Tablet or E-Book Reader – The Debate Continues

Star Trek: The Next Generation was one of the most successful science fiction TV series in the 1990s, which presented its viewers with marvels of technology never before heard of. Some of them are yet to be made real by scientists (like the HoloDeck, for example – but Microsoft has come pretty close with its HoloLens), but others, like huge touchscreen interfaces and small, portable tablet computers are already a reality. But when it comes to tablets, there are two distinct trends present in parallel on the market: classic tablet computers with mobile phone operating systems and e-book readers. Which one is the best? There is a long time debate going on about which of the two will win in the long term. So, let’s take a moment to compare the two.

When it comes to reading in the classic sense of the word (like reading a novel, for example) e-book readers have a clear advantage. Besides often being accompanied by a huge library of reading material – Kindle, for example, offers access to the millions of e-books available through Amazon, some of them free. Besides, Kindle users can purchase a Kindle Unlimited subscription that allows them access to hundreds of thousands of e-books and thousands of audio books for a plain fee paid every month. Kindle – and other dedicated e-readers on the market – have a huge advantage over tablet computers: they are equipped with an e-ink display that looks like printed paper. I’ve heard many people complain about how they simply can’t read long texts on the classic screens – e-ink solves their problems by offering them a reading experience similar to printed books.

But reading on tablet computers has their adepts, too – yours truly is among the people who prefer a tablet to a dedicated e-book reader. The reasons for which I for one prefer a tablet computer are various. For example, a tablet can do much more. I can view videos on the tablet screen, play visually appealing  euro palace mobile casino games (which would look awful on an e-ink screen), consume all kind of content in full color, and the list could go on forever. Besides, I can even install the Amazon Kindle app on my tablet, accessing the complete range of e-books the company has to offer (except for a handful of exclusive titles, of course). While reading on an illuminated screen is a bit more tiring for the eye, the hosts of other possibilities the tablet computer offers has it decided for me.

But there is one more thing about e-readers that inclines the balance in its favor: battery life. One of the strongest selling points for Kindle is that it “lasts for weeks, not hours”, like tablet computers do. Indeed, reading a book on a tablet (on a large, illuminated screen) consumes much more energy than doing the same on e-ink, which makes the e-reader a much better companion on long trips with no electric outlets at hand.