Kindle’s E-Ink still better than Retina display for reading

Let me preface this article by saying that the new iPad’s Retina display is amazing. It’s sharp, bright, colorful and I’m 100% happy with it. That being said, when it comes down to reading – not emails or web articles, but novels – I’d still pick the E-Ink display on my Kindle every time. And it appears I’m not alone.

Ars Technica published an interesting comparison between the Retina display on Apple’s latest tablet and the E-Ink display on Amazon’s Kindle. The result: if you’re looking for the best device for reading and reading alone, E-Ink screens can’t be beat.

“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.

The trouble comes when you start to think of your e-reader as more than an e-reader. E-ink Kindles are abysmal at Web browsing, for example, and they don’t run popular apps and games like the iPad and other tablets on the market today.”

This doesn’t surprise me at all. Every aspect of the iPad is designed to perform tons and tons of tasks as good as possible. And it’s successful, but it’s unrealistic to think a multi-purpose device will best a device designed solely for reading at reading. Text on the new iPad’s screen is incredibly sharp, but you can’t deny that it still looks like text on a computer screen. With E-Ink, on the other hand, it really looks like you’re reading a piece of paper. Eyes don’t tire in the same way that they often do when staring at an LCD screen for hours.

LEFT: E-Ink on 3rd gen Kindle; RIGHT: Retina display on new iPad

Personally, I prefer to read an actual paper book over any electronic reader, but when I can’t get to a bookstore, Kindle is the way I go. Plus, it’s much more widely available – buy a Kindle book and you can read it on any computer with Kindle for the Web, on any iOS device (any smartphone with apps, really) with the Kindle app, and any dedicated Kindle device.

What do you guys think? Do you prefer the printed look of an E-Ink screen or are you perfectly content to read on the new iPad’s Retina display? Let me know in the comments section below or on twitter!


Via: Ars Technica

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  • LCD panels produce no light of their own; they require external light to produce a visible image. While passive-matrix displays are usually not backlit (e.g. calculators, wristwatches); active-matrix displays almost always are (with a few exceptions, such as the display in the original Game Boy Advance).