It’s incredibly easy to fall in love with the iPad, even for one who, at first, was resistant to its blandishments. Its luscious interface, exquisitely responsive touch and app-powered flexibility are enough to win over even hardened Apple cynics.
But, let’s face it, the Kindle is better in bed. At least, it is when it comes to reading books.
I’ve been reading ebooks in bed first with the original Sony Reader, then with the next-gen Reader, the original Kindle, the second-gen Kindle and, now, the iPad. The iPad is lousy in bed.
Why? Because it’s too heavy and too slippery. Unless you’re the type who reads sitting propped up against pillows, you’re going to find the iPad an uncomfortable bedmate.
Reading with the Kindle is pretty much like reading a small paperback book. It’s light in the hands and the absence of backlighting makes it easy on the eyes, too.
Reading in bed with the iPad, on the other hand, is more like reading a hardback or, at least, a Robert Ludlum paperback. After a while, you’ll find your hands going numb, and although you can adjust the lighting level and the colour of the page, the backlighting takes its toll if you read for more than an hour or so. I also defy anyone to use a cover-less iPad in bed for any length of time. That beautiful shiny tablet slips around in your hands, providing no purchase. You’ll definitely need to slip it into a cover and that adds a few more ounces to its weight.
What the iPad does well in bed
Despite these drawbacks, there are several pluses to the in-bed experience with the iPad. The backlighting is handy if you wake in the middle of the night and want to read without turning on a light. You’ll want to drop the brightness down to read in the dark, especially if you don’t want to disturb your partner, but it’s much easier using the iPad in this way than trying to read a Kindle with a book light attached.
There’s also the delight of being able to read all sorts of stuff on the iPad while you’re in bed. You’re not limited to books: surf the web, read The New York Times, catch up with your favourite RSS feeds, do a crossword. It’s all at your fingertips with the iPad; not so with the Kindle.
But the iPad’s weight really is a drag and it makes all the difference. If you’re tossing up between the Kindle and the iPad because you’re primarily interested in reading ebooks, the bedtime experience is one good reason to go with the Kindle.