Saturday, October 25, 2014

The ‘New’ Amazon Kindle Review (WiFi-only, No Touch, e-Ink, $79, £89)

December 4, 2011 by · 11 Comments 

I have an iPad which I really enjoy using. It lets me read book from iBooks, the Amazon Kindle store, Kobo, Readmill, Instapaper articles, and magazines etc.. It has a nice screen, big, with color, and touch browsing. It lets me book mark, take notes and take screen shots of highlighted text to email my friends. It is just a plain awesome experience to read with.

It has, however, four major drawbacks:

1) It is big, so you can’t carry it in a coat pocket or in a small bag
2) It is heavy, so if you’re trying to read one-handed
3) In a sunny environment (outside picnic, for example) it is hard to see the screen even in full brightness
4) It is scary expensive to bring somewhere like the beach where sand could get inside the display or it could get damaged.
Note that I didn’t include the battery life, because I find that I charge my gadgets frequently enough that they can get me through enough of the normal use (except the iPhone, but that’s a different story), but perhaps this may be a ‘fifth’ point to add to the list above.
So I had been considering the Kindle for a while, but thought it was too expensive for the reasons why I was considering it until the latest version came out. The features, in case you are wondering are (from Amazon’s website):
  • 30% lighter than before, less than 170 grams
  • 18% smaller body, same 6″ screen size – fits in your pocket
  • Most advanced E Ink display, reads like paper
  • Built-in Wi-Fi – Get books in 60 seconds
  • 10% faster page turns for seamless reading

So, I caved into temptation.

First of all, on build quality, I’m pretty impressed. The Kindle feels great to the touch, feels solid and well built, and nothing about it feels ‘cheap’. If anything, it makes the older models look ‘cheaper’. Battery life seems to be ok, at least longer than my obsessive compulsive desire to charge it, so I haven’t had a ‘month’ of battery life to test it, but I’m sure it would be feasible without WiFi turned on.

In terms of the next most important thing, the screen and effectively, the reading experience… I’m pretty pleased with it. It is what I expected. The screen is of the right size so that you don’t feel like you have to be page turning every five seconds, the fonts are nice and clean and not pixelated, there is only very very minor ghosting of fonts after a few page flips, and in the sunlight it performs beautifully. Can’t complain at all.

One point to make here between the reading experience and the design of the device, I find that the power button is poorly placed and that they next page buttons are a bit too big as well. Basically, if you’re holding this one handed, one of two things can accidentally happen too easily, first, your finger that is supporting the kindle from the bottom, can accidentally turn the device off, and two, the fingers that are holding one of the sides of the device can sometimes accidentally trigger a page flip. I find both circumstance quite annoying and the designers could have easily put the power button on the top where most devices have it.

In terms of the Kindle interface via the 5-way rocker and dedicated buttons. Well, it is slow and painful, but thankfully you only have to do this very occasionally. First, to set it up on your home wifi network, and then after, to either buy books, bookmark pages, and or synchronize your device with Whispernet.

The operating system and device speediness is quite slow as the refresh rate on the screen prevent it from really ‘cooking with gas’, but whatever.. you know this going into your purchase anyway.. frankly, I haven’t been too bothered by these limitations, and although it would be nice to have some of the flexibility to annotate my readings like I do on my iPad, I find my Kindle supplements my ongoing reading that may be more interactive on the iPad, but less ‘ruggedly mobile’.

In conclusion.. would I recommend it? If you own and iPad and have the money to want to remedy the issues I highlighted above, yes.. it will do the job, and very nicely. If you only want to own only one device, I would still recommend it, but having had both an iPad and a Kindle, it is clear in my mind which is the superior device overall (price excluded).

Enhanced by Zemanta

Comments are closed.