Oct 24, 2010

Kindle review

This review will be short and sweet.  I like practically everything about this device.  It's light, it's fairly tough, it's intuitive, the battery lasts forever, it holds thousands of books, and most importantly it's very easy to read.  I've read three books on it so far and it's pretty much identical to paper.  I find computer screens a bit taxing after a couple hours, but the e-ink technology makes for excellent contrast and the lack of backlighting is very easy on the eyes.  The pdf support is a trifle rickety, but especially as you can switch the layout from portrait to landscape it's possible to get reasonable font size even on small scanned pdfs.

Basically my only complaint—like most devices these days—is the annoying DRM gateways that they put up to try and lock you into the Amazon service.  It doesn't support EPUB, for example.  It's not that much of hassle even for the marginally computer literate like myself to convert your books to the proper format and avoid most of these problems.  (I've found the free software Calibre works very well for me.)  Certain features cannot be unlocked until the Kindle is registered, but I can't register it yet as I don't have Wi-Fi.  Regardless, these are minor issues, and they mostly irritate me as they're likely to affect only those that would have bought from Amazon anyway.  Overall, highly recommended.  I may never buy another normal book.

6 comments:

  1. Did you get the one with 3G or the wifi only one?

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  2. Ah, good question. I got the wi-fi one, I believe the price was $140. I think the 3G model is $190.

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  3. Hi, I'm going to be a PC volunteer in Ghana, and I'm contemplating buying a Kindle. Do I need to load it up entirely before I leave, or can I download books using the wi-fi in Ghana? You may not know about other areas outside of South Africa, but what has been your experience? Is there any reason to get the 3G model? Does it make a difference in your current situation?

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  4. If you can find wi-fi in Ghana, you'll be able to download stuff. So far I've used my computer to download things and then transferred via the cable. I reckon you'd be able to find some way of getting books in Ghana, but I'd probably spend some time loading it up in the US because it'd be pretty easy to get months worth of material without trying very hard, and then you'd be set in case you can't get things to work in Ghana for some reason.

    I don't see much reason for getting the 3G model personally--there's no way I could really take advantage of that here in any case. To me it seems like a waste of money in that it's mostly a matter of convenience, and it's quite easy to get enough material on the Kindle for it to be self-sufficient for months or years. I'm no expert on Ghana, though.

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  5. Thanks so much--this really helps. I don't know why I thought I'd need the 3G, but it makes sense that even back in the states, I probably won't need it. And it makes the overall price of the Kindle much more reasonable. I just have to resign myself to the fact that I'll have to spend $10 for each book I put on it.

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  6. Well, that's not strictly necessary. You can find cheaper ebooks than Amazon on the internet, and Project Gutenburg has gotten pretty good with their formatting for anything published before 1923. I use calibre to manage my collection, which keeps everything in the right format.

    There's also pretty much everything via torrents and so forth for free, but I know that's not for everyone. You can find stuff that way that simply isn't available any other way, though.

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