Which E-Reader Should You Bring to Panama City Beach?

You know the story…

Panama City Beach: home of the World’s Most Beautiful Beaches. It’s an award-winning beach (really, there are actual, physical awards). Stunning sunsets, sugar white sand that squeaks under your feet, palm trees, clear blue skies, refreshing emerald green waters – and if you’re staying at a fun Panama City Beach Hotel, there’s also LOTS of activities games and entertainment to keep the kids and teens occupied.

That just leaves you, your ice cold tropical cocktail, and a great book to get lost in.

But books are so old-school…

books are oldschool!

Ye Olde Books

Nowadays more and more people are turning to e-books, and there’s a lot of great reasons why…  (One of our favorites is that there is no tell-tale book cover to give you away. You could be silently enjoying “Fifty shades of Grey” and pretend to be reading a very intellectual novel – and no one would know 🙂 ) Chances are, you already have an e-reader… Either a Kindle, Nook, iPad or one of the others out there. We’re here to help you decide which is the best for your vacation to Panama City Beach… So put your feet up, sit back and relax – you’re about to find out.

Tablets Vs. e-ink readers.

The New iPad

The New iPad

Tablets like the iPad (starting at $399), Kindle Fire ($199) and Nook Color ($169) are pretty incredible gadgets. The new iPad (starting at $499), with its retina screen, is simply amazing for reading with. There are more pixels in the screen than the best high-definition televisions out there. Pretty amazing huh? Not to mention you can Face-Time with people back home, and share your front-row seats to paradise with them!

But there is a downside to tablets, including the iPad: and that’s glare. Since all tablet screens are back-lit, using them in bright sunlight can be nearly impossible. You’d have to either sit completely in the shade (the lounge chairs along our back deck, or lay in our hammocks beside the volleyball court would be perfect!) Or you’d have to make sure the screen was covered so you could read, and still work on that tan… Possible, but not “perfect“.

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle

Then there are E-readers like Amazon’s Kindle (starting at $79) and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Simple Touch ($99). These use e-ink, which basically means they try to look just like text would on a printed page. E-ink screens don’t have any problems working in direct sunlight, with hardly any glare at all. Unlike the tablets, the screens have no color – which has the advantage of making the text appear dark and rich.

So it seems like E-readers are the winner, right?

Not so fast… E-ink screens are notoriously difficult to read in the dark without a flashlight. So unless you only plan on reading in the daytime, this might not work so well…

The Solution?

Barnes & Noble recently released the Simple Touch with GlowLight ($139), which has an e-ink screen (great for direct sunlight) AAAAND capable of lighting up in the dark!

Still, the GlowLight is just an e-reader, without any of the cool apps (facebook/foursquare/radio) or games the iPad comes with. Not to mention the fact that the iPad is also a digital camera, that also lets you shoot full HD movies. So really, it’s difficult to name just one clear winner. Each contender comes with it’s own pros and cons, and depending what’s most important to you – either a tablet, or an e-ink reader would be best.

Things to remember (whichever e-reader you choose)

Sand & Electronics do not mix!

Sand & Electronics do not mix!

Be sure to get yourself a high quality protective case to keep your investment safe. Trust us (we’ve learned the hard way several times)sand and electronics are not best friends!

Also, it’s better to download your books onto your e-reader at home, so you have them all ready as soon as you arrive. But, if you forget – don’t worry. You can use the unlimited FREE property-wide WiFi at the Sandpiper Beacon, while you wait for your frozen Daiquiri in the Tiki Bar!


Inspired by an article in the Washington Post titled ‘Which e-reader should you take to the beach?’