Just before Christmas I was sent a new Kindle by Amazon. Very kind of them! I was too busy using it to write a blog post in time for the Christmas rush, but there’s never a wrong time to write about something you like (a lot) so here’s my review of it.
It’s light, easy to use and very easy on the eyes, because of the quality of the e-ink they use.
No, you can’t read in bed, unlike with the Kindle app on the iPad, because you need light in order to read the ink – it’s not backlit, which means that, unlike reading on an iPad, tablet or laptop, your eyes aren’t strained and you don’t get tired after a couple of hours of reading.
I found I could read for as many hours at a time as I could find – one reading session lasted five hours as I demolished a Barry Eisler novel about the martial artist and hired assassin, John Rain.
Having an e-book reader that weighs next to nothing helps when couch-reading, too. Lying down to read Eisler, I didn’t suffer from the face-slap that occurs when your arms tire of holding up a heavy iPad over your head.
I’ve used e-book readers before, and Kindle’s 6-inch screen is no different to other readers, albeit with better (in my humble opinion) e-ink. I found that I was able to easily import nearly two dozen ‘classics’ from an old e-reader that I had sitting as text files on my pc, so I have no shortage of titles to keep my reading skills up.
One thing I really like is the seamless integration with the Amazon store. I came across a reference to another book in one of the books I was reading, so brought up the context menu, went to Amazon, searched for and found the book in question, bought it and went back to reading where I left off whilst the new book downloaded quietly in the background. Excellent!
The on-screen keyboard takes a bit of getting used to (especially if Apple have trained you to point and touch), but you get the hang of it, and it means your Kindle is smaller and sleeker by not having a physical keyboard as part of the hardware. A small price to pay.
A Luddite’s progress
I lent the Kindle to a friend, someone who hates computers and much prefers paper and ink. She was willing to give this new technology a try (but was definitely stopping short of trying an iPhone or iPad!).
To my surprise she liked it; principally for the reasons of weight and ease of purchase. She got quickly used to thumb-clicking a tab to turn a page, quicker it seems than I did. I had to reduce the font size because it felt like I was clicking every 10 seconds (I’m a fast reader).
I am fully enamoured with the new Kindle. It’s light, it stores a shedload of books (my bookshelves are groaning under the weight of books squeezed into it and on top of each other) and the reading with e-ink is surprisingly easy. The price, too (under AU$120 from Amazon, including postage) is a winner.
Amazon might ask for their review Kindle back. They might have a fight.