendly.
E-readers are pure reading devices that have been specifically designed for the purpose. It has internet connectivity too but that is only for downloading content. It has a built-in browser as well and will let you surf the net but you generally won’t like doing that which again has to do with one of the inherent qualities of e-readers, or the E Ink display in particular.
While the monochrome display is one factor that can deter you from surfing the net via an e-reader, the other and perhaps a major deterrent here is the low refresh rate of E ink displays. Given that we have been used to the at least 60fps that even the most basic smartphone and tablet devices are capable of, E Ink disappoints with its markedly lower refresh rates.
While that along with the monochrome display isn’t much of an issue when reading e-books or other largely static content, the same can be equally frustrating when doing other stuff online. That way, e-readers naturally have the least distractions by way of incoming notifications so that you get to focus entirely on your reading and nothing else.
Light and portable
The all new 10th gen Kindle Paperwhite weighs just 191 grams. The BOOX Nova Air C Color is slightly heavier at 245 grams while the InkPad Color is slightly better at 225 grams. That is how much some of the best e-readers weighs and should give you an idea of how handy these are. Holding on to these even for long is never going to be a chore and is compact enough to even fit into your coat pockets as well.
E-readers can accommodate hundreds of titles at a time, which should be more than enough to take care of your binge reading sessions, or your entire reading requirements during an even extended holiday as well. Think having to carry that many physical books and you can make out why e-readers have come to be much preferred among readers worldwide.
On the flip side
So far so good but it isn’t like e-readers are without their limitations. The monochrome nature of the displays as well as the slow refresh rates are among the major negatives with e-readers. While its true e-paper displays have made vast improvements in recent times – read Kaleido 3 or Kaleido Plus – those are still no match to the rich and vivid colors that an LCD or OLEDs are capable of.
With True Tone, the iPad too can be a great e-reader though there is still going to be light incident on your eyes. Samsung too offers the Adaptive Display tech on some of its devices to make the AMOLED screen eye-friendly though here too things can never be as easy on your eyes as E Ink displays.
Having said so, and as things stand at the moment, both e-readers and tablet devices are built for different purposes. The tablet device can mesmerize with its stunning displays that can instantly light things up. It can be used to play games, watch movies, listen to music, surf online, and do a lot of exciting things. It can bring the whole world to you but all of it isn’t without its own shortcomings either.
The display, no matter how great it looks, can still cause strain on your eyes. Plus, the more exciting ways the tablet is put to use, the more is going to be the drain on battery power. So, it all depends on what your priorities are. If you are looking for a multi-purpose device of sorts that can let you do a lot of things, a tablet is for you. However, if you are looking for pure reading nirvana, opt for an e-reader.
With a keen interest in tech, I make it a point to keep myself updated on the latest developments in the world of technology and gadgets. That includes smartphones or tablet devices but stretches to even AI and self-driven automobiles as well, the latter being my latest fad. Besides writing, I like watching videos, reading, listening to music, or experimenting with different recipes. Motion picture is another aspect that interests me a lot and maybe I’ll make a film sometime in the future.