iPad vs. Kindle vs. NOOK

How does iPad stack up against Kindle and NOOK?

Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble NOOK, and Apple iPad aren't the only devices capable of displaying e-books, but these devices are the most popular. To help you figure out which one is best for you, we reviewed the key features of each device.

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.

iPad vs. Kindle vs. Nook
Lifewire 

Overall Findings

  iPad iPad
mini
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 and 28 GB 64 GB and 256 GB 4 GB 8 GB and 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

These devices are available from third-party sellers and the Apple Certified Refurbished site for less than the original launch price.

Before you buy a device for reading e-books, 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?
  • A device that offers good visibility even in difficult environments, such as in the dark or in direct sun?
  • A full-featured tablet that offers e-book reading along with web browsing, video streaming, and gaming?
  • A device under $200?

Size and Weight: iPad Leads the Pack

  iPad iPad
mini
Kindle Kindle
PaperWhite
NOOK
GlowLight
3
NOOK
Tablet 7"
Device size, in inches 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 1.07 to 1.09 lbs. 0.66 to 0.68 lbs. 6.1 oz. 6.1 oz. 0.42 oz. 0.55 oz.

With e-readers, it's all about where you plan to use the device. If you travel or commute, a small and light 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 what you need.

Display: Retina Display Is Impressive

  iPad iPad
mini
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 the Apple Retina display is amazingly crisp and clear. The question is, do you need such a display if you only read books? To be fair, the iPad and iPad Mini aren't e-readers. These devices are tablets on which you can read books. So, before you spend money on a full-featured tablet, make sure it's what you need.

Cameras: You'll Need a Tablet for That

  iPad iPad
mini
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

Cameras aren't necessary for an e-reader but are 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. These also have an HD front-facing camera for FaceTime calls. This front-facing camera takes 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 you want a camera, look beyond a simple e-reader like Kindle or NOOK GlowLight.

Networking: The Field Narrows

  iPad iPad
mini
Kindle Kindle
PaperWhite
NOOK
GlowLight
3
NOOK
Tablet 7"
Networking Wi-Fi and 4G LTE Wi-Fi and 4G LTE Wi-Fi Wi-Fi and 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 of these devices have 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 iPad
mini
Kindle Kindle
PaperWhite
NOOK
GlowLight
3
NOOK
Tablet 7"
E-Book formats 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 have a tablet but want a small, lightweight device devoted exclusively to reading? If so, a Kindle or NOOK e-reader makes sense. But, if you want a full-featured tablet with games, streaming media, and networking, the 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 watch a video or listen to music on your device, you'll need a tablet rather than an e-reader. The iPad, iPad mini, and NOOK Tablet 7" (or the Amazon Fire line of devices, which aren't included here) 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 is with a device that runs apps that 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, consider more than specs and price. After all, a device that does more of what you want and costs a bit more is a better option.

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