Using the Kindle in the real world
I commute almost an hour and a half each way by train every day, so I’ve got plenty of time to fill with reading. I’ve been lugging around Harry Potter Book 6, the 2-3 inch thick hardcover edition. On a train, it’s not the easiest thing to read. Time to test out the Amazon Kindle 2.
Unfortunately, the Harry Potter novels are not yet available for the Kindle, so I picked out another book. Even in a case (which costs extra, unfortunately) it took up little room in my bag and added little weight.
Reading on the train with the Kindle was so much easier than with my hardcover. It can be a tight squeeze in the seats with little elbow room, so being able to hold my “book” and turn the “page” with one hand was definitely a benefit over my hardcover book.
Apparently, the world is unfamiliar with the Kindle
At work, I was surprised to find that many of my co-workers, most of them engineers, had not heard of the Kindle. They all wanted a chance to hold it and read from it and they had plenty of questions about its features.
Like me, they seemed to enjoy how easy on the eyes the text was and how small and light the unit is in the hand. They were even more intrigued by the free lifetime 3G and built-in web browser. They were throwing out topics left and right for me to look up in Wikipedia and even had me load up my e-mail account.
The small, but might,y unit definitely piqued their interests. It was hard to stow the unit away until the end of the day – it almost makes you want to read more. My train ride home was again a joy – at least the reading part. The Kindle almost makes you forget its in your lap or in your hand.
Portability: The Amazon Kindle 2 travels easily – it’s not only physically small, but also rather a lightweight way of carrying a library.
Reading is a dream: The screen is very easy on the eyes. It really is a near-paper like experience and you can adjust the text size for personal preference. Plus the battery life is about 2 weeks if the wireless connection is off.
Get connected: The Kindle 2 comes with free 3G wireless access for life. Combine this with the built-in web browser and you have an encyclopedia and dictionary at your fingertips wherever you’ve got 3G.
Selection: I found Amazon’s Kindle Store to have an affordable selection of books, magazines, and newspapers with plenty of free stuff, too. I actually found popular titles available to purchase, like the Twilight series.
There is nothing that I outright could not stand about the Kindle, but there are a few things that I would like to see tweaked for Kindle 3.
Price: Initially, I had this in the “Bad” column, but I took a step back and really considered why Amazon priced it where they did – $359.99. So, you get free 3G for life with a built-in web browser AND the capability to replace shelves upon shelves of books plus receive multiple newspapers and magazines all with one compact device.
You really get so much more than a simple e-reader, however, Amazon is marketing it as basically that – a simple e-reader for books. Naturally, the everyday consumer is likely to cringe at the $359 price tag for what is touted as such a simple device. Even I have trouble swallowing the $359 and I know that the Kindle is pretty powerful. I think you’ll see the Kindle popularity rise if Amazon lowers the price to somewhere between $199 and $299.
Screen size: While the look of the text on the screen is easy on the eyes, I would like to have more screen real estate. Even with the smaller font sizes, the pages felt a bit cramped and I found myself moving through pages pretty quickly – too quick for comfort.
One font style choice: For an even more personalized experience, I would like to see the option added to have different viewing fonts, in addition to just text size. In the alternative, publishers should be able to choose the display font for their works.
Navigation: The joystick is a bit awkard, as is the right-handed next page button. If you’re a quick reader, you’ll find yourself hitting that “next page” button a lot. It could definitely be made more comfortable via texture and the amount of pressure to click.
As someone who loves to read and who loves gadgets, too, I don’t want to give this back. Even knowing all that the Kindle can do, I can’t get past the price tag. Therefore, I must be satisfied with simply placing it on my wishlist – right at the top, of course.