When Amazon first introduced the Kindle in late 2007 I was intrigued but the price and US only availability prevented me from doing anything other than drool. In 2009 they announced the international version and I was happy, but still leery of the price. By now I am guessing you will have an idea of how pleased I was to hear about the Kindle 3 and it’s 139$ price point (189$ with 3G) on July 28, 2010. This is where I jumped in.
I strongly suggested to my lovely wife and anyone else that would listen that a kindle would make an excellent birthday gift and who would believe it they listened. So I have been a Kindle owner for a little over a month and after completing a book and a half, purchasing one and running it through the paces I thought I could share some thoughts.
The Kindle’s first impression is very nice. It comes ready to go out of the box. It was already registered and configured with my Amazon account information all it needed to get going was a charge and the password to my Wi-Fi network. The Kindle felt solid and comfortable in my hands (I didn’t get this feeling from some other eReaders) but still gave me a bit of a Sci-Fi feeling that would take some time to get over. Adding a cover allowed me to hold the Kindle in a more familiar way and alleviated much of the awkwardness I felt.
The reading experience is good. The screen is crisp and the page turn rate has come a long way from some of the earlier generation eReaders. The lack of back light and matte finish of the screen goes a long way to reducing eye strain and provides a very similar reading experience that many people will be used to. I did find a little glare on the screen in some situations but this is usually easily remedied. I found that after a few days of use I was quite easily able to fall into reading and not noticing the device and once I was on a roll of reading and hooked into the story it was irrelevant if I was reading in a Kindle or a printed page.
The Kindle’s interface is well designed with a 5 way button, Menu key, Home key, Back Key and QWERTY keypad. This allows you to navigate the menu system and books very easily and instinctively. Connecting to the kindle store and purchasing books on the Kindle was simple enough but I prefer to surf the selections on my computer and have it delivered to the Kindle that way. My only problem with the interface is the page turn button layout. The buttons are located on both the left and right side of the kindle with the larger lower button being page forward and a smaller page back button on top. I would have preferred page forward on the right and page back on the left.
I am quite happy with my Kindle and with the addition of book lending support and hopefully library support, the product will continue to get better. If you are an avid reader I would definitely recommend looking into a Kindle.