Thursday, January 20, 2011

A brief Kindle review

The Kindle -my very own Kindle- is the first ebook reader I've ever seen, and can't thus review it in comparison to the other devices of this sort. I can instead review it -it being the 3G version of Kindle 3- as somebody who loves books, reads a lot and has a modest passion for handheld gadgets.

So, what is the Kindle? Well, it's a handheld device that sports an e-ink display, mainly designed to allow you to read books without having to suffer looking at LCD pixels. It will impressively also allow you to listen to audio books, surf the internet, browse Wikipedia, play some rudimentary games, experience interactive fiction and even enjoy some mp3 music. These things it does admirably, though its most impressive feature is -by far- its amazing display.

Looking at the Kindle screen actually feels like looking at a proper printed page of the highest quality. You can thus actually read in direct sunlight and still be impressed. I for one was, as I simply couldn't imagine just how beautiful this little grayscale display could be. It really is the only suitable way to read digital books. What's more, you can freely change the text's spacing, font size, margins etc, while intuitively flicking them virtual pages, instantly accessing dictionaries, bookmarking stuff, adding notes and, yes, underlining. Should you be so inclined, the Kindle can actually read your book out loud too. Impressed yet? I definitely was.

Well, truth be said. you should be too, for the Kindle effortlessly connects to Amazon (via its very own 3G Whispernet or Wi-Fi) and lets you purchase and instantly download a huge variety of books, but also lets you enjoy your pdfs and the thousands of freeware -mostly classic- ebooks that can be found on, say, Project Gutenberg. Reading Jack London's Iron Heel just couldn't be easier... Oh, and by allowing you to globally and freely connect to Wikipedia, this is indeed the closest we have come to getting our hands on The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

You can find out more and of course order your truly excellent Kindlevia Amazon.


  1. Nice short and sweet review Gnome. I've been intrigued by the Kindle but I prefer the tactile feel of a real book to be honest. That and the greyscale display seems a bit, well, underwhelming next to something like the iPad.

    I haven't had first-hand experience with one though and, if the display is as sharp as you say, then i'm probably mistaken. I have seen other commuters on the train with them though and i've noticed the screen fills with eInk when changing pages: it's a bit distracting for my taste.

    I know my dad's keen on one though and I really enjoyed your glowing review. You've really sold it's strong features like Wikipedia access and audio output - a feature my dad is really keen on - all the more reason to get him one.

  2. Thanks for the kind words straydogstrut, and be assured that I too definitely prefer reading books in their proper form. It's a deeply material pleasure the Kindle cannot replicate.

    It is though extremely handy for reading paperbacks, fantasy, free ebooks and for excursions.

    Oh, and you simply cannot read on the iPad. It's a fun device, but not for reading. The e-ink is the way forward methinks, unless you want to play Angry Birds, that is.