I’m loving my Kindle. I’ve been using it for over a month now. First of all, battery life has been pretty good. I charge it maybe once a week. If I leave wireless on when I’m in a place with poor cellular coverage, the battery can drain in 3 or 4 days.
I finished my first book, Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, and I’m starting on my second Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. As a book reader it is top notch. My only complaint is the auto-oreinatation from portrait to landscape. I couldn’t find a way to turn it off, and if I’m reading in bed or move around, it will sometimes switch to portrait and I have to wiggle it to get it to go back so I can continue reading.
One great thing about the Kindle is the ability to read in full direct sunlight. So if you are looking for a device to read by pool or at the beach, it works nicely.
I’m loving the newspaper subcription I have delivered to it: The International Harold Tribune. I am now keeping more up to date on current news as a result. I was never a big newspaper reader and find that buying the Boston Globe was a huge waste of paper since I only enjoy one or two articles. With an an electronic newspaper, I can worry less about the paper waste, not to mention the gas used by the trucks moving the newspapers from the printer to the store. I imagine the carbon footprint is less, but then I don’t know how much coal we have to burn to run all the computers at Amazon, the New York Times (who owns the Harold), and Sprint (who provides the cellular service to deliver the paper to my Kindle.) It is probably a wash.
Navigating the newspaper is a bit of a pain. I always hit the wrong button trying to get to the list of articles. Menu doesn’t work, back doesn’t work “<” doesn’t work. The way to get to the article list after you open up a freshly delivered newspaper is to click the mouse/joystick button right in the center. By default, the front page comes up and you have to click the “>” button to page though each article. I like to scan the headlines, so I click the joystick (which is a bit painful) and then click on the numbers next to the section list article, then I can use the “>” to scan the headlines. Not very intuitive or easy, even after getting used to the device.
Another interesting tidbit about newspapers, is that they get delivered only to my Kindle (you must choose one device.) This is different from when you buy a book. When I bought In Defense of Food, I can read it from my computer or my Kindle. The Kindle software will sync it to every device. The newspaper I can not read from my computer, only the device.
One thing for sure, don’t buy a Kindle as a web browser. Although I just read an excellent blog post called Why Clojure on the Kindle, getting there was painful. Once there it was a great experience reading this article, but to get there I searched my name on Google, navigated to my twitter feed, and had to click the reference to bring up the twitter post, and still the link didn’t work. I had to then manually type the bit.ly URL which finally allowed me to get to the article. But the cellular connection is very slow. The purpose of the broadband connection on the Kindle, is to deliver books and newspapers, and for that it is awesome.
I recenly popped into Borders Books and checked out their e-reader called the “Kobo” which was nice an small (probably same form factor as the smaller Kindle.) It also has great clean crisp display. The only downside is you need to sync it with a computer. You can’t beat the Amazon Kindle’s system requirements: none!
So, I’ll still go to bat for Kindle as a great eBook reader. Not much eyestrain, and easy to read wherever you can read a paperback. If you are looking for something to feed your ADD addictions, then buy an iPad. I image the iPad is lightyears ahead for web browsing and jumping around from task to task. But if you like to read a book without distractions, the Kindle is ideal.
Read about my previous posts on the Kindle: