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Kindle First Impressions

March 29th, 2009 · 5 Comments

In case you missed my last comments on the previous blog, I bought a Kindle. It is my birthday present. It arrived on Friday.

I have mixed feelings about it. Mostly it is very nice. Books are easy to download and there is lots of content available (and quite a bit of free content too). The built-in, instant dictionary is very handy, as is the search feature. It’s light and very thin — almost too thin: If I rest my hands on top as I read in bed it is uncomfortable. But I think that’s probably a matter of adjusting.

I have some reservations. My major concern is with the screen contrast. It’s definitely not as good as black text on a white page. It’s more like very dark gray text on a very light gray background. Under good light it is quite easy to read. But in darker environments, where I would be able to read a printed book, it’s too hard to see.

The page-turn buttons are not quite where I would have put them either — my hands don’t naturally fall there while I’m reading. I might have preferred them on the top corners, but it’s not a big deal.

The built-in web browser is a joke, both because the connection is slow and the gray-scale display looses too much web content, but I guess it’s OK to have Google or Wikipedia available in a pinch.

I read in the bathtub last night, but that was scary. Dropping a normal book means at worst you might be out the cost of the book, and at best you might be able to read it after you dry it out. I doubt Amazon will refund me if I send it back filled with bubbles… :\

Anyway, I’ve got a month to decide if I want to keep it. I probably will.

Tags: Computers, Tech & Science

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Donna // Mar 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Sounds like a built in back light would be a good feature.

    I bet you’ll get used to the page turn buttons really quick, and then a paperback will seem awkward.

  • 2 jocelyn // Mar 31, 2009 at 6:13 am

    think of the environmental impact. Your saving trees!!

  • 3 Daryl // Apr 7, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    I’ve decided to keep it, but I’m returning it.

    My particular unit has a fairly common problem with electronic ink: When I view it under the sun the text fades and becomes hard to read. I observed the phenomenon, and then read about it. Amazon is very good about replacing these with any problems. At the price, they should! The replacement should arrive tomorrow.

    Anyway, I like being able to download the first chapter of most books for free. It’s kind of like browsing in a bookstore, reading a little before deciding if you want to buy.

    I’ve also found lots of free books, both older, out-of-copyright books and new books where the author just decided to release it for free. Often it is the first book of a trilogy or series, where they gamble that you will get hooked and buy the rest. In fact, I haven’t paid for any of the 30+ books I have on it right now.

    And I found a solution to the bathtub problem. The book is perfectly readable, controllable and safe inside a ziploc bag.

  • 4 Daryl // Apr 7, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Electronic Ink can’t really be backlighted. It’s an opaque, reflective only technology. Many people use book lights that clip on to the top. I may get one, but I’m not in a hurry.

    But think of the electrons I’m wasting!

  • 5 Daryl // Apr 8, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    I just got the replacement Kindle — less than 24 hours after I called Amazon.

    I’m happy to say that the new one does not have the sunlight fading problem. The text is also a little darker than the previous one, but the background isn’t quite as light either, so net result is about the same readability, which is acceptable. (Of course, readability is much better in sunlight without the fading problem.)