iPad mini vs. Kindle Paperwhite

I like the idea of the Kindle, and the idea of the Kindle Paperwhite even more. Offering the ability to read both outdoors in sunlight, and indoors with a backlight, it seems like the best of both worlds.

Alas, having received a Kindle Paperwhite yesterday, I’m very disappointed. Not only is the backlight not very bright – not really bright enough to read indoors if there’s a lot of light – but it’s very uneven, with dark spots around the edges, especially at the bottom.

Here’s a photo I took of the Kindle Paperwhite next to the iPad mini, the latter showing a book in the Kindle app. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

As you can see, even in this small photo, the lighting is uneven at the bottom of the Kindle, and there is a very large difference in brightness (both devices are set to maximal brightness in the photo above). While the iPad mini won’t work in bright light – such as outdoors – I have a Kindle Touch for that. So that Paperwhite is being returned. It’s a good idea, but it’s just a bit cheap and poorly designed. Amazon should really do better with a device like this.

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5 replies
  1. William says:

    I own a Sony Reader since one year, and I really can’t understand how iPad can be considered as a “reading device”. Its screen is like a computer screen while a real reader has a e-ink screen. According to me, there is no comparison between these two solutions for your eyes health! Definitively, iPad is probably great for pictures, music and movies, but it is NOT a reader…

    • Benwahwah says:

      It is of course all subjective, I bought a kobo reader for reading books. I found the e-ink to be too drab for me and it was a chore to read on.

      I ended up buying a nexus 7 to read on as the iPad is too bulky to read on for long periods. I couldn’t be happier. I don’t get any eye strain that others have complained of and it is an altogether much better experience for me. (I never read outside though.)

  2. Sanford Lung says:

    Thanks for the review. I have a base model Kindle and a Nexus 7. I like the Kindle for its light weight and e-ink in bright light, using Kindle Reader on the Nex7 works well in low light. I’m still ambivalent about an iPad.

  3. winc06 says:

    I was convinced using a Sony Reader that e-ink was vastly superior because I got eye strain after a while with my laptop. It is a common argument that a backlit screen causes the eyestrain. However I thought that since my reading would be limited when I travel, the other apps would be useful and I bought an iPad. I learned that it is not the screen type, but the reading distance that is key. I can read for hours on my iPad at a normal reading distance instead of at my knees with my laptop. I have not been tempted to pick up my Sony since I got the iPad.

  4. Kenji says:

    I have both a retina iPad and a Kindle Paperwhite. Each is a first for me. First tablet, first ereader, first e-ink device.

    While the image on the iPad is bright and gorgeous, I find that the iPad is just a little too heavy and bright and clunky for comfortable fiction reading in bed, where I seem to do most of my reading for pleasure.

    For this kind of reading, I have absolutely fallen in love with the Paperwhite. The screen is not perfectly evenly illuminated — as Kirk and other reviewers correctly point out — but somehow that doesn’t matter in practice for me. It’s easy on my eyes, and just about right in form-factor for curling up in bed with.

    For other kinds of reading like newspapers, magazines, computer books, the iPad is far better.

    I’ve had the Paperwhite for four months now, and I have to say it is probably the most satisfying addition to my tech collection in a long time.

    Hey, Kirk –I wonder if you’ve had a chance to do some reading on the Paperwhite, and if that changed your mind at all?


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