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Kindle or iPad (continued)

Friday, 7 December 2012

One of my first postings, a couple of years ago now, tried to set out my experiences in the Kindle vs. IPad debate. A niece asked me this week for my advice on the topic once more, after we bought her Mom an IPad. It might help others to read my reply:

Dear Robbie

If you can afford it, the latest iPad is definitely better, but a Kindle is great — I use both iPad3 and Kindle regularly, and Kindle starts at $65 (a new version of the one I have). The Kindle will change your life by enabling you to carry a library everywhere (a lot of them for free). The iPad will tranform your use of computers completely: we carry ours everywhere except where we are afraid it might get stolen, and there's a free program installed to track it down if it is nicked. But it can cost up to $800. The Mini is sort of cheap, about half the price, but only half as good as it should be to judge by the specifications, and it's a scandal how much profit Apple makes on each sale. Kindle's actually cost more to make than they sell for. Amazon thinks it will make money back on Kindle book sales.

Nikki has told you all the ways we use our iPads, and I am lying in bed at 5 am typing this to you with my thumbs. Go for the top of the range if you can (without 4G) because the more you use it the handier it becomes: I took it out to read yesterday in the cafe by the beach but on the way home we passed some huge ships we wanted to photograph, so I used it for that. Meanwhile Nikki is lying next to me listening to a detective story on her iPad.

I blog from it, edit Webpages, create animated presentations and write guides for Web and electronic books using it, watch films and university lectures on it wherever I can get wifi, but in contrast to Kindle I can't use it in the open sun (a consideration in California).

If you don't need a new computer, look at Kindle, which enables you to view movies and videos at its top price version ($200). If you are in the market for a new computer, consider putting that $200 into an iPad. But you could buy a portable instead. Both iPad and portables can read Kindle books via Amazon's free programs. If you don't know what computer to buy and only use one for emails, internet surfing, writing texts, using spreadsheets and presentations, consider the Google Chrome machines for $200-$400 (Samsung's looks good).

The only devices I'd advise against are ultrathins (these are like the Google Chrome machines but run Windows). They seem overpriced (around $1000 for starters) just to give you something you can carry around easily. I have seen small-screen portables advertised (Toshiba's) that give you the same specifications and almost as portable for $400. [Of course, we have opted for 18-inch screens that can hook up to monitors as well for layouts, as well as creating Blu-Ray DVDs, but that's a rather specialized demand and most people don't need such a monster.]

So it's all a question of what you are going to use it for, immediately and in the near future. iPad is the most exciting machine, and for someone who is scared of computers, it's a no-brainer. Your Mom will find it so much easier to use in ecery waynthan her old stand-alone. The tough question is: do I want to spend that kind of money on myself? If you let someone else use it, you won't get it back, ever!

If you are wondering why I am against 4G for the iPad, it costs $200 extra, and requires an expensive subscription from your telephone company. I hardly use my iPad for telephoning, and I am guessing you won't either. You can probably get an iPhone for less on a subscription plan, and that works brilliantly with an iPad, enabling you to exhange and view potos and texts between them. You have to try one for yourself to appreciate how handy that can be, and most programs for iPad work on the iPhone without your having to pay extra. Ours include electronic banking, barcode readers, price comparison programs, music identifiers, maps and events guides, news readers, TV subscription channels, email (of course), internet surfing, and texting.

Hope that helps.

Love to you all

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