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Kindle Paperwhite versus iPad Mini

Kindle Paperwhite versus Kindle app on Ipad Mini. I know, comparing a Paperwhite versus an iPad is borderline ludicrous. But, I’m focusing on the application with this post. What functionality is in the paperwhite versus the iPad app. How do the apps differ in usability?


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Quick hardware overview: The Paperwhite is a $119 device that has one purpose; to display eBooks. It is a 6” device that is not overly fast, but it only needs to be fast enough to swipe to the next page in the book. It does not have an app store, but it does have a beta browser for surfing the web in glorious greyscale.

The iPad mini starts at $299, for last years 16GB model and climbs to $829 for a 128GB LTE enabled mini-beast iPad Mini with Retina Display. Both last years model, and the Retina Display model will obviously outpace the Paperwhite in that the Pixel count is significantly higher, and well the iPads are color devices. Speed wise, last years model will continue to be fast enough to swipe to the next page, but also let you play a game, surf the web etc, in reasonable performance.

One key difference in the Paperwhite and iPad mini hardware is the battery life. The iPad mini will get roughly 10 hours of normal usage per Apple. The Paperwhite has a claimed 8week battery life with the WIFI turned off, and only 30 minutes of reading a day. This is important, for when the kids are using the device. They do not always, charge as often as they should; and you do not know that, until you take off for a cross-country drive.

Kindle reader software differences: There are four major software differences between the Paperwhite reader software and the iPad Kindle software. The first is that, obviously, the iPad will allow the reader to view embedded pictures in color where appropriate. While, reading most books, this won’t be an issue. But, if you are reading a magazine or a text book, this could cause issues.

The second difference is that that IPad will allow you to read in both landscape and portrait mode. The Paperwhite will only allow you to read in portrait mode. This is useful in those times, you want to see a bit more information than can be displayed on a single page in portrait mode. This is probably a feature that will get more usage on the full size iPads, than the mini, but that is my personal opinion.


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The third difference, is that the Paperwhite links to the goodreads website. This is a social media website, where you can find out what others think of books, have virtual book clubs, and record your thoughts on a book. You can read more about the integration here, on the goodreads website.

The final difference between the Paperwhite reader and the iPad is that the Paperwhite supports a limited version of the Kindle Free Time functionality. the Free time functionality allows the parent to limit what books the child is allowed to read. You can have different accounts for the kids, so each child can have a different list of age appropriate reading material. The Free Time app, also can set a time limit on when, and for how long the child can read. While, letting a child read is almost always a good thing. Sometimes, you have to say “stop, go to bed.” With Free Time, you don’t need to have that argument, the application plays Bad Cop.

Final Thoughts: My wife and I are avid Apple fans, iphones, Macbooks, Apple TV, iPad 2 and iPad Mini. But, we chose the Paperwhites for our children. It was a tough decision, but in the end, we were concerned that they would spend more time playing games, than reading. We might in the future revisit, but for now, we are satisfied with our decision. While our older son, has been avid reader, since he could read; our younger son, not so much. Now, he is reading considerably more and his vocabulary is increasing.

Here is a link to the Paperwhite on the Amazon site. Read the reviews, and given the right situation, the Paperwhite outshines the iPad Mini.

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