ShortbreadStories: The Blog

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iPad Mini vs Kindle

/by Rachel Marsh/

I was on my way to the airport for two weeks of lounging about with the partner and his extended family. The plan was to do nothing too arduous, and spend the time chatting, being silly, and reading. Then something horrible happened on the Piccadilly line between Acton Town and Heathrow. I realised I was supposed to be going to Terminal 3, but my train was going to Terminal 5. So I jumped off at the platform, and that’s when it happened. The door closed, catching my shoulder bag, and the train started to pull away dragging me and my shoulder bag with it. A wonderful man came to my rescue by prying the doors open before the train picked up any speed.

As soon as we were free, (and I had thanked the man who rescued me) I checked my Kindle, which was slipped into the front pocket of my handbag. It looked okay, until I switched it on. The liquide-type-magic-eInk inside had gone gwarbled – my screen was cracked. I needed a new Kindle, and fast. I had a holiday approaching, and I wouldn’t be able to cope without anything to read.

This is where my partner comes in – the Apple loving IT guy. Despite buying me the Kindle for my birthday, he’s never been a fan of them. ‘Why buy something so limited, when an iPad will do so much more?’ he’d say. I never could make him understand that I only wanted the Kindle for reading, and didn’t want all the bells and whistles of an iPad. Plus, the iPad was just too big.

Well, it must have been fate, because I have since learned that the Piccadilly line crushed my Kindle at the very same moment the iPad Mini was being released. The Universe was telling me something; it was saying ‘Buy an iPad’.

After much searching, we finally found a store that wasn’t sold out of the miniature tables, so I forked over my credit card and thought, ‘Will this gadget become as indispensable as everyone claims, or will I still long for my Kindle?’

I’ve only had iPad Mini for a short period of time, but I feel I can come to a verdict. Below are the pros and cons of the iPad Mini and the Kindle:*

*The vivid colours of an iPad means that you can enjoy picture books, magazines, and other ebooks not normally suited for Kindle.

*While you can download the Kindle app onto your iPad to access the books in your Kindle library, buying books on the Kindle app isn’t as simple. The actual Kindle has a simple ‘One Click’ option, but on an iPad, you have to exit the Kindle app, open a browser, and purchase the book as if you were on a computer. However, iBooks and Newstand make it easy to find and purchase books, magazines and newspapers.

*At the moment, the iPad Mini does not come with 3G (or 4G for that matter), so if you like to buy books on the go, you may be a bit stuck. However, you can store your book collection on your device, or through the Kindle cloud, so at least you can read when you’re not connected to wireless.

*You can’t make notes or highlight on the Kindle app, like you can on the Kindle. This is unfortunate for anyone who wants to use the iPad for scholarly purposes, when scribbling in the margins is a must. In fact, I thought the lack of note-taking capabilities would be particularly problematic as I had gotten into the habit of reading student’s work on the Kindle and making notes as I went along. However, as the iPad Mini can read Word Docs, I can simply make notes as I would on a computer.

*Distractions are one of the big problems with the iPad Mini. In fact, I was reading a book just a moment ago and the author used a phrase which I thought might be an allusion, so I clicked over and Googled it. I suppose these sorts of distractions also exist with traditional books and other eRaders, but I’m less likely to put down a book if it means I have to walk over to a computer. With an iPad, the distractions are right there at your finger tips.

*Then there are the physical differences. The iPad Mini, while a similar size to Kindle, is slightly heavier, which is noticeable when holding it up for long periods of time. Also there is the glare issue that is inevitable on a device without eInk. Although, I must say, there is something satisfying in turning the page with your finger (as the iPad simulates) as opposed to Kindle’s button pushing.

With all this said, I find myself reaching for the iPad more than I ever did for the Kindle. Unfortunately, this may not be because of the reading capabilities of the tablet, but because of all the bells and whistles I thought I’d never use. In fact, the iPad Mini is really no different than the regular iPad (excluding the size and lack of 3G), so while I do believe that the Kindle is a superior device for simulating reading a book, the iPad is so much more handy especially now that they’ve made it Kindle size.

*Note: I am focusing on the iPad Mini, because its size is very similar to a Kindle. In fact, when I bought my iPad Mini, the only cases on the market were the magnetic ones that don’t protect the back. However, my iPad Mini does fit snugly in a Kindle pouch. Also, I am not talking about the Kindle Fire (with its touch screen), simply because I have never used one of those. The Kindle I am familiar with is the eink version with the keyboard at the bottom.

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