To Kindle Or To Tablet, That Is The Question. Kindle vs Galaxy Tab 7″

One would think when it comes to choosing between a Kindle eReading device or an Android tablet, the decision would be a no-brainer eh?  Well, I guess not and therefore, I need to point out some of the advantages of owning the latter.  I’ll have to point out that we could take several things into consideration here such as price, preference and overall necessity of the user.  Is one just reading books or are they in need of a computer in their pocket?  However, I think this comparison will be better suited if aimed at the few benefits of owning one over the other, eliminating any bias due to user preference.

Now, on to the comparison.  I’ll use a Samsung Galaxy Tab (because I own one) and the standard recent generation Kindle eReader device since both are similar in size and to be fair, we’ll just leave Honeycomb out of the mix, as the Galaxy Tab sports Android 2.2 (Froyo).  If someone approached you and offered one of these devices for you to keep at no charge, which one would you be compelled to pick?  As I said earlier, it should be a no brainer in my opinion and I’ll tell you why.  Most of the reasons why, however, and in all fairness, are going to be simply as a result of what the Kindle “cannot” do.  

The overall opening statement for me, in an argument, would have be “why settle for a stand alone eReading device when I can have a device that gives me multiple eReaders (including the Kindle app itself) along with three to four different ecosystems worth of apps and books to choose from, offering an overall healthy competition when it comes to pricing?”  Yeah, I went there, all you can do on a kindle is…read. Why not have a tablet that can be a Kindle as well as an awesome Internet device, a phone, a game console and an mp3 player?  One of the things you get with the Kindle app for Android that you don’t get on a standard Kindle device, is a back light.  I’m a bit of a night reader and one of my favorite options on my Kindle app is the ability to change the background of my books from white to tan and even to black with white text for a softer read when the lights are out.  In addition, the night reading option eliminates the need for my wife to lean over and hit me because I’m shining a bright light in her face, a much appreciated function if you ask me.  Furthermore, on a tablet, one could essentially change orientation from portrait to landscape, something a Kindle device cannot do. Want to read that book, check your email and quickly make that final purchase on an eBay item?  Can’t do that on your Kindle. Want to IM someone about a passage you just read, take a break from a lengthy book and play Angry Birds or how about add a passage as an excerpt on a Google Doc?  Can’t do that from a Kindle device either.  How about, while in the middle of that Sci-Fi thriller you’re reading, you remember your boss requested that PDF, Power Point, Excel or Word document?  In as little as a few seconds, you could seamlessly email it to him or her, eliminating the need to run home to your PC or laptop.  Want to navigate to the nearest coffee shop for a cup of your favorite brew while surfing the web?  Just hit the icon for Google Navigator and let a nice vibrant 7-inch screen with turn by turn voice directions guide the way.  You can even use one of Android’s popular augmented reality apps to sift out the best coffee shop in the area.  Can’t do that on a……. oh you get the point.

I suppose we can go on and on giving countless ample examples of the benefits of owning today’s tablet devices over a standard Kindle device.  Bottom line is, if you want to just plain o’l read books in black and white and do nothing else, then a Kindle is “good enough” for you, I suppose.  But don’t forget to purchase a separate third party reading light to add to your device, because night reading is going to be difficult.

But, if you’re a power user such as myself and countless others who in addition to reading a good book want to be more productive on the fly, then a tablet device is right down you’re alley.  Smaller than a laptop but bigger than your smart phone, it’s a win win.  I currently own a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7″ device and can’t express how productive the device has made me while on the go.  Yes, some of these device can be a bit pricey, but they are getting cheaper and cheaper every day as new devices are constantly being rolled out.  I consider it an investment, and well spent one at that.  So, what say you?  Is there room for a tablet in your life?

» See more articles by Axl Logan


  • ibmonkey

    I guess an argument for just having a book reader like the kindle would be that you already own an android smartphone that you have with you at all times, so you could do all of those other things the tablet can do already anyway.
    I think it probably just comes down to cost; if you have the money of course buy the far superior android tablet, and if you’re short on cash buy some second-hand paperback books. Oh, I didn’t give an option to buy a kindle… I guess there’s no argument for a kindle after all!

  • ari-free

    Kindle is supposed to replace paper, not a tablet. Even pixel qi isn’t as good as the Kindle screen for reading in direct sunlight.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UEqd-AnGeI

  • pugh

    As an eReader, the Kindle is superb. It’s light, the battery lasts for ages and it’s nice to not stare at a back lit screen when your reading (I spend enough time staring at a screen at work and then watching a bit of tele when I get in).

    A tablet has other uses, but it’s more cumbersome to carry and given that it’s 3 times the price, you’ve gotta be a bit more careful with it – I can just leave my Kindle lying around and not worry too much. It doesn’t need to be charged every day either.

    It’s not that much hassle to attach a third-party light, and besides, before backlit screens existed people read with a bed side lamp. There’s not much difference between reading on a decent sized Android phone and a tablet, in-fact a smaller device is probably more comfortable to hold in bed.

    If you’ve got a tablet, you may as well make use of it as a Kindle. If you do a lot of reading, you’re better off buying a kindle – why use a jeep to drive to the corner shop when you can use a bike.

  • chongox

    I don’t see the need of a tablet right now.
    (prices and performance are not there yet)
    and some would never be there I’m talking to you full browser experience, without flash (?)
    but I see a ebook reader as an option
    even thought I love my android phone more than anything
    the battery life is a concern, I feel a ebook reader along my android phone would give me hours of reading fun + productivity.
    still price is a big factor ATM to buy any of those.

  • deebr

    I own an Android tablet and a latest-gen Kindle. If I’m reading for any length of time, then it’s the Kindle for me every time. I find the backlit screen hard on the eyes for extended reading periods. I don’t find the lack of backlight on the Kindle any more of a problem than the lack of a backlight on the average paperback. Also, my preference when I’m reading is to not have the distraction of incoming email etc. Incidentally, you can switch the Kindle from portrait to landscape, it just isn’t automatic.

  • ari-free

    ‘Some’ second hand paperback books? I need a device to store bookcases of books. You should see my house :)
    Unfortunately, Kindle doesn’t support hebrew and most books in my house are in hebrew.

  • Dthor

    I own the latest kindle, and will probably get a tablet this year. I honestly don’t see them as either /or, they serve different purposes. I would blow my brains out trying to use the kindle as anything more than an ereader, but it does that exceptionally well. I’ve ceased thinking of it like a gadget. It’s a book to me now. Why? Ridiculously long battery life and it’s incredibly easy on the eyes. Apart from graphics and dense pdfs, I won’t be using my tablet for reading, per se.

  • Tommy R

    I don’t agree with your analysis. I have a Galaxy Tab, and a friend of mine has got a Kindle. You can actually surf on the Kindle, but not fast, and not on advanced sites. It’s made to read on, and it’s exceptional at that.
    It all comes down to readability, ergonomics and energy efficiency.
    The screen on the Kindle is brilliant because it’s passive as a book, and MUCH kinder to your eyes. Try to read for long times on the Kindle vs Tab. You get much more tired.
    And the device doesn’t need much energy either. Compare that o the Tab! Nicer to the environment.
    The Kindle is a nice “prototype” as a good e-reader, and should be seen as such.
    I would never buy one though, because I want a “Jack of all trades” instead of the Master, but there is a price tag to it, don’t forget, and I don’t mean only money.

  • Capnbludd

    Ibmonkey said some of my reasons for why I bought my Kindle. I own a Droid x that does what I need and if I bought a tablet I’d have to pay for another data plan in order for the tablet to be fully useful. It wasn’t a matter of the cost of the devices, it a matter of what I really needed. I’m very happy with my Kindle and Droid X.

  • John

    I think there are four (big) benefits to the Kindle:

    1. cost. the Kindle is significantly less expensive than a tablet – even a hacked Nook Color. I know – your premise is ” If someone approached you and offered one of these devices for you to keep at no charge, which one would you be compelled to pick?”. OK. So ignore this one.

    2. screen glare/ease of reading. I understand your back-light argument for reading at night, but if you want to read outside (like at the pool, at the beach, on the deck, etc.), the Kindle is heads and shoulders above the tablet screens I have seen.

    3. battery life. A kindle can go weeks without recharging. A tablet’s battery life is measured in hours. So just charge it every day or every other day. But what if I forget to right before my trip overseas? A lot more flexibility with the Kindle.

    4. weight. The Kindle is much easier to hold in your hand for extended periods of time (like when you’re reading!).

    Note: I have used both, and own a tablet. I love it. However, I have recently recommended a Kindle to a friend for whom all 4 of the items listed above outweighed any of the benefits that you listed above.

  • http://thinkspurlove.blogspot.com David Buckham

    I see the benefit of owning both. I plan on getting a Kindle next month and a tablet in July. I don’t see it as an either or situation because they are different devices. So why even compare them? It’s like saying why buy a tablet when my phone will do it all and I can make calls with it and I can fit it in my pocket.

  • thebob

    Why even make this comparison? How about a Harley davidson or a Schwinn?

  • Rich

    This is absolutely a waste of time. Why in the world would you compare a Kindle and a Galaxy Tab? Go write another one of the millions of articles that compares the iPad to the Galaxy Tab or the Galaxy Tab vs the Xoom. The Kindle and the Galaxy Tab are not direct competitors. Apples and oranges people!

  • Tom Hewitt

    That’s the thing. I have an Android phone and a netbook that I tend to take everywhere with me, so why would I need a tablet? My housemate has a Kindle and I’m almost certainly going to be picking one up for myself in the next month or so.

  • Vali

    Well, yes the comparison is kind of redundant, but still after seeing the price of a Kindle I decided to stress my pocket a little more and got a Galaxy Tab.I never got to regret the choice. Nowadays I use it mostly for internet browsing, movies and of course reading. Not necessarily in this order.

    The Tab is a great device mostly because it is a “Jack of all trades” as Tommy said above.

  • Jeff

    I think the reason they’re being compared is the prices are approaching a state of equilibrium.

  • JL Rivers

    Folks -in my opinion, the kindle is cheap enough these days that it can be a companion device to any tablet you choose to buy -iPad or anything else.

  • Howard

    I guess I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I’m quite happy doing all my reading on my Nexus One. I don’t read for 12hrs straight, but when I do read I haven’t had any fatigue reading for 4-5hrs on the phone.

    Given the choice I’d rather read on a tablet than a Kindle, but I see how both have a place in different homes. There simply aren’t enough situations where the Kindle’s “readability” is superior to my phone or a tablet for it to be useful for me. And ultimately portability trumps anything else, and I don’t consider the Kindle portable enough for my needs.

    Just wanted to offer an alternative opinion, since everyone seems to think a Kindle is the better choice for themselves.

  • Changa

    I realize I’m weighting in very late. I have a kindle, tab and an android phone and love all 3. I love reading on my kindle in bed, outside in the sun and knowing battery life is not a worry for weeks.

    My phone is cool when I’m bored at work or at lunch alone and want to check a score or do something fast. I’ve found web surfing and reading annoying if done too long because of the small screen and having to zoom in and out to read and navigate links and tab.

    I’m writing this response on my tab and use it around my home so i don’t have to keep my laptop on my lap. Travel with it so i can surf and read almost any site comfortably with out zooming or straining.

    My vote is to own both and have a good smart phone!

  • Matt

    Ok you I noticed multiple errors in your article, I will only name one. You can read landscape mode on a kindle you say you cannot. So this article is false in so many ways and I just pointed out one of them, you need to do your research or own kindle before you tell people what it wont do.

  • Name

    can this tablet be read in daylight