T Nation

Kindle v. Nook v. iPad v. ???

Anybody have one of these eReaders? Are they any good? My wife asked if I was interested in one, I read a ton (when I can), and it would be nice to always have a book on deck. Anybody have any experience with these?

My friend has a Nook and she LOVES it - she doesn’t put the thing down. That’s all I got.

E-Ink is interesting in that it takes very little power to change the display, and no power at all otherwise. What that means is you can get tons of hours of reading on one charge, as opposed to a traditional lcd display. Most people prefer to read off the e-reader displays as well. Some of the new ones can also browse the web.




I have the Nook and is very well worth the money. It holds 15,000 books and with a memory stick will hold 50,000 books. Easy to read, hold a charge well and can be read in the sunlight. Also when you set up account after buying a nook with B&N you can download a reader to your laptop. so I can pull up my books online and read them at work. I can download a new book in about 5 seconds. Great investment.

My girlfriend has the kindle:

this one:

I think it sucks. I tried loading some pdf’s on there and it couldn’t zoom in on them. So if you’re reading mostly pdf’s like I do, it’s useless. I also don’t think it’s fair to compare a $150 kindle to a $500 iPad. They’re not in the same class.

[quote]sam_sneed wrote:
My girlfriend has the kindle:

this one:

I think it sucks. I tried loading some pdf’s on there and it couldn’t zoom in on them. So if you’re reading mostly pdf’s like I do, it’s useless. I also don’t think it’s fair to compare a $150 kindle to a $500 iPad. They’re not in the same class.[/quote]

Kindle (my mom has this one) - outdated, limited format, ties you to amazon only, you can’t lend books, cant read open source books - pro: cheap, e-ink is best for reading in sunlight, 10 bucks cheaper then nook, 3g alows you to surf web (very limited)

Nook (girlfriend owns)- can read all formats, reads pdfs soso, marking up things is a pain, you can lend books for 15 days at a time to friends with barns and noble accounts (free to set up and can read on ipad and iphone, computer and such), can read open source books, is only 10 dollars more then kindle, can be read in sunlight (eink), if your in a barnes and noble you can read any ebook for free for 1 hour a day so you have a reason to chill at starbucks.

Ipad (i own)- reads pdfs like a champ, can run productivity apps like pages, numbers and powerpoint software, apps cost 5 - 15 dollars, IAnnotate (best PDF reader / modifier), Can run barns and noble, Ibooks, and Kindle apps. the screen is almost unreadable in the sun (however you can get skins to help with that), its battery life is 2-3 days playing with it all day. I can stream netflix, I keep track of stocks and use etrade when I am bored… its basically a touchscreen laptop but as an ereader it sucks outside. However, if your annotating pdfs (which is why i bought it) it is amazing. One side note, this thing is almost worthless without internet and if i could do it over, I would have paid the money for 3g… I have been very tempted to buy the verizon card for my wifionly…

below i am pasting a valuable review on amazon i used to help me decide. I went with the kindle but i can’t comment on it from personal experience yet since i get it for my birthday in a couple weeks. Sam it looks like the pdf problems are gone in the new version. The only other thing i would mention is that I’ve heard the ipad is kind of big and heavy for reading all the time. One of the only downsides that i wouldn’t think of so i mention it because it made me think when i heard it. see below.

If you’re trying to choose between a nook and a kindle, perhaps I can help. My wife and I have owned a Nook (the original one, not the new Nook Color), a Kindle 2, and a Kindle DX. When Amazon announced the Kindle 3 this summer, we pre-ordered a Kindle 3 wifi in graphite, and a white Kindle 3 with wifi and 3G. They arrived in late August and have used them very regularly since then. For us, Kindle is better than Nook, but Nook is a good device with its own advantages that I will discuss below. I’ll end this review with a few words about the Nook Color.

First, reasons why we prefer the Kindle:

  • Speed

In our experience, the Kindle is very zippy compared to the Nook. Page refresh speed (the time it takes a new page to appear after you push the page-turn button) was WAY quicker on Kindle 2 than on Nook, and it’s quicker yet on Kindle 3. Yet, I read a whole book on the Nook and didn’t find the slower page refresh to be annoying - you get used to it, and it’s not a problem. And the Nook got a software update in November 2010 that supposedly speeds up page refresh.

For me, the more important speed difference concerns navigation - moving the cursor around the screen, for example to pick a book from your library, or to jump to a chapter by selecting it in the table of contents. On Kindle, you do this by pushing a 5-way rocker button, and the cursor moves very quickly. On Nook, you do this by activating the color LCD touchscreen (which normally shuts off when not in use, to conserve battery). A “virtual rocker button” appears on the screen, and you touch it to move the cursor. Unfortunately, the Nook cursor moves very sluggishly. This might not be a big deal to you, but it really got annoying to me, especially since my wife’s Kindle was so quick and responsive.

In November 2010, Nook got a software upgrade that increases page refresh speed and makes navigation more responsive. I returned my Nook months ago, so I cannot tell you if the Nook’s performance is now equal to the Kindle’s. I’d bet the Nook is still slower - this sounds more like a hardware issue (slower processor chip) than a software issue. But there are retail stores such as Best Buy that carry both devices, so you could go and compare them side by side, if this is an important factor in your decision.

  • Screen contrast

You’ve seen Amazon’s claims that the Kindle 3 e-ink has 50% better contrast than Kindle 2 or other e-ink devices. I have no way of precisely measuring the improvement in contrast, but I can tell you that the Kindle 3 display definitely has more contrast than Kindle 2 or Nook. The difference is noticeable, and important: more screen contrast means less eyestrain when reading in poorly lit rooms.

In well-lit rooms, the Nook and Kindle 2 have enough contrast to allow for comfortable reading. But I often read in low-light conditions, like in bed at night, or in a poorly lit room. In these situations, reading on Nook or Kindle 2 was a bit uncomfortable and often gave me a mild headache. When I got the Kindle 3, the extra contrast was immediately noticeable, and made it more comfortable to read under less-than-ideal lighting conditions. (If you go with a Nook, just make sure you have a good reading lamp nearby.)

  • Battery life

The Nook’s color LCD touch screen drains its battery quickly - I could never get more than 5 days out of a charge. The Kindle 2 had longer battery life than the Nook, and Kindle 3 has even longer life: in the 3 months since we received our Kindle 3’s, we typically get 3 weeks of battery life between charges. (We keep wireless off about half the time to save battery power.)

  • Weight

Nook weighs about 3 ounces more than the new Kindle, and you can really feel the difference. Without a case, Nook is still light enough to hold in one hand for long reading sessions without fatigue. But in a case, Nook is a heavy sucker. The new Kindle 3 is so light, even in a case, we find it comfortable holding in one hand for long reading sessions.

Reasons some people might prefer the Nook:

  • In-store experience

If you need help with your nook, you can take it to any barnes and noble and get a real human to help. You can take your nook into the coffee shop section of your local B&N store and read any book for free for up to one hour per day. When you take your nook to B&N, some in-store special deals and the occasional free book pop up on your screen.

  • User-replaceable battery

Rechargeable batteries eventually lose their ability to hold a charge. Nook’s battery is user-replaceable and relatively inexpensive. To replace Kindle’s battery, Amazon wants you to ship your Kindle to Amazon, and they will ship you back a DIFFERENT Kindle than the one you sent (it’s the same model, for example if you send a white Kindle 3, you get a white Kindle 3 back, but you get a “refurbished” one, NOT the exact one you sent them). I don’t like this at all.

However, several people have posted comments here that have eased my concerns. Someone looked up statistics on the Kindle’s battery and did some simple calculations to show that it should last for 3 or more years. Before that happens, I will surely have upgraded to a newer Kindle model by then. Also, someone found some companies that sell Kindle batteries at reasonable cost and have how-to videos that demonstrate how we can replace the battery ourselves. Doing this would void the Kindle’s warranty, but the battery will probably not fail until long after the warranty expires.

  • ePub

Nook uses the ePub format, a widely used open format. Amazon uses a proprietary ebook format. Many libraries will “lend” ebooks in the ePub format, which works with nook but not kindle. However, a free and reputable program called Calibre allows you to translate ebooks from one format to another - it supports many formats, including ePub and Kindle. The only catch is that it doesn’t work with copy-protected ebooks, so you can’t, for example, buy a Kindle book (which is copy protected) and translate it to ePub so you can read it on a Nook.

  • lending e-books to friends

Nook owners can “loan” ebooks they purchased to other nook owners for up to two weeks. You can’t do this with kindle - yet. Amazon has announced it will soon add this lending feature to all kindles (via a software update that will be available to people who already own kindles).

  • Nook’s color LCD touchscreen

This could be a pro or con, depending on your preferences. It makes nook hipper and less drab than kindle. Some people enjoy using the color LCD to view their library or navigate. I did, at first. But after two weeks of use, and comparisons with my wife’s kindle, I found the dedicated buttons of the kindle easier and far quicker to use than the nook’s color touchscreen. I also found the bright light from the color screen distracting when I was trying to read a book or newspaper (though when not in use, it shuts off after a minute or so to conserve battery).

  • expandable capacity

Nook comes with 2GB of internal memory. If you need more capacity, you can insert a microSD card to add up to 16GB more memory. Kindle comes with 4GB of internal memory - twice as much as Nook - but there’s no way to expand that. Kindle doesn’t accept memory cards of any type. If you mainly use your device to read ebooks and newspapers, this shouldn’t be an issue. I have over 100 books on my Kindle, and I’ve used only a tiny fraction of the memory.

A few other notes:

Kindle and Nook have other features, such as an MP3 player and a web browser, but I caution you to have low expectations for these features. The MP3 player on the Kindle is like the first-generation iPod shuffle - you can’t see what song is playing, and you can’t navigate to other songs on your device. The Kindle’s browser is better than Nook’s browser due to faster navigation and page refresh. But it’s way slower and clunkier than the browser on my Android smart phone or iPod touch, and just not that enjoyable to use. I suspect most people will probably use their e-reader’s browser only in a pinch.

  • PDF support

Nook does not have native PDF support. When you put a PDF file on your nook, nook converts it into an ebook-like file, then you can adjust the font size, and the text and pagination will adjust just like with any ebook. But you cannot see the original PDF file in the format it was created. Kindle 3 and Kindle DX have native support for PDF files. You can see PDF files just as they would appear on your computer. You can also convert PDF files to an ebook-like format, and then Kindle handles them just the way the Nook handles them - text and pagination adjust when you change the font size. Unfortunately, some symbols, equations, and graphics get lost or mangled in the translation - even when viewing PDF files in their native format on the Kindle. Moreover, the small screen size of the Kindle 3 and the Nook is not great for PDF files, most of which are designed for a larger page size. You can zoom and pan, but this is cumbersome and tiresome. Thanks to commenters who suggested viewing PDF files in landscape mode on the Kindle (I don’t know if you can do this on Nook); this way, you can see the entire top half of the page without panning, and then scroll down to the bottom half. This works a little better.


Nook and Kindle each offer their own advantages. We like the nook’s user-replaceable battery, compatibility with ePub format, and in-store experience. But we strongly prefer Kindle 3 because its performance is far zippier, it’s screen is easier to read, and its smaller and lighter so it’s more portable and more comfortable to hold in one hand for long reading sessions.

Two final issues:

  • 3G vs. wi-fi

Nook and Kindle each come in a less-expensive version with wi-fi connectivity, and a slightly more expensive version that has 3G as well as wi-fi connectivity. About 50 people have emailed me asking whether they really need 3G, is it worth paying the extra to get the 3G model? So that I don’t have to keep writing individual responses, I’ll post my answer here:

3G and wifi are two ways for the kindle to connect to the internet. You don’t need an internet connection to read ebooks and newspapers that are already on your device. You need a connection to download new content to your kindle, and also to use kindle’s browser to surf the internet. Let’s suppose for the moment that you don’t use Kindle’s browser very often.

If you don’t have wifi at home, you should probably get the 3G model, otherwise you’ll have to take your kindle to a wifi hotspot every time you want to download a book or newspaper. Many coffee shops and libraries have free wi-fi.

If you do have wifi at home, you can probably survive without the 3G version.

What about when you’re away from home? If you read ebooks while traveling, just load up your kindle with a few ebooks before leaving home. It becomes an issue if you subscribe to a daily periodical on your Kindle, like the New York Times; then, it’s handy to have 3G so that you continue to get your new issues every day. Yet, wifi hotspots are popping up everywhere - many of them free - so 3G connectivity is less and less a necessity for many of us. And, 3G coverage is not universal - I have two sets of relatives I see regularly who live in areas where 3G coverage is spotty; but in both of those towns, the hotels I stay in have free wifi, so I’m covered.

If you use Kindle’s web browser frequently, it may be worthwhile to get the 3G model. I don’t really like Kindle’s web browser, and my phone has a good web browser and display, so there’s almost never a need for me to use Kindle’s browser.

Most of this argues for getting the cheaper wifi version. But there are reasons to consider the 3G version. First, the extra money you pay for the 3G version buys you unlimited lifetime free 3G service; thinking of it this way, the price really doesn’t seem unreasonable. Second, the more you’re away from home, the more likely you’ll find yourself in a situation in which wifi isn’t available but 3G coverage is good; probably not TOO often, but once in a while. Then, it’s nice to have 3G, especially if you get a daily periodical or if you want to download a new ebook.

  • Nook Color

Everything I wrote about the Nook in this review applies to the original Nook (which continues to be available), not the new Nook Color. To me, the Nook Color is in a different product category than the Kindle or original Nook. Nook Color has an LCD screen, like an iPad or most computer monitors. Reading on a computer screen for long periods of time is not comfortable for me - it causes fatigue and headaches. The e-ink Kindle is very comfortable for long reading sessions. So I’ll take a pass on the Nook Color. But it will probably be great for others, especially people who want to watch movies, surf the web and play games on their e-reader, and don’t mind the extra cost, weight, or lack of 3G. I’ve seen and played with a Nook Color at my local B&N, and it is a very attractive device. I’m looking forward to reading user reviews of the Nook Color when people start getting them. If you get one, please post a comment to let us know how you like it.

I read pdfs on an ipod. The screen is small but can display whole pages “readably” and in landscape mode it actually isn’t bad. Wouldn’t read fiction on it though.

The Nook is better than the Kindle.

I prefer the iPad since I’m a writer and I like to edit my books by hand on the screen instead of printing out 500 pages. I think the iPad is the best bang for the buck since you can use it for multiple things and the battery easily lasts all day. Just plug it in at night before bed and you’ll basically never find yourself with a dead battery. I can actually type on the screen at about 60 words per minute, so it’s nice being able to carry it anywhere and start typing out some stuff.

I think if you’re only interested in reading books, however, the Nook would be a better choice.

Thanks, everybody

If it is just for reading i would go with the Kindle or Nook. I have a Kindle myself and the contrast on it is amazing. You don’t want something that is backlit which can cause a lot of strain on your eyes like the Ipad.

Gosh…Why can’t people just read paper books anymore?

[quote]postholedigger wrote:
Gosh…Why can’t people just read paper books anymore?[/quote]

My wife suggested it because of how much I read, not because of the technology aspect. Our TV is from the late 90s with a remote thank only lets you go up or down through the channels, no numbers.

I like books but have gotten rid of most of mine (given to library book sale) because of storage issues. Hell, I just got rid of 12 years of National Geographic (donated to a local school). So much of the motivation is storage. The rest is ease of getting new books. Our public library is fairly limited.

I own a nook and love it. I also own an iPad but I hate reading on it because it’s like staring at a lightbulb after reading it for too long.

The nook is lighter, cheaper, works much more fluidly with books, and its battery lasts dramatically longer than the iPad’s. In my opinion, as an ereader, the nook has the iPad beat.

[quote]postholedigger wrote:
Gosh…Why can’t people just read paper books anymore?[/quote]

Because they’re a pain in the ass to travel with. Especially for college kids who live outside the country.

Twas a joke…I’m a big fan of technology. I don’t own a kindle or nook, though.

^ya ain’t nuttin but a luddite, my good man.