Archive for December, 2007

Kindle Review

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

After a few hours of playing with the Amazon Kindle, here’s what I’ve found so far.

It’s way too easy to accidentally hit the huge side buttons. You have to try not to hit them by always holding the device at the bottom and being careful to put your fingers somewhere where there isn’t a button.

Getting free 2 week trial subscriptions to newspapers and blogs is cool, but it looks like I have to remember to go and cancel them if I don’t want them. Getting previews of books is cool too. At least those don’t automatically get bought after 2 weeks.

The Kindle is indeed lightweight and easy to read. Although its still possible to get glare on the screen, its far less than on other types of screens, and looks great even in direct sunlight.

The back cover is really hard to get off, but I guess it was designed that way. At least it doesn’t come off as easily as the side buttons get hit. The battery and memory card slot are behind the back cover.

It comes with a book cover that is pretty cool, but it falls out too easily. They should have made the locking mechanism tighter.

You can start using the Kindle as soon as you get it. It doesn’t come charged, but it works while its charging so that’s not too bad. The Kindle is tied to your Amazon account when you buy it. So, from the home page where a list of all your reading is there was a personalized letter from Jeff Bezos. In the upper right, it says Kyle’s Kindle. I would assume yours would have your name on it instead.

The Kindle saves your spot in every piece of reading you have and shows you how far you are in each item on the home screen.

Something that isn’t talked about as much is the Ask NowNow service. From the Kindle, you can type in a question, and someone will browse the internet to find an answer for you. So, if you are driving around looking for a place to eat you can ask your Kindle “what’s the best place for burgers in Seattle?” and it will give you answers from 3 different people. In this case, the answer is Dick’s Drive-In at 111 NE 45th St. The people answering also listed several other places and gave a link to the CitySearch page where they got the results. I’m assuming they just used Google to search for “burgers seattle”. Which, I guess I could have done because the Kindle has a web browser.

Yes, that’s right, the Kindle comes with a web browser. It displays text and images in black and white. So, Wikipedia does indeed work, but not that well in my opinion. It says it supports javascript in advanced mode, but regular Google Maps doesn’t work. The non-javascript version sorta works, but the Kindle cuts off images if they are at the bottom of the first screen of a web page with no option to scroll half way. You either go to the next screen full, or the previous screen full.

The Kindle has a cool ‘screen saver’ type thing which gets activated after a while of non-use. Alternatively, you can activate it manually. I don’t think its actually saving the screen at all, but it does lock the kindle so that you can’t accidentally press buttons.

There is a back button! This is great for when you want to look up something, go to another book, check something on the web, then want to go back to wherever you came from. This not only works in the web browser, but in books, newspapers, in the menus, etc. So, its actually not that difficult to go to different sections or articles in the newspaper. You don’t have to click ‘next page’ a bunch of times. You just click the name of the section or article, read a little into it, then click the back button and you will be taken back to the list of articles or sections.