The Kindle and I

Posted on July 6th, 2011 by Luke Sheldrick.
Categories: IT / Tech, Personal.
Tags: , , , .

6 07 2011

I’m well late for this party, but having recently got an Amazon Kindle, and I have to say, I am very, very impressed with it.

Sure, it doesn’t play movies, it has a laughable web browser, and the audio play back is awful. However for what it was designed for, reading books, it is simply the best device I have used.

I’d previously tried to read paper books, using iBooks no the iPad, Android Tables, Phones, and my iPhone, nothing really felt right. I went on a long weekend to Tenerife a few weeks back, and wanted to try out a few books I’d been recommended. Previously I hand’t really been a ‘bookworm’, sure I read tons every day, but usually they’re technical books, RSS, Blogs… that kind of thing, but not novels or that kind of thing; even rarer to read it from cover to cover.

So I picked up a wifi Kindle, for £90, ordered a few books on the store, charged the thing up, and shoved it in my bag. Whilst sitting by the pool, I started to read ‘A Million Little Pieces’ a book a good friend had recommended. The first thing I noted was the eInk screen, and how easy it was to read in the bright sunlight – something no other device I have can be said about. The second was how comfortable it was to read with it. The buttons are exactly where they need to be on both sides, and the Kinda is very light, lighter than most books, so holding it for any length of time isn’t an issue.

The things that are clearly awesome about it:

  • The price – It’s really rather cheap in comparison to my normal gadgets.
  • Ease of use – It’s so simple, even Mother can get on with it.
  • Ease of buying – The system Amazon has built around buying eBooks is so simple. I can request a sample of a book, read the first chapter, and if I like it, at the end of the first chapter, I have a buy button; that’s it, I then have the book.
  • Screen – The eInk display is really rather impressive. The only downfall to it is the lack of backlight, so as soon as it’s not overly light where you are, you can’t see the thing. They do have a case with integrated night light. This also works quite well, as it uses the power from the device for power.
  • Weight/Shape/Controls – They are all very well designed.
  • Battery – Two weeks of use, and I still haven’t charged it.

The things that aren’t so awesome:

  • Screensavers – They’re awful. I had to jailbreak the device, to get rid of them.
  • Cases – To get a backlight, I bought the official case – they’re not cheap.
  • VAT – not an Amazon or a Kindle issue – but in the UK, you still get charged VAT (20%) for eBooks. So eBooks are more expensive than paper books – CRAZY!

One thing I really wish I had done now in reflection is to buy the 3G model. The only reason I’d want that is the page sync. I’ve found that the Kindle app for Android is surprisingly very good. I use it on my ZTE Blade, which has an AMOLED screen. Putting the background to black and text to white, doesn’t use a lot of battery at all on the Blade, and being able to turn page by using the volume switch, makes it quite a good device to use when I don’t have my kindle on me. The only issue with this is, I need to remember to turn the kindle wi-fi on and sync the pages back to Amazon – if I’d bought the 3G model, this would just do it for me.

I’ve tried the Kindle app on the iPad, and whilst it’s all there, I just don’t find the iPad that great for reading for any length of time, the lack of a ‘turn page button’ and it’s slightly too heavy. It is however neat to have a synced copy of all my books on all the devices… just in case.


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