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Best tablets for reading ebooks: Apple versus Android

Tablets are typically more expensive than ereaders but they can do a whole lot more.

Fergus Halliday
Feb 02, 2024
Icon Time To Read4 min read

If the thing you care about the most when it comes to your next tablet is how good it's going to be when it comes to reading ebooks, you've come to the right place.

Although this particular use case isn't as flashy as content creation or gaming, it's still a solid fit for the tablet form factor. What's more, you don't have to spend that much more on a tablet than you might on one of the nicer ereaders out there to get a lot more bang for your buck from a tablet like an iPad.

To help you save time and come to a decision, here's our guide to the best tablets for reading in Australia.

Why use a tablet instead of an ereader?

Kindle versus the world (of tablets)

These days, Amazon has a Kindle for every type of consumer but one. The kind of user who'd just prefer to read ebooks on a tablet. If you'd fancy a nicer screen, a snappier processor and the option of doing more than just reading and you don't mind sacrificing some battery life to get there, a tablet can be a solid (if pricy) alternative to a traditional ereader like the Kindle or Kobo.

Here's a short list of reasons to consider a tablet instead of an ereader:

  • Tablets have faster processors and feel more responsive to use
  • Tablets can have nicer screens
  • Tablets are better for managing different ebook apps and formats
  • You're not locked into a single ebook store
  • Tablets very comic-friendly
  • You can do other stuff on tablets

Apple iPad Mini

Best tablet for reading

Apple iPad mini Wi-Fi (256 GB)
iPad Mini (6th Gen)
Display
4 out of 5 stars
4
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
4
Design
4 out of 5 stars
4
From
$827
pro Apple Pencil 2 support
pro Goregeous design
con No FaceID
con No expandable storage

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

While the lower asking price seen in the standard Apple iPad is likely to be pretty tempting to those looking to pick one up for reading, there are a few good reasons to consider the iPad Mini instead.

Updated in 2021, the new iPad Mini features a gorgeous 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display and comes powered by the same A15 Bionic processor found in the iPhone 13. It's also got a significantly more modern design, incorporating a USB Type-C port rather than Apple's own Lightning cable, support for the second-generation Apple Pencil and 5G connectivity.

Even if it's not the absolute cheapest tablet, the new iPad Mini sets a high bar for cheap tablets to aspire towards and the compact form factor makes it a great choice for on-the-go ebooks. You can also get it on a postpaid plan through providers in the widget below.

TCL NXTPAPER 10s

Best cheap Android tablet for reading

TCL NXTPAPER 10s
TCL NXTPAPER 10s
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
2
Display
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Design
3 out of 5 stars
3
From
$394
pro Decent price
pro Easy to switch from ereader to tablet or PC mode
con Matte screen dulls regular tablet usage
con Battery life is typical for a tablet of this price but ereaders last much longer

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

There are plenty of cheap Android tablets out there that you could use instead of a dedicated ereader. Some have nicer screens. Some have faster processors. However, the TCL Nxtpaper Tab 10S is unique in that it features an e-reader-esque form factor and display.

It's very much one of those tablets that's a jack of all trades and master of none, but it is very cheap and it goes one step further than most when it comes to offering a quality ereader experience on a tablet. If you can't afford something like the iPad Mini or don't want to lock yourself into the Apple ecosystem, then the TCL NXTPAPER 10s is one to consider.

Also consider: the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

It's a fold new world

It's as far from a cheap tablet as you can get, but Samsung's big-screen foldable smartphone is awesome for reading ebooks. It's more portable than either a tablet or an ereader, and the fact that is a smartphone means that you're cutting down on the number of gadgets you're carrying around with you every day.

Check out the widget below for a snapshot of cheap mobile plans for the Galaxy Z Fold 5.

iPad (9th Gen)

Best cheap Apple tablet for reading

Ipad 2021
iPad (9th Gen)
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
3
Display
3 out of 5 stars
3
Design
3 out of 5 stars
3
From
$549
pro A13 processor
pro Cheap price
con Limited storage
con Dated looks

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

Although the iPad Mini is easily the better buy for those who want a tablet that's ideal for ereading, the old-school 9th Gen iPad might be a good alternative for those who can't stretch their budget that far.

It's almost half the cost and the sizing isn't as well suited for longer sessions, but it still offers many of the advantages that those who are looking to pick up a tablet instead of an ereader will appreciate. Compared to the average, it's got a nicer screen and a much faster processor. Since it runs on iOS, it'll also play nice with numerous ebook stores and library apps rather than just one.

It might not be as good at going beyond the brief of being a tablet that you read ebooks on, but the baseline iPad still offers plenty of thrills at a relatively affordable price. You can even snag one on a plan through select mobile providers using the widget below.

The best ereaders available in Australia

All is not equal in the battle between Kindle and Kobo.

icon-expertise

How we choose the best tablets for reading

Realistically, most consumers probably aren't going to choose their next tablet based on how good it will be as an ereader. However, if you are someone going down that road, there are several things that you might consider.

These formed the basis of our methodology when it came to picking and choosing the best tablet for reading. The first thing we looked at was size. The closer a given tablet is to the form factor of a traditional ereader, the better. Then, we factored in display quality. If you're going to be spending a lot of time reading on a given gadget, you want that display to be as good as possible or at least as ebook-friendly as possible.

Finally, we factored in the snappiness of both the underlying hardware and the maturity of the app ecosystem for a given tablet. One of the big advantages that tablets have when it comes to ebooks is that they can play nice with every format and online storefront, so it made sense for us to privilege cases where that possibility space was as far-reaching (and future-proofed) as possible.

Fergus Halliday
Written by
Fergus Halliday
Fergus Halliday is a journalist and editor for Reviews.org. He’s written about technology, telecommunications, gaming and more for over a decade. He got his start writing in high school and began his full-time career as the Editor of PC World Australia. Fergus has made the MCV 30 Under 30 list, been a finalist for seven categories at the IT Journalism Awards and won Most Controversial Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards. He has been published in Gizmodo, Kotaku, GamesHub, Press Start, Screen Rant, Superjump, Nestegg and more.

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