What’s Better Than a Library? A Portable One – 7 Best Tablets for Reading [2020 Update]

Bookworms come in all forms, shapes, and sizes. Some of them want to carry all their books with them on holidays and have a hard time picking just one or two. Even if you are not one of them, I’m sure you enjoy reading articles once in a while. It is important to stay updated on world news.

Either way, you no longer need to buy multiple books and magazines to fulfill your needs – you can have your tab do the deed. Save paper – check out this list of the best tablets for reading and read anywhere, any time.

Can Tablets Replace Books?

Literary? Yes. Literally? No.

Don’t get it? What this means is you get the text of the book or the literature in the same form, but not the feel of paper that many readers prefer. However, a tablet can be preferable to a book in many ways:

  • You can carry plenty of e-books in your tab, without having to add extra weight to your baggage,
  • Tablets have their own light, so you can read in the dark without a lamp,
  • You can easily change the font size – make things bigger for your convenience,
  • If you use an Android or Windows tab (one that supports Wi-Fi), you can have your books, newspapers, and magazines, all in one place (and not to mention, there are plenty of other things you can do on your tab).
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Our Top Picks

We know that staring at a screen for long hours is not really good for you and especially, your eyes. So what you need is a device that minimizes the damage and gives you a fun reading experience.

What you can expect to find in the market today (for reading, of course) are two types of tablets – e-readers and regular tablets. You know the functions of regular tablets – with an Android, Windows, iOS, etc. operating system – and how they work.

E-readers, on the other hand, use a completely different type of technology for their displays – E Ink. E Ink is a display technology that does not directly emit light, rather reflects light from external sources to show objects on the screen. However, the only colors you will be able to see are black and white. It works like paper, so you can read in broad daylight the way you read a paper book.

Although most recent e-readers come with LED lights so you can read in the dark, you don’t need them and can keep them turned off completely during the day. This is why these are the best tablets for reading outside.

For both types, we have narrowed it down to the ones with the best displays, additional features, and compiled a list for you. Here are our top picks:

Tablet

Display size

Operating System

Battery

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

6” (152.4 mm)

Linux

Up to 6 weeks (half-hour reading per day and wireless off)

Amazon Kindle Oasis

7” (177.8 mm)

Linux

Up to 6 weeks (half hour reading per day and wireless off)

Kobo Clara HD

6” (152.4 mm)

Kobo (customized version of Linux)

Weeks, depending on usage

SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab A

8” (203.2 mm)

Android 9.0 Pie

Over 5 hours with heavy usage (5100 mAh)

Apple iPad Mini 4

7.9” (200.66 mm)

iPad OS 13.4.1

10 hours (5124 mAh)

Amazon Fire HD 8

8” (203.2 mm)

Fire 5.4

Up to 10 hours with mixed usage (3210 mAh)

Lenovo Tab M8

8” (203.2 mm)

Android 9.0 Pie

Up to 18 hours web-browsing (3950 mAh)

E-Readers

Key features:

  • Display: 6” (152.4 mm) Paperwhite display technology with E Ink Carta
  • Resolution: 300 ppi
  • Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.6 x 0.3 in (167 x 116 x 8.18 mm)
  • Weight: 0.40 lbs (182 g)
  • Storage: 8 or 32 GB
  • Front light: 5 LEDs
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + 3G
  • Battery life: Up to 6 weeks maximum (with half-hour reading per day and wireless off)

Amazon Kindle was an innovative solution for bookworms settling into the world of technology.


The Kindle Paperwhite is a 6” (152.4 mm) full-touch display that uses E Ink Carta. The display has a matte finish and looks pretty nice, but does attract quite a lot of fingerprint.


There is built-in adjustable light, 5 LEDs, so you can make it as dim or as bright as you please. Although you don’t need the lights at all. You can change the font size as well as switch the orientation – what we refer to as portrait mode and landscape mode in phones and tabs.


It has Wi-Fi, so you can get your books directly on the device from your Amazon account. It supports 13 different file formats, including audio. Although you cannot expand the storage, so if you want more space, you will have to purchase the one with 32 GB memory. It also has a Bluetooth option, so you can connect to a speaker and listen to audiobooks.


Battery life is pretty good; you get about 21 hours of reading with the Wi-Fi off. The new Paperwhite (10th generation) is waterproof, so you can now read by the pool or by the sea without worrying about damaging your device. It is not dust-proof though, so you may want to be a little careful at the beach.

Kindle Paperwhite – Now Waterproof with 2x the Storage – Includes Special Offers
Now available in Black, Twilight Blue, Plum, or Sage; Now with Audible. Pair with Bluetooth headphones or speakers to listen to your story.

Key features:

  • Display: 7” (177.8 mm) Paperwhite display technology with E Ink Carta
  • Resolution: 300 ppi
  • Dimensions: 6.3 x 5.6 x 0.13 ~ 0.33 in (160 x 142.2 x 3.4 ~ 8.4 mm)
  • Weight: 0.41 lbs (188 g)
  • Storage: 8 or 32 GB
  • Front light: 25 LEDs
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + 3G
  • Battery life: Up to 6 weeks maximum (with half-hour reading per day and wireless off)

The Kindle Oasis (3rd generation) is a bigger screen and a different design compared to the Paperwhite. It does have some upgrades in terms of functions but uses the same technology as the other Kindles by Amazon.


The display is 7” (177.8 mm) with E Ink Carta technology. The touch is pretty responsive and slightly faster compared to previous generations and even other Kindle devices.


The metal body is designed more like a book, with the back of one end being a bit thicker, so it’s easier to hold with one hand. There are two physical buttons at the front to turn pages and/or navigate through. Although the ergonomic design is made for holding in one hand, the screen rotates on its own, depending on which hand you hold it in.


Other than the screen and design, there isn’t much of a difference in the Oasis compared to the Paperwhite. Even the screen resolution is the same. There are 25 LEDs for built-in light. The brightness can be manually adjusted, or set on auto – so they adjust automatically based on your surroundings. You can also change color temperature – make the tone warmer or cooler, whichever you prefer.


The storage and battery life on the device are the same as on the Paperwhite. You can use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Just like the Paperwhite, this device supports 13 different file formats. This is also waterproof and can be your poolside companion.


This might be the best e-reader tablet in the market but is priced significantly higher than the other Kindle devices. It is fancier in many ways, but the added features do not seem to justify the added cost.

All-new Kindle Oasis - Now with adjustable warm light - 8 GB, Graphite (International Version)
Our best 7", 300ppi flush-front Paperwhite display; Adjustable warm light to shift screen shade from white to amber

Key features:

  • Display: 6” (152.4 mm) Carta E-Ink
  • Resolution: 300 ppi
  • Dimensions: 6.28 x 4.33 x 0.33 in (159.6 x 110 x 8.35 mm)
  • Weight: 0.37 lbs (166 g)
  • Storage: 8 GB
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi
  • Battery life: Weeks, depending on usage

Kobo is probably Kindle’s closest competition so far. They have only launched a few devices, of which, the Kobo Clara HD has gained the most popularity. This is a 6” Carta E Ink display with a full-touch screen and a very simplistic plastic body.


The resolution looks pretty good and the screen has a matte finish. There are plenty of customization options, which is pretty cool. Both the font size and font type are customizable. You can swipe or tap on the screen to switch pages and you can also modify where on the screen you tap.


There is a built-in backlight. You can adjust both brightness of the light as well as the color temperature. You can adjust the brightness by scrolling up and down the left side of the screen, no matter which screen you’re on, so that’s an interesting feature.


It has Wi-Fi and 8 GB of internal storage. It does support up to 14 different file formats, but with Kobo books, you get to use some extra features of the device. The battery life is supposed to last weeks, depending on usage. However, you should get around 3 to 4 weeks average, with about half-hour reading per day.


This affordable device is a great alternative to Kindle. If this is the first time you are buying an e-reader, this should be considered.

Sale
Kobo Clara HD 6" Carta E Ink Touchscreen E-Reader
6" Carta E Ink touchscreen; 8GB; Comfort Light: Built-in; 7. 64 x 5. 91 x 1. 06 inches, 180G

Regular tablets

Key features:

  • Display: 8” (203.2 mm) TFT LCD
  • Resolution: 1280 x 800 pixels
  • Dimensions: 8.27 x 4.9 x 0.31 in (210 x 124.4 x 8 mm)
  • Weight: 0.76 lbs (345 g)
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • Storage: 32 GB (expandable)
  • Camera: 8.0 MP (main), 2.0 MP (front)
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + LTE
  • Battery life: Over 5 hours with heavy usage (5100 mAh)

Samsung's Galaxy Tab A is a light and slim 8.0” (203.2 mm) tablet that is meant to be carried around. The aluminum body feels smooth and comfortable in the hand. It is a comfortable size for reading and plenty of bonus activities you do on it.


It has a TFT LCD display, which gives you improved color and contrast. The 1280 x 800 resolution is perfect for the screen size and the image quality is great. Unlike e-readers, you get to see all colors on this tablet. The brightness adjustment scale is pretty wide. You also get a blue light filter and night mode that you can schedule to turn on automatically every day. For those who like reading in the dark, it is highly recommended to use night mode.


It has a 2 B RAM and runs on Android 9.0 Pie. Since this device is not particularly made for reading or any specific activity, you need to get an app for reading. The device itself supports multiple file formats, but you will need to make sure your books are compatible with your app. You can get Amazon Kindle app, Moon+ Reader, Bookari, or Nook, along with plenty of other reading apps in the Google Play Store.


The tab has 32 GB of internal storage, which is expandable, so you can store as many books as you like. There are stereo speakers at the bottom of the device and a 3.5 mm headphone jack if you enjoy audiobooks. You can also listen to music on it, by the way.


The battery life is good. On a heavy usage video test, the duration was found to be a little over 5 hours. However, the battery size is considerably large, so you can expect to get a lot more usage while just reading.


The device is affordable and gives you plenty of updated features. The camera results are quite good too. You can browse the web, watch videos, and even make calls with the LTE version. It is light and portable, so perfect for travel. It is easy to use, so it’s also a great choice for students.

Sale
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0" 32 GB Wifi Android 9.0 Pie Tablet Black (2019) - SM-T290NZKAXAR
Binge ready Battery: browse, watch or shop for upto 13 hours on a full charge

Key features:

  • Display: 7.9” (200.7 mm) Retina display
  • Resolution: 2048 x 1536 pixels
  • Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.24 in (203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1 mm)
  • Weight: 0.66 lbs (300.5 g)
  • RAM: 3 GB
  • Storage: 64 or 256 GB
  • Camera: 8.0 MP (main), 7.0 MP (front)
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + cellular
  • Battery life: 10 hours (5124 mAh)

The iPad Mini 4 is the latest version of the iPad Mini and was released in 2019. This small tablet with a 6.1 mm thickness is super slim and easy to use. The metallic back looks very elegant, but might not be ideal for young children or elderly people since it can slip easily. Although you can get a cover to solve that issue.


This device has a 3 GB RAM and Hexa-core processor. It is well suited for multi-tasking, depending on how much you would like to do on the small screen. The camera takes some great pictures and the audio on this tab is pleasant – hardly any distortion in the sound.


Although the best iPad overall is probably the iPad Pro in terms of features, this one is the best iPad for reading. I’ll tell you why. The best part about this is its compact size – it is very comfortable to hold in one hand. The Retina display is very crisp and bright. The screen does get bright enough to be used outside, but using maximum brightness is not great for your eyes. It’s great for reading and great for watching videos.


Apple products have their own version of apps, so the best app to use on an iPad in iBooks. Other than that, you can get some other apps in the Apple Store like Bluefire or Amazon Kindle. The battery life on this is supposedly 10 hours, but that’s for regular usage – meaning Wi-Fi, video playback, social media apps, etc. When used only for reading, you will be able to run it for much longer.


There is a fingerprint scanner to lock all your data and files – you can store more than books on this device. This is a premium product and a bit more expensive than the others, but it’s definitely worth your money. Unless you prefer a larger screen, you should consider this.

Sale
(Renewed) Apple iPad Mini 4, 128GB, Space Gray - WiFi
7.9" Retina Display, 2048 x 1536 Resolution; Apple iOS 9, Dual-Core A8 Chip with Quad-Core Graphics

Key features:

  • Display: 8.0” (203.2 mm) IPS LCD
  • Resolution: 1280 x 800 pixels
  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.04 x 0.38 in (214 x 128 x 9.7 mm)
  • Weight: 0.81 lbs (369 g)
  • RAM: 1.5 GB
  • Storage: 16 or 32 GB (expandable)
  • Camera: 2 MP (main), VGA (front)
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi
  • Battery life: Up to 10 hours with mixed usage (3210 mAh)

Amazon did a much better job with the Fire tablet range than what they put into the Fire phones. The Fire HD 8 has a plastic body, which feels surprisingly sturdy in the hand. It does not scratch easily and this is definitely a feature that makes this one of the best tablets for seniors. Another one is probably voice commands on Alexa, which is useful for all.


The Fire HD 8 has a 1.5 GB RAM and a quad-core processor. It may slow down if too many apps are run simultaneously, but you shouldn’t have any problem reading and/or navigating through your e-book collection for hours. The battery life is decent, and you can get a maximum of 10 hours with mixed usage (not heavy usage).


It runs Fire OS 5.4, which is a customized version of Android 5.1 Lollipop. It is an old version, but it has most of the features you can expect from a tablet software these days, so you won’t miss much.


The display quality is pleasant, although not amazing. The images are sharp and color contrast is not too high, so it’s comforting to the eyes. You can adjust the brightness to your needs, but even at the maximum it does not get very high – not enough to be used outside at least.


Since this is an Amazon product, you get the Kindle app pre-installed on it. Just for your information, you can use the same Amazon account on a Fire tab and/or your Kindle – you can access all of your books from either device. You get 1.5 GB of RAM and 16 or 32 GB of internal storage in this tablet. There is a dedicated slot for a micro SD card, so you can expand it further.


This is an affordable device with pretty much all features you might want to see in a tab, although not entirely updated. It is a great tablet for reading as well as web browsing.

Fire HD 8 Tablet (8" HD Display, 16 GB) - Red (Previous Generation - 8th)
8" HD display; 16 or 32 GB of internal storage (up to 400 GB with microSD); 1.3 GHz quad-core processor

Key features:

  • Display: 8.0” (203.2 mm) IPS LCD
  • Resolution: 1280 x 800 pixels
  • Dimensions: 7.84 x 4.80 x 0.32 in (199.1 x 121.8 x 8.2 mm)
  • Weight: 0.67 lbs (305 g)
  • RAM: 2 or 3 GB
  • Storage: 16 or 32 GB (expandable)
  • Camera: 5 MP (main), 2 MP (front)
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi
  • Battery life: Up to 18 hours web-browsing (3950 mAh)

Lenovo has produced some great high-end devices as well as some unexpectedly impressive budget tablets. The Lenovo Tab M8 has done pretty well in its category. It has a lovely metallic back and feels premium in the hand. However, considering all other features, this is not a premium device (but still a great buy).


Inside, you get a variation of 2 or 3 GB RAM and a quad-core processor. It runs on Android 9.0 Pie, which means all apps will be updated. You can run all e-reader apps on this that are supported by Android. The internal storage for the 2 GB version is 16 GB and 32 GB for the 3 GB version. You can expand it further using a micro SD card.


The 8” (203.2 mm) HD display looks pretty good. The color intensity is not that high but the resolution is great. Both images and text look quite crisp and solid. Reading is very pleasant, with the blue filter and night mode option you get on this updated Android version.


The battery life is pretty good. You can get a maximum of 18 hours usage with a single charge if you’re web browsing. Hence, offline reading will give you a few more hours of usage. But if you get a tab instead of an e-reader, you should try watching some videos as well.


There is a headphone jack, so if you still own a pair of wired earphones, plug it in. There is a 5 MP rear camera, which is average at best. The front camera takes somewhat blurry pictures.


As far as a tablet for reading goes, this one does quite well. The device comes at a reasonable price, although there are cheaper options that may be just as good. But, you get an updated Android version at a comparatively low price, which you may not find everywhere.

To conclude

Today, the best way to read e-books is definitely on an e-reader. Although you don’t get colors, these devices are designed for reading and once you start using one, you would never want to switch to anything else.

However, it is reasonable to wonder why you should buy one gadget just for reading – in which case, you can buy a regular tab and get your preferred app on it. Whichever one you choose, don’t let go of books – physical or digital. Keep reading!

What did you think of this list? Do you enjoy reading books on a screen? Let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to share this on Facebook and Twitter for your reading club (and other readers).


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