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.
- Battery Life
Based on these criteria, we narrowed down the best tablets for reading to:
- Samsung Galaxy Tab
- Lenovo Tab
- Apple iPad mini
- Amazon Fire 7
Let’s take a closer look at what they have to offer.
- 7 Inch screen
- Fast charging time.
- 10 hours of battery life
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.
- 10.1 Inch Screen
- Bright display
- 9 hours of battery life
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.
- 7.9 Inch display
- 10 hours of battery life
- provides excellent viewing angles
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.
- 7 Inch Display
- Expandable Memory
- 9 hours of battery life
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
- 7.8 Inch Display.
- Stylus for notes
- Up to 4 weeks of battery life
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.
- 6 Inch Display
- ComfortLight Feature
- up to 2 weeks of battery life
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.
- 6 Inch Display
- weeks of battery life
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.
|Samsung Galaxy Tab||Tablet||7 inch HD IPS Adaptive Display||8GB(can be expanded)||10 hours||$130|
|Lenovo Tab||Tablet||10.1 inch Full HD IPS||32GB (can be expanded)||9 hours||$180|
|Apple iPad mini||Tablet||7.9-inch Retina Display||16-256GB||10 hours||$400|
|Amazon Fire 7||Tablet||7 inch IPS LCD||8-16GB(can be expanded)||9 hours||$50|
|Boox Nova||eReader||E Ink Carta Plus, 7.8 inch||32GB||Up to 4 weeks||$320|
|Kobo Clara||eReader||6 inch HD||8GB||Up to 2 weeks||$125|
|Kindle Paperwhite||eReader||6-inch glare-free||4GB||Week||$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!