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The best reading tablets you can buy: Expert tested

Ditch the heavy books and opt for a reading tablet instead. We tested the top reading tablets from Kindle, Apple, and more to store all of your must-read titles.
Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer
Kindle Paperwhite (11th generation) | Best reading tablet overall
Kindle Paperwhite against wood backdrop
Kindle Paperwhite (11th generation)
Best reading tablet overall
View now View at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8.4 | Best Android reading tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8.4
Best Android reading tablet
View now View at Amazon
Kindle Scribe | Best tablet for reading and note-taking
Kindle Scribe
Best tablet for reading and note-taking
View now View at Amazon
Apple iPad Mini (6th generation) | Best reading tablet for Apple users
Apple iPad Mini (6th generation)
Best reading tablet for Apple users
View now View at Amazon
Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet (12th generation) | Best kids reading tablet
Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet
Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet (12th generation)
Best kids reading tablet
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If you're sick and (physically) tired of the perpetual backaches that come with a heavy book load in your backpack, might we suggest an e-reader instead? 

Also: Best Kindle readers of 2024

E-readers allow you to store entire libraries (including books, magazines, and even newspaper subscriptions) in one sleek and lightweight device. Of course, you can pick up most tablets, like an iPad, to read a book, but not all tablets and e-readers are created equal or are easy on the eyes. That's why we've rounded up the best tablets for reading if you're ready to dive into the next book on your list or conserve space in your backpack.

What is the best reading tablet right now?

We compiled this list by extensively going hands-on with the best tablets for reading on the market, considering price, storage, and special features in our testing. Through this, we named the Kindle Paperwhite the best reading tablet overall for its adjustable lighting, performance, and battery life. However, we also include reading tablets from brands like Apple and Samsung so you can find the right tablet for your needs and reading style. 

The best reading tablets of 2024

Pros & Cons
  • IPX8 water resistant for reading poolside or in the bath
  • Adjustable warm light for nighttime reading
  • Fast performance
  • Light sensor can be slow to adjust
More Details

This Kindle hasn't been updated by Amazon since 2021, but its features, like its adjustable warm light for comfortable reading at night and  a long-lasting battery life of up to 10 weeks make it comparable to most e-readers on the market today. Amazon customers who have purchased this Kindle also like its unique features like creating categories to organize your books, uploading your own fonts to use while reading, and the ability to look up words/phrases mid-text and be able to reference past searches. 

The screen features Amazon's signature e-ink technology, much different than the shiny display you'd find on an iPad. E-ink provides a paper-like, matte display thanks to 300 pixels per inch (ppi) and 17 front light LEDs. 

Review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: A classic, now modern, e-reader thanks to USB-C and wireless charging

ZDNET contributing writer, Jason Cipriani, reviewed the Kindle Paperwhite and said the boos in performance is noticeable in the latest generation. "According to Amazon, the new Paperwhite has 20% faster performance when it comes to turning the page in a book," Cipriani wrote. "There's almost no delay after tapping on the screen before the text refreshes with the next page, ready for action."

It's also waterproof (how many tablets can say that?), so you can read by the pool or in the bath without worrying about stray splashes. If you want to upgrade to have the auto-adjusting light feature and 32GB of storage, the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition will cost you $50 more. 

Kindle Paperwhite specs: Display: 6.8-inch 300 ppi e-ink screen| Battery life: Up to 10 weeks (at 30 minutes per day) | Weight: 7.23 ounces | Storage: 8 GB or 16 GB

Pros & Cons
  • Bright and sharp screen
  • Expandable memory up to 512GB with a microSD card
  • Runs on an older Android system
More Details

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8.4 is perhaps lesser known compared to its Tab S counterparts, but this small, lightweight Android tablet makes the perfect handheld reading device. 

It comes with a 1,920 x 1,200 pixel display with 270 ppi (close to Kindle's 300 ppi), so images and text look bright and sharp on screen. 

Also: The best Android tablets

Even though it runs on the outdated Android 9 Pie operating system, you'll still get great tablet features like a 5MP front-facing camera, an 8MP rear camera with autofocus, a long-lasting battery, and the ability to expand your storage to up to 512GB with a microSD card (that's a lot of books!). 

One Amazon user who rated this Android tablet 5 out of 5 stars called it the best tablet for its price, saying, "I am an avid Kindle reader and I like to listen to music while I read. Using the Wi-Fi and my Amazon Music Unlimited I have the best of all worlds."

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8.4 specs: Display: 8.4-inch WUXGA Display TFT (270 ppi) | Battery life: 10 hours | Weight: 10.93 oz | Storage: 32GB

Pros & Cons
  • Impressive battery life
  • Included pen for handwritten notes
  • Compatible with Microsoft Word
  • Not waterproof
  • Premium pen upgrade will cost you more
  • Does not support note-taking on magazines or newspapers
More Details

The Kindle Scribe is perhaps the perfect example of part e-reader, part tablet to satisfy your reading and note-taking needs. It has the same functions you've come to know and love in a Kindle, like 300 ppi glare-free screen, weeks of battery life, and adjustable warm light. It's also compatible with Amazon's Basic or Premium Pen, so you can take handwritten notes or underline important quotations within the book you're reading. 

Your notes are automatically organized in one place for every book, so you can browse, review, and export them via email. The Kindle Scribe also comes with preset templates to help you create notebooks, journals, and lists, and you can can create sticky notes in Microsoft Word and other compatible Word documents. 

Review: Amazon Kindle Scribe

ZDNET contributing writer, Matthew Miller, went hands-on with the Kindle Scribe and called it "close to perfect." "I use my Kindle Scribe daily as my primary note-taking device, and the habit of carrying it has also resulted in me reading more books than I have in years," Miller wrote. "It's an excellent ebook device while also serving as a capable working tablet."

The Kindle Scribe comes with the Basic pen, but for the more advanced features like a dedicated eraser and the shortcut button, you'll need the Premium pen, which costs $30 extra. However, Amazon customers who have reviewed the Kindle Scribe say that the premium pen is worth paying extra for, especially since it has an eraser and a button that lets you switch the nib from writing to highlighting.

Kindle Scribe specs: Display: 10.2-inch 300 ppi Paperwhite display| Battery life: Up to 12 weeks (at 30 minutes per day) | Weight: 15.3 ounces | Storage: 16 GB, 32 GB, or 64 GB

Pros & Cons
  • Strong performance in A15 Bionic chip
  • Pixel-dense display makes for sharp text
  • True Tone technology
  • Most expensive option
More Details

Of course, you don't have to get a dedicated e-reader in order to read on a tablet. The iPad Mini is a powerful tablet with great applications, and it serves as a great reading device thanks to its light weight and sharp screen. It has an 8.3-inch liquid retina display with 326 ppi, which is a higher resolution compared to the Kindles. As a result, text looks especially sharp on screen, and coupled with Apple's True Tone technology (which adjusts the color and intensity of your display to match the ambient light), it provides a natural reading experience. 

Review: Apple iPad Mini (6th generation)

Cipriani also tested the Apple iPad Mini and gave it high praise, saying, "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't absolutely fascinated by it." "With the iPad Mini, which ships with iPadOS 15, I set up a new Focus mode that automatically turns on whenever I open the Kindle app," he wrote. "It blocks all alerts and messages from showing up while I'm reading and then turns off once I leave the app."

Apple's anti-reflective screen coating also makes it less likely to catch a sunlight glare when you're reading outside on a sunny day. One Best Buy reviewer notes that the screen display lighting "is quite soft to the eye -- not to mention versatile as well."

With the iPad Mini, you're also getting Apple's powerful A15 bionic chip, an ultra-wide 12 MP front camera, support for the 2nd-generation Apple Pencil to take notes, 80% faster graphics than the previous model, Touch ID, and more. 

Apple iPad Mini specs: Display: 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display (326 ppi) | Battery life: 10 hours | Weight: 10.4 ounces | Storage: 64GB or 256GB 

Pros & Cons
  • Two-year worry-free guarantee
  • Includes a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+
  • Amazon Kids+ subscription will cost extra after free trial
  • Not as great screen quality as other options
More Details

For a kid-friendly reading tablet, Amazon's Fire HD 8 Kids tablet is worth checking out. Not only does it have a kid-proof case built to withstand use by children aged 3 to 7 years old, but it also comes with a free one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+. The subscription gets you access to thousands of kid-friendly ad-free books, as well as movies, games, and other educational content your child will love.

Review: I bought this Amazon kids tablet instead of an iPad and wasn't sorry 

ZNDET writer, Maria Diaz, had her kids test out the Fire HD 8 Kids tablet, and called it "a perfect first tablet" built with kids in mind. "Endurance really is the main reason why any parent should buy the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids," Diaz wrote. "I can't tell you how many times my preschoolers have dropped (or thrown) their [Amazon] tablets and stepped on them 'by accident' over the past three years, yet the screens have remained intact."

Parents can control screen time and set educational goals for their children using parental controls built into the tablet to make sure your kid is actually reading or learning something while using it. Plus, it has 2 MP front and rear-facing cameras with 720p HD video recording with the ability to add themed filters and fun frames to photos. 

Overall, 95% of customers who purchased this reading tablet at Best Buy would recommend it to other parents, giving it an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet specs: Display: 8-inch HD display, 1280 x 800 (189 ppi) | Battery life: Up to 13 hours | Weight: 1.14 pounds | Storage: 32GB or 64GB

What is the best reading tablet?

The best reading tablet is the Kindle Paperwhite with reading-specific features like adjustable warm light, as well as a great battery life and screen that's easy on the eyes. Below is an overview of how the best reading tablets compare based on price, display size, and battery life: 

Reading tablet



Battery life

Kindle Paperwhite


6.8-inch 300 ppi e-ink screen

Up to 10 weeks

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8.4


8.4-inch WUXGA Display TFT (270 ppi)

10 hours

Kindle Scribe


10.2-inch 300 ppi Paperwhite display

Up to 12 weeks

iPad Mini


8.3-inch Liquid Retina display (326 ppi)

Up to 13 hours

Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids


8-inch HD display, 1280 x 800 (189 ppi)

10 hours

Which reading tablet is right for you?

While all of these reading tablets are great options, it ultimately comes down to a few questions. Do you want your tablet to be just for reading, or do you also want it for other things like streaming and web browsing? How big do you want the tablet to be? How much storage space do you need and how much are you willing to spend? 

Here is a look at the unique features for each of these reading tablets: 

Choose this reading tablet...

If you want...

Kindle Paperwhite

The best overall option. This reading tablet has IPX8 water resistance, a 10-week battery life, and adjustable warm light.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8.4

An Android tablet with a bright and sharp screen. Other features include expandable memory up to 512GB and a 5MP front-facing camera. 

Kindle Scribe

An e-reader that doubles as a note-taker with an outstanding battery life and an included pen. It's even compatible with Microsoft Word. 

iPad Mini

An Apple tablet that's powerful yet lightweight for reading with True Tone technology. The pixel-dense display also makes for sharper text.

Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids

A reading tablet with kid-friendly features like an Amazon Kid+ subscription for one year. It's also super durable and comes with a two-year worry-free guarantee.

Factors to consider when choosing the best reading tablets:

Whether you want to jot notes while reading, have a tablet with water resistance for poolside browsing, or invest in a kid-friendly option, we have you covered. ZDNET considered price, size, and special features when making our final picks.

  • Price: A decent e-reader can range from $100 to $500. You can easily find an e-reader or tablet within your desired price range that serves your reading purposes and offers large memory, long lasting battery life, and a lightweight feel for ultimate portability.  
  • Size: If you are opting for an e-reader instead of physical books, you want that device to be lighter than those novels you're lugging around. We considered how much these e-readers and tablets would weigh in that book bag of yours. 
  • Special features: Some e-readers are water-resistant for those beach day or bathtime reads, while other tablets boast matte screens that are designed for easy reading on a sunny day. 

How did we test these reading tablets?

When choosing the best tablets for reading, I considered my own experience with some of the products, as well as other ZDNET team members who have went hands-on with these products. ZDNET does extensive hands-on testing of reading tablets, including using the tablets both inside and outside, how long battery life lasts when reading a page-turning book, and more. We test these in real-world situations, especially focusing on reading experience and display. 

For the reading tablets we have not gone hands-on with, we do, extensive research into different products and brands, taking into consideration user reviews (both good and bad), competitor analysis, and more.

What is the best tablet size for reading?

The average size book is 6 by 9 inches, so tablets that have a 7 to 10-inch screen are about the same as picking up and reading an actual book. However, pay attention to how much a tablet weighs, since you don't want it to be too heavy for its size. 

Also: The best small tablets you can buy

You can also test out what works for you by visiting a local electronics retailer or bookstore. 

Is it better to read on a tablet or a Kindle?

If you're serious about reading, getting a Kindle over your average tablet is probably your best bet since they come with reading-specific features like adjustable warm light, waterproof designs, and page-turn buttons.

Also: Which Kindle e-reader is right for you? The top models compared

However, if you want an all-in-one type tablet, you can opt for a tablet like the iPad Mini or the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.4 for browsing the web, streaming videos, taking photos, and, of course, reading books.

Is it healthy to read on a tablet?

Like all things, doing something too much or for too long is never good. If you want to use a tablet for reading, be sure to take frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest from the screen. It's also a good idea to invest in a pair of blue light blocking glasses if you plan to read on a tablet at night. 

Other products we've tested:

The e-readers and tablets above suit you're reading (and occasional web-surfing or streaming) need, but read on to find some great e-reader and tablet alternatives that we've also tested. 

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