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by Tim Van Damme

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Reading on the iPad

Thanks to a vacation I completely forgot about, I finally had enough time to read an entire book on the iPad, and catch up with a backlog of articles I Instapaperized over the past couple of months.

Reading in the ipad is a joy. Period.

The screen is about the size of an average book, not too small, not too large. If you tend to hold the ipad really close to your eyes, you might be disappointed by the DPI, but if you hold it a bit further, somewhere between where you’d hold your iPhone and the distance you sit from your laptop, it’s prefect. Bump up the font size a few pixels, and you’re ready for hours and hours of reading. In my experience, you can look at the screen for a very long time without tiring your eyes, just like with a book. Results may vary, but I can’t read a 500 word article on a laptop screen, and am glad to say the iPad is a totally different experience. I’ve used a Sony eReader before, and wouldn’t want to trade my iPad for one. Sure, the Amazon Kindle might render text more like a book, but this device has so much more features.

The iPad can change it’s brightness automatically, but you need a manual way for when you’re reading in a really bright or really dark room. The way you change the brightness of the screen depends from app to app. iBooks has a slider which allows you to change the brightness of the device from inside the app. This isn’t a public API, so other (non-Apple) apps cant use this, and have to find other ways of giving their users control over the brightness without a trip to the settings app. Marco Arment did a great job with Instapaper. He mimics the brightness by changing the color of the background and text (a trick he learned from the Amazon app). It works great and it’s actually very hard to see the difference between this and the way iBooks does it. Thanks to these settings, I was able to read in the bedroom, and outside in the sun wearing sunglasses.

Don’t worry about the battery, it just keeps going. Never have I seen a modern device that doesn’t require a charge every 2 days. I read a whole book and much more on a single charge.

The only downside I experienced was the weight of the iPad. Holding it with 2 hands isn’t a problemd, but you cant hold it for a long time with just one hand.

I wrote this article because I encountered a lot of horror stories about reading on the iPad, and people seemed to have doubts about this when deciding to buy an iPad or not. Hopefully, I brought some clarity.