A week or two with my first Kindle

When Amazon announced their new line of products – ereaders and tablets all – we decided it was about time we became a Kindle-owning household. I’ve never really been fussed about the Kindle really, settling for the gazillion apps I have spread around the office. There’s never a time I’m very far from a book these days.

Still, the new range of products made them more enticing, and as a Kindle book writer, we sort of needed one for testing. That’s the excuse I’m going for, anyway.

The device arrived really quickly, well ahead of the shipping date suggested, and before we’d even had a chance to anticipate. It arrived in a box that clearly labelled it as a Kindle, which seems an odd thing to do. If all the parcels that travelled across countries were labelled up with what’s inside, I can’t see them all getting to their destinations.

Nevertheless, this one did arrive, and it was soon synced up and ready to go. We opted for the new Kindle, without 3G, and I was astounded at how small and light it was, without feeling insubstantial. I’ve never really had a problem with the weight of the iPad (1 or 2) but compared to the Kindle, they are positively gargantuan.

I quickly established that the device didn’t fit into my bedtime reading routine. It wasn’t comfortable to hold in bed and I found the page turn button uncomfortable to use. However, it has very quickly slipped into my weekday lunch hour routine, providing a solid chunk of reading every single day. I used to read at my previous office, but found it slightly awkward. I didn’t want to stare at my phone for an hour, because a) battery and b) appearances – I don’t want to look like I’m texting or whatever for an hour. I also didn’t want to bring the iPad because it just didn’t fit that office environment.

I think the same would be true here, but it is not a problem because I have the Kindle instead. The one thing that bringing it to work, and it mostly living in my bag, has shown me is that there really is a use for 3G. It’s not really a problem, but I can see how non-wifi syncing would make life a tiny bit easier. I’d never thought it was that necessary, but if I read something at home, I usually forget to update the Kindle before heading off to work. Now the concept has been proven to me, I’d be more likely to consider 3G next time.

And what of the device itself? As mentioned, it’s extremely light, very holdable, just the right size really. The e-ink screen is indescribable. It is some kind of magic. The text is clear but not too sharp, the background is dull but in a good way, and it really is just like reading a book. I can’t really find the words but I really do love it. My only real complaint is that the background feels just a bit too dark for me. You have to rely on natural light, of course, and black text on a grey background is ideal, but I’d rather the distinction was a bit better.

That’s a tiny complaint, though. Otherwise, the Kindle has slotted into my life as though it was always there, and has made reading at work a lot more fun. It’s a device I didn’t think I’d get a heap of use out of but always feel reluctant to put down.

4 thoughts on “A week or two with my first Kindle

  1. My parents bought me a Kindle for christmas last year, and it has been used regularly ever since. I spend many hours on a plane with my job, and it’s almost unfathomable to think that I’m carrying around up to 2,000 books on a device that weighs roughly the same as a paperback.

    From my point of view there are two factors that make it a far better option than (for example) an iPad. First of all is the battery life. With wireless connectivity disabled – as it almost always is for me, except when downloading new material – a single charge will last for two weeks, if not longer. As the Kindle only uses power when it “writes” a page, it doesn’t use very much at all.

    Secondly is the screen, and the fact that it isn’t backlit makes it a joy to use. Yes you do need a light source at times as you rightly pointed out, but I have a cover with built-in reading light, so problem solved. You’re right about the electronic ink, it really is like reading a book.

    I have the 3G model which never ceases to amaze me; I can download a newspaper from back home regardless of what country I’m in, which is often very welcome when I’ve been away for an extended period of time. Also downloading a book or large PDF takes only a few moments.

    I could go on and on about its other features including variable reading orientation, adjustable type faces and sizes, bookmarking and clippings, etc, etc, but to cut a long story short; if you enjoy reading or travel/commute a lot, then this is definitely for you.

  2. Awwww Kindle love! I couldn’t live without my 3G though. I often read a bit on my phone while I’m on the bus and I’d go mad if I had to go home before my kindle caught up. Mine lives in my handbag at all times and I must get through about 10 times more stuff than I did before I had it.

  3. I’m still waiting for an e-reader to be created that I can use, but you may want to check your local library. Some of them have started offering ebooks for borrowing from the comfort of… …wherever your device happens to be in the world (bizarrely my local authority allows every format except Kindle, but they do vary in what they will accept).

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