I finally bought an Amazon Kindle. Several factors played into this decision: I have been eyeing it ever since it was announced over 6 months ago, the price just dropped $40, I just got a raise at work, I plan on selling my eeePC soon on eBay, and it’s nearly my birthday! First book pictured above is Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (which is amazingly good, btw.)
This is the sort of device I have been dreaming of since my childhood: a portable device designed specifically for reading books on the go, with long battery life and the ability to store hundreds of books in its memory. The hype it’s been getting is totally deserved.
- Small form factor, about the size and weight of a larger paperback (non-mass market)
- Long battery life (I’ve been reading all weekend and it’s only dropped about 1/4 of its charge, as shown in image.)
- E-ink display is nearly indistinguishable from real paper
- Buttons and switches are really chunky and analog; the device feels really solid
- Beautiful included cover that resembles a Moleskine notebook, which I also adore beyond words
- Ease of use (took me about 5 minutes to figure out how things worked)
- USB connectivity: when connected to a PC it acts like a removable hard drive and it’s a matter of drag and drop for prepared files. You can save directly to the device from a web browser (manybooks.net is a great resource.)
- Wireless connectivity to web in Seattle is excellent; books downloaded in about 3-5 seconds. The experimental web browser is a pretty cool addition to the device and allows for easy Wikipedia diving. Can turn off wireless with an analog switch when not in use in order to conserve battery life.
- Excellent conversation starter; many of my friends have been drawn into its seductive grasp within moments of picking it up.
- Expandable memory capacity through SD cards.
- Can also read txt files.
- Available Kindle library is a bit small at present, but is growing quickly. I wanted to find Wil Wheaton’s books but they were unavailable.
- Pretty easy to accidentally hit “Next Page” buttons on left or right, but going back and forth is no big deal.
- Device tends to slip out of the carry case as you read, this is fixable with some basic modifications.
- On/off switch is on the back of the device, making it less convenient to power on/off but probably prevents accidental powering off.
If anyone is on the fence about buying one, I wholeheartedly recommend going for it. It isn’t a decision to be taken lightly, as I have demonstrated by holding off for half a year (I was hoping for the announcement of version 2, but it doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon.) But if you’re like me and have grown up reading and loving books but found that computers have pulled you away from reading, this is the device for you. It fixes that disconnect between the printed page and digital words. Buy it.