iPad vs Kindle vs Kobo

Want to try some iPad Training ?

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Apple iPad
Kindle DX
Price $AU
iPad (wifi) - prices from www.apple.com.au

WiFi only
  • 16GB: $629
  • 32GB: $759
  • 64GB $879

WiFi + 3G
  • 16GB: $799
  • 32GB: $928
  • 64GB: $1049
  • 6 inch Kindle (1500 books) - $259
  • 9.7 inch Kindle DX (3500 books) - $489
  • Australian power adaptor - $4.99
  • Kindle App for iPhone/iPad - FREE

Kobo - prices from Borders Australia www.borders.com.au/ereader
  • 6 inch display $199 (also can read pdfs)
A4 1GHz Apple
533mHz Arm II

1 GB
Screen size / type
LED-Backlit IPS Display
180 degree viewing
e-Ink, 16 shades of grey, no colour
9.7" screen.Kindle DX's screen reflects
light like ordinary paper and uses no
backlighting, eliminating the glare
associated with other electronic displays.
6 inch Vizplex eInk display
with 8 level grayscale
Screen drive
4 Button Interface - "D" Pad
Resolution (pixels)
1024 x 768

64GB Flash

1 GB inc approx 1000 books
External storage support

Standard SD card slot for expandable
memory options, up to 4GB
Supported ebook formats
EPUB, PDF, iBook, AZW, B&N
ePub · FictionBook · Mobipocket/Kindle · PDF · eReader · XHTML · Plain text Adode DRM
Supported audio formats

Suported video formats
H.264, MPEG-4, MPEG

Text to speech otions
Built-in Wi-Fi/3G
WiFI & 3G
No, download book via PC then transfer via USB
Battery type & life
Internal 10 hour
Charged for up to 2 weeks
Charged for up to two weeks.
PC connection
USB and Bluetooth
Dimension in mm (HxWxD)
242.8 mm x 189.7 mm x 13.4 mm
256mm x 183mm x 9.65 mm
120mm x 184mm x 10mm
Web Sites
Apple iPad
Kindle DX features
Weight (grams)
680 gms
540 grams
221 gms

Over 450,000 books - Amazon


Australian Kindle or Apple iPad?

Education Research:

EDNA: Welcome to e-book!
Teaching literacy using a Kindle

Further comments:

Have ordered all three for view and review for school use. Hope all arrive before the holidays so we can get to use them. nteresting to note that both the NSW and Victorian Dept Edns have stated that they cannot see using iPad over notebooks in their endeavours for a 1:1 computer-student ratio.

Jade Comments 22/7/10:
SCREEN SIZE - Well on first look at the Kobo it has the obvious disadvantage in comparison with the Kindle due to the significantly smaller size. This might just mean that it will have a more limited application at school as for example, I wouldn't really enjoy reading news articles and navigating through a newspaper on such a small screen. This ereader might be best for short sharp bursts of reading simpler materials. Reading a novel might also be annoying for a fast reader as you have to scroll to the next page so often as there are only about 16 short lines of text on one screen...
INK - the ink seems comparable to the Kindle, perhaps slightly more 'grainy'
STORAGE - in our table above there is not listed storage limit for the Kindle, this would be interesting as the Kobo doesn't have that much internal storage. I know the SD slot is there but for a school environment I feel that external cards usually get lost, destroyed or damage the equipment due to not being inserted correctly.
USE - on first experimentation, I like the Kindle better than the Kobo as I found it easier to use due largely to the menu that pops up on the RHS of the screen. The Kobo also doesn't connect straight to an online store to download more books, which might be advantageous when students are reading so that they can't buy content accidentally, however the teachers who want to download free content (to meet the learning moment?) are unable to. Not a huge deal though.

Shane 7/8/2010: Having now used all three e-readers I am not convinced of the value-added educational worth against the $Cost. The iPad, while great as a multi-functional tool as well as an e-reader does not have the compatibility requirements with our systems which wuld make it a possible worthwhile investment. No Flash or java means you cannot log onto MacKillop System's SONAR which means a complete bypass of Internet restrictions wiht no log in required. In my opinion, at this stage, our school is not ready for this. The colour screen is great but readability outdoors is restrictive. It is great for watching movies but then battery power is lessened considerably. The iPad has a "10 hour" rating but that is with minimal use and not intensive video. The computer voice modulation is not as good as the Kindle DX. Also you have to have the iPad connected to its parent computer to adjust Universal Access Features (turn voiceover on/off) nad it affects the gesturing capabilities. Quite annoying.

Which brings me to the Kindle DX. You can by for approx the same price as the iPad we bought. However you have a considerable extended range of battery life (up to two week with minimal use) as well as having permanent 3G wireless access to the INternet with restirctions to Amazon (of course), wikipedia and other textb intensive sites. The voice over is by far the best with reasonably fluid male/female voice as well as control over speech rate. Handy for New Arrivals and ESL students. The DX's control features, while simple and limited, are efficient when you get use to them. Lack of gesturing, as in iPad, has meant limitations in navigation but these are not insurmoutable.The lack of multi-functionality can be seen as a plus. Its an e-reader and a good one at that. Accessibility for vision-impaired is good. It is very easy to enlarge the print size but you have to remember that this is at the expense of screen real estate. The 9.7" screen is comparable with the iPad but of course no colour (16 shades of black). Digital ink makes it very reabale for both out and indoor however no backlighting means that external light source is necessary at night. No different to normal reading patterns / requirements. Access to downloading ebooks is restricted to Amazon but you can external upload other book formats as well as PDFs. This means that students could create books for themselves and for others to read (not colour). Writing for a real audience is certainly a plus. Any document is fully searchable and it has an in-built New Oxford Dictionary. Very hand indeed.

The KOBO in my opinion is not an option. Too small and lack the functionality of the DX. While its display is digital ink readability is restricted due to 6" screen. Font enlargening for visually impaired make it difficult for fluid reading and it has no voice-over. In my opinion its is not an option for the school in an educational sense.

Of all three, the Kindle DX has my vote but then only in limited educational use. I would like to hear from the Individual Learning Leaders and Library Teachers. We will be passing these onto them for their opinion.

PS: Downloaded a number of free educational apps on the weekend. Mainly for languages: French, Italian and Japanses. Would like to try out the full $$ version of these free apps (cutdown versions)

Shane 13/8/2010: Have just seen an interesting alternative. OLPC's Nicholas Negroponte XO-3 prototype tablet coming out in 2010. ... Go to "Cool Stuff!" wiki page to see overview. Also see below for a look see at the keypad and VGA adapter for iPad

Apple iPad VGA Adapter Demo

Some comments from email colleagues via the IT Apps Edumail List (over 500 members)

We looked at the ipad; they are a nice media consumption device but we were a bit concerned about getting data on and off the device IE USB connectivity, student file space and printing.

Also word processors and presentation tools are not included in the package so we had to add another Approx $40 to the cost of the device to purchase those apps, I am not sure about site and volume licensing from apple for ipad apps. I know things like Google docs could replace the need for the apps such as pages, but with the wireless running at all times battery life gets shortened and the ipad does not charge from a standard charger, it actually requires a 1 amp usb port and I believe most computers max out a 500 – 700ma. So the availability and OHS requirements for the power need to be considered.There was also the issue of support and Jail Braking. There are pro’s and cons for custom OS and other things but what then happens to the security of the network. Should schools support devices that have been jail broken and how can we stop students Jail braking the device especially if we let them take the devices home.

From a LOTE, Humanities and to some point English point of view we did find some major benefits and have not ruled out purchasing two class sets but as the main stream student device we are not totally convinced of version 1 of the ipad. Let’s see what apple says for second generation.

Some of the pro’s were ITunes university, Ipad books especially Shakespeare and other novels. Also at this point we are actually taking a step back from technology and really look at the curriculum so that it is supported and enhanced by whatever “device” we choose.

Ed 09/08/2010: I had 24 quality hours with the iPad - as a shared video device I found this to be an outstanding. Watching a number of TED videos I could definitely see students in groups of 2 or 3 using this device combined with a headphone splitter or wireless headphones. The touch screen was intuitive, sound and picture quality was excellent. Of course there are the thousands of apps that are also available. Interestingly when I started to read one of the ebooks - I found the device not to fare as well. Maybe its my experience reading paperbacks, I found the device to be heavy - a trait I didn't experience when watching the videos.

At home connecting wirelessly was a breeze and the iPad obviously shone as a device for listening to music and podcasts. I realise the connectivity issues at the school are a large stumbling block.

The other annoyance was the glossy screen - it made it difficult in some conditions to see the screen.

The Kindle I found to easy to use, easy on the eyes when reading - particualry in the daylight and very light. The text to speech was good - if somewhat stilted (but most of my students reading isn't much better!)

I haven't used the KOBO as yet - but based on the comments it appears it may not be the right fit for MacKillop. I'd still be interested in giving it a test run.

I guess the big question is what do we want to use the device for? Multimedia? e-Books? Laptop?

iPad Alternatives: The Main Contenders

The above link provides just an overview of what is coming out onto the market in the nxt 6-12 months if not already here. They have been out long enough for extensive evaluation but do offer and alternative to iPads in certain functionalities.