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Old 09-17-2012, 09:19 PM   #1
Moriarty's
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Kindle 4 Review - New e-Ink User

Hello, all. I’ve been lurking here on MobileRead for some months while I’ve been figuring out which e-ink reader to purchase, as I reached a calamity wherein I had become an e-book addict and I loathed the bulk and brightness of my iPad (as I’m no longer a student, it’s also an awful heavy thing to lug around for the sole purpose of reading). I’ve been gearing up for a Kindle for almost the entire time that I’ve been lurking here, based on what I’ve been reading regarding all of the more popular e-ink devices. Something that I noticed, however, was that all comments on Kindle user experience seem to be from people with either previous Kindle experience, or previous e-ink device experience.

I hope that my post isn’t too useless – I’m writing it under the impression that there might be other lurkers like me who are looking to buy an e-reader, are leaning towards a Kindle, and would like to see first impressions from a person entirely new to the e-ink world but who still has technical knowledge regarding tablets and PCs. (There’s a big lacking area regarding this in the Amazon customer reviews, I’m sure a few of you have noticed!) So, I’ll get on with things: On 11 September, the day that the Kindle 4 in black was released for pre-order to Australia, I threw down my $89 + $20 for global priority shipping. Today, on 18 September, I’ve received it.



For those who, like me, were quite in the dark about shipping methods, Amazon uses a very ergonomic design. The Kindle is very snug – if you’ve purchased an Apple product in the past, packaging methods are quite similar. It was a bit strange to receive a solidly black box in the post, though – I'm used to the cardboard not being dyed. My first impression upon opening the box was that there was a sticker on my Kindle screen: this is how realistic the e-ink display is. It’s one thing to see a photograph of e-ink on a computer screen, and another thing entirely to mistake the screen for an actual printed sheet. I am highly impressed with the display. I was also surprised with the weight – in my hands, it feels as though it weighs the same amount as my HTC HD7. There might be some difference, but it's not enough for me to tangibly notice.

Setting up the Kindle is phenomenally easy: as expected, there were no issues connecting to the network, registering my device, or loading my ebooks onto the device. Navigation within the device reminds me of some of the older gaming consoles, so that was a nice bit of nostalgia. I found Calibre extremely easy to use in tandem with the Kindle, and was pleased that Calibre was able to operate so seamlessly with it, right down to the Kindle Collections plug-in. My next step will be to jailbreak the device and add my own screensavers, which I expect to be fairly straight-forward. One thing which a new user may find surprising, though, is the keyboard display on the screen. It’s easy enough to use, whether or not you're obsessed with the vidya and use on-screen keyboards far too much, but it curiously isn’t displayed in QWERTY format.

I haven’t read too much on it yet – only the user guide, actually. Navigation through the menu and the collections to select a book (or the guide) was very easy, and though I was jarred out of the ‘zone’ slightly every time the device performed a full page refresh, I found that after four or five of these full refreshes, I was no longer bothered by it – and in fact had stopped noticing it entirely. The screen is crisp and clear, but it isn’t perfect. (If you’re a new as I am to e-ink, though, you’re probably expecting a lot worse – as I was. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!) The screen is superior to every mass market paperback I’ve pulled off my shelf to compare it to, but it lacks the clarity of some of my hardback issues.

I don’t normally review electronics – I prefer to just shut up and use them. I wanted to add this here, though, so that any other complete newbies to e-ink devices can see the Kindle through another newbie’s eyes. I hope that I’ve been helpful, and that I haven’t wasted anybody’s time but my own.

Edited to Add: Just in case it helps anybody considering jail-breaking their Kindle but who is afraid of completely destroying it, in between originally posting this and updating it now, I've successfully jailbroken my Kindle and added four custom screensavers. It was very straightforward, and the Kindle didn't play up at all during the process (except for when it wouldn't exit diagnostics mode - but rebooting the Kindle sorted that out without issue). Custom screensavers display beautifully!

Last edited by Moriarty's; 09-17-2012 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:30 PM   #2
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My first impression upon opening the box was that there was a sticker on my Kindle screen: this is how realistic the e-ink display is.
You're not the first. Even though I'd seen eInk in store displays before, I spent some time trying to find the edge of the sticker to peel it off when I first got my Kindle. It took me a good week to stop interrupting my reading with admiration with how "fake" the screen appeared. I've seen this sticker comment many times over.
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:33 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
You're not the first. Even though I'd seen eInk in store displays before, I spent some time trying to find the edge of the sticker to peel it off when I first got my Kindle. It took me a good week to stop interrupting my reading with admiration with how "fake" the screen appeared. I've seen this sticker comment many times over.
Hah! I guess it's a bit of a shock for a lot of people when they first get their hands on an e-ink device.
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:19 PM   #4
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Okay I admit I thought it was a sticker too when I got my first K4.

Congrats on your K4. The black box threw me for a loop too. This is first time Amazon has used an all black box.

I own both K4s but the K4B is my favorite so far.

Enjoy your Kindle!
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:35 PM   #5
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Okay I admit I thought it was a sticker too when I got my first K4.
I'm feeling less silly by the minute!
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:43 PM   #6
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I'm feeling less silly by the minute!
You picked the perfect time to get a Kindle. They seem to have sorted their quality control issues from last year. I'm staring at mine now getting ready to go read.
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:47 PM   #7
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You picked the perfect time to get a Kindle. They seem to have sorted their quality control issues from last year. I'm staring at mine now getting ready to go read.
I assume that's the ghosting that I've been reading about here and there? I was a bit nervous that my device would end up with some chronic ghosting, but I became more and more confident that their quality control is much better with this generation after seeing all of the threads about these new kindles popping up while I was waiting for mine to ship - including, I believe, a few posts of yours. So, you know, thanks for unwittingly helping me decide.
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