updated 02:25 pm EDT, Mon July 5, 2010
iPad wins in speed, UI for e-reading
Reading on an iPad is better than a Kindle, a study by Nielsen Norman has found. Both were slower than with real paper, but the iPad was considerably quicker for reading at 6.2 percent slower where Amazon's ostensibly better Kindle was actually slower, at 10.2 percent off of the time for paper. Apple's tablet also edged out the Kindle in usability, as iBooks not only had more clearly defined fonts but a much easier to understand page marker.
Both the iPad and Kindle still ended up edging out paper overall, as they scored 5.8 and 5.7 on an enjoyability scale where traditional books were ultimately last at 5.6.
Most of the complaints for reading were based on well-known criticisms, such as the iPad's heavy 1.5-pound weight and the low-contrast nature of an e-paper display on the Kindle. Some elements should also get better, as both are presumed to be getting better displays in the future. The new Kindle DX already has 50 percent higher contrast than its ancestor.
The findings are a possible surprise for Amazon, which has always assumed that the backlight- and flicker-free nature of e-paper would appeal more to customers. Apple's device is thought to be stealing some Kindle sales as it has color and video Amazon's hardware lacks, as well as a platform much more prepared for apps and the web.