Best Tablets for Reading PDFs – Top Budget Option

BookSummaryClub Blog Best Tablets for Reading PDFs – Top Budget Option

If you are an avid reader like me, you know the importance of having the right device. We are always on the go and the convenience of having a smart device on hand that has everything available cannot be denied. However, our phones are not the best option when it comes to reading, especially over long periods of time and when it comes to long PDF documents.

Not only can the right device make your reading experience more enjoyable, it can provide optimal display lighting and also ease eye-strain. Depending on your lifestyle and your budget there are a few tablets that can satisfy your needs.

In this article, we take a detailed look at these to determine which is the best tablet for reading PDFs while still being kind to our pockets.

What’s the difference between a tablet and an eReader?

Firstly, we have to clear up the difference between an eReader and a tablet. After all, you can use your tablet to read ebooks or PDF documents and companies like Amazon, for example, market both eReaders and tablets under the same brand name.

The main difference is that an eReader, true to its name, serves the sole purpose of reading books with a reading friendly grayscale screen. There are sometimes other features such as looking up word definitions or making notes, but not much else.

Tablets, on the other hand, are multimedia devices which can be used for everyday requirements in addition to reading.  You are able to read comfortably given the screen size, however, the screen is backlit – meaning reading outside in bright sunlight is not ideal. 

Whether you go with an Ereader or tablet comes down to what you want to do with the device, where you’re going to use it, how much you read and what your budget allows. Some people have both these devices to use for their specific purposes but if you already have a capable tablet, do you really want to spend more money on an eReader? This article will give you some points to consider when choosing.

What to look for if you want the best tablets for reading PDFs

If you’re looking for a tablet for reading, there are four main criteria to consider.

  • Screen
  • Storage
  • Battery Life
  • Price

Based on these criteria, we narrowed down the best tablets for reading to:

  1. Samsung Galaxy Tab
  2. Lenovo Tab
  3. Apple iPad mini 
  4. Amazon Fire 7

Let’s take a closer look at what they have to offer.

SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab A7 Lite 8.7' 32GB WiFi Android...
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SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab A7 Lite 8.7″ 32GB WiFi Android…
  • LIGHT AND PORTABLE: With its compact 8.7” screen, slim design and sturdy metal frame, Galaxy Tab A7 Lite tablet is perfectly sized for entertainment on the go; Easy for everyone to carry and travel with, especially kids
  • LASTING PROTECTION: This device features an upgraded metal frame that helps protect against everyday hiccups; It’s made to be durable so your tablet keeps working even when handled by children’s accident-prone hands
  • FASTER PERFORMANCE: Galaxy Tab A7 Lite has faster speed than previous models for smooth streaming with minimal interruptions for work, school or play; Also packs more expandable storage than before — up to 1TB, almost 2x as much as the previous model — for all your photos, videos, and apps
  • LONG-LASTING BATTERY: Binge away with a long battery life and plenty of power to keep up with the content you love — and then some — with fast charging to help you juice up quickly on the go
  • MULTI-DEVICE EXPERIENCE: Enjoy connectivity across all your Samsung Galaxy devices with One UI technology; Start watching a show on your smart phone, then send it to your tablet to finish later or vice versa
  • THE ENTERTAINMENT GOES WHERE YOU GO: With Its Compact 8.7” Screen, Slim Design And Sturdy Metal Frame, Galaxy Tab A7 Lite Is Perfectly Sized For Entertainment On The Go
  • STURDY FRAME FOR LASTING PROTECTION: Galaxy Tab A7 Lite Features An Upgraded Metal Frame That Helps Protect Against Everyday Hiccups

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is a lightweight,  portable and budget-friendly tablet. It has a 7-inch HD screen and comes with 8GB of internal storage which can be easily expanded with a microSD card. In addition, this tablet can last more than 10 hours on a single charge – and that’s for its multiple uses- if you’re going to be using your tablet purely for reading, it should last even longer!

The Samsung Galaxy Tab offers an excellent way for you to view your PDF documents, eBooks and even comics. The best part? Priced just over $100, it’s definitely budget-friendly.

Lenovo Tab M9-2023 - Tablet - Long Battery Life -...
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Lenovo Tab M9-2023 – Tablet – Long Battery Life -…
  • Chill for a longer time: Binge, chill and relax with a 5100 mAh battery that offers up to 13 hours of video playback
  • Immersive Cinematics: Watch your favorite movies and shows on a 9” HD display for a stunningly mobile cinematic experience
  • Search what you see with Google Lens: Translate text, get help with homework, or quickly identify products, plants and places with Google Lens
  • Keep your security on lock: Keep your tablet’s security under lock and key with facial recognition for safe and convenient log-in
  • Power Play: With a powerful MTK G80 Octa Core processor and up to 32GB of storage, gaming and browsing is smooth and fun

The Lenovo Tab M10 is your next budget-friendly tablet. Slim and lightweight, this 10-inch tablet is excellent for reading due to the large screen (which you don’t get with conventional eReaders). Also, the display is quite bright which improves the viewing experience and even though it has a backlit screen, you won’t have to deal with annoying glare. 

In terms of storage, this tablet comes with 32GB onboard storage which can be expanded with a microSD card. The battery lasts for about 9 hours on a single charge, but once again, it will last longer if you just using it for reading only.

Priced at approximately $180, it’s still good value for money. 

Apple iPad Mini (6th Generation): with A15 Bionic...
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Apple iPad Mini (6th Generation): with A15 Bionic…
  • WHY IPAD MINI — The full iPad experience designed to fit in one hand. With an 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display, powerful A15 Bionic chip, 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage, USB-C connectivity, and ultrafast Wi-Fi. Take notes, mark up documents, and edit photos and videos.
  • IPADOS + APPS — iPadOS makes iPad more productive, intuitive, and versatile. With iPadOS, run multiple apps at once, use Apple Pencil to write in any text field with Scribble, and edit and share photos. iPad mini comes with essential apps like Safari, Messages, and Keynote, with over a million more apps available on the App Store.
  • FAST WI-FI CONNECTIVITY — Fast Wi-Fi keeps you connected at home, work, school, or wherever you go with your iPad.
  • PERFORMANCE AND STORAGE — The A15 Bionic chip delivers powerful performance and blazing-fast graphics. And with all-day battery life, iPad mini is always ready for any task or project. Choose from 64GB or 256GB storage options depending on the room you need for apps, music, movies, and more.
  • APPLE PENCIL AND SMART FOLIO — With Apple Pencil (2nd generation), iPad mini transforms into the world’s best note‑taking device. To protect your iPad mini and easily prop it up, you can use the slim Smart Folio covers, available in five colors. Accessories sold separately.
  • 8.3-INCH LIQUID RETINA DISPLAY — The gorgeous Liquid Retina display features advanced technologies like True Tone, P3 wide color, and ultralow reflectivity, which make everything look stunning.
  • UNLOCK AND PAY WITH TOUCH ID — Touch ID is built into the top button, so you can use your fingerprint to unlock your iPad, sign in to apps, and make payments securely with Apple Pay.
  • ADVANCED CAMERAS — iPad mini features a 12MP Ultra Wide front camera that supports Center Stage for videoconferencing and selfies. The 12MP Wide back camera with True Tone flash is perfect for capturing photos and 4K videos.

If you’re more of an Apple fan, this 7.9-inch tablet is lightweight, compact and provides excellent viewing angles.

When it comes to storage, you are going to have to pick based on your requirements. The iPad mini comes with either 16GB, 32GB, 64GB,128GB or 256GB storage. Whichever one you choose, you cannot expand as there is no slot for a microSD card. Another factor to consider is that the price will depend on the amount of storage you choose.

In terms of battery power, you are looking at about 10 hours of use before you have to recharge. Priced at approximately $400, it is a bit pricey, but if you plan on using all the other features on the tablet, then you might find that it’s worth it.

Amazon Fire 7 tablet, 7” display, read and...
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Amazon Fire 7 tablet, 7” display, read and…
  • Entertainment in the palm of your hands – With 7″ touchscreen display, 2 GB RAM and quad-core processor, choose between 16/32 GB storage and download books, shows or movies to keep your downtime going.
  • Big library, small tablet, more fun – Unwind with your favorite apps like Kindle, Netflix, Spotify and more through Amazon’s Appstore (Google Play not supported. Subscription fees may apply).
  • Pocket-sized entertainment hub – Enjoy up to 10 hours of reading, browsing the web, watching videos and listening to music at home or on-the-go. Expand storage to up to 1 TB with micro-SD card (sold separately).
  • Say hello & go hands-free – Ask Alexa to make video calls to friends and family with Zoom or to check your Instagram or TikTok feeds. Alexa can also help find you a recipe, get you updates on weather, and more.
  • Built for the whole family to enjoy – Amazon Kids offers easy-to-use parental controls on Fire tablets. Subscribe to Amazon Kids+ for access to thousands of books, popular apps and games, videos, songs, Audible books, and more.

The Amazon Fire Tablet has a 7-inch display and is small and easy to carry around. There have been some reviews which report that it does not have the brightest display around so it functions best as an occasional eReader. Long term use will not be easy on the eyes.

On the storage front, the Amazon Fire comes with either 8GB or 16GB of storage which can be expanded using a microSD card. It can last up to 9 hours on a single charge and is the cheapest tablet in this review priced at under $100.

So if you want a tablet for its multiple capabilities and occasional reading, the above tablets are probably your best bet. However, if you are a voracious reader and love ebooks, you might want to consider getting an eReader instead. I thought it would be nice to give you a quick look at the best, budget-friendly eReaders around so that you can get a proper comparison to make your choice. 

Best eReaders currently available

BoxWave Screen Protector Compatible with Onyx BOOX...
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BoxWave Screen Protector Compatible with Onyx BOOX…
  • 🌞 [ANTI-GLARE] BoxWave Screen Protector Compatible With ONYX BOOX Nova Pro. Two (2) Award-winning Anti-Glare Screen Protectors, precision-cut to fit your device’s exact dimensions! Keep the extra one for back up later, or share one with a friend!
  • 💪 [STRENGTH AND STABILITY] Dual-layered high-grade PET designed for durability; PROTECTS your screen from scratches, fingerprints, and dust
  • 😎 [UV PROTECTION] Reduces 90% of UV rays caused by reflected light, protecting your eyes
  • 🧩 [PERFECT FIT] GLUELESS adhesive bonds perfectly to your screen and will never leave a sticky residue after peeling
  • 💼 [INCLUDED] Each package contains two (2) ClearTouch Anti-Glare screen protectors for your device, ClearTouch Applicator card, and microfiber cleaning cloth. [Please be advised] The special low-tack adhesive takes a little time to fully adhere around the edges and when it does, the air gaps clear out.The gaps will go away in about 2 days after regular use.

The Boox Nova eReader has a 7.8-inch display which can easily be adjusted to your liking. In addition to being a dedicated eReader, this device comes with a stylus that allows users to make notes directly in the PDF they are reading or in a completely new document. This makes it an excellent choice for students to use whilst studying as well.

The reader comes with 32GB of onboard storage and the battery lasts up to 4 weeks! The only downside is that it’s a whole lot more expensive, priced at approximately $320.

Kobo Clara HD 6' Carta E Ink Touchscreen E-Reader...
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Kobo Clara HD 6″ Carta E Ink Touchscreen E-Reader…
  • Certified Refurbished
  • The perfect light, day or night with ComfortLight PRO. Adjust the brightness or temperature of your screen to limit eyestrain.. Read without any glare, just like real paper.
  • Take thousands of books everywhere with 8GB of storage.
  • Battery life that lasts for weeks. (Dependent on individual usage)
  • Customize your reading experience with different font options, margins, and a built-in dictionary.

This device has a 6 inch Carta E-ink touchscreen display which can be easily adjusted for your comfort. With its nifty ComfortLight feature, the Kobo Clara can adjust the brightness of the display depending on whether you’re indoors or outdoors; if it’s day or night or simply based on the light of the room you in. 

The eReader comes with 8GB of internal storage (which Kobo says can hold up to 6000 e-books by the way) and is ideal considering Kobo’s library of almost 6 million titles.

The battery life is also quite impressive, lasting approximately 2 weeks. This device is priced the same as the Samsung Galaxy Tab at approximately $125.

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition Essentials...
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Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition Essentials…
  • Get more with Signature Edition – Everything in the Kindle Paperwhite, plus wireless charging, auto-adjusting front light, and 32 GB storage.
  • Purpose-built for reading – With a flush-front design and 300 ppi glare-free display that reads like real paper, even in bright sunlight.
  • More reading time – A single charge via USB-C or compatible Qi wireless charger (included) now lasts up to 10 weeks.
  • Adjustable screen – Now with adjustable warm light and auto-adjusting front light for a personalized reading experience, day or night.
  • More books in more places – Store thousands of titles, then take them all with you.
  • Find new stories – With Kindle Unlimited, get unlimited access to over 2 million titles, thousands of audiobooks, and more.
  • Go hands free – Pair with an Audible subscription and Bluetooth headphones or speakers to listen to your story.

We couldn’t do an article on tablets and eReaders without mentioning Kindle. The Kindle Paperwhite sports a 6-inch display which comes with minimal screen glare, even under bright sunlight.

It’s a bit low on storage compared to the others containing 4GB of internal storage, but that is still sufficient for people who love to read. The device is expected to last for weeks on a single charge and it is beautifully affordable at $130.

As always, to help you digest this chuck load of information, a table always comes in handy to give you a direct comparison.

Device TypeDisplayStorageBatteryPrice
Samsung Galaxy TabTablet7 inch HD IPS Adaptive Display 8GB(can be expanded)10 hours$130
Lenovo TabTablet10.1 inch Full HD IPS32GB (can be expanded)9 hours$180
Apple iPad miniTablet7.9-inch Retina Display16-256GB10 hours$400
Amazon Fire 7Tablet7 inch IPS LCD8-16GB(can be expanded)9 hours$50
Boox NovaeReaderE Ink Carta Plus, 7.8 inch32GBUp to 4 weeks$320
Kobo ClaraeReader6 inch HD8GBUp to 2 weeks$125
Kindle PaperwhiteeReader6-inch glare-free4GBWeek$140

In conclusion – How do you choose?

Once again, it all comes down to your budget and requirements. If you don’t plan on reading that much on your device, just the occasional PDF document check or an ebook here and there; then you are more suited to a tablet. The tablets mentioned above are capable of acting as eReaders and have other functionalities which you can use in your day to day life. You just can’t read on them for hours at a time as the display will not protect against eye strain. 

The other consideration is where you plan to use them. Do you want to read outside or whilst on vacation? eReaders can adapt to different ambient lights and some are even waterproof to prevent any poolside accidents. 

And lastly, what will you be reading? One thing most people forget is that eReaders are grayscale. You will not be able to get the full effect of colour images in kids books, comic books and magazines. So you have to consider the content you want to view.

I know this article is information overload but it is in hope that it helps you make the right choice in spending your hard-earned cash this year!

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