Some users see two human profiles, and some see the shape of a table. Some of us will even identify it as a letter I. The brain is constantly looking for shapes that are familiar, and in the case of text, letters can look quite fuzzy and the brain will still be able to identify them correctly. On LCD screens, anti-aliasing helps trick the eye into seeing smooth edges on letters, even if the pixel display is a little fuzzy.
The Kindle's proprietary text rendering is very good at creating sharp edges on letters, though at very small text sizes, text looks grainy. Sure, you may be able to detect the jagged edges of the fonts if you bring the device right up to your face and read at a smaller font size, but who reads their copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo that way? Font sizes can be increased to very large sizes to help those with vision problems, and at its native resolution, the Kindle performed well against the iPad.
E-ink is designed to imitate the non-reflective qualities of paper, though it can also generate annoying effects like ghosting. In the case of of Amazon's Pearl e-ink displays found in all models after the third-generation except Kindle Fire , the display is able to offer a degree angle, which also resembles the experience of reading on paper. Amazon has built its own proprietary software and rendering stack in order to render text on its devices. Ars spoke to Sriram Peruvemba, chief marketing officer at E-Ink Holdings which provides e-ink technology to multiple e-reader device makers , about some of the ways in which Amazon is able to display text on the Kindle without subpixel rendering.
In LCD there are typically 3 subpixels, each with its own transistor so you can address individual subpixels," he said. As a subjective benchmark, we read on both the Kindle 1 and the Kindle app on the new iPad for three hours on each device. We repeated this on three occasions to observe our results. As you can see in the previous image, e-ink renders its text with clarity and a good amount of contrast.
We could read text on the Kindle screen from multiple angles both outdoors and indoors with decent indoor lighting, of course. When we tried the smallest and largest end of the font sizes available, it was possible to notice imperfections in the way the letters render, but it didn't prove to be a distraction while reading. Font sizes in the middle range looked quite clear. The Kindle has no settings for contrast or brightness and, as such, we needed to use indoor lighting to see text properly under low-light conditions.
LCD devices begin to lose brightness when tilted past a certain angle, and in the case of the iPad, DisplayMate's report states that the iPad lost 57 percent of its brightness after changing the viewing angle by 30 degrees. The Kindle, on the other hand, has a very wide angle of degrees, since it doesn't have any backlighting.
In this respect, the Kindle outperforms the iPad easily. The reflective properties of each screen's surface also matter. The iPad's glossy screen can practically act as a mirror. That much glare does not make for a fun reading experience, and the Kindle's e-ink screen doesn't generally suffer from this problem. Does a backlit screen matter? Only inasmuch as whether you prefer fluorescent or natural light when you read.
If you are visually impaired, the iPad's accessibility features and the Kindle app's white text on black background can offer an advantage over the hardware Kindle. If you tend to get headaches while reading backlit screens or suffer from eye strain, however, you may want to reconsider long sessions of reading on the iPad screen.
Still, most users should be able to read decently well under both devices. Many of us now regularly spend long hours in front of work PCs, televisions, and video games, so adding a bit of reading on an iPad can either seem negligible or just-too-much, though e-ink does have a very comforting effect in our experience. Playing with the settings of e-reader apps like Kindle also produced some better results for some readers. Changing the display to the sepia or white-text-on-black background does tend to offer relief for those who experience eye strain and fatigue from the sometimes blindingly white retina display.
Pablo Defendini, a product manager at Safari Books Online told us that choosing e-ink over a backlit screen is a matter of preference: "Some people who like e-ink devices for long-form reading now might reconsider a backlit display with retina-class resolution. Body text on the new iPad's retina display is dramatically better than on previous iPads, and is comparable to what you see in print. For LCDs, carefully adjust the screen brightness for comfortable reading.
I don't recommend using the automatic brightness setting on tablets and smartphones because they are functionally useless. We avoided comparing contrast between the Kindle and the new iPad—it's not a fair comparison because of how contrast is usually measured.
LCD contrasts are measured in darkness, while e-ink is measured with indoor light. In total darkness, e-ink is not visible at all. We found the contrast on the iPad to be quite good, and the DisplayMate report measured its contrast ratio in low ambient light at to 1. What really makes an e-reader stand out is its user experience. Aside from screen resolution, there are many other elements that make an e-reader a fun and durable reading object.
If a device lets us read on it for more than a handful of minutes, extending into hours, then it's probably got something good going for it. Portability makes for a good e-reader. Users often complain that the iPad is too heavy to hold for long periods of time, and that may be true, but those who finished Don Quixote on paper did so without spraining their arms and lived to tell the tale.
The Kindle, on the other hand, has only gotten smaller and thinner over time. The weight of the device is a matter of user preference, though it should be noted that many staffers at Ars do appreciate the lighter weight of the Kindle. Battery consumption will also influence how much enjoyment you can get out of a device.
Depending on your wireless settings, you can now get a full month's charge from a Kindle, while the iPad can push itself a little past ten hours. Of course, if you don't mind recharging often, the battery technology inside each device is also quite different for each. The iPad's battery and components weigh in at almost a pound and a half.
That's a big boy when compared against 6 ounces for a Kindle. But not everyone will necessarily care about this; some users prefer a heftier device that feels solid, while some may be more concerned about its portability for work or travel. If you love reading and are looking to invest a chunk of money into a device as a dedicated e-reader, then the iPad is not your best bet.
The value you can get from devices like the Kindle or several other competitors like the Sony Reader or Kobo , will allow you to save money to spend on what is presumably your main passion: books. The iPad's retina display is sharp and bright, but the display is unlikely to be the sole deciding factor for spending more time with the books you love.
There isn't a speaker on the Paperwhite, so you're stuck pairing speakers or headphones to your device over Bluetooth, a facility also offered by the iPad mini. For audio recording, the iPad mini has dual microphones. There's no microphone on the Paperwhite. The video and imaging side is completely in the iPad mini's favor, since it's the only one out of the two that has cameras. There's a megapixel wide camera on the back of the iPad mini with 4K 60fps recording capabilities, along with a megapixel ultra-wide on the front.
These can be used to take photographs, record video, undertake video calls, and other tasks outside of the capabilities of the Kindle Paperwhite. Normally in comparisons like these, there would be some discussion about the varying levels of performance in the two devices. While this typically would involve a showdown based on benchmark results, that's simply not an option here. In fact, you have to look at the topic a lot more broadly than normal.
Rather than how well each can perform in a given field, you have to instead examine what each can actually do. The iPad mini, with its A15 Bionic chip, cameras, colorful display, and other features, is capable of doing an awful lot. It can download and run apps with thousands of different purposes, record and store video and photographs, be used for content creation, and so on.
Chiefly, the Kindle Paperwhite is used for reading ebooks, which can be bought from Amazon's storefront directly from the device. You could acquire compatible ebooks and add them to your device in various ways, but it does have to be in specific Kindle-friendly formats. While you can do this, you can't simply buy books elsewhere from the Kindle itself, as you're limited to directly buying from Amazon's digital storefront. This is a bit of a fuss, especially if you like to shop around for your media.
You can get the Kindle app on iOS, so you could access the same book collection from the iPad mini. However you can also get apps for other stores, other ebook reader apps independent of storefronts, and to enjoy ebooks that have color photographs and other linked content. You don't have to read books either, as you can use Personal Document Archiving to convert various file types into a Kindle format.
There's also a web browser built into the Kindle, which you'd primarily use to access Amazon, but it can be used to view many other websites. However, it's far from a great experience, and certainly nowhere near to what you may be accustomed to, with its lack of media support outside of images.
It's very much a solution for an emergency situation when there's absolutely no other web browsers available. You could play back audiobooks, using Audible over Bluetooth. While older Kindles allowed you to play MP3s, that's not a possibility anymore. You can use the text-to-speech feature of the VoiceView screen reader to read aloud some books, but only in English.
One oddity that does play in Amazon's favor is that the Kindle Paperwhite is water-resistant to IPX8, which Amazon refers to as surviving immersion for up to 60 minutes in up to two meters of fresh water, or up to 10 inches of seawater for up to three minutes. The iPad mini can optionally be used with the Apple Pencil 2, enabling it to be used to draw and write on the display, complete with pressure sensitivity. The Kindle Paperwhite will work with simple styluses intended for capacitive displays, but it works effectively the same as a finger, and certainly doesn't offer any drawing or writing capability.
However, that is the ad-supported option which will show sponsored screensavers on the lockscreen when it's not in use. This is an optional extra, but it doesn't change the price of the product. Again, you can add four months of Kindle Unlimited at no charge. The problem with comparing the iPad mini with the Kindle Paperwhite is that the two are extremely different pieces of kit, that aren't meant to be looked at directly against each other.
On the one hand, you have the extremely capable and practical iPad mini, which works exactly how you'd expect a tablet to function. On the other, the Kindle Paperwhite is an ebook reader, not a tablet. It's the equivalent of comparing a chef's knife with a multitool. One is certainly better in the task it's designed for, while the other is considerably more practical. The Paperwhite is ideal as a bookworm's companion, carrying thousands of novels in a compact and easy-to-read device, with heaps of battery life to survive a few weeks at a time.
It certainly excels in that regard, as you don't have the usage time with the iPad mini, nor the ability to read without turning off the backlighting. By no means does this infer the iPad mini can't be used for reading books, as you certainly can, and with far more flexibility in sourcing and buying content for viewing. In practically any other tablet-focused area you could look at, the iPad mini functions far better, simply because it is a tablet.
The Paperwhite may have the same general size and appearance, but it's not a tablet, it's an ebook reader. For avid readers, the cost of the Kindle Paperwhite makes it a reasonable extra expense, on top of the iPad mini, or possibly as a purchase instead of adding 5G to the iPad. If you're spending hours a day glued to a book, it's justifiable to go down the Kindle Paperwhite route.
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Adjust the Kindle Paperwhite display temperature.
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The Kindle's reflective screen is still easier to focus on. No matter how crisp the iPad's display is, I'm still staring at a lit screen. That. Apple's recent iPad models use the Retina display, an LCD screen with a resolution surpassing p televisions. Amazon has improved on its Kindle e-readers. Today we check out the primarily differences between the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite and the iPad 3 with Retina Display!