iPad vs. Kindle vs. NOOK

How does iPad stack up against Kindle and NOOK?

ebook reader and a book

 Carolyn Hebbard / Getty Images

The market for e-readers is dominated by three companies: Amazon, with its Kindle product line; Barnes & Noble, with its NOOK series and Apple, with its iPad. Technically, these devices aren't the only e-readers on the market, but they're by far the most popular and the devices most people consider when making a purchase.

If you're thinking about buying a device for reading e-books, it's important that you understand what you really want and what each product offers. Do you want a thin, lightweight device dedicated to reading even in difficult environments, like in the dark or in direct sun? Or, do you want a full-featured tablet that offers e-book reading along with web browsing, video streaming, and gaming?

You can get all these options and more in Kindle, NOOK, and iPad. But versatility doesn't necessarily make for a better product. Devices that do one thing really well can also be appealing, depending on your needs and preferences.

To help you figure out whether Kindle, NOOK, or iPad is best for you, we've compared some of the key features of these e-readers in "Overall Findings." The table doesn't compare things like book selection or price, but it will show you the options each device offers so that you can make a smart buying decision.

Overall Findings

  iPad iPad
mini 4
Kindle Kindle
Paperwhite
NOOK
GlowLight
3
NOOK
Tablet 7"
Screen size, inches 9.7 7.9 6 6 6 7
Resolution 2048 x 1536 2048 x
1536
1024
x 600
Color screen Yes Yes No No No Yes
Backlight
(read in dark)
Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Antiglare
screen
(read in
bright light)
No No Yes Yes Yes No
Touchscreen Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Storage 32 GB
128 GB
128 GB 4 GB 8 GB
32 GB
8 GB 16 GB
128 GB
Networking Wi-Fi
4G LTE
Wi-Fi
4G LTE
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi
4G LTE
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi
E-Book
format
Audible
AZW
Doc
ePub
MOBI
PDF
RTF
TXT
Audible
AZW
Doc
ePub
MOBI
PDF
RTF
TXT
Audible
AZW
Doc
MOBI
PDF
TXT
Audible
AZW
Doc
MOBI
PDF
TXT
ePub
PDF
Audible
AZW
Doc
ePub
MOBI
PDF
RTF
TXT
Web
browser
Yes Yes No No No Yes
Streams
music
Yes Yes No No No Yes
Streams
video
Yes Yes No No No Yes
Games Yes Yes No No No Yes
Install apps Yes Yes No No No Yes
Voice
assistant
Siri Siri No No No Google
Assistant
Bluetooth Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Camera Front and back Front and back No No No Front and back
Video
calling
Yes Yes No No No Yes
Stylus

Apple Pencil

No No No No No
Waterproof

No

No No Yes No No
Size, in. 9.4
x 6.6
x 0.29
8
x 5.3
x 0.24
6.3
x 4.5
x 0.36
6.6
x 4.6
x 0.32
6.93
x 5.0
x 0.38
7.4
x 4.2
x 0.39
Weight, lb. 1.03 to 1.05 0.65 to 0.67 0.36 0.4 to
0.43
0.42 0.55
Price, new $329 to
$559
$399 to
$529

$80 to
$100

$130 to
$180
$120 $50

Beyond the E-Reader Features

When you're deciding which e-reader to buy, you may want to consider more than just specs and price. Consider the full experience of each device. After all, a device that does more of what you want and costs just a bit more is a better option. When considering e-readers, keep these three things not listed in the table 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 much better option.
  • Gaming. Everyone wants a break from reading from time to time, and games can be a nice option—if your e-reader 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.