Tablets vs. eReaders: Know Your Device
The many different devices designed for reading electronic books fall into two main classes: tablet computers and eReaders. Tablet computers, as the name suggests, are fully functioning computers in tablet form. They are operated primarily via a touchscreen (though some can have keyboards attached), and in addition to accessing eBooks, they can be used to send and receive email, surf the web, watch video content, and run software applications (called "apps") for a wide variety of purposes. With their expanded capabilties, tablets naturally come at a higher cost. Some examples of tablet computers frequently associated with reading ebooks include the Apple iPad and the Kindle Fire.
E-readers, by contrast, are more narrowly focused on a single primary use, reading electronic books. Though many e-readers will also allow you to read email or surf the web, such features are very often limited in one way or another (for example the web browser on the basic Kindle device is billed as being designed for the "basic web"). Popular examples of e-readers include the Kindle, and Barnes and Noble's Nook.
Choosing the Right Device
Additional information on choosing the right device for your needs: