Thursday, January 13, 2011

Amazon Kindle - a personal review

I have wanted to purchase a Kindle for a very long time, I love reading books, I read a LOT of books - Fiction, History, Woodworking, Science Fiction, (Auto)Biographies, you name it - I probably read it. 


So as a book lover (and gadget lover) I was excited when the Kindle was announced, a book reader for book lovers - I wanted one for myself. This seemed like the sort of gadget I would enjoy spending money on, it took me a few years, but I finally bought one! I'm sorry I didn't do it sooner... 


So on to my review, well sorta, I ramble, so bear with me...


First things first - Reading with Kindle is fun - the Electronic Ink technology is amazing, compared to reading a PDF on the PC, no comparison, I can read for hours with no fatigue - almost like a real book - I hear that color is coming soon - that will be a nice addition for children books and cooking books for example...

The web browser functionality is a bit limited but it works, using the free 3G connectivity I can access my emails and most websites (you are usually better off using the mobile version of the specific website or service you need). Wikipedia and others are particularly good looking. I wouldn't but the Kindle for this, but it's better than not having anything... (Now if only I could figure how to make my Kindle a WiFi hot-spot :-))...

Navigating in the book is basic, I love the next/previous locations (I've heard complaints - I think it is superb usability), also search in book (or all books) works well. The build quality is great, this is a sturdy little device - a nice case is recommended - a lighting device as well (since you can't read your kindle in the dark without additional illumination)... A nice addition to the next-gen Kindle would be a built in light, I think...

I really would like touch capability for the Kindle, I understand this was left out for the screen clarity and quality, but I think it would simplify my life as a reader to have it (many selection options and other things would be much faster than using the "5 in 1" selector).

I like the built-in dictionary - so much fun, bookmarking, and the highlighting, and the fact that Amazon remembers (across devices) my last location in each book and synchronizes this... I would like the ability to select and search text in Google (preferably a configurable/switchable search engine).

I get books from Amazon (which has many classics for free) easily, also Oriley has technical books in the mobi format which work fine on the Kindle (you can put it direct on the Kindle using the USB cable or send it through the WhisperNet service). a new software I discovered lately http://calibre-ebook.com/ is a VERY good manager, and allows you to manage your library (beyond Amazon.com) including converting many eBook formats to the .mobi (so that they work on the Kindle), it knows how to download news sources (blogs/online newspapers) for reading on the Kindle as .mobi files (avoiding subscription rates and very readable).
 
I like reading on my Kindle, it is a good experience and close to a book, but it is not a book... I still like reading real books much better. On my next vacation I will probably take along both (at least one real book and the Kindle).