Tablet or reader: which should you choose?

Just as the choice seemed to have settled on Amazon’s Kindle as the ebook reader of choice with its 6″ screen and £109 price tag so the sands have shifted underneath us with the imminent arrival of a whole range of Android powered tablet computers.

From the reader angle, you have a long battery life (often measured in weeks), black and white screen which doesn’t give you eye strain and easy access to books from the Amazon model. The only downsides are that they are black and white screens and can’t run video but then paper books don’t run video either and most are in black and white too.

For the tablet computers, the screen sizes are 7″ to 10″ which is comparable to the 6″ and 9″ of the Kindles. Battery life at 7 to 10 hours is good by PC standards but poor by ebook reader standards and it’s going to be more difficult to read them outside. On the plus side you get colour and can run video. Pricing for the 7″ models seems to be about double that of the Kindle, for the 10″ it’s comparable to the Kindle DX (a number of manufacturers are coming out with these so the prices aren’t settled yet).

If you’re only reading novels, the clear choice remains the Kindle. However, if your taste runs to coloured texts with illustrations my inclination would be to go for one of the 7″ models or, if you’re not bothered about portability, the 10″.

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