Since purchasing my first Kindle more than two years ago, I have frequently indulged in the simple pleasure of reading while walking to work. (Not while crossing intersections. I’m not suicidal.)
Today, while walking home during the lunch hour, I fired up my new iPad, open Seth Godin’s Lynchpin, and prepared to plow through a chapter or two. In short order, though, I gave up. At its very brightest, the iPad’s backlit text could not compete with the glare of a sunny day. Worse, in full sunlight, the glossy, shiny screen of my iPad became a perfect mirror, directing sizzling bolts of brilliance directly into my eyes.
This did not happen with the humble Kindle. Its e-ink screen performs better in bright sunlight. It loves to be read on the beach.
On my way back to the office, seeking respite from the sun, I slipped into a dark Thai restaurant. To save money, the owner refuses to turn on the overhead lights, but on hot days, this transforms the place into a dark, cool retreat. I took a seat at a corner booth, opened my iPad, and began reading.
Had I been reading a Kindle — or even an old-fashioned book — this wouldn’t have been possible; in such a gloomy environment, reflective surfaces (like paper, or e-ink screens) fail. But because I had my iPad, I enjoyed a side order of Seth Godin with my tofu fried rice.
The verdict? Indoors, in bed, or in virtually any artificially-lit environment, the iPad makes for a very pleasant reading tool. If you’re a beachy person, though, or someone who reads, most of the time, under the glare of the noonday sun, you’ll do better to invest in a Kindle.