iPad vs. Kindle vs. NOOK

How does iPad stack up against Kindle and NOOK?

iPad vs. Kindle vs. Nook
Lifewire 

Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble NOOK, and Apple iPad aren't the only devices capable of displaying e-books, but they're by far the most popular. To help you figure out which one is best for you, we've reviewed some of their key features.

This article compares iPad 7th generation, iPad mini 5th generation, Kindle 8th generation, Kindle PaperWhite 10th generation, NOOK GlowLight 3, and NOOK Tablet 7" 2018 edition.

Overall Findings

  iPad 10 iPad
mini 5
Kindle Kindle
PaperWhite
NOOK
GlowLight
3
NOOK
Tablet 7"
Screen size (diagonal) in inches 10.2 7.9 6 6 6 7
On-device storage 32 GB
128 GB
64 GB
256 GB
4 GB 8 GB
32 GB
8 GB 16 GB
Cameras 2 2 0 0 0 2
Price, new $329 to
$429
$399 to
$549

$65

$95 to $120 $120 $50

All these devices are available from third-party sellers and the Apple Certified Refurbished site at prices lower than the original launch price.

If you're thinking about buying a device for reading e-books, it helps to have a clear idea of what you want in the device and what each product offers. For example, are you looking for a:

  • Thin, lightweight device dedicated to reading?
  • Device that offers good visibility even in difficult environments, such as in the dark or in direct sun?
  • Full-featured tablet that offers e-book reading along with web browsing, video streaming, and gaming?
  • Device under $200?

Size and Weight: iPad Leads the Pack

  iPad 10 iPad
mini 5
Kindle Kindle
PaperWhite
NOOK
GlowLight
3
NOOK
Tablet 7"
Device size, in. 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29 8.0 x 5.3 x 0.24 6.3 x 4.5 x 0.34 6.3 x 4.5 x 0.34 6.93 x 5.0 x 0.38 7.4 x 4.2 x 0.39
Weight, lb. 1.07 to 1.09 0.66 to 0.68 6.1 oz. 6.1 oz. 0.42 0.55

With e-readers, it's all about where you plan to use the device most often. If you travel a lot or commute, a smaller, lighter device like the Kindle may be the better choice. If you need a device that you can read on and use as a mobile computer, the iPad at nearly 10 x 7 inches and more than a pound may be just what you're looking for.

Display: Retina Display Is Impressive, But . . .

  iPad 10 iPad
mini 5
Kindle Kindle
PaperWhite
NOOK
GlowLight
3
NOOK
Tablet 7"
Resolution 2160 x 1620 2048 x 1536 1024 x 600
Color screen Yes Yes No No No Yes
Backlight (read in the dark) Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Antiglare screen (read in bright light) No Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Touchscreen Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes

There's no question that Apple's Retina display is amazingly crisp and clear. The question is, Do you need such a display if you only want to read books? To be fair, iPad and iPad Mini aren't e-readers per se: They're tablets on which you can read books. So, before you spend the money for a full-featured tablet, make sure it's what you really need.

Cameras: You'll Need a Tablet for That

  iPad 10 iPad
mini 5
Kindle Kindle
PaperWhite
NOOK
GlowLight
3
NOOK
Tablet 7"
Cameras Front and back Front and back No No No Front and back
Video calling Yes Yes No No No Yes

Again, cameras aren't a feature necessary to an e-reader, but they're standard on tablets. The iPad and iPad mini feature an 8-megapixel camera capable of panoramas, exposure control, geotagging, image stabilization, and 1080p high-definition (HD) video recording. They also have an HD front-facing camera for FaceTime calls that's capable of taking 1.2-megapixel photos and 720p HD videos (iPad) or 7-megapixel photos and 1080p HD videos (iPad mini).

The NOOK Tablet 7" also has two cameras: a front-facing VGA camera and a rear-facing 2-megapixel camera. So, if it's a camera you're after, you'll have to look beyond a simple e-reader like Kindle or NOOK GlowLight.

Networking: The Field Narrows

  iPad 10 iPad
mini 5
Kindle Kindle
PaperWhite
NOOK
GlowLight
3
NOOK
Tablet 7"
Networking Wi-Fi 4G LTE Wi-Fi 4G LTE Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 4G LTE Wi-Fi Wi-Fi
Web browser Yes Yes No No No Yes
Bluetooth Yes Yes Yes Yes No No

Networking is where the field narrows among all these devices. All the devices we reviewed had Wi-Fi capability. The iPad, iPad mini, and Kindle PaperWhite give you the option of 4G LTE connectivity on the go, as well.

Intangibles and Extras: Tablets for the Win

  iPad 10 iPad
mini 5
Kindle Kindle
PaperWhite
NOOK
GlowLight
3
NOOK
Tablet 7"
E-Book format Audible
AZW
Doc
ePub
MOBI
PDF
RTF
TXT
Audible
AZW
Doc
ePub
MOBI
PDF
RTF
TXT
Audible
AZW
Doc
MOBI
PDF
PRC
TXT
Audible
AZW
Doc
MOBI
PDF
PRC
TXT
ePub
PDF
Audible
AZW
Doc
ePub
MOBI
PDF
RTF
TXT
Streams music Yes Yes No No No Yes
Streams video Yes Yes No No No Yes
Plays games Yes Yes No No No Yes
Installs apps Yes Yes No No No Yes
Voice assistant Siri Siri No No No Google Assistant
Supports a stylus Apple Pencil Apple Pencil No No No No
Waterproof No No No Yes No No

When considering devices, keep these factors in mind:

  • Tablet. Do you already have a tablet and just want a small, lightweight device devoted exclusively to reading? If so, a Kindle or NOOK e-reader probably makes sense. But, if you want a full-featured tablet, with games, streaming media, and networking, iPad is a great option.
  • Gaming. Everyone wants a break from reading from time to time, and games can be a nice option—if your device supports them. Traditional e-readers don't have games, but tablets do.
  • Streaming media. If you want to be able to watch a video or listen to music on your device, you'll need a tablet rather than an e-reader. The iPad and NOOK Tablet (or the Amazon Fire, which isn't included here) are your only options because they can run apps and have color displays.
  • App Store. Expanding the functionality of your device beyond reading is key to finding long-term enjoyment and value. Perhaps the best way to do this is with a device that can run apps to do more than display books. 

Final Verdict: It's All About What You Need

When you're deciding which e-reader–capable device to buy, you may want to consider more than just specs and price. After all, a device that does more of what you want and costs just a bit more is a better option.

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