A week or two with my first Kindle

Published October 28, 2011

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.

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