How well does an iPad work as an e-Reader?

I’m sorry for jamming this question that I’m sure has been asked 1,000 times elsewhere on you, but it’s my wife’s birthday today, I don’t have a lot of time for research, and I frankly trust you, my Qt3 brethren, to give me intelligent insight.

Does the iPad (current generation) function well (i.e. as good as most anything else) as an e-Reader? I’m talking read something for 3-4 hours at a time without eyestrain, etc. good.

Very, very well.

About 90% of my reading is done on the iPad 3. The screen is fantastic for reading.

The only downside is reading outside with it is no fun at all. I have a Kindle and a Nexus 7 I use for reading, but that’s mostly for when I go read at lunch and want to throw it in my pocket.

That said, if ALL she needs is a reader, and no other tablet functions AT ALL, the Kindle Paperwhite looks really, really good.

iPads are terrific for reading color or larger format documents like pdfs, comics, and magazines. B&W books are okay as well, but if your wife reads a lot, be aware that hand/wrist strain can be an issue. Also, as Mark said they are absolutely awful outdoors in sunlight.

We have an iPad (first gen) and a B&W nook. They both have their uses. I vastly prefer reading books on the smaller, lighter, e-ink device.

I read almost exclusively on an iPad. I use “night” theme a lot, so that the brightness doesn’t keep my wife awake. It’s terrible for reading outside, so I usually have a paper book queued up for that.

If you have/want/procure a Kindle, you can just buy books through Amazon and read them on the iPad as well.

Add me into the “use it for lots of reading” category. Basically, any recreational reading I do is on the iPad these days.

I can surf the web for hours on the device with no eyestrain. But, I use the kindle for my books.

The e-ink helps, but the main reason I can’t sit and enjoy a book with the iPad is due to all the notifications for e-mails, games, and all that other fun stuff that keeps popping up. To actually read a book, I have to put the iPad and cellphone in the other room (still within ear shot, just in case) and sit down with the kindle or a book.

I can only read for ~30-40 minutes at a time on my iPad, but I can read for an unlimited amount of time on my e-ink Kindle. They’re not great for books with lots of pictures, but for text-heavy things e-ink is unbeatable IMO.

Eyestrain will probably vary. Personally, as a person who stares at monitors all day and doesn’t need glasses, I have no issue with reading on an iPad for extended periods of time. I have friends who do though.

If she’s going to be primarily using it for reading and you weren’t in such a rush, I’d recommend waiting for the supposed iPad Mini to come out, or look at other 7" tablets. While I think the iPad is a great device in a lot of ways, the large size can be a bit unwieldy at times, which led me to picking up a Nexus 7 (and currently have a Kindle Paperlight preordered) since my bus to work in the morning is frequently standing room only and a 10" device is hard to use one-handed.

Eyestrain will probably vary. Personally, as a person who stares at monitors all day and doesn’t need glasses, I have no issue with reading on an iPad for extended periods of time. I have friends who do though.

If she’s going to be primarily using it for reading and you weren’t in such a rush, I’d recommend waiting for the supposed iPad Mini to come out, or look at other 7" tablets. While I think the iPad is a great device in a lot of ways, the large size can be a bit unwieldy at times, which led me to picking up a Nexus 7 (and currently have a Kindle Paperlight preordered) since my bus to work in the morning frequently is standing room only and a 10 inch device is hard to use one-handed.

I kinda think the eyestrain stuff is bullshit, but the ipad is way too heavy to hold with one hand and has shorter battery life. If you just want to read books, get a kindle.

If you want to watch videos, email, browse the web, etc, get the ipad.

Well, I think she kind of wants to do both. I also don’t think she wants an e-Reader alone if all it really does is the book part (she’d simply want to stick to regular books in that case, as they seem to be far less expensive on a per book basis). But at the same time, I need to know whether the iPad is reasonable for the book reading part, because if I’m going to splurge on it, that is a big part of the functionality that I would want for her.

It’s fine. No issues. As far as weight, I’m never holding it while reading anyway. I usually read on my side or prop it against my leg.

I have read a boat load of books on my iPad and I love it. For me the iPad 3 was a huge upgrade for reading.

If book reading is a large part of the functionality desired, you may want to consider the nexus7 instead. It costs 40% as much, is dramatically lighter, and the 7" form factor is much better for reading text. It’s also quite a nice little tablet, although it’s no ipad3.

I probably wouldn’t purchase the amazon kindle fire 7" unless you have amazon prime and place high priority on streaming video. Note that you can also get prime instant video on the ipad, but again, the ipad is much more expensive. You talk about “splurging”, so the difference between $200 and $500 may be meaningful.

The price isn’t particularly a problem, if the product is worth it. When I say splurge, I’m more talking about being in the camp where it’s real money, so the product had better be worth it. I’m happy to pay the $500, but not if it doesn’t adequately fulfill a main function I want her to get from it.

I also admit, I wouldn’t mind something that would allow some cross-compatability on games. She has, for example, been jealously eyeing me playing Le Havre on my iPhone, and it would be nice to give her the capability to do that on the tablet. I think that would work with the iPad, but not with the Nexus 7. But at the same time, I’m not paying $500 for a platform to play Le Havre. :)

I wouldn’t stress myself if you don’t want to wait to see if there’s an iPad mini launched in October. Even if it does come out, all current rumours point to a non-retina display to keep the cost down. It’s the retina display of the new iPad that makes book reading on it enjoyable. So, either go for the iPad if you want to buy into the Apple ecosystem and she isn’t going to be doing most of her reading outside, or go Nexus 7 if you want light, portable, crisp screen and the Android ecosystem. And if it’s all about books, the Kindle Paperwhite is the way to go. And no, books are not more expensive in ebook format, typically ebook prices are lower than their comparative hardcover price, and then the comparative softcover price once that paper version is released. Usually Amazon prices the ebook at at least one or two dollars less than the hard and paperback versions (if a paperback exists).

If price isn’t a problem then get the iPad.

Yeah, when I meant books are more expensive in the ebook version, I was more talking about the ability to buy a paperback from Half Price Books and the lot. There doesn’t really seem to be an e-book equivalent of that yet. :)

Ebooks do go on sale though. Just have to keep an eye out.

This seems like the perfect use case for a 7" tablet, and the Nexus 7 is still the best 7" tablet.