Dec 10

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We finally got a few iPads and promptly gave them away. Our team, purely for karma, “donated” them to our Beijing based web-team. The line to get one in Beijing is long. There’s an industry of “iPad” buyers who charge you a cool USD $1,000 to wait in line and get one for you.

Some prices are reported as high as $,1500 USD. You can get on in certain stores for around $700-$800.

For the base WiFi only model, that’s as much as $200+ compared to what we pay here. Expensive, but still highly coveted.

We thought that we still needed to do a post about our iPads now sitting in China. What better way than to put it up against the Kindle 3 that we got (and Sara is hoarding)?

It’s tough to pit the iPad against the Kindle 3, so we won’t. Sure, Amazon does it in their quirky Kindle 3 ads and for the most part it’s true. Kindle 3 (or other e-ink based readers) are better in bright light than the iPad. While overall, iPad does a heck of a lot better job at everything else (web browsing, music, movies, iWork, run apps) that Kindle 3 doesn’t do.

But that’s it right there. Each device has their purpose, +’s and -’s.

You might be a true utilitarian and despise single-purpose gadgets a-la Alton Brown and you wouldn’t be alone. Almost everyone lusts after an iPad for it’s multi-purpose use, whereas Kindle is a one-trick pony.

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iPad, is not without its faults. First, you can’t really use it out of the box. It’s minor issue at best, but you need to have an iTunes account to use it. Yeah, I know, who doesn’t have one of those these days? But still, it’s an annoyance where Kindle you can start reading right out of the box, even if it’s just an e-instruction manual.

But the iPad is truly a beautiful piece of lust-worthy gadgetry because that’s probably the only issue I had with my former iPad.

There are a few other issues, but if you’re an Apple kind person and get all your content from iTunes, then you’ll love the iPad.

On the other hand, should you be more geeky like the majority of our web-team, you’ll find being locked into DRM’d content for video to be quite annoying.

In fairness, a little converting though and you can play AVI files and other material that you might grab on-line. (say something called torrents?)

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Overall, considering content, build quality and overall utility, iPad wins on all accounts.

Kindle feels just too plastic-y compared to the metalic-glass solid feel that iPad brings. If iPad was a hard-cover, special edition, leather-bound quality book (you know the kind with the gold powder on the edges of the page), then Kindle 3 is a bargain-bin paperback.

Look, that’s just the way it is. But Amazon’s single-purpose Kindle, beats the tar out of iPad when it comes to reading in most “reading” conditions.

I emphasize “reading” because the back-lit iPad kicks butt in the dark (duh), but who really reads in pitch-black darkness? Unless you have a reading light, in which case Kindle wins again.

Bottom line, if you’re looking for an e-reader: Kindle’s the one for you. Ease of use, superb battery life (with wireless off) and excellent e-ink screen, Kindle rules.

But, if you’re looking for something with more overall purpose, then iPad is your thing. Either way you choose, you’ll find a solid experience waiting for you. You just need to set your expectations right.

(Editor’s Note: We’re split 50-50 on which device we like better. The pro-Kindle group would like you to know that it’s super cheaper to get a Kindle 3. While the pro-iPad group wants you to know the extra $$$ for iPad is well spent on its additional capabilities).

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