Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Werit's Kindle Review

A couple weeks ago I bought myself a Kindle. It was a tough buy for me as I had never seen one or used one. Would this electronic device actually be good for reading? Is it worth the rather hefty price tag? After using it quite a bit, I found the answer was YES!

There are several reasons why I like the Kindle. Let's start with its primary purpose: book reading. The e-ink display is very nice and easy on the eyes. I had no trouble going from paper to the Kindle. The ergonomics of the unit are easy to get used to as well. No more holding back pages. When you turn a page, there is a brief black wipe on the screen. I stopped noticing it after a few minutes of reading.

The amount of books available for the Kindle via Amazon is very large. At last count it was over 300,000. I read a lot of Sci-Fi and most books I wanted to read are available. Some older are not, but they add more all the time. Technical (i.e. Programming) books are also readily available. Selection has not been an issue.

One lesser publicized feature of the Kindle is its wireless connection via Sprint. That's right, you have a subscription-less 3G network connection included in the price of the Kindle. There is a basic web browser included too. It is primarily meant for things like wikipedia, but you can go anywhere you want.

It is a very basic browser and pretty slow, so visiting fancy websites will probably not work out very well. Sites like Google, GMail, Twitter and Google Reader work though. Not only is the Kindle good for reading books, you also get Email, RSS and basic web browsing. I even posted to this blog from it.

The Kindle can also read pdf's. At first I didn't think I would use this feature, but this weekend an opportunity presented itself. I downloaded Europa Universalis III off of Steam. It is a complex game so I decided I needed the manual. Steam provides it in pdf format. I hate to read large PDF's on the computer so I grabbed the Kindle.

There are 2 simple ways to get the pdf to the Kindle. I emailed the pdf to my special kindle address. Amazon converted the format and sent it to my Kindle automatically. This method costs a small sum (2.50 for 16 meg). The free way to do it is to mail it to a different address, which will convert it and email it back to you. Then you upload it to your Kindle via USB.

I spent part of the day sitting outside, reading the game manual on the Kindle. You can also search books , so if you just want to look up a certain topic, it's easy.

As far as negatives, I don't have too much to report. The Text to Speech is no replacement for an audio book as it sounds too computerized. I have not tried the mp3 player, but it does have one. I do wish there was a way to download podcasts straight to the device.

So far I am very happy that I bought the Kindle. As someone who never seems to get rid of a book the sheer amount of space make it worthwhile (well almost). Add in the wireless networking and ease of use, you get a very nice product.


Wow, that sounds great. I've known about the kindle for a while, but never considered it due to its price. My wife really wants one, maybe she'll get it as an Xmas gift and then I can steal it from her muahahahaha.

If it was $299 just for an e-book reader, I may not have bought it. The wireless functionality put me over the edge.

Did you already read '1984' on your kindle ? ;)

I'm glad there are a ton of other places for me to get 1984. :P

One of the hugest benefits I hear people talking about is the price you pay for books is way cheaper than any store.

I can see it being really useful if you could download school books. The savings would probably be huge.

@Eyeball. That is a good point. You can save some nice money on the books. I know Programming books tend to be a good bit cheaper via Kindle.

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