Which is best for lawyers, e-readers or tablets? It's a question that doesn't yet have a clear answer. And with Microsoft's recent investment in the area, the answer is even more ambiguous.
Both have features that benefit attorneys. Neither is perfect. So figuring out which is best for your practice will come down to preference. At least until an amalgamation of the two is released (one that doesn't suck).
It's hard to say which you should get, but here are four of the best.
However, before you jump ahead it's helpful to make a couple of distinctions first. For the sake of this article e-reader will mean anything that utilizes e-ink screens. Tablets will be anything that has a color LCD.
E-ink displays work great in all lighting conditions. They're black and white only, but generally provide the closest reading experience to a book. Tablets are full color, but some find the displays cause eye strain. They're also very hard to see in bright light.
Best Tablet - Apple iPad (2012)
You knew this was going to be here before you even clicked on this article. Regardless of the capacity option (16, 32, or 64 GB), the iPad gives you much more versatility than any e-reader. There's a multitude of office apps that allow you to create and send various document types. PDFs are viewable, too, so e-discovery is a cinch. But remember, there's no Adobe Flash support.
Honorable Tablet Mention - Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7
This device would've easily trumped the iPad had it not been for the price. This Verizon Android tablet will run you over $400 even with a new contract. It has a longer battery life than the iPad (about 12 hours) and it runs Flash. While the Android market doesn't have as many options as the App Store, attorneys will have all they need for work.
Best E-Reader - Amazon Kindle Touch 3G
One of the biggest advantages here is the price. At $149, you'll be able to view PDFs and other text files. You can also to listen to MP3s on the way to trial. It has Wi-Fi, free 3G, and text-to-speech capabilities. Also battery life stretches easily into days.
The downside is editing documents is a pain. But as far as doc review devices go, you can't go wrong with this one.
Honorable E-Reader Mention - Amazon Kindle
It's basically the same as its more expensive brother, but has a tactile keyboard instead of a touch screen. It also doesn't have audio and is (arguably) harder to navigate through files. But at $70 less, it's a bargain regardless of whether you're a lawyer into e-readers or tablets.
- Kindle vs. Nook vs. iPad: Which E-Book Reader Should You Buy? (CNET)
- 5 Must-Have Legal Gadgets for Every Attorney (FindLaw's Technologist)
- Attorneys Can Use Best Buy Closeouts to Upgrade Law Office (FindLaw's Technologist)
- The iPad 2: Is it Right for Your Practice? (FindLaw's Technologist)