A Kindle DX or an iPad?

I love reading technical books, more than blog posts. They give you a better and deep insight in the matter you're reading about. The big problem is that, at best, these books are relevant for a few years and then can be thrown out. In January of this year Amazon released the Kindle DX with global wireless. Since then I've been looking out for the eReader that would best fit my needs. Based on the review by Scott Hanselman and some other internet resources I had set myself to let Amazon fly over my very own Kindle DX to Belgium.


It was about the same time that there was a lot of buzz around the iPad that Apple has released in April of this year. I had already set my mind to buying the Kindle DX and I didn't have enough patience to wait until the release of the new Apple wunderkind. I had a 3 week holiday planned to Bali in May and that was the perfect opportunity to stress test the device.

The first thing that I absolutely love about the Kindle is the battery life. I used the device a lot during travel, on the plane, on the beach, ... and not once did it run out of juice. For me this is a deal breaker, you don't want to be stuck on a flight of 14 hours and have your eReader run out of batteries after 2 hours. Then you'll have to watch a movie with Chinese subtitles on those crappy entertainment systems they provide. The second thing that was absolutely great was the screen. Not once did my eyes feel tired or sore from staring at it for a long time. And I read 1000+ pages on the device in a few days. In my opinion there is no LCD screen that can match an eInk screen. Although it's only black and white and the response is a bit rough, I am a real fan of the screen.

Once in Bali I was afraid that it would be fragile to take the device to the beach, with sand crawling in places you don't want it. But again I was reassured, it is robust enough to take it to delicate places. You do have to buy a case for it, otherwise it'll get dirty pretty fast. I'm not the most neat guy and I spilled sunscreen, an exotic cocktail and who knows what else on my Kindle case. The case earned its cost back by protecting my precious Kindle perfectly. Although it's a bit stained right now but that's what a case is for right?

And now to my disappointments. My girlfriend had bought a book in KL Airport that she said was very good. I wanted to buy it on my Kindle, because that is a strong selling point of the global wireless, but it didn't work in Malaysia. It also didn't work in Indonesia. I could connect to the Kindle store, but every time I wanted to buy a book I got "This book is not available in this country". Once I was back in Europe, I could surf the Amazon Kindle Store and buy books. If they sell it as global wireless, I want global wireless. Indonesia and certainly Malaysia are not the end of the world. Their internet usage is almost up to par with the European and American so I would have expected the global wireless to work there.

While using it I couldn't stop thinking how cool it would be being able to read my RSS feeds. I have to admit, I see the Reeder application on iPad and I'm jealous. This is for me the biggest drawback of the device. You can't install any additional applications on it. I don't want to play airhockey on the thing but if I have a dedicated mobile reading device it would be nice to download my feeds to it and read them while being offline. In the experimental option there are some new features like playing MP3s and surfing the web. But I haven't been in a country where I can actually surf the web. Although exciting features in theory, they're disappointing in reality.

Conclusion? I get a lot of people asking me, what should I buy? iPad? Kindle? Kindle DX? Well, if I had to choose again I'd probably get an iPad. I love the eInk screen on the Kindle and think it's a must if you read a lot on your device. But installing applications is a real deal breaker for me. The possibilities are endless with an iPad, not so with a Kindle. I haven't tried myself reading hours and hours on an iPad. But I've heard from different persons that it's a really good screen and isn't tiring on the eyes. But still I'm pretty happy with my Kindle.

How about you, do love your iPad? Or your Kindle?