Got the Kindle last week. Been using it extensively, and thought I’d jot down my observations.
Treat the Kindle like a single-function device. It does one thing really, really well: lets you read eBooks for a long time without having to worry about anything else. You needn’t give a damn about 1) battery life 2) eye strain 3) reading outdoors. Expect it to do anything more and it will disappoint. It delivers on that one promise amazingly well.
You’ll have a feeling that you wastefully put money on a device that doesn’t even have a touch screen but that will vanish in a while. The Kindle doesn’t need a touch screen.
The screen is like paper. Letters appear like they’ve been carefully drawn on the screen.
Screensavers will grab your attention. Oh yeah they’re black and white, but they’re aesthetically pleasing nonetheless. See for yourself:
The Kindle comes with dedicated page turn buttons on both the sides of the screen and I can’t help but think that they’ll wear out every time I press them. They’re slightly curvy, and that makes me have that creepy feeling.
These page turn buttons are on both the sides of the screen, and you might wonder why. They’re actually useful because you’ll find yourself holding the Kindle with one hand and you could turn pages back and forward with just one hand.
Free 3G just works out of the box. Books get downloaded in seconds and that’s because Kindle editions don’t cross a few hundred KBs. You don’t have to wait for books to ship and that is awesome. Find a book online, read reviews and get it. Instantly.
That I could try a sample of the book before purchasing is extremely cool.
The experimental browser sucks. Period.
You can transfer PDFs via USB and read them – but reading them is quite painful. You have to zoom, magnify and read pages section-by-section (akin to browsing sites using Opera Mini in a Symbian phone) because a PDF isn’t really formatted for viewing on the Kindle screen. Workaround: change the screen orientation, and you needn’t having to zoom into sections of the page. You can convert the PDF to ePUB using Calibre, but the formatting was messed up when I tried.
Text-to-speech is nice for a show-off but I can’t listen to the voice for more than five minutes because it gets monotonous and boring. I’ll rather buy an audiobook.
It comes with the Oxford dictionary preloaded. That’s a big deal. Detailed meanings, and you can refer them any time by just moving the pointer to a word when you’re reading.
Highlighting is the best part – I can highlight quotes and passages in seconds and then search and find them later. I can also instantly share them on Facebook and Twitter but I haven’t linked my accounts yet. I really don’t want to post something accidentally.
Oh, you needn’t bother about shutting down the Kindle – you have to slide and hold the power button for *7 seconds* to turn it off. You can just slide it for a second and send it to sleep mode – it’ll just display the screensaver. The display doesn’t use power when something is constant on your screen and the battery won’t drain even if you leave it for a month aside.
It’s easy to get engrossed in a good book for hours and lose track of the time.
The Kindle doesn’t even show the time. The bar on top only displays the battery level and wireless signal strength. Show me the time and give me an alarm. I’d certainly appreciate a feature to set alarms and reminders. The Kindle does show the time – just hit the Menu key and the time pops up in the middle of the bar on top. Thanks Daniel for pointing it out in the comments!
I’d also appreciate it if I can share reading lists with friends – books I’m reading, books I want to read, and books I’ve read. Kinda like I do on GoodReads. Amazon has profile pages for users, but they’re not being leveraged.