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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Amazon Kindle Review

me: Isn't this purse great? It's 50% off and it's big enough I can fit my Kindle in it!
Rob: Why are you carrying around firewood?
For the record, I was not even talking to Rob (my smart-mouth brother). I was talking to Joe (my holder-of-the-credit-card husband).

I've been promising to post about my Kindle for a few months now but there's good reason why I haven't. No, not laziness. It just took me that long to warm up to the idea and use it enough to post any kind of review beyond "the packaging is nice!".

For those of you who may be unaware, the Kindle is Amazon's e-book reader. I have the Kindle 2 which is the newer version of the smaller device. This was a birthday gift from Joe. I have to admit I was a little taken aback when I opened it - the idea of reading books on a screen didn't seem comfortable. I was certain it would strain my eyes and feel clunky to hold. However, this was not the case.

The Kindle is about 8x5 inches and with the leather case I put on mine, about half an inch thick. It does fit nicely in a purse. The screen display is awesome - glare isn't an issue because it actually creates each page using electronic ink. You can hold it at many angles and read just fine, no different from text on a paper page. When you move between pages, the page redraws itself very quickly. And while photos are grayscale, the quality is certainly acceptable.

The Kindle has many neat features including the ability to easily adjust text size or even to have the book read to you if you plug in your headphones (I haven't used this feature except to verify it works). It also has a built-in dictionary and link to Wikipedia in case you need more information on something you're reading.

Books can be purchased via Amazon using "Whispersync" - the Kindle is always able to be online, sort of like a cellphone. Full-length books (generally costing around $10) are delivered in less than one minute to the phone. I've even found sites with full books available for free and was able to email those to the device. Also, there is an experimental web browser which I've used to read blogs and visit several other sites - this feature is a bit slow (it's not a primary function) but it does work. You can also pay to subscribe to certain magazines, newspapers and blogs.

I finally started using my Kindle last week. I'm finding it to be great for waiting rooms. Since it fits neatly in my purse, I can just pop it out and read for awhile. It's nice to have multiple books available without needing to drag them all along with me.

The reading experience itself has been very comfortable. No eyestrain and since it's so light, it's easy to just hold in one hand if you desire. I'm not too sure about battery life at this point except to say it charges quickly. I haven't been using it regularly for long enough to say how long a charge lasts.

If you rely on libraries for your books, the Kindle may not be for you. For me, now that I've truly given it a chance, I'm really enjoying it.

So three months later, thank you Joe! It was one of those awesome gifts I didn't even know I wanted but he was completely right in buying it for me. I <3 that guy.

P.S. - Yeah, I realize probably nobody is ever going to pay me to do a product review. I don't think it's an area where I possess mad skillz, yo.

16 comments:

Hit 40 said...

When in public, do folks like to check it out and look at what your reading??? just wondered. I like my privacy.

blognut said...

I've been thinking about getting one and I'm just not sure I'm ready for that kind of commitment.

I need a 30-day review period, I think.

andy said...

well crap cate, i wondered what the heckity heck you were talking about with this whole "kindle" thing.

now i need one.

because that is totally made of AWESOME.

put my ipod on, turn on the kindle...see ya later WORLD!

andy

p.s. i'm thinking kind of expensive, no?

a corgi said...

it does sound like a great device to have if you wait a lot in waiting rooms or fly a lot or travel a lot since it is so portable. Alas for me work-at-home-mom it would be so extravagant of a purchase, but maybe one day

thanks for the review!

betty

Seansmoma said...

I always wondered about the Kindle. I also assumed it would be hard on the eyes, reading on a screen all the time. It sounds really neat!

Betty said...

This is on my wish list.

I did a post about it a while back and I hope my family remembers.... :)
You´re review just made me want it more!

mo.stoneskin said...

I too have worried about the glare and eyestrain factors. Tell you what, how about you read War and Peace on that thing and then post a close-up photo of your eyes. You wouldn't mind doing that would you?

C. Beth said...

I want one.

Tori_z said...

That sounds like an awesome device!

2cats said...

I like the idea of it in waiting rooms. Seems a much better idea than outdated magazines.
However, can it really take the place of an actual book? What about the smell of paper in an old book. Or the feel when opening a book for the first time and the pages are still crisp.
HMMM.

Grand Pooba said...

Ok I've never heard of such an animal! True, I would love it in waiting rooms, or at my in-laws house.

Rochelle Ritchie Spencer said...

Hmmm, I'm kind of a late-bloomer (didn't get my own computer until 2005) so I probably won't get a Kindle until everyone else is having books downloaded into a chip in their brains. It's intriguing tho'!

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

It sounds so wonderful... and there's a little part of me that is terrified of library/bookstore extinction. But it sounds so coooool...

Kara said...

Gawd, I love my Kindle 2. I have been using mine daily for about 2 months now - definitely no eye strain, I've gone through dozens of novels already. If you like old books at all, check out http://www.gutenberg.org/catalog/ - the on-line catalog for Project Gutenberg. Most of the novels are already in the MOBI format needed for the Kindle. I download them (for free!) to my desktop and then use my USB cable to drop them on to my Kindle - easy, and you don't have to pay the $0.10 or whatever it is to email to the Whispersync. I've only paid for one book so far, but I have 22 books loaded onto my Kindle - that's some savings!

Oh, and with daily reading (but with wireless turned off), my Kindle charge lasts 2-3 weeks at a time.

johnD said...

I just got mine today, after reading this other Kindle 2 review on first ebook reader blog. I love it and can't live without it.

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