21.02.2011 22:55

After almost two months of waiting, my Kindle (Wi-Fi only version 3) arrived by mail mid-January. I've been using it daily for a while now and can give a few comments on it.

First, I should mention that it worked out of the box (ha!). There was no need to fix any solder joints, apply duct tape or add cardboard before use, which is quite refreshing. That's even better when you consider that there are no obvious non-destructive means of disassembly.

6 inch model of Amazon Kindle 3

The most important part of it is the electronic ink display, of course. From a normal reading distance it looks really good and reminds me of reading text from a glossy magazine page. Or maybe something printed by a laser printer on white glossy plastic. It is certainly way ahead of any backlit LCD display I've seen. It's also different from your normal paperback, but not in a bad way. The glare can be annoying and I had to re-adjust my night-time reading lamp a bit to get the optimum contrast.

When you look closer the fonts break up into surprisingly large pixels. Most characters are anti-aliased though and look just fine from a normal reading distance. In menus and user interface there's also some ghosting noticeable (like a shadow of the previous image displayed). But I haven't seen that in book reading mode, which I guess uses some slower but more accurate way of refreshing the screen.

The 6 inches in the diagonal is plenty for comfortable reading, but sometimes I wish it would have a thicker bezel for a better grip. Probably that's one idea behind all those covers and sleeves you can find on the market.

I'm using my Kindle to read some of the books from project Gutenberg and for longer articles from the web via Instapaper. So far it performed that task wonderfully. I've also tried the PDF support and the web browser, but those two are better left to a PC. Both require way too much scrolling which is a pain with the slow refresh of the eInk display. Even in Google Reader I simply skip or just glance through too many articles for the experience to be enjoyable on the Kindle. It's better to put longer texts in a queue with Instapaper during the day and read them in comfort on the Kindle in the evening.

I haven't registered the device with Amazon and right now I don't plan to buy any of their DRM-encumbered books. I can't say I will never do it - maybe after the current to-read list from Gutenberg runs out. I had a plan to brush up on my German and read a book or two with the help of the built-in dictionary but it turns out there are no German-to-any-language-I-know Kindle dictionaries available. There's no question I'll keep using paper books. As far as I know there are no Slovenian books in the Kindle store and all non-fiction literature will stay either on dead trees or on the PC.

Finally I should mention that after the initial charge the battery lasted for a bit over a month, which is quite shocking considering most of my other battery powered devices need daily charging. Note though that after experimenting with it I only switched the wireless LAN connection on occasionally to download a new issue of Instapaper.

Maybe we don't have a city on the moon and a manned mission to Jupiter, but at least one prediction from those old movies appears to be coming true.

Posted by Tomaž | Categories: Life

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