If you're a book lover who likes to read on the go, having one of the best tablets for reading in your bag or backpack is essential. But not every tablet is ideal for reading, which is why it's important to look for the right combination of features, like storage capacity and an eye-friendly screen.
True tablets vs. e-readers
The first decision to make is whether to go with a true tablet or an e-reader. Although e-readers and tablets look very similar, they can vary widely in terms of specs. The average Kindle e-reader generally has 4 to 8 GB of storage, though some have as much as 32 GB. While many people don't need more than 32 GB of storage for reading books, some tablets offer as many as 128 GB. Depending on how you'd like to use your tablet, you might want an option with more storage.
Unlike e-readers, true tablets are for more than just reading books — they also give you the option to listen to music, watch Netflix, or catch up on emails. However, tablet screens aren't always optimized for reading and can be a little more harsh on your eyes. They also tend to have a shorter battery life. If you just plan to read on your device, an e-reader will do the trick, but if you want more versatility, you should probably go with a true tablet.
To make reading more comfortable for long periods of time, look for a tablet with a glare-free screen and a dimmable mode. The option to adjust brightness and dim your screen based on your lighting conditions can help prevent eye strain, especially at night. And while a tablet with a standard 6-inch screen is great for portability (not to mention, often more affordable), some people might prefer a bigger screen. To ensure the text and images on your reader are clear with the best resolution, look for a tablet with a minimum of a 250 to 300 pixels per inch (PPI) or higher resolution.
Finally, if you’ll be reading poolside or at the beach, or taking your tablet outside on rainy days, you may want to splurge for a tablet that’s water-resistant.
With all that in mind, scroll on for the best reading tablets you can find on Amazon.
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1. The waterproof e-reader
Storage: 8 GB (also available in 32 GB)
Display: 7 inches
Resolution: 300 PPI
The highlights: The Kindle Oasis is a fully loaded e-reader designed to make it easy and convenient to read at home or on the go. It’s one of the most advanced Kindles on the market and features 300 PPI resolution for clarity, an E-ink display, and a 7-inch glare-free screen. This tablet has a unique ergonomic design that makes it lightweight and comfortable to hold. There are page turn buttons positioned on the side so that it reads more like a real print book. It also features a built-in warm light that automatically changes based on your lighting conditions, though you also have the option to schedule light changes. Best of all, the battery life should last for weeks between charges.
Depending on your needs, you can nab this Kindle with either 8 GB or 32 GB of storage space. You can also get Wi-Fi connectivity or pay more to add cellular connectivity so you can download books even when you're out. Plus, it’s waterproof with an IPX8 rating, so you can take it with you in the bathtub or the pool without worry.
One reviewer says: “The new lighting [...] transforms the experience of reading in a completely dark room. On existing Kindles, I could never find quite the right light level. If it was as bright as I wanted it to be, that felt too harsh on my eyes. But bringing brightness down to a level that felt comfortable seemed too dim. Now, by simply increasing the lighting warmth on the new Oasis, you can have brighter light with no harshness in a dark room, making reading much easier on the eyes.”
2. The budget e-reader
Storage: 8 GB
Display: 6 inches
Resolution: 300 PPI
The highlights: The Kobo Clara HD is an incredibly lightweight option that's also easy to carry around. The device gives you access to Kobo's own bookstore, which isn't notably different than Amazon's Kindle book selection. The Clara HD has a 6-inch E-ink touchscreen with low glare, plus adjustable built-in lighting that reduces its blue light levels for easy reading in dim conditions without affecting your sleep. The resolution is 300 PPI, and the battery can last for weeks between charges. The only major downside? The Clara HD isn't waterproof.
One reviewer says: “The Kobo Clara HD is very functional for my commute to and from work on the long train ride and for reading at night. [...] The ComfortLight technology is perfect for night-time reading in bed causing NO eye strain nor does it bother my wife. It has some font choices to change your reading format, displays ePub / PDF / Jpeg / Txt etc... supports multiple languages and has no ads. It synched with my Overdrive library and my Pockets app too. GET IT!”
3. The tried-and-true tablet
Storage: 32 (also available in 128 GB)
Display: 10.2 inches
Resolution: 264 PPI
The highlights: For reading, watching movies, and browsing the internet, the Apple iPad is a great option. This tablet has a large 10.2-inch retina display with 264 PPI, a Touch ID fingerprint sensor for security, and an A10 Fusion chip for fast processing. With it, you get access to Apple's massive App Store as well as the Books app, where you can instantly buy and download countless titles. The battery life lasts up 10 hours between charges. There’s also an 8-megapixel (MP) back camera and a 1.2 MP FaceTime HD front camera, so you can stay in touch with friends and family while you're on the go.
With additional accessories like the Apple Pencil, you can take notes, highlight, and even draw while you’re reading. Plus, this tablet includes one free year of Apple TV so you can watch the latest shows and films. The one possible downside is that isn't waterproof. You can choose between 32 or 128 GB of storage, as well as between cellular only or cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity.
One reviewer says: “Amazing iPad. Perfect size for watching videos and reading stuff. Light weight and sleek design. Camera quality is good. Picture quality is good.”
4. The budget tablet
Storage: 32 GB
Display: 7 inches
Resolution: 171 PPI
The highlights: The Fire 7 Tablet is a budget-friendly reading tablet option. It has a 7-inch screen display and 32 GB of internal storage for your favorite ebooks, photos, and other files, though you can add more storage space with a microSD card. Front and rear-facing cameras with 2 MP have the ability to record video as well.
This tablet's battery life lasts up to seven hours between charges, and it features dual-band Wi-Fi for fast connectivity. The built-in Amazon Alexa enables hands-free voice commands.
Now for a few downsides: The tablet isn't waterproof, and it also isn't glare-free, which means it’s not ideal to use in sunny or wet conditions outdoors. In addition, it has a 171 PPI resolution, which is a lot less than the others on this list. That said, for an inexpensive tablet, it's still pretty good.
One reviewer says: “This tablet can be used to do just about anything one would use a tablet for and the battery life is good so far[...] The tablet is perfect for reading since it configures E-books and PDF into a format that is both easy to read and work with.”