Long gone are the days where you could only buy your weekly comics at the local comic book shop. For years now comic book fans have been able to buy digital versions of their favourite series with the use of apps such as Comixology and the Netflix style Marvel Unlimited. There will never be a better feeling than holding the physical comic book in your hands and being able to actually smell that glorious comic book scent. Although, digital comics and graphic novels are so much easier to store, buy and read while travelling. I myself always take my tablet with me on vacations and trips away only so I can read comics while on flights and at the beach.
With various options for buying digital comics and manga, there are even more options the actual device. Granted you can very easily use your iPhone or Android phone, although the limitations are very obvious. Screen size being the main issue. Now, I used to rely on my iPhone for reading comics on the go and in all fairness it works. It is nowhere near the experience I would have liked but it go me through some boring lectures while at College. The better option, as you can tell, is to buy a reasonably sized iPad or Android tablet device.
I have personally owned the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 for reading comics and it was great. I took it on vacations and even travelled with it just so I was able to read some of those graphic novels that I always seem to buy when they’re on sale! These days though I am now using the iPad Pro 12.9 and my reading experience is so much better. I no longer have to constantly zoom in and out of the pages to read the dialogue. In all fairness zooming in and out isn’t a major issue, but it does disconnect you from the art and story when you’re always having to manually zoom in and out.
Best Tablets For Reading Comics, Graphic Novels and Manga
|iPad Pro 12.9||12.9 Inch||By far the best reading experience and as close as it gets to the real comic in your hand|
|iPad Pro 10.9||10.9 Inch||Closest to the 12.9 but will require some zooming of comics|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S4||10.5 Inch||The latest and greatest from Samsung which boasts similar features to the iPad Pro. If you want the best Android has to offer then this is it!|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S3||9.7 Inch||The S3 is the previous generation Tab S lineup and still boasts a great screen, size and has all the bells and whistles you will need.|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S2||8 Inch||I have used this for years and had lots of great comic reading experiences. Does need you to zoom.|
|iPad Air 2||9.7 Inch||Only buy if you can find a certified refurbished model (or new model) at a good price|
|iPad Mini||7.9 Inch||Only buy if you can find a certified refurbished model (or new model) at a good price|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab A||10.1 Inch||One of the cheapest models that supports everything a comic book read will need and want with room to grow!|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro||12.2||A little expensive based on how old it is, but it does have a good sized screen|
|Amazon Kindle Fire||10.1||** Unable to read Marvel Unlimited, without a work around|
|RCA Viking Pro 10||10 Inch||My overall favourite cheap tablet for comic book reading. Might not have all the bells and whistles but if all your doing is reading comics then yours sorted!|
Which tablet is the best option for reading comics?
There is an easy and quick answer to this. All of the tablets I have listed below are more than capable of being a great tablet for reading comics. They all come in with different prices, sizes and have vastly different additional features. There are various features to a tablet which makes comic and graphic novel reading better such as screen size and screen quality, I have covered both of these topics just below.
iPad Pro 12.9 – Most Recommended
Which do I recommend the most? The iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) is by far the best. It will provide the best reading experience on the basis that you will be able to have a like for like size comparison. The size of the regular comic books matches perfectly with the 12.9 screen size of the iPad Pro 12.9 which means text is readable, graphics are viewable at full size and nothing looks distorted. The only issue with the iPad Pro 12.9 when thinking about reading comics on the go are price and size. With regards to price it is expensive but if you are able to make the most of the additional features the iPad Pro 12.9 can give you then it may be the best option. The most ironic issue is size. Tablets for reading comics are meant to be portable. In my opinion, the iPad Pro 12.9 is portable but it is large, it’s very large in fact! I travel with a laptop backpack so for me, the size doesn’t bother me in the slightest, but for some, it may be too large. For me, the large screen size was one of the main selling points as I can read comic easily and use things like Netflix on the large screen.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, S3 and S2 – I have used and owned an S2 for years!
I usually suggest the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, S3 or S4 for those looking for a medium sized device. All three of these models will deliver the same overall experience but varying screen sizes from 8.0 inches to 10.5 inches. The costs across all three models are different due to the Galaxy Tab S2 being a few years older than the Galaxy Tab S4 which released in 2018.
iPad Pro 10.9 – Worth Mentioning although possibly better alternatives
If you want a smaller tablet then you have a few options. The iPad Pro 10.9 (2018) is more or less the same but with a smaller size. You may have some comics that need to be zoomed in a little based on the fonts that are used but overall this is a solid option and the price is a lot more appealing! The iPad Pro 10.9 is a solid option but there will always be the trade-off on saving space and having a smaller screen.
My main suggestion with medium sized tablets is to buy based on your budget and also the additional features that each model brings to the table, you know pretty much the same advice as all the other technology I talk about 🙂 For example, if you have the budget for the iPad Pro 10.9 and you would make the most of the Apple eco-system then by all means for it! If on the other hand, you have a smaller budget to stick by then you also have the option of the older 2014 iPad Air 2 or the better and newer (2017) iPad Mini 4. If on the other hand, you prefer the Android eco-system then you have the option of various brands and models which I have listed in the comparison table above.
9 Inch, 10.5 Inch and 12.9 Inch – Which is best and why?
When it comes to reading comics with a tablet or mobile device the reading experience is usually dictated by two factors; The quality of the screen and the size of the screen.
The size of the screen will impact the size and overall readability of a digital comic. For example, the 8 inch Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 that I used to use was great for reading comics with its great quality screen and vibrant colors. The size of the screen posed some issues though. I was forever having to zoom in and out of the screen when reading which really annoyed me as it detracts from what makes comics so special, the artwork. If you take a look at the example below you will see a real physical copy of a comic and the same issue on my Samsung Galaxy Tab S2. The comic looks big enough but when it comes to a page with a lot of dialogue then readability is all but lost until you zoom in. As for older comics with harder to read fonts, you will have to zoom in and out of every sentence – almost.
If I were buying today I would be looking for at least a 10.5-inch tablet for comics, but my real suggestion would be to opt for as large as you can possibly afford. For me, that just so happens to be the iPad Pro 12.9. I actually bought this almost solely for reading comics!
Do smaller tablets still work for reading comics?
Absolutely. As I mentioned I owned the Tab S2 for years and happily used it most days to read comics. As with everything in technology you will have to make some tradeoffs. Either you go for the largest screen available (12.9 Inch) for the best comic reading experience but you have to deal with the larger device while travelling. The cost of the iPad Pro 12.9 is also a lot more than smaller tablets. Alternatively, you can save some money and buy a smaller tablet and put up with the zooming in and out for reading – is it a deal breaker? It wasn’t to me for many years, I would still be using the Tab S2 happily if I wasn’t able to get the iPad Pro.
Assuming you’re not buying a tablet which is less than 8 inches then I would say buy whatever model makes the most sense to you.
Best budget and cheap tablets for reading comics
This is a more complicated question as everyone will have a budget and cheap to one person might be too cheap for the next etc. When I am asked about saving money when buying a tablet I always suggest buying a refurbished and certified refurbished tablet from the likes of Apple. There are some great deals that can be had for iPad Air 2 and iPad. For those of you looking to save a little more or even go for the Android side of things then I always strongly suggest buying a Samsung Galaxy Tab S2. It is 8 inches so it’s on the small side but for a cheap tablet, it is as good as it gets in terms of overall features and performance. On the other hand, if you just want it for reading comics and some light browsing then Samsung Galaxy Tab E is a model that many comic book readers buy, it can usually be found for less than $200 too!
If you find any other tablets or if you use a model that isn’t covered above then let me know, I’d love to get your opinion and share it with other comic book readers.