Late last year, I bought a Kindle Touch for reading e-books and blogs. But guess what? Most of the time it sits unused, because the Samsung Galaxy Note has become my go-to device for e-reader apps.
Let’s start with the Galaxy Note’s screen. The love child between a smartphone and a tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Note sports a 5.3-inch Super AMOLED screen with 1280 x 800 resolution.
Yes, that’s smaller than the Kindle Touch’s 6-inch e-ink display. But the Galaxy Note display is gorgeous and bright, making text and pictures pop. It’s just more appealing than the Kindle Touch’s grayscale screen. Also, compared to an iPhone or other smartphones, which have smaller displays, the Galaxy Note’s capacious display lets me comfortably read more text on screen.
While the Galaxy Note is a bit bulky as a phone, it’s just the right size for portable e-book reading (not to mention web browsing and e-mail). Unlike a Kindle Touch or a tablet like the iPad, it fits comfortably in one hand, which is useful for reading while, say, trapped in a long grocery store checkout line. The Galaxy Note also fits perfectly on the treadmills at my gym.
A long-time Kindle customer, I use the free Kindle for Android app (last updated March 24th) to read Kindle Store-purchased e-books and magazines on the Galaxy Note. Unlike the iOS version, you can shop for new e-books within the Kindle Android app. You can also read e-books on an Android through Barnes & Noble’s Nook app, Sony’s Reader app, and the Google Play Books app, among others.
There are three downsides to reading e-books on the Galaxy Note. First, the Galaxy Note’s battery life, which is so-so, can’t compete with a Kindle’s battery.
For prolonged, stationary reading, like when you’re in bed, you’ll probably want a stand to prop up the device. Spigen SP’s $45 case/stand looks promising. Tip: If you read in bed, use the Kindle app’s “View Options” feature to change the e-book default background to black, which creates white text against a black background. This feature minimizes the amount of stimulating bright light you’re exposed to, which can make falling asleep difficult. (Researchers have concluded that iPads and other devices with bright screens can disrupt sleep.)
Speaking of bright light, the third downside is that in direct sunlight, an e-ink display is way more legible than the Samsung device’s backlit-screen. And so, while my Kindle Touch doesn’t get out often, it will be going to the beach with me this summer.
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.