E-readers and tablets are simultaneously similar and different. But the things they don’t share in common can have a big impact on your re-book reading experience. Before you invest in one or the other, here are four key considerations to take into account.
#1 Visual Imagery and Eye Strain
E-readers utilize a screen that displays electronic paper and ink, which is engineered to closely replicate the look and visible texture of real printed paper. Tablets, on the other hand, typically display high-resolution images and text – but the graphic representation is a bit harsher than real paper or an e-reader display. It’s like staring at a computer screen, and can produce eye strain after long reading sessions – especially if you have sensitive eyes.
But if you want animation and active graphics, a tablet is the way to go. Many children enjoy reading e-books that have all kinds of interactive bells and whistles, for instance, whereas they may find a black and white e-reader image, with parchment-like electronic paper, a bit boring. So if it’s vivid colors and engaging movement you want, a tablet will offer that for a richer, more exciting experience.
#2 Ability to Multi-Task
A dedicated e-reader does one thing, and it does it exceptionally well. What is that talent they have? These single-purpose gadgets are incredibly good at mimicking the experience of reading a traditional printed book. They also offer some related functions or options, like word searches and font changes. But for the most part they are not trying to duplicate the operation of a computer or smart phone.
A tablet, on the other hand, is essentially a small laptop computer – with the added capability of acting as a reliable e-reading device. Use it to connect to multiple e-book stores – even ones that compete with each other – and to surf the Web, perform email tasks, play games, watch movies, listen to music, and run other functions and software applications. Tablets are for multi-taskers, whereas dedicated e-readers are for those who want to read electronic books but have it feel a lot like reading an old-fashioned hardback.
#3 Portability and Price
E-readers are typically small, highly portable, and lighter than a paperback book. You can buy ones that fit into your pocket, in fact, or into a purse with plenty of extra room to spare. A tablet will generally be many times larger than a dedicated e-reader, by contrast, and will also weight more – making them less portable and bulkier to carry.
As you might expect, small is generally good when it comes to cost. While the functionality of dedicated e-readers is limited, compared to tablets, so are the prices. You can invest pretty heavily in a tablet that is loaded with a lightning-fast computer processor, a high definition screen, and tons of apps and features. But most dedicated e-readers top out at around $100 or so in price.
#4 Versatility and Connectivity
An e-reader will usually connect you to your e-book store account and also offer you and your family members access to your personal library of reading material. You won’t get distracted shopping online and browsing YouTube videos or checking out Instagram and Facebook, however, because the typical dedicated e-reader does not offer access to those kinds of Internet platforms.
For that kind of action you’ll want a tablet. Tablets are also going to give you the ability to enjoy all of the features of so-called “enhanced” e-books. You may be able to play e-book audio and video content, for instance, if you are reading an “enhanced” e-book that has those kinds of features embedded into it. That’s something a standard e-reader device can’t do.