Thursday, July 02, 2009

Kindle - first impressions

Yep, I got myself a Kindle! Well, with help from some recent birthday gift certificates that is...
I've been eyeing these things for quite some time now. But I could never justify the price. While I very much enjoy reading, I tend to do my reading before bed each night which means I usually only get a few pages in per night before Mr. Sandman clunks me over the head. BUT I do love books. In fact, I admire others who have or make more time for reading. I am making an effort to increase my reading time as well.

So first let me say, there are some things that trouble me regarding a Kindle.
1) I've never had an issue where I couldn't read anything because I had a dead battery.
2) I've never dropped my entire bookcase to the point where if I did, I wouldn't be able to read those books anymore.
3) I'm very troubled by the tight grips that Amazon is building into their Kindle format.
4) I don't like the high costs of the Kindle editions (on some books - other books are FREE!)

But... I received mine yesterday morning, and upon opening it, and getting to know it as the day progressed, I felt like I was holding a magical device.
It seems to be VERY nicely designed which is important for a device like this. As I was unpacking it (which the packing is really nicely done as well), I couldn't help but notice a heavy "Apple" influence. (Learn from the best).
The device is a tad heavier than what I expected, but it's certainly a good weight.
I so far have "purchased" only one book - which was a wopping ¢99! It was Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" (I started to read this book some time ago, but never finished it). I've also "purchased" a handful of the FREE books. (I had to laugh as many of the "top sellers" are FREE books - I suspect that is because people who buy a Kindle can't afford to buy books anymore!)
There is defintely going to be a price war ahead (happening now!). People are NOT going to want to spend more than the $9.99 base price. They view an e-book as not being as expensive as a paper book (I do anyway). But I'm sure in due time the prices will even out.

As far as readbility and navigation etc...
The e-ink is very nice. The only complaint is that the background is a tad too dark in my opinion. IF Amazon were smart, they would not have made the unit a stark bright white. It only emphasizes that the "paper" is about 40% gray. They should have made the unit a dark gray (abt 80% which would have given the illusion of a brighter "paper". So far though, It is very readable though (I've heard some people complain of eyestrain on long periods).
The navigation is nice, but I think it could use a little work. I'm sure though, once I get the hang of what the buttons do, I'll adapt and it won't be an issue (for example, I tend to want to use the 5-way button to turn pages).

All in all, a really nice device, and I hope to get many hours of enjoyment from it.
One last comment... this is only the "second generation" Kindle... and it's only been out for a little over a year or so (meaning the first gen Kindle). I'm aware that soon my unit will be out of date, but such is the price to pay for adopting new technology.
I will enjoy it for a long time I'm sure.
(note, I'm STILL using my second gen. ipod and like it very much!)

Oh... one more thing... the images they have while the unit is in sleep mode are fantastic! The levels of gray are enough to do justice to a black and white image.

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