September 8, 2021 5 min read
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While some people prefer to read on true e-reader devices, complete with multi-layered screens that realistically simulate the experience of reading a physical book made from paper, others would rather pick up a good book on one of the best tablets for reading.
The main distinction between the two comes down to a couple of factors: screen technology and versatility. Whereas an iPad Air, for example, can run more than a million apps from the Apple App Store, the best-selling Kindle Paperwhite is more limited in its content selection. Although it has a glare-free screen you can take to the beach unobscured by sunlight, it can’t do much else outside of letting you read and listen to books.
Because you might like to have access to games and software outside of what you can find on the Kindle store, the best tablets for reading are better suited to meet your needs.
Best Overall: Boox Nova3 Color ($400), also at other retailers
Best for Books: Amazon Fire HD 8 ($60), also at other retailers
Best for PDFs: Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 ($200), also at other retailers
Best for Comics and Manga: Amazon Fire HD 10 ($100), also at other retailers
Best for Reading and Web Browsing: iPad Pro 11 M1 ($749), also at other retailers
Best for Games and Reading: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ ($729), also at other retailers
Best Cheap Tablet for Reading: Amazon Fire HD 7 ($40)
Best Overall: Boox Nova3 Color ($400)
Reading on a screen is much easier on the eyes with an e-ink display. However, a color screen provides a pleasant pop, particularly with comics and manga. The Boox Nova3 Color (also at other retailers) is an outstanding e-reader. Its 7.8-inch color touch screen eschews the traditional LCD screen for an e-paper display that reduces eye strain.
Capable of displaying 4,096 colors, the Nova3 Color makes everything from reading e-books and web browsing to writing with the included stylus an absolute treat. The 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of onboard storage are more than enough for your e-book collection.
Best for Books: Amazon Fire HD 8 ($60)
Despite not giving you full access to the Google Play Store, the most popular apps including Netflix, Facebook and TikTok are all at your fingertips with the Amazon Fire HD 8 (also at other retailers). Up to 12 hours of reading time means you don’t have to worry about being interrupted by a low-battery notification until it’s well past time to take a break. The Fire HD 8 tablet is unique in that it comes in both ad-supported and ad-free options, with the latter tacking on an additional cost.
Best for PDFs: Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 ($200)
One of the main benefits of using an Android device is the file storage system. Since it allows you to grab documents from just about any source and open them up on the fly, the Samsung Galaxy A7 (also at other retailers) is your best bet for reading PDF files. A 10.4-inch screen offers plenty of space to display pages in a legible presentation, and you’ll have access to the full Google Play Store, an unfettered passage to all of the most popular PDF reader apps.
Best for Comics and Manga: Amazon Fire HD 10 ($100)
The downside of using an iPad for reading is that you can’t actually buy Kindle eBooks on the device itself. Instead, you have to visit the Kindle Store manually in a separate web browser to purchase content before sending it over to the tablet. The Fire HD 10 (also at other retailers), on the other hand, is almost as big as the iPad without the aforementioned restrictions. That means you can download comics and manga straight from ComiXology on the device, then display them on a spacious 10.1-inch screen.
Best for Reading and Web Browsing: iPad Pro 11 M1 ($749)
A more versatile candidate for the title of the best tablet for reading, the 11-inch iPad Pro (also at other retailers) is a welcome midpoint between the iPad Air and the larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Designed for use with the iPad Magic Keyboard, it provides a laptop-like experience for optimal web browsing. The newest M1 version is just as powerful as the most recent MacBook Pro too, so you’ll see results faster than you would with the more affordable base model iPad.
Best for Games and Reading: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ ($729)
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7+ (also at other retailers) is an outstanding tablet. Its 12.4-inch Super AMOLED 2800 x 1752 display makes games and books spring to life. The 120 Hz screen is particularly good for gaming.
You can outfit the S7+ with up to 256 GB of storage space and 8 GB of RAM. Its Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor is an absolute beast. The Samsung DeX or Desktop Experience mode allows you to hook up the Tab S7+ to a monitor, TV or projector for reading and gaming on the big screen. In addition to being a great e-reader, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is one of the best business tablets on the market.
Best Cheap Tablet for Reading: Amazon Fire HD 7 ($40)
At $40, it’s tough to beat the Amazon Fire HD 7 in terms of sheer value. A 7-inch IPS screen yields a wide range of viewing angles so that you can continue reading from the side while doing other things. With up to seven hours of read time, it caters nicely to those looking for a no-frills reading tablet that can handle all the basics. Of course, like other Amazon Fire devices, you will have to shell out a few bucks more to get rid of the ads.
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