Best tablet for reading manga
I like to read manga, but reading it on a laptop is not very optimal. It works, but it's just not as comfy as reading on a tablet. It's too big, it weighs too much, the screen should be vertical not horizontal etc.
So I decided throwing a couple hundred euros to one of my favorite hobbies is worth it. This is a post about finding the best tablet for reading manga 🤑
If you just want a quick TLDR: Buy Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e and download Tachiyomi
- For me, screen size around 10 inches is perfect for manga. Any bigger and it's not comfortable to hold, any smaller and you lose the fine details of the art.
- A good application. If adding, and especially updating a manga is too much of a hassle I just won't even use it. One of the reasons I'm not considering an e-reader (even though they're awesome!)
- Good quality screen. Print is 300 ppi, so I want something close as possible. Unfortunately no tablets have that kind of quality, but 250< should be acceptable.
- Another reason why e-ink tablet won't do, they usually don't have very high-res display.
- OLED screen. Not 100% necessary but this should really help the art pop, since manga is b&w and contains lots of blacks.
- Good battery life. Since most new tablets have a decent battery life anyway, this doesn't really matter our purchasing decision.
Android vs iOS
Android has Tachiyomi, iOS has Paperback. After a little bit of research, it was clear that Tachiyomi is way superior. Not only has it better features, it has far more contributors, GitHub stars and overall active community, so it's a safe bet.
iPads also don't have OLED screens. They do have 4:3 screen ratio which is way better than 16:9 found on some Android tablets, but there are Android tablets with 16:10 which is as good as 4:3 (maybe even better if you use 'crop borders', more about that later!)
16:9 vs 16:10 vs 4:3 screen for reading manga. More red = more wasted space.
So which Android tablet should I buy?
I looked through most of the new-ish models currently available, and Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is the clear winner. It has a 10.5" AMOLED screen with resolution of 1600 x 2560. That's 288 pixels per inch and 16:10 ratio! That's as close as you can get to paper-quality, not even the new iPad Pro (the one with M1 chip) has that kind of quality (it has 265 ppi). The ratio is also perfect for reading manga.
S5e was released in 2019 so you're most likely able to buy it used. I bought mine, in a new-like condition for 200€. If you can't find S5e anywhere, go for Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 which is pretty much identical, just a bit more expensive.
Unfortunately, the newer Galaxy Tabs have a bigger screen and are more expensive so I didn't even consider them. Simply put, if you want a 10" screen S5e and S6 are the best options.
If you're fine with bigger or smaller screen there could be more options, but I only researched the ones with 10" screen.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e
Tachiyomi is the best manga app for Android, there's no question about it. It's not available on Google Play but you can just install the
.apk file from their website.
The way Tachiyomi works is, you add your manga from your extensions which are basically different sources for manga. So if you want to stick to scanlations you can use something like MangaDex, or if you are a filthy pirate you can use... well I'm sure you know your sources already :)
ℹ There are even non-manga extensions like xkcd
What about forks?
There are some Tachiyomi forks available. You should either stick to vanilla or download J2K. J2K felt really mature and smooth, but it has a different looking library screen which I wasn't a fan of, so I just changed back to vanilla. I also tried SY but it had some bugs and didn't bring any extra features I actually used.
Tachiyomi is awesome already, don't use a fork unless you really need some of the extra features they offer. Vanilla also gets newest features immediately, forks have to merge first.
I might make a separate post about Tachiyomi tips n' tricks, but for now there's one feature I'd like to mention: crop borders. Your average manga page has some padding on the sides, so when you're holding the physical book your fingers don't cover any of the panels.
Manga isn't 16:10 unlike our screen but using crop borders it usually gets pretty close to that, so the screen ratio isn't even that big of a deal. Here's a great example of Vinland Saga:
However, some mangas have such a beautiful composition that crop borders does more harm than good. Real is one of the mangas I prefer reading uncropped:
PS. On Samsung tablets I recommend turning on the "Eye comfort shield." Protects your eyes, makes the manga look more paper-like while still using OLED for the blacks.
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