What’s the Difference Between an E-Reader and a Tablet?

With all the new products and accessories that have come out in the past few years, the line between e-reader and tablet has become pretty thin. So, how do you tell them apart? Here’s a quick guide:


E-readers are meant to be used almost exclusively as a high-tech version of a plain old book. Their main function is to store, organize, display, and allow you to read e-books. Some e-readers might have basic Web browsing capabilities or a dictionary lookup function, but these features are generally basic and bound to the limitations of the e-ink screen.

Tablets are meant to be used as a portable computer. (With some limitations, of course.) Their main function is to give you access to the Web and allow you to organize files, increase productivity, play games, and chat with friends using built-in software and downloadable apps. You can store and read e-books on them using the app of your choice.

Battery life

E-readers that use an e-ink screen have significantly longer battery life than tablets, which use an LCD screen with a backlight. This is because it takes no power to display e-ink, and only a small amount to change its configuration on the screen. Battery life in e-readers that use e-ink is measured in weeks rather than hours.


Probably the most obvious difference between e-readers and tablets is the price. E-readers are cheaper than tablets across the board. You can pick up a basic e-reader for less than $100, whereas even a low-end tablet will run you far more than that. That’s why although tablets can do more things, if you’re really just looking to read e-books, an e-reader is almost definitely your best bet.

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