Sunday, December 12, 2010

eBook Reader #4: Amazon Kindle

Oh, Kindle. I wanted to not like you. I wanted there to be so many flaws that I could snub my nose at your DRM-unfriendliness.

That didn't happen. The Kindle is my favorite device. It's not my favorite overall because of its DRM-unfriendliness, but it is my favorite piece of hardware among the other eReaders I've played with so far.

-What a nice, nice device. It's really lightweight and thin. It does not feel like a book, as the Sony did, but you would never have to worry about sore wrists with the Kindle!

-The display is also pretty nice. The picture seemed clearer than the others. There is still glare in certain light, though.

-Arrows for turning pages are on the sides of the device, where your thumb naturally falls when holding it. I like those side arrows! I liked that about the Nook, too.

-The menu is pretty self-explanatory.

-Lots of pretty cheap (and free) books to choose from in the Kindle store!

-External speakers for playing audio books. It has an accessibility feature with a voice that will read the menus out loud to you. You can turn that feature off (actually, it defaults to off and you have to turn it on.) It will not read a book to you; you need to download an audio book for that. It only reads the menus and the page, etc.

-Wifi and 3G!!

-Something I haven't seen on any other device: ability to link to social networks. You can actually highlight text and tweet about it. I tried it. Check this out (click for larger image):

I highlighted text, chose "share/tweet," entered the message ("Kindle tweet/share test"), and submitted it. My Twitter status updated immediately to "Kindle tweet/share test" with a link to Amazon, where you see the text I highlighted (click for larger image):

Of course, in this example my note is pretty lame since it was just a test, but I could have highlighted any text in any book and said something earth shatteringly insightful about it, then shared it with all of my Twitter followers. How cool is that?? You can also share it on Facebook.

-The keypad only shows letters. If you want numbers, you have to push the "Sym" button for both symbols and numbers. It took me some time to figure that out.

-NO DRM COMPATIBILITY!! Kindles are not compatible with Overdrive, NetLibrary, or any other library download collection. You can only download items from the Kindle Store. It's not compatible with Google eBooks either. I guess there is some consolation that it is compatible with Project Gutenberg.

That's it! I really loved this device. If it were compatible with Overdrive, I'd seriously consider buying one. 4 stars out of 5. It would have gotten a perfect 5 if not for the proprietary nature of its format.

(Click for larger images)

The Home Screen:

Look how thin it is!

The Kindle Store:

Purchasing a Book:

Reading a Book:

Link Social Network Accounts:

1 comment:

  1. Holly,
    Text to Speech (TTS) is available for most books. TTS is not as good as an audiobook, but I find useful in a pinch. I use it in my car for short periods.