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Kindle User Review

Posted by admin on May 2, 2010

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6,561 of 6,670 people found the following review helpful:

4.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Me!, February 25, 2009
By Robin L. McLaughlin (Seattle, Wa.)

I’m a new Kindle 2 owner and I did not own a Kindle 1. I was very interested in the original Kindle, but had decided to wait for improvements based on customer feedback after it was released, especially the accidental page turning issue. Since it looked like they made the improvements I was waiting for (one of the others was a bit more free space on the case to hold it) I took the plunge and got the new one.

I thought I’d start with listing my reasons for getting the Kindle, since I think that can sometimes help others who are sitting on the fence to decide if it’s for them or not.

* Saving Money. While the cost of the Kindle up front is steep, in the long run it will pay for itself and save me money since I read on average 4-8 books a month. With the free classics available it’s also going to encourage me to expand my reading material, for no additional cost.

* Environment. The majority of books I buy and read I’ll only read once. I feel guilty about the trees needed to make the paper and all the other energy used to produce and ship/distribute the books required to satisfy my reading appetite.

* Storage. I’m out of shelf space and all the boxes of books do little to add to the ambience of my one bedroom apartment. On the rare occasions I want to read something again trying to find the book in all the boxes is an exercise in frustration.

* eInk technology. I love books and using an electronic gadget isn’t the same experience. The new technology has almost eliminated that concern.

* Convenience. The Whispernet is great for when you need the next book in a series right away or want to stock up on a few before leaving on a trip. Being able to have several books stored in the Kindle to take along instead of having to pack an extra bag just for my books for a week’s vacation is a huge benefit.

* Aging. I’m 47 and middle age is starting to catch up with me! Being able to select larger print to avoid having to use my reading glasses (just started needing them this last year) and having a device that’s easier on my hands for holding to read is a boon.

* Less waiting for publication. I don’t like reading hardbacks because of their size and weight. But it’s agonizing to wait for the latest book in a series to finally come out in mass market format. Now I won’t have to wait!

My Kindle was one of the ones that shipped without being pre-registered to my account. After I plugged it in to my USB hub on my computer to charge the battery (the charging cord design is very clever!) I read through the introductory portion of the user guide which told me how to register the Kindle. I followed the instructions and a couple minutes later I was all set!

I thought it would be fitting to christen my Kindle with the Stephen King novella UR, so went to the Amazon site on my computer and clicked on the button to buy it. As soon as I’d clicked the button to confirm my order it appeared on my Kindle almost immediately! I read it while the Kindle finished charging.

First impressions:

When people say the Kindle is sleek they ain’t kidding. Everything is very nicely laid out and it just feels and looks cool!

After reading through the introductory guide that loads up automatically at the start and following along it took me almost no time to learn which buttons are where and what each of them do. The intro guide is plenty to get started and I haven’t felt a need to work my way through the more detailed guide.

The 5-way controller is teensy! I was a bit taken aback at first by this thinking it was going to be too small to manipulate easily. But it only took me a couple tries to get it right. Using a fingernail to push it does the trick. For people who have dexterity issues though it could be a potential stumbling block. If that’s you I’d recommend seeing if you can find someone with a Kindle 2 to try it out for yourself first to see how it works for you.

Being able to change the font sizes is awesome! I started reading with the default size without my glasses and noticed I was squinting a bit, so changed to one size larger with a couple button clicks and it was much easier without feeling like the print was too big and took up too much of the page.

When starting to read for real for the first time I was VERY aware that I was reading on an electronic gadget and was a bit disappointed that it didn’t immediately “disappear” as per the advertising. The gadget feeling is underlined by needing to press a button to turn pages. However, it really didn’t take too long for that feeling to lessen. I imagine once the Kindle is no longer my exciting new toy and is just what I use to read books that I’ll have completely lost the gadget awareness thing.

It took very little time to get used to having to push a button to turn pages and the screen flash as they turn only really startled me the first few times. I can see how it might bother some people, but it was a non-issue for me almost right away. The page turns are very fast. I don’t feel the need to push the button ahead of time to prepare for the end of the page at all, which evidently a lot of Kindle 1 owners do since it’s a bit more sluggish.

So far the only real drawback that I’ve experienced is that the Kindle is heavier for its thin profile than I expected or would prefer. The weight gives it a very solid feel so you don’t feel like the thing is super fragile and going to break any minute, but after reading for a while I could definitely feel it weighing on my wrist.

On the other hand, the Kindle design allows for holding it in several different comfortable positions with either hand. Normally when reading books I only like holding them in my left hand and during a long reading session it often starts to get uncomfortable, or even painful. I found myself easily switching my Kindle off between hands and into different positions in each hand without even really noticing I was doing it. So being able to so easily shift it around helps counteract that it’s a bit heavier than completely desireable.

I ordered the Amazon case and am quite pleased with it. It’s fairly sturdy, looks and feels well-made, and the design is perfect for how I’ll likely be using the Kindle most of the time. Eventually I may get something like the Patagonia case that zips around the edges for travel, but for every day reading this one suits me just fine.

Unlike a lot of people I think having the case as a separate purchase right from the start was a good move by Amazon. If a case was included, as with the Kindle 1, that would have been reflected in a higher price. But I’d imagine that probably 50% or more buyers end up buying a different case instead that suits their tastes, which means you end up paying for two cases. The way it’s been done with Kindle 2 means you can pick which case you want right from the start and only pay once.

Overall I’m thrilled to finally be part of the Kindle community and expect to be spending many, many, many pleasant hours absorbed in books on my new best friend. Right now I’m off to download the new Kim Harrison book because she’s coming to a local bookstore this weekend and I want to read it before I go see her to avoid dealing with spoilers. If I hadn’t gotten the Kindle that wouldn’t have been possible because I’d be stuck waiting for the mass market paperback which doesn’t come out until next November. Kindle me baby!

Update 3/23/09:

I feel a bit guilty adding more to an already long review, but felt that since I’ve now had the Kindle for almost a full month it would be appropriate. I’m completely in love with my Kindle! If my building should catch on fire my Kindle will be what I grab to save as I flee.

Like pretty much everyone else I feel that the Kindle 2 is in dire need of a user customizable folder system for organizing books. That’s the biggest negative for me so far.

So far I’ve purchased 19 ebooks. Some from Amazon and some directly from a couple small presses. Tracking my savings on a spreadsheet I’ve already saved $62.97 vs. the lowest cost paper versions on those 19 books. That’s pretty impressive.

The dictionary function is absolutely fantastic and now that I’m accustomed to having it I found it’s frustrating to be reading a paper book and not be able to use it!

I didn’t think I’d be using the highlight and note features much or at all but actually have been and they’re an extremely nice extra. People in book discussion groups would find these to be a huge benefit.

The search function is also surprisingly useful for a wide variety of uses.

I’ve definitely lost most of the gadget awareness thing. This is just how I read most books now.

One of the unexpected great things is not having to deal with my bookmark falling out and having to find my place again. Or being able to just set the reader down for a couple minutes without bookmarking or losing my place because I bumped the book and it closed. It’s little things like this that really elevate the reading experience.

Source: Amazon.

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Sony Digital Reader Touch Edition User Review

Posted by admin on February 16, 2010

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Nothing is perfect and this reader is no exception.

Pros

What I like is that I can get any book I want from Google library or internet and I can read any of my 2000 pdf’s easily. When you open pdf it allows you to increase and decrease font. If you increase font from small to large all pictures go away, but you can always go back to small font and even zoom in on pictures. I don’t have to convert text files or MS Word documents on this thing. It allows you to add SD card (I have 2000 plus books and magazines on it now). This thing is fast and software that Sony created for it is very easy to use (I was surprised by that). Now, with all these books I don’t need wireless 🙂

It’s shorter than Kindle 2 by two fingers.

Screen is readable outside and I actually like the black letters against gray background as it’s not as blinding as a real book on the very sunny day, but there are cons, see below.

Cons

Compare to Kindle 2 that my friend has at work it has more glare, because of the touch screen. Is it a showstopper? Not sure as adjusting the angle resolves the issue, but you do have to adjust the angle. Also, I find that contrast is not as good as a real book, but it is comparable to Kindle 2.

Verdict, I am keeping it for another 3-4 days to see if the glare gets to me, I will post an update if it does. Also, I think I do like it better than Kindle 2, because of the open format and expandable memory.

Update: Decided to keep it. It really grew on me. Surprisingly the glare is less of an issue outside and inside slight adjustments to the angle resolves it. Also, I like how it’s built like a tank. I am really not afraid of breaking it.

By Mike “internetfloppy” (Wilmington, DE United States)

Source: Amazon.

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Kindle Global Wireless User Review

Posted by admin on November 22, 2009

[tweetmeme] 4,910 of 5,041 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars First Impressions from a Kindle 1 owner, February 25, 2009.
By P. Inhofer.

On the one hand I love my Kindle 1… I use it everyday, I subscribe to my favorite newspaper, I mark up my books with annotations, highlights and bookmarks.

On the other hand my Kindle 1 annoys me… unintended page changes, the awkward way I sometimes have to hold it to keep from hitting buttons, the sometimes slow page refresh, and the screen freezes that now has me traveling with a paper clip lest I need to do a reset while commuting on the train.

I’ve had the Kindle 2 in my hands for almost a day and have carried it on one commute. What follows is my “first impressions” review of the Kindle 2 from the perspective of an owner of the original K1. What’s different, what’s better and what’s worse?

5 big things I immediately noticed as different:

First, when taking the K2 out of the box I immediately noted that the back cover is not easily removable (if at all) and won’t slip off in my hands – as was frequent with the K1. The keyboard is also much much smaller and less obtrusive.

The second thing I noticed is power management. No longer do I have to press and hold two buttons to put the device to sleep. The switches for On/Off and Wireless On/Off are gone. There’s a single small switch at the top of the K2 that handles Sleep.

The third thing I noticed – where’s the silver strip? In fact, the entire navigation structure has been completely revised – I’m still getting used to it but it’s a huge step forward. The silver strip has been replaced by a 4-way rocker that can also be pressed for “OK” commands, creating bookmarks, and doing highlighting.

The fourth thing I noticed – while page changing doesn’t seem to me to be particularly faster – almost every other interaction on the screen is vastly accelerated… scrolling the cursor, looking up words, highlighting text, and typing text.

The fifth thing I noticed – a new power cable. This unit uses USB cables that are not compatible with K1. It’s a bit of a bummer since I was hoping my wife and I could share power cables (she’s taking over my K1).

What’s better:

Navigation is a huge improvement. Moving the cursor to a word and having the definition of the word immediately pop up on the bottom of the screen is terrific. Using the rocker to move between articles in a newspaper makes scanning the paper much faster and enjoyable. Calling up the Menu strip is much faster and interactive. Clearly, Amazon was hard at work to make navigation quicker and easier. The hard work is apparent.

Buttons: The K1 was a constant struggle with inadvertent page changes. The design was flawed from the beginning. The single best improvement in the K2 took a few minutes of concentrated reading to realize… the button hinges are on the outside – at the edge – of the K2. You need to press on the interior of the button to get it to click. This change alone has saved me from several inadvertent page changes. Combine that with the smaller button sizes and one major source of frustration has been instantly eliminated!

Size: The K2 is thinner than the iPhone. It feels denser and maybe a tad heavier – although I did buy the premium cover which snaps into the K2 and adds to the weight (btw, I love the premium cover and think it’s worth the investment).

Network Speed: The K2 can use G3 cellphone connections and when it’s activated it makes a considerable difference in interactivity to the Kindle Store and when downloading Archived content.

Power Management: The little power button at the top of the Kindle is really a power slide. That is, slide it to toggle Sleep mode on and off. Slide and hold to do a full power down. And the K1‘s wireless on-off switch has been replaced by a menu choice in software. Works for me. Also, compared to the K1 waking from sleep is super-fast.

What’s worse…

There isn’t much I liked better in the K1 than the K2. One thing: calling up clippings and notes. In the K2 these items only list the first sentence or two of my highlights. In the K1 it displays the entire highlight – which makes reading through them much easier and more like reading Cliff Notes. The new interface in K2 is annoying and makes the feature much less useful. I’ll be writing to Amazon to see if we can get that changed.

Closing thoughts…

The K2 is a big refinement over the K1. It feels as easy to read as the K1 but doesn’t seem any crisper to my eyes (I usually read at point sizes 3 & 4). In this regard, as a book, the K1 and K2 are comparable. I wouldn’t run up my credit card to buy the K2 from a belief that it’s fundamentally easier to read. However, in my short time with the K2 it’s a more enjoyable device to use. The change in the hinging and size of the buttons is major plus and would make it hard to go back to the K1. Amazon broke a few paradigms that K1 users are accustomed to and I found myself going to the K2 User Guide to figure out some content management issues that have been changed in this release.

Why 4 stars and not 5? The Kindle will never get 5 stars from me until Amazon implements the notion of a lending library where I can lend another Kindle user a book; which would have the book would disappear from my Kindle and appear on theirs. After x number of days the book would automatically be returned to me and taken off the other person’s Kindle. Amazon says they want the device to disappear and content to stand out. I say: Until I can lend a friend a book the Kindle will never quite live up to that standard and will be, in my book, stuck at 4 stars.

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Kindle DX User Review

Posted by admin on November 10, 2009

[tweetmeme] 2,051 of 2,082 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Different and Better, June 11, 2009.

By Alexander Scherr.

I have owned both Kindle 1 and Kindle 2, so I’m already committed to the basic idea: e-ink reading in a slim form factor with excellent connectivity to a large selection of books and subscriptions. I have come to rely on my Kindle experience, and it has seriously enhanced my reading.

The DX was not an obvious upgrade for me, but two features put me over the edge: the larger screen, and the native PDF reader. I now have the DX in my hands, and can report PROS, CONS, and NEUTRALS:

PROS:

— the larger screen is a definite plus. I use the larger type size on my Kindle 2 (older eyes), and at this type size I get far more text per page on the DX. This makes the whole reading experience more book-like (and should be a boon to people who buy large-print books.)

— the screen is also sharper and crisper than my Kindle 2 in a side-by-side comparison: the text is darker, and the contrast is much better, making for better visibility overall.

— on a side note, the larger screen also makes it possible to read poetry on the kindle, even at large type sizes. On earlier Kindles, the smaller screen cut off lines, so that you would lose the sense of when the poet ended the line. On the DX, you can see the whole line exactly as the poet meant it, with the cut-off in the right spot.

— the PDF reader works as advertised, and is extremely convenient. PDF documents appear on the DX exactly as they do on a computer screen. Moreover, you can drag and drop your documents directly to the device using the USB cable (or use the for-a-fee email if you absolutely must.) The only downside: at least for the documents that I’ve used so far, I cannot adjust the type size as I can with native Kindle documents.

— screen rotation also works as advertised: it operates as a mild zoom on both graphics and text and offsets slightly the downside of not being able to adjust the typesize on PDF documents. One nice design touch: the four-way navigation stick introduced on the Kindle 2 is rotation-sensitive, and will move as expected relative to the screen rotation.

— more of the device space is devoted to the screen, while the white plastic border around the screen seems to have shrunk, both in general and compared to the proportion of screen to plastic on the Kindle 2. I like this (but see below about the keyboard).

— storage: I like the increase in storage space, and don’t mind the lack of an external storage card. I can see some people having trouble with this, but only those folks who either a) must regularly carry around PDF documents totalling more than 3.5 GB of space or b) must have nearly 3500 books regularly at their fingertips. I fall in neither category.

CONS:

— price: it’s expensive, as you can tell pretty quickly. If you value the larger size, and the native PDF reader, these features may justify the roughly 30% premium you pay for the DX over the Kindle 2. In truth, the DX SHOULD cost more than the Kindle 2, and a 30% premium isn’t unreasonable. But, for my money, Amazon should drop the price on the Kindle 2 to $300 or so, and charge $400 or a little less for the DX. Still, I bought it, and will keep it at this price.

— one-sided navigation buttons: all of the buttons are now on the right side, and none are on the left. I’m a righty, so I shouldn’t complain, but I found myself using both sides on the Kindle 2. Lefties have reason to complain, I think.

— One-handed handling: I often read while I walk, with my Kindle in one hand, and something else in my other. Because of the button layout, this will be more difficult on the DX.

— metal backing: I miss the tacky rubberized backing on my Kindle 1. When I placed my Kindle 1 on an inclined surface, it stayed in place. Not so my Kindle 2 and now my DX. This is not a complaint specific to the DX, but it’s still there.

NEUTRALS (i.e. things worth noting):

— weight: the DX is heavier, noticeably so. This is only an issue if, like me, you regularly use the kindle with one hand . . . and even so, it’s still doable.

— keyboard: the keyboard has 4 rows, and not 5: the top row of numbers from the Kindle 1 and Kindle 2 has been merged into the top qwerty row, so that numbers are now only accessible with an alt-key combination. The keys are vertically thinner too, so that the whole keyboard is no more than 1″ tall (compared to over an 1.5″ on the Kindle 2). At the same time, the keys themselves are a bit easier to press, a bit more protruding than on the Kindle 2. For someone with big fingers (like me), this will be a slightly harder keyboard to use, but only slightly.

That’s all I can see. Overall, the pluses outweigh the minuses for me, and I’m satisfied with my purchase. I can now think of using my DX for work documents on a regular basis, because of the PDF reader. The screen size and screen rotation make the overall reading experience more immersive.

Overall, the DX feels more like text and less like device and comes closer to the stated goal of the Kindle: for the device to disappear, leaving only the joy of reading.

Seen on: Amazon.

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