iPad v Kindle round 1

OK. First the declaration. I bought an ipad off eBay last Thursday – and I’ll write more about it later. But for the moment, let’s just say that the first device I’m turning to for almost everything is the new beast – *if* I can get it off my kids. My iphone and Macbook probably feel a little unloved at the moment. Which is why this post in the LA Times (and re-posted all over the place) rankles more than a little. In essence, the article quotes an expert saying that reading a kindle in bed is less likely to induce insomnia than an ipad:

Light-emitting devices, including cellphones and yep, the iPad, tell the brain to stay alert. Because users hold those devices so close to their face, staring directly into the light, the effect is amplified compared with, say, a TV across the room or a bedside lamp, said Frisca Yan-Go, director of the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center in Santa Monica.

My instinct is that our expert has not actually used an iPad in bed. Because when you do, you don’t hold it close to your face (like you would an iphone for example) because it’s substantially bigger and quite heavy. For bedtime reading of ebooks, my (four evening) experience has been that it’s best rested further down, on my stomach or thereabouts, with the font size adjusted to be readable and the brightness turned way, way down. I don’t think iBooks has a ‘nightime’ mode which reverses the type like some iphone apps, but something like it will no doubt come. My partner, reading her kindle with the light on, is far more intrusive (and the page turning click is incredibly annoying in the dead of night). But, YMMV. Besides, noting puts her to sleep faster than a game or six of solitaire on her iphone (yes, held inches from her face. Although apparently that can’t be happening, according to our experts).

I’m not saying that there’s nothing in “the e-ink is better for insomniacs argument”, but it’d be nice to see actual research, rather than opinion being passed off as research, no matter who it’s from. So wake me when the double-blind test has been done.

5 comments so far

  1. Phil on

    Try the amazon kindle app for iPad, you can change text/background color

  2. shermanfyoung on

    Hi Phil

    Yeah got it. But haven’t really played with it. iBooks lets me read ePubs and (especially in bed), I like the 2 page to a view landscape mode 🙂



  3. Marc on

    I’ve read books every night since I got iPad and it’s better than a physical book because I don’t have to change position to turn the page, just move a finger and tap.

    Though I have been using the Kindle app more and I like the sepia background option.

  4. shermanfyoung on

    HI Marc. Me too. Although I’ve got to confess I’ve been reading magazines 🙂 Zinio looks like replacing my newstand browsing habits (although the app crashes regularly). Good point about not having to move to turn pages – and I’m getting used to the ipad’s size and heft (although I wish it were ‘grippier’ – I might invest in some sort of textured case..


    • Pete on

      Hi Sherman, the weight and size were what i noticed as well – it definitely should be a lot “grippier” as you say – i also found using it outside with my sunnies on did not make it easy to see the screen – there might be a double polarisation thing going on. Hope you didn’t have to lift your max bid to get it. Cheers, Pete from CCH.

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