Recommend me a tablet/ereader for reading technical books

I know we already have a "recommend me a tablet" thread, but I wanted to ask specifically about readability. Nothing else matters. Not games, not video, not the app ecosystem. I'm currently "rocking" a phablet to see if it could work as a device I have on my person at all times, but could be used for reading technical books I'm working my way through. I also read quite a bit on my MacBook Pro Retina. Generally when I'm working my way through a programming book and want to work along with the examples in the book. I'm not quite sold on the phablet, though, so there's still a need for something when I'm on my morning commute. I have a Kindle, but I have trouble following it or enjoying reading it for technical books the same was I did paper books. Same for when I had an iPad Mini. I used to to surf more than I used it to read technical books.

The answer might be to just buy physical technical books. That there may be something about the paper and the context that I can't get past. But I keep wondering if maybe a larger tablet (which I haven't tried out) might be better. A 10" Android tablet or an iPad Air. Curious what those of you who also read technical books prefer.

I read more with my iPad than I have in years, between Kindle books and Oyster. Most are dense texts, even if they're not specifically technical.

The size is a factor for me... variable text size means I can read longer or when I'm at different levels of energy, and the larger size makes it easier to hold or put in a stand. I think an iPad mini or a Nexus 7 would be too small for me personally.

Is there a book platform you prefer, or where more of your texts are available from? That might make a difference in which tablet would make more sense.

I have a ton of books on Kindle. But I also have a Safari subscription as well as a number of DRM-free eBooks that I can read on any platform. So I don't have a preference in that respect. I think what I'm starting to figure out, though, is that I start to lose the context when I have to page frequently. This isn't as big of a deal with a fiction book because it's a different kind of read. With a technical book, though, I tend to read them faster and I tend to scan more. This is why I think I'm having trouble with the 7" tablets like the iPad Mini.

The iPad Mini works better in terms of being something I'm more likely to pack around with me. But I'm starting to wonder if I wouldn't be better off with something like the iPad Air or a 10" Android tablet where I have a larger field of view.

Which iPad do you have?

the... 3rd gen, I think. The one that was supposed to be stupid to buy because they released an update so soon afterward

It's more portable than I was expecting it to be. You can't just shove it in your back pocket, obviously, but I'm super visual so the few extra inches of screen real estate more than makes up for it being a little more cumbersome.

Also, I have a Nexus phone so it's nice having one of each platform. I'd never want an iPhone, but having an iPad lets me dick around with things that will never be released for Android.

After using the Note 3 for a while I think it's going to be hard to go back to my iPhone. But I can't afford two pricey new devices and I think my money might be better spent on an iPad Air. Your feedback plus feedback in IRC has me fairly convinced that I could benefit from a full-screen tablet.

clover wrote:

the... 3rd gen, I think. The one that was supposed to be stupid to buy because they released an update so soon afterward :D

One more anecdote: I've got one of those, too, mostly use it for reading, and am very happy with it.

The "work" function of my iPad is mostly articles, from JSTOR or hand-scanned, from journals in a variety of formats. A PDF of a 8.5"x11" page is quite readable on the 9.7" Retina screen.

I've had an iPad for ages and never found it an appealing device to read on just because of the weight of the thing. Some people don't have a problem with it, but it's something to bear in mind if you usually hold what you're reading, rather than sitting it down on a table in front of you. With that in mind I'd be inclined to look at the iPad Air, just because it's so much lighter than the competition.

Full size iPad is what I use for references and manuals, but for fiction its all Kindle e-ink hardware. A Windows tablet with adjustable color temperature for the display might be able to bridge that gap.

Kurrelgyre wrote:

Full size iPad is what I use for references and manuals, but for fiction its all Kindle e-ink hardware.


Tech books with diagrams and code samples, magazines, football books with play sketches, etc., all on the iPad.

Novels and anything else that's purely plaintext read in straight linear fashion, I pull out my e-ink Kindle.

I gave up on trying to make one device fit all. The e-ink device won't make a magazine layout or PDF render well. An LED screen tablet won't replace the paperback at the beach. But seeing as the two devices stacked together are still thinner than said paperback, it's hardly a bother to carry both.