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Old 11-20-2007, 01:36 PM   #1
Thistledown
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First Impressions

I have owned a Sony PRS-500 for over a year, so these impressions are heavily influenced by my experience with that device.

The Kindle is a little larger than the Sony, but it's not an issue for me. It is very easy to inadvertently turn the page when passing the device around to co-workers (or flipping the device over), but I haven't found this to be a problem when just holding the device to read. It is at a slight downward angle. I have no idea why Amazon did this, but I didn't notice it at first. When laying flat on a table, the device is thicker on the left than on the right. I haven't found this to be a problem or to be annoying when reading either -- just strange.

This device shines compared to the Sony in many ways. It is very easy to place a note or highlight a section within a book, and then browse through those areas later. Looking up definitions in a line is also very slick. Being a Mac user, I always had to purchase and sync books on the Sony through a virtual machine. I love the fact that I can do all this wirelessly from the device without a computer at all. If only J.K. Rowling and Robert Jordan's works were available, I'd be in heaven.

The cover it comes with leaves a lot to be desired. It's not nearly as nice as the Sony Reader's integrated one. The Kindle's seems to be cardboard surrounded by fake leather with an elastic band to keep the case closed. The jury is out on whether this will be enough to prevent the device from falling out of the case in a bag or backpack.

Overall, I'm impressed. It is too bad that Amazon couldn't open up their DRM to work with other devices, but since I was already locked to Sony's DRM, this is just more of the same. Except, now I don't have to plug into a computer ever.
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Old 11-20-2007, 01:39 PM   #2
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Thank you for your well thought out mini-review.
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:06 PM   #3
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Have you tried to send PDF files for conversion via email? Does it work?

Also the text on the Amazon help page implies that there is a free way to convert files by sending them to yourname@free.kindle.com. ("If you would like to avoid the 10 cent charge"). Have you tried that?

Finally, can it handle PRCs loaded on an SD card well? I have a bunch of pdf e-books that I plan on converting to PRCs and being able to read those is the main reason I want to buy a Kindle.

Thanks!
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:07 PM   #4
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How's the speed and screen contrast compared to the Sony?

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Old 11-20-2007, 02:43 PM   #5
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Wow, you already got yours?!?! Excellent. I am a Mac user with a Sony Reader as well--I look forward to the Kindle so that I can avoid the hassle of having to open a program for my computer to see the Reader.

I haven't got my kindle delivered yet, but I did try the "...@free.kindle.com and it didn't show up in my "Media Library" online. The files I sent thru my .."kindle.com" addy showed up tho, so for me, the freebie part hasn't worked yet.

I do have several books lined up so that when I open the box, I can start downloading and reading right away.

When you DO hook the Kindle to your mac via USB, does it show up on the desktop?
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajju View Post
Have you tried to send PDF files for conversion via email? Does it work?

Also the text on the Amazon help page implies that there is a free way to convert files by sending them to yourname@free.kindle.com. ("If you would like to avoid the 10 cent charge"). Have you tried that?

Finally, can it handle PRCs loaded on an SD card well? I have a bunch of pdf e-books that I plan on converting to PRCs and being able to read those is the main reason I want to buy a Kindle.

Thanks!
I tried the @free.kindle.com, it works. It doesn't matter where the PRCs are, they will work on the Kindle. Just make sure they are formatted properly.
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:47 PM   #7
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How's the speed and screen contrast compared to the Sony?

Z.
The Kindle is faster than the Sony Reader. I think it might be using the Vizplex.
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:48 PM   #8
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Nate, did you have to set up your @free.kindle.com addy or anything? My regular @kindle.com was set up automatically when I ordered. I have sent emails to both, but only the @kindle.com works for me so far....
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:49 PM   #9
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It uses the Vizplex--I was looking up Kindle stuff and there was some press release from the Vizplex guys saying that Amazon picked them to make the screens for the Kindle.
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsgreer View Post
Nate, did you have to set up your @free.kindle.com addy or anything? My regular @kindle.com was set up automatically when I ordered. I have sent emails to both, but only the @kindle.com works for me so far....
I named the @kindle, and then tried the @free.kindle. They were the same.
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:01 PM   #11
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K, I actually just got the confirm email that it worked on my free.kindle addy. Just seemed to take longer. So we don't HAVE to pay the 10¢ charge. That's kind of sneaky that Amazon advertises the pay addy, and then in smaller print makes a suggestion in case you don't want to pay for the conversion, use the alternative freebie option.

I guess I shouldn't complain since we are offered the option, but that seems right on the very edge of lack of integrity to me.

Sorta like my local KFC restaurant. They have a jukebox that plays music and there is a coin slot that says: 25¢. So naturally, most people put in a quarter and pick some music. Well I noticed one day that an employee kept coming out and picking songs he liked and not putting any money in. I asked him how come he didn't have to pay--he said: "Oh no one has to pay, it's free."

So I asked him why the 25¢ marker was there and he shrugged and said that it was interesting to see how many people actually paid!! And the money didn't go to charity or anything, so I have no idea what they did with the change, probably just pocketed it. WTH?!

Last edited by tsgreer; 11-20-2007 at 03:08 PM.
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:20 PM   #12
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Yay! I am happy that RTFM (reading the FINE manual) helped me save 10 cents for potentially TENS of people
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:23 PM   #13
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Yay! I am happy that RTFM (reading the FINE manual) helped me save 10 cents for potentially TENS of people
I don't have the manual yet, does it mention the freebie option pretty clearly? I knew of it because of our fine Mobileread members here, but I usually don't read the manual until I have the device in front of me so I can try everything out as I read it...

If it does mention it clearly, then I take back what I said about them being sneaky.
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Old 11-20-2007, 04:01 PM   #14
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I have been using mine for a couple hours now. I would say the screen compares well to the Sony 505 in terms of contrast and clarity. The font is pleasant and the font size choices are superior to the sony. It seems noticably faster when flipping pages as well. The little lcd screen and scroller is incredibly cool. It will bring out the inner geek in you because it's so unusual. I think I would best describe it as pixel "mercury".

My first impression with the unit as a whole is that it is much more attractive in person than in a photo (much like many people). I don't think it will make me look any more geeky than I already do at the kid's soccer game with the sony reader.

Just a first observation. I think this thing is the real deal. I think it's going to change everything. I had purchased several books, magazines, newspaper subscriptions and blogs just to test everything out. I even sent a couple mobi PRC files (ASIMOV's DEC) to the email address for conversion.

Well, seemingly within seconds, all of the files I had purchased were loaded on the reader. They were there and downloaded by the time I was able to glance through the user manual and figure out how to get to the home screen.

It is a little too easy to accidently change pages with the big navigation buttons on both sides. I haven't decided the best way to hold it yet. I'm not sure why the buttons on the right are slanted as it appears to make it more difficult to use naturally, but i tend to use the left hand buttons anyway. Also, I don't like the case much. It's big and doesn't seem to lock the reader in well at all.

The features on this thing are incredible. I feel like I have only touched the icing on the cake so far, so I won't comment on it too much. I was disappointed that the slashdot blog for instance didn't have comments. When I clicked on one of the links (using the cool scroller) it took me to the experimental browser, which actually seemed to work quite well (and best of all is actually free!).

So I will report back. Right now I'm reading the new york times downloaded freshly to my kindle, along with the Atlantic magazine, the WSJ, Asimov's, and the Mass Effect novel (need to read it before I start playing the game).

Anyway, as a Sony Reader lover (owner of PRS-500 and then 505), i would have to say this is quite a leap and I doubt I'll ever go back to the 505 except to finish the content I have purchased from that reader.

Good job Amazon!!

Last edited by sfernald; 11-20-2007 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 11-20-2007, 04:03 PM   #15
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One thing I would like to know. The manual and the literature say that the device will reach mobi/prc files which has been confirmed. The standard MobiPocket Readers will actually also read Palm DOC files (usually has a pdb extension). I wonder it this reader will actually read these files as well. You can download thousands of those kinds of files (check Memoware). They might need their extension changed to PRC to be noticed.
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