View Full Version : Yet another Kindle Review

11-28-2007, 10:59 AM
OK, I have had mine for 2 days now and figured I would post my comments. I have both the Kindle and the Sony 500, which I have had since it was released - I have read probably 30 or more books on the Sony.

First I should say that I not only do not agree that it is ugly, I also think that even if one thinks it IS ugly (there is no accounting for taste), who cares? Unless one is more into style than substance (otherwise known as shallow), it seems to me that since this is a reader, which is for reading, what matters is function, not aesthetics.

One of the other complaints has been that it is hard to pick up w/o changing the page by accident. This is true but I have not found it to be that much of an issue. The reason is that one normally does not put books down for just a minute or two. Since it puts itself to sleep, I have found that the majority of times I have put it down, it was asleep when I went to pick it up again and the buttons are inactive at that point so it is not an issue. I suspect this may have been the designer's intent as a way to get around the button issue. Not ideal but not a big deal at all.

A third complaint has been that it is hard to find a good way to hold it and change pages easily, again w/o doing so by accident. I have also not found this to be an issue, although clearly this is an individual thing as everyone is going to want to hold it differently. The biggest reason that this has not been an issue for me is that you can mash your thumb all over the keyboard (with a couple of minor exceptions) while in normal read mode and not cause any problems since the majority of the keys are inactive in read mode. This means one can get a nice firm grip. In fact, the presence of the wide keyboard area actually gives one more gripping area than on the Sony. The only minor complaint related to holding it is that the corners are a bit sharp on the hand after a while but not that bad.

The white plastic shell is both good and bad news - it definitely will get dirty (but that is esthetics again - did you ever examine a well-used paperback?). OTOH, it is grippier than the Sony metal shell so easier to hold onto. It is also not as cold to the hand as the Sony shell. This is perhaps good since most folks won't use the Kindle in it's case whereas the Sony normally is read in it's case. The rubber backing is great and grippy, Sony could learn from that.

I totally agree with the complaint that the case is useless during reading - I would not even try. It looks like it will be fine for travel to protect the book, but taking it in and out of the case is a bit of a hassle. Clearly the case was an afterthought once the design was finished whereas is should have been part of the design process.

Some have complained about the navigation system and I too have screwed up using it quite a bit but overall I think it is quite acceptable and I am sure I will quickly get used to it.

I live outside EVDO access but it still downloaded a book in a few minutes. I went to a nearby town with EVDO today and it indeed will download a book in under a minute as advertised. I ordered and downloaded a book while waiting in a fast food drive up and the book was faster than the drive-up (which was actually pretty fast). Browsing w/o EVDO is slow to almost useless but, I point out again, the is a READER. Anything not directly related to reading is not important, at least to me. If you want to browse, bring a laptop. It probably will be much better under EVDO, but the interface and screen are still clearly made for reading, not browsing.

Computer use is simple and seamless - just drag and drop. I had about 15 Mobipocket BAEN books onto it within 2 minutes of plugging it into the PC.

My biggest complaint so far is battery life, which seems to be a lot poorer than the Sony, even with the wireless off. I will try turning it off totally between reads and see if that helps.

So that is it so far and so far it is mostly positive - I am glad I got it. It is way better than the Sony 500.

11-28-2007, 11:27 AM
Good points. Especially about the Sony Reader feeling cold to the hands. I had that problem with it as well.

But as for the Kindle case issue, I never take mine out of it's cover. I do all my reading with it in it's cover and a result never have any of the button pressing issues that other people have had. Of course, I usually do most of my reading sitting at a table (on my work break) or lying in bed. I just hold it open like a book and don't have any problems..

11-28-2007, 12:24 PM
This is perhaps good since the Kindle can't be used in it's case whereas the Sony can, and normally is.

This is another usability factor that is individual. I find it much easer to use in the case than out of it (I fold back the cover and attach the strap around the backside). Except for a few experiments, and putting in an SD card, I don't even take my Kindle out of the case at all (and it hasn't yet come loose on its own, lucky me. If it does get loose I'll probably do the velcro trick). I find it much easier to hold with the case on and when I've given it to people to try out, they tend to grab the case the same place I do (the left spine) and just explore away and never seem to comment on the case -- it's disappeared for them).

One person did note it was heavier than they heard and I mentioned it was because it was in the case. So, I took it out for them and they were surprised at how light it was (the case is substantial), but after having used it awhile in the case, preferred it on too.

The reason I don't like holding the Kindle without the case by the bottom edge or keyboard area, is that it is then top-heavy -- I don't always have a prop for the top part of the book. I also change positions frequently while reading and the case gives me more freedom to change how I hold it -- anywhere along the left edge, or with a thumb or finger trapped between the cover plates -- held together with the strap.