Sunday, March 1, 2009

My Kindle - first impressions

I finally took the plunge and got a kindle. It arrived Thursday afternoon and I worked way too late that night, so I didn't get to play with it much until Friday.

My first impression, it's smaller than I expected. I like the screen. The E-Ink® electronic paper is fantastic. I'd have preferred something besides white, but I got a black cover to go with it. I'm impressed.

I like the combination USB cable/charger. Very slick. I ordered a spare only because I know my penchant for losing things. Too bad the kindle end of the cable doesn't match the other dozen or so USB cables I have.

I've tried every feature I can. The text-to-speech is not as bad as I expected. I'm certainly not going to have it read to me, but the male and female voices are clear on most words. They have trouble with names and made up words like you run across in Stephen King stories. This feature can stay experimental from my perspective.

I've loaded some MP3 files in the music folder and the speakers are pretty good if you're right up close. I plugged some headphones into the jack and it's great. I already have an MP3 player with lots more memory, and it fits around my neck while I'm biking or working around the yard or house. The kindle doesn't fit my needs for a music player, and I avoid audible like the plague. MP3 books work just fine for me on my MP3 player. This is another feature I don't need.

The web browser is desperate. If I really had to get to the web and all I had was my kindle I'd use it, but it's going to have to improve before I'll look forward to using it. Enough said.

I've used the to convert a PDF and a DOC to kindle food. One was the US Constitution and the other was the Bible. Both work fine on the reader. I've also directly downloaded a TXT file to the kindle and that reads fine too. There are a ton of places to get free books. OK, they're not all best sellers, but there are some good old classics to be had for free.

I've tried subscribing to a blog and the Chicago Tribune. The blog is gone. I spend over 12 hours a day glued to desk anyway, so why pay for what I can get on the computer for free? The Tribune is interesting though. I like the ability just skim from article to article. I've found a few I read to the end, but not many. Lack of pictures is a drawback. I suspect I'll cancel that subscription also before the two week trial is over.

The display is easy on the eyes. The navigation is easy when reading. I keep hitting the next page button instead of depressing the joy stick though. I'll get used to that after a while.

The single neatest feature for me is the dictionary. I really hate to run across I word I don't know, but it happens. I'm usually sitting back in my chair with a cat, a dog, or both on my lap, and getting up for a dictionary isn't an option. The kindle makes looking up that mystery word a snap. Thank you!

The wireless is a very nice feature. I checked the coverage map before pushing that one-click button, but my home area and my family's area in Indiana are all covered. Besides you only need the wireless to download new content. I've already got enough on my kindle to last me for a few weeks.

I finished King's UR and Dish Served Cold by Deaver last night. The kindle is a pleasure to use. Next up, Caught Stealing by Huston. Free is good :)

My conclusion? Thumbs up. Five stars. Very highly recommended.

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