31,708 of 32,139 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle vs. Nook (updated)
UPDATE NOVEMBER 2011:
My review is now over a year old, as is the "Kindle Keyboard" as Amazon calls it now. There are newer models: the basic, cheapie Kindle and the Kindle Touch, and of course the Kindle Fire quasi-tablet.
Each of these models is an excellent choice. Whichever one is right for you just depends on your preferences.
Published on August 28, 2010 by Ron Cronovich
11,907 of 12,180 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth the money. Not perfect, but very very good for start to finish novels in good light
The Kindle is my first e-ink reader. I own an iPad, an iPhone, and have owned a Windows-based phone in the past that I used as an ereader.
My overall impression of the device is good.
I'd honestly rather read linear (read from page one to the end, one page at a time) fiction from it than a book, because I can't always get comfortable...
Published on August 31, 2010 by Jeffrey Stanley
Most Helpful First | Newest First
2,260 of 2,418 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Quality control problems,
First, the good stuff. Kindle 3 has a very readable high contrast screen. The form factor is small and light enough to be a book replacement. Purchasing and downloading content is simple and convenient.
However, I had a series of problems which eventually led me to return my Kindle.
After unpacking and charging my Kindle 3, it refused to connect to my wireless network. I have a variety of other devices ranging from a Nintendo Wii to an iPod Touch and two computers that work just fine on my wireless network, but the Kindle couldn't connect after many attempts. I eventually gave up and turned it off. When I turned it back on several hours later, it had mysteriously connected to my WiFi network with the exact same settings that did not work earlier. I have noticed that several other users have ran into the same problem.
The next problem I noticed was that something was rolling around inside the casing. This is obviously not a good sign. Then, my Kindle 3 started freezing. The first freeze happened while using the experimental browser. As this is an "experimental" application, I wasn't too concerned. After a power reset, the Kindle came back up. The second freeze happened while playing Shuffled Row, which is a good game. After this freeze, my Kindle refused to reboot after many power reset attempts. (Yes, I did try keeping the power switch in the "turn-on" position for up to 30 seconds as suggested by the manual.) I eventually gave up and put it down. However, after a few minutes, the Kindle started to reboot itself. The was another freeze while reading a book, which was fixed with a power reset. I tried to contact Amazon for service, but it looks like the only way to get Kindle customer service is through a phone call.
And then my Kindle froze again while reading a book. This time, nothing would reset the kindle. When this last freeze happened, the battery was charged about 75%. At this point, there was no option but to return the kindle. There are some comments among the negative reviews here that the usual Amazon.com return process does not work. In my case, I was able to follow the regular Amazon return process and print a return label. So my Kindle is back to Amazon after less than a week of use.
Judging from other reviews that had similar experiences as mine, Amazon appears to have a specific quality control problem with this latest version of the Kindle. People may be more tolerant of the reliability other electronic gadgets, however, it is unacceptable for a product that is primarily intended to replace paper books to have issues like freezing and/or rebooting. After all, I never had a "paper" book freeze or reboot on me so far. Receiving a product with defects that should have been caught during testing before shipping pretty much destroys the "Kindle experience".
UPDATE (October 31, 2010): Since I do like the Kindle concept, after reading about the improvement in stability with the latest software upgrades, I purchased another Kindle WiFi. Everything was great for almost two weeks, no crashes. However, yesterday, the second Kindle also ended up with a frozen screen. After following through the instructions on Amazon's Kindle troubleshooting page and talking to the customer service, there was no way to get the Kindle out of the frozen state, so this one is also going back. The fact that this situation can happen to the same customer twice in a matter of few months indicates either a serious quality control problem or component reliability problem.
546 of 580 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Details on working with PDF, Wi-fi vs 3G, Starbucks, Audio books, MP3 and other things,
NOTE: Amazon limits the video size and duration, so I targeted what I thought were some key points.
I check comments, so leave one if you have any questions not covered in the video or below and I'll try and answer.
First off I love this device!!
Like ipods are the king of MP3 players, this is the king of ebook readers in my opinion.
I've been looking at this thing for at least 7+ hrs today and my eyes don't feel tired at all.
If you want. . .
* a low cost eBook reader
* that allows you to read books
* looks great
* easy to setup
* easy to hold/carry
* easy on the eyes (no getting tired eyes from a glaring screen)
. . . then look no further than this product!
**Adding updates as I find other feature behaviors**
- The comic I converted to PDF when emailed to my kindle email address the conversion process didn't like it too much. Better to not use the conversion process for those types of PDFs. Other PDF's converted just fine.
- Emailing PDF = the conversion process seems to cut off the cover page each time
- Emailing and having amazon convert is fast. I like it!
- You can plug the kindle into the USB, then "eject" it from the OS. This allows you to continue to charge the kindle and read it at the same time. You could also just plug it into an electrical socket and read from it too.
- If you stop/pause your MP3 music it will start all the way back at track #1. This is not an MP3 player. It also plays the most recently added track first
- 10 minutes it goes into sleep mode, but if you leave Wi-fi on = drains your battery quicker. Better to turn Wi-fi off when not using it
- Buy a case to protect it and get yourself a light for times when you don't have enough light to read by. This is not a cell-phone screen, meaning you can't read it in the dark. The screen very much simulates paper in this case.
- Manual even states...you cannot connect the Wi-fi to a corporate wi-fi. Most companies require VPN of some sort, which is not supported here.
- Loaded a 25Mb PDF and when when trying to search I get the following error message, ""your search can not be completed as this item has not been indexed. Please try again later." Found forum posts that said give the Kindle at least 10 minutes to complete indexing the file. . .longer if file if big. Sure enough, about 30 minutes later I tried again and was able to search this large PDF.
- Just got back from Starbucks
* Turned wi-fi on
* Menu > Settings > Wifi Settings and selected the attwifi network option
* Home > Menu > Experimental > Launch browser
* zoom in on the terms & agreement checkbox and use the spacebar to check the box
* click continue button and you are on the internet at the coffee shop!!
- A week later, I haven't charged the unit nor shut it down, I've only put it into sleep mode. Battery indicator is still more than 80% full. Nice!
- Someone pointed me towards "Calibre" a free conversion utility. Totally supports the Kindle 3 and converts to PDF, ePub, Mobi, etc. Works great and you can have the program send the converted document directly to your device via USB or email. The program also acts as your own "backup" by creating a document library on your hard drive that can be sorted, metadata updated, etc. It's very cool!
- I kept getting unconverted PDFs (PDFs copied directly to unit via USB vs. sending to email for conversion) would result in the unit restarting when trying to access the PDF. Found forums that said you need to reset the unit. Slide & hold the power button for 15 seconds. Let it take the 20 seconds to reboot. This worked for me.
Comments discussion & answers on the following:
- Annotating PDFs, then accessing these notes for later review on a laptop/desktop
- Is there an auto-scrolling for PDFs? = No
- What its like to have the kindle "read" back to you? = robotic voice that ignores punctuation
- More info on document conversion, including sending emails to the kindle for conversion?
- The ability to access Gmail from the kindle? = yes, works fine though a bit slow on wi-fi
- Check out the comments for my answer to, "Should I buy 3G or is wifi good enough?" = need to buy a book on the run, then get 3G. If you can wait till you get home or a coffee shop, then wi-fi works fine.
Comments discussion & answers on the following:
- Exactly how does an Audible audio book work with the Kindle?
- Possible causes for why MP3 music is not recognized by the device?
Comments discussion & answers on the following:
- Can you play Audible audio books while at the same time reading along? = for all intents and purposes, no
- How easy is it to register a new/used K3 to a different owner? = easy as pie
Comments discussion & answers on the following:
- Can you change out the battery yourself? = no
- Can you share your documents with other kindle users? = legally only if both devices are under the same user account
Comments discussion & answers on the following:
- Can a color document show up as color on the kindle? = No, doc will be converted to greyscale
- Able to support textbooks? = Yes, if in a supported document type
- Should I pay the extra $50 for 3G in order to more easily access websites? = Up to you...many sites have mobile versions that load great on wi-fi. NOTE: still doesn't support sites that use Java
- Will I have 3G coverage in my rural area? = Amazon gives a disclaimer in their FAQ that 3G connection is not guaranteed in some areas
- Should I get the K3 for my 10 year old? = I personally feel this is a great device for any age reader. . .and gives the parent control/visibility to what is being read
Comments discussion & answers on the following:
- Can I read ebooks from my local library? Depends. My library system has you download an ePub format book to a computer, ereader device or mobile phone. So for me, yes! I can download and convert to Kindle friendly format
- Is it easy to get started with the Kindle? Yes. The device comes pre-charged and pre-loaded with the User Manual which is clear and easy to read.
- Can you get books in foreign countries? As long as you can get a wifi or 3G connection to amazon's web site, then yes!
Comments discussion & answers on the following:
- Can I lend ebooks to others for use with their eReader (Kindle or not)? No, not purchased, legal copies. Plus Kindle uses a file format (azw) that isn't supported by other brand readers
- Can I convert downloaded ebooks to a format that I can share with others? No. DRM prevents the conversion and even Calibre refuses to convert if the document is DRM enabled.
- Can I change the images of the screensaver? No. Kindle Support says there are no "supported" methods by which to change this.
181 of 189 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Concept, best eReader package with caveats,
I have had the Kindle 2 and the Kindle 3 now. The Kindle 3 has some significant upgrades that really make it a lot easier to use.
1. The smaller frame makes it much more compact for carrying around, and the reconfiguration of the buttons is nicely done, especially the scroll buttons.
2. The reader is great in the sun and easy to read with no glare
3. The wifi works fabulous, even with network keys, etc. that you have to type in to connect, Amazon made this easy to configure
4. The 3G is my backup for when I'm traveling, but honestly I really don't need it, and nor should you unless you REALLY have to have that book right that instant when you're on the road. In my experience this is rarely the case. It's nice to have for hitting up wikitravel when you're on the road and don't have internet access.
5. Amazon has a wealth of books to buy online. They improved their online store interface a bit too, which I like because before when you hit back, it was a mystery where you'd end up.
1. I am not a fan of the inline keyboard, because I'm used to typing on more a Qwerty interface from the Kindle 2.
2. They eliminated the numbers from the keyboard which is a bit of a nuisance.
3. The system reboots itself randomly every now and then, and forgets your page. Bookmark often and you can get around this problem. Also fortunately it only takes less than a minute to reboot. The bad part is that sometimes it can reboot up to 5 or 6 times in a row. That has really gotten on my nerves when trying to read. Amazon should have not used Java but it works when it's working...
4. The browser is still "experimental" which means it comes riddled with bugs. I have on several occasions tried to read some content (on Day 1 of ownership) and the browser will stay "stuck" on the screen. The system locks up way too often when using the browser to the point where I'm afraid to use it.
5. You still can't download books from a library with a DRM on it. That's amazon's way of owning their own proprietary book market. This is frustrating, but there are ways around this that involve installing software on your computer and being clever. Google can help you with that.
6. The system locks up often too. Sometimes you have to sit and wait for it to catch up, especially when you're trying to use the browser.
Overall I love my Kindle but I had to dock it to 3 stars because of the shoddy operating system. I've only had my Kindle for 3 weeks and it has restarted itself almost every other day if not more. Also, there once was a time, in my book the Kindle corrupted the text, and force restarted, then told me I needed to delete and re-download my book. That was very frustrating!!!!
Amazon needs to have a firmware update and soon. The restarting is so frustrating!
166 of 173 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best e-book device on the market. For now. This is not an iPad. Nor is the iPad a Kindle (updated: Oct 20, Nov 11, Feb 26 2011),
Combination of product and price make it perhaps the e-book device on the market. Just don't confuse it with the iPad. Rest of 1700 word review is first impressions and more. Updated Oct 20, Nov 11, and Feb 26 2011. Comparison with/of iBooks, iPad, Kindle Apps.
I had never used an e-book reader before. Not even a borrowed one. My closest encounter had been in an airplane, seeing a passenger seated with an e-book reader (most likely the Kindle, or perhaps the Barnes & Noble Nook reader) as I walked up the aisle to my seat. So there was a lot to see and take in when I got my Kindle device (Kindle Wireless Reading Device, Wi-Fi, 6" Display, Graphite - Latest Generation).
1. First impressions.
The device is small and feels very light in your hands. Dainty might be one word to describe it. Though this is not to suggest that it is flimsy. It feels well-built and sturdy. This is important because you do not want to feel that the seemingly bargain bottom price of $139 means the device is "cheap" or that build quality has been compromised to meet that price. Whether or not the device is actually going to last is quite another thing, but first impressions are first impressions. The page buttons, two on either side of the Kindle, are easy enough to operate, and silent. No deafening 'click' to resonate in the room every time you flip a digital page. There is a small keyboard at the bottom. The keys are circular. And tiny. But enough spaced apart that typing is easy enough. But requires a little practice.
There is a micro-USB slot at the bottom of the Kindle that you can use to connect to your computer. The other end of the cable that ships with the Kindle allows you to plug the device into the computer for charging or for transferring content. The other end also connects into a power adapter that you can plug into your wall socket to charge the Kindle. Neat. Also present is a slot for the headphones to listen to a book, or to music, and a power-sleep-wake slider that also serves as a battery level indicator. Yellow when running, and green when fully charged.
If you have never seen "e-ink" on a device before, then be prepared to be surprised. Why? Because it does really feel like printed paper. Almost. The words almost feel printed on semi-glossy paper. They are that crystal clear. And sharp. You are almost tempted to poke at the words to see if they will peel off. Don't. You don't want to be messing up the display. Leave that bit to the dog. Or the kids. Or that accidental coffee spill. The e-ink display also means that there is no glare. You don't have to adjust the device to avoid the glare of sunlight or even the room light. If the room is well lit then the display appears bright. Not washed out. If the light is low, then you feel the need to turn up the light. This is not a backlit display, so it has to rely on external light to make the text visible. Which also means less strain on the eyes. That has to be a good thing.
One quirk of the e-ink technology is that when you turn a page, the whole page turns 'negative' for a mili-second before the new page is displayed. It's disconcerting at first, but after a few times it sort of recedes into the background, and you don't notice it. When reading a book. However, if you are using the Kindle for other purposes, such as changing the settings, or synching, or adding books to a collection, you will notice that there is a slight flicker as items and text and pictures on the page refresh or change. This is likely a function of both the e-ink technology as well as the processor speed on the Kindle. Again, not an issue if you are reading, but a little bothersome otherwise.
4. Reading On Monitors, Or Not
Over the past several years we have got used to doing a fair bit of reading on computer screens. On CRT monitors to begin with, and for close to 10 years now on LCD panels. These are all backlit, and the glare can be irritating, and it can be stressful to the eyes. Yet we all spend 10 hours a day or more with our eyes glued to these screens. Whether coding, or emailing, or creating spreadsheets or documents or presentations, or surfing. One thing we don't still do on computer screens is read. Read sequentially that is. We peck and surf. Read a few lines in an email. Hit the reply button. Type in a reply. Hit Send. Alt-tab to the presentation. Add a few lines of text. Hit Ctrl+M to create a new slide. Add more text. Alt-tab to Facebook. Read the latest posts. Click the "Like" button. Alt-Tab to email. And so on. When was the last time you opened a PDF of the user guide that you have been meaning to read for the last one year? And spent an hour going over the manual from the first page onwards? Not very often. And even when you really, really needed to read the guide what do you end up doing? Print the first two chapters and read the paper copy, don't you? Or that 15 page requirements doc? Print it out, read it, red-line it as needed, jot some points, note some questions. Do you really use that Microsoft Word "Review" feature? Well, sometimes. But not very often.
5. Reading on the Kindle
So how is the reading experience on the Kindle? Once you have got over the excitement of having a new electronic toy in your hands? Surprisingly good. To begin with I read a short story, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz", which is available for free as a Kindle book. The wonderful thing is that I got the book on my device in under a minute, and after fiddling a bit with the settings, like changing the text size, I started reading. Less than an hour later, I had finished reading the book. And I now finally understood what Cypher really meant when he told Neo, "It means fasten your seat belt Dorothy, 'cause Kansas is going bye-bye." (The Matrix (1999) - Memorable quotes, The Matrix (10th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray], The Matrix). And I also realized that the reading experience had been very unobtrusive. No glare. No strain on the eyes. This was good.
6. What can't you read on the Kindle?
Simply put, there are certain kinds of books that you should not read on the Kindle. Firstly, books with color in them. Color photographs. Color graphs. Color not for color's sake, but color that is relevant. The Kindle renders only black, white, and gray. No color. Secondly, books with lots of illustrations. True, the Kindle renders graphics. And does a neat job of them. But the Kindle is really not the device for illustrations.
7. The Kindle Vs the iPad
The Kindle is no tablet computing device. It's no iPad. It cannot, and should not aspire to be an iPad. It does not either, which is good. The iPad is not a Kindle either. You can get the Kindle reader for the iPad. But the iPad is not really a specialized reading device. It's fabulous for a hundred other things. And if one of those hundred things that you do on the iPad is also reading, then fine. No issues. You will get by. But if you require a specialized reading device, then go for the Kindle. If you want your Kindle to be also your web browsing device, then it's not going to work out. Even though the Kindle contains a Webkit browser, it's best avoided. The flicker that I described above is going to render browsing pretty much a futile task. And yes, you will miss the swipe, the flick, the pinching, the double-tapping on the Kindle. You may **want** these gestures on the Kindle, but you probably do not **need** them.
8. Do you own your books?
The Kindle features DRM (Digital Rights Management), which means that the books are in a proprietary format on the Kindle. When you purchase a book for the Kindle, it comes with restrictions. You cannot share that book with others. Ten years from now you are reasonably sure to still have that first edition Harry Potter hardcover, but there is no guarantee that you will still have that book on your Kindle. Of course, one could argue that firstly, your paper book is going to yellow with age, it is going to get dog eared, it is going to deteriorate with time, none of which is going to happen to your digital book, which is going to be as new and as crisp on its hundredth reading as the first. Secondly, Amazon is more likely to be in business ten years from now than some of its competitors, so there is little reason to believe that Amazon would go and do something silly to hurt its image and customers. On the other hand, the whole concept of DRM goes against what printed books have stood for for centuries. A book can be lent to friends, loaned by a library, resold, all without restrictions, and without fear of an overarching, overbearing big-brother looking over your shoulder. Maybe Amazon wants to sell digital books without DRM, and the publishers are the villains in the saga. Or maybe not. It doesn't really matter in the end. The end is still the same. You buy the book, but you never really own the book.
In summary, the Kindle is perhaps the most perfect e-book reader on the market today. However, five years from now, whether it will survive as this standalone, dedicated e-book reader is debatable. Also, five years from now, the e-book reader itself will likely look very different from the Kindle of 2010. It may have color. It may have zero transition irritants. It may not have DRM.
The combination of the device and the price make it, in my opinion, a very, very good product from Amazon.
10. UPDATE: OCT 20, 2010
Task Usability * *
For certain tasks, there are usability irritants with the Kindle:
- If you have several items in your "home" screen, and you want to move them to different folders, you have to do it one at a time. This means, scroll down to highlight a book; click the right button on the navigator button; select "Add to collection..." and press "Enter"; scroll down to the collection; press "Enter"; press the "Back" button; press the "Back" button again; and do this for every single item you want to move to a folder.
- You cannot manage your Kindle items from the Kindle app for Windows. Which is too bad, since these tasks would be much easier done on a computer.
- You miss tags. You may want to categorize a book based on several tags. For example, I may want to mark a book as a "sample" and "fiction" at the same time. With a foldering metaphor for organizing content, you are stuck.
Reading Experience * * * * *
The reading experience, after more than a month and several hundred pages (or is it "locations"), I will reiterate: the reading experience is "invisible". The Kindle retreats into the background. It's the e-inked word and you.
11. UPDATE: NOV 11 2010
11.A Kindle App for the iPad vs. iBooks on the iPad
- Little to choose between Kindle App and iBooks on the iPad as far as interface is concerned.
- Both allow you to flip through pages using the tap or swipe gesture.
- Both have menus that disappear as you read, but popup at a tap.
- Both allow you to place ribbon shaped bookmarks.
- Both have sliders that you can use to jump to any place in the book.
- Both allow you to change the font size and the brightness of the display.
- However, when it comes to font size adjustment, you can select from a list of font sizes on the Kindle app.
- On iBooks you basically tap the larger font icon to successively increase the font size, and the smaller font icon to reduce the size. Works but not as intuitive.
- iBooks has a beautiful bookshelf metaphor as its library interface. Every book you add to your library is placed on this virtual bookshelf. Looks very nice.You miss this on the physical Kindle.
11.B Kindle Device vs. iBooks and iPad
- The iPad is so gorgeous a device. It allows you to do so many things with it, that I suspect others, like I did, fiddling and getting distracted with the device than actual reading, which may well take a backseat.
- The temptation to multi-task when reading on the iPad is simply be too great.
- The Kindle device lets you read; the iPad is more suited to surfing.
- I miss touch gestures on the Kindle. I would like to use my finger to tap on a specific location on the page to start highlighting it, or to mark an annotation, etc... The navigation button is not as convenient.
- Page flipping and reading:
-- The iPad is most certainly heavier than the Kindle.
-- You absolutely cannot expect to read a book by holding the iPad in your hand for any length of time.
-- You cannot hold the iPad in one hand and maneuver your fingers to flip or swipe to the next page. Just won't work.
-- The weight of the iPad and the slipperiness of the glass screen will cause the device to slip through and clanker to the floor. Goodbye iPad.
-- With the Kindle, holding it in one hand and flipping to the next or previous page is very, very easy.
-- Because the Kindle is light enough for you to do this, and secondly because the next and back buttons are very conveniently placed close to where you hand and fingers would be when reading, and thirdly because the matte finish of the device means it won't suddenly slide and slip from your grip.
- Reading strain: the e-ink technology on the Kindle makes for a very, very stress free reading experience on your eyes. Backlit LCDs are just not that good for reading. That we still spend 10+ hours a day in front of such screens is quite another thing.
- In summary, for reading books, the Kindle wins hands down over the iPad. The Kindle does the best job when it comes to reading. For other purposes, even for browsing and buying books, or social networking, etc... the iPad beats the Kindle every single time.
Update Feb 26, 2011
Some likes and dislikes after almost 6 months of usage:
--- Reading books is really a joy. You can read for hours without feeling the strain.
--- I have read on the Kindle app on the iPod Touch, iPad, iBooks on the iPad, and in every single case the **reading** experience on the physical Kindle trumps these apps.
--- Lightweight. A big plus here. You can read holding the Kindle in one hand without feeling the strain.
--- The absence of a good UI to manage your library on the Kindle. If you download and have 100 books or more on your Kindle, and want to arrange and tag them, the Kindle software sucks. It really offers no usable way to do so. Imagine you download Jane Austen's works, and want to place them into three collections: fiction, classics, and Jane Austen; you will likely give up the task in frustration before completion. This is a HUGE drawback presently.
--- No sub-foldering/sub-collections.
--- The Kindle sometimes takes as long as 5-10 seconds when you highlight a section and press "Enter" to save it. Not always, but sometimes. And it is inexplicable.
--- Absence of color. For certain types of books the grayscale photos simply don't work.
--- No support for specific fonts. No matter what the font face of the original paper edition, the Kindle renders it in generic font faces like Seriff, Sans-Seriff, Courier etc... Which takes away from those things that gives books some of their uniqueness.
--- No easy way to navigate within the book. Say you want to flip ahead 50 pages, or 150 locations. The absence of a touch slider hurts. You have to go through the menu and use "go to".
--- Touch interface. In some cases a touch interface would help. It will likely appear in the Kindle v4 or v5, but that's cold comfort for current owners.
335 of 356 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could be good but very buggy and crashes! (updated to 3 stars, crashing fixed!),
**UPDATE 9/1/2010: Amazon called me yesterday because they read my post about my Kindle problems. Unfortunately I was at work and didn't have my Kindle 3 at the time, but they did ask me to turn on the wireless as soon as I could so they could download the logs and analyze the problem. They said they would call me back at a time that was more convenient, so I'm expecting to hear from them again about the crashing issue. It looks like Amazon takes this issue seriously. I was very surprised they called me and it seems like very proactive support. I am impressed.**
**UPDATE 9/2/2010: I talked to Amazon tech support again. The tech support rep was not able to tell me what was wrong, but he did say Amazon did get my log files after I turned on my wireless. Amazon is going to exchange my Kindle. I should have the replacement very soon. Hopefully this will fix the problem. I will post an update regarding the replacement Kindle.**
**UPDATE 9/20/2010: I received my new replacement Kindle 3 on September 3, 2010. Amazon sent the replacement to me via Next Day Air. Right away this unit seemed sturdier. The creaking of the unit went away. So far the unit has still crashed on occasion, but with much less frequency. The Kindle 3 web browser still crashes more than the Kindle 2 browser, but that is something I can avoid. I'm able to access my webmail one day and the next day it will refuse to load and kick me back to the home screen. Not sure why, but restarting my Kindle and trying again seems to help the web browser. Overall the replacement Kindle 3 is very usable, perhaps my first Kindle was defected? Either way, the continued crashing suggests to me that there is still some stability issues with the software. One good thing to note is that Amazon has come out with a new Firmware, 3.0.1, hopefully this will address some of the crashing issues. I'll update my review when I have more time.**
**UPDATE 10/26/2010: I've been using the updated firmware for over a month now. Much better. I haven't really encountered a crash while reading in a long time. The web browser is still buggy though. I have a lot of issues with some sites causing the web browser to exit to the main screen (I would list sites but Amazon doesn't seem to like that). This is something I can forgive because the web browser is an experimental feature. It's nice that the Kindle 3 can render pages better, but at the cost of stability. The Kindle 2's more primitive web browser seemed to work better at the expensive of not looking as good. Really all I want to do is be able to check my webmail on occasion, but I seem to have more issue with that on the Kindle 3 than I did with the Kindle 2.**
**UPDATE 3/19/2011: I've had the Kindle for 6 months now. They have addressed the crashing issue and have added a number of new software features. You can now loan out certain books, like the nook, and you even have page numbers now too. Not all of the books can be loaned out and not all of the books have page numbers yet, but I suspect it will only be a matter of time before more and more books have these features. I'm glad Amazon has really stepped up and improved the Kindle's software. The web browser is still very buggy, but it is *still* experimental. I mostly only use the Kindle to read books, but Amazon has introduced some fun to play a Kindle games. Some which are free too! Blackjack, Every Word, Shuffled Row, and Mine Sweeper are just some of the free games for the Kindle now. They don't come pre-loaded so you will need to go get them yourself. I am a bit disappointed about the build quality. The Kindle 3 is not as strong or durable as the older Kindles. The shell on mine is already showing a crack in the lower right corner. The Kindle 1 and Kindle 2 were built very solid but it's clear the new Kindle 3 had some cost cutting to reduce the price. I would say it's a fair trade off to bring eReaders down to a reasonable price. I just recommend everyone get a case for their Kindle 3.**
I love the new screen, the top menu auto hiding, the faster page turns, and the better rendering of websites but compared to the older Kindle 2, my new Kindle 3 has been crashing a lot.
At least 7 or 8 crashes where I had to force a restart and at least 2 times it has rebooted itself at random, it may have rebooted a few more times when I was not around to notice it! (And I have only owned my Kindle 3 for three days now!) I was very surprised because the Kindle 2 never crashed, with websites or reading books. Now my Kindle 3 crashes when I do either. At first I thought it was because of the new web browser, because that crashed on me a few times, so I tried to avoid the web browser, but then my unit crashed when I was reading a book I got off Amazon. And it even lost my place in the book, the Kindle 3 rebound back to earlier in the book after the crashes. At first I thought I was crazy reading the same thing over again, but now I know it's my Kindle losing its spot after a crash or self-reboot. It crashes regardless if I have the wireless on or off. I don't have it loaded down and I only have 7 books on it too. The older Kindle 2 still has most of my books. Honestly if I knew what was causing the crashes I would just avoid the problem and wait for a patch, but I currently have no idea what triggers the crashes. When my Kindle 3 works, I love it, but the crashes really make the reading experience frustrating.
Just FYI, I have a graphite 3G & Wi-Fi model and according to the settings page the software version is "Kindle 3.0". And wow, just as I type this the unit has just self-rebooted in front of me as I was looking at the settings page... Didn't even edit any settings...
The new Kindle is very buggy at this time...
Also, I know they made the Kindle 3 cheaper but it reflect in the build quality. The Kindle 3 is not as sturdy when compared to the older Kindle 2, the Kindle 3 case is plastic which is lighter but the frame fit has more play in it and my unit creaks when I press the keyboard. It seems the interface between the front and back cover at the bottom will creak, especially when I press the spacebar. This is sad because the Kindle 2 felt much more solid. I guess this is a consequence of trying to lower the cost of the new Kindle 3.
496 of 532 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Kindle...but NOT the new (Gen 3) one!!! (RESOLVED),
*** UPDATE ***
I will lead with the update; see below for the original, detailed review that generated the issue in the first place!
It has been about a year since I went through my ordeal with the Kindle Gen 3. My problem (again as described below) is resolved, and I have put the rating back up from 1-star to 5-stars, which is what the Kindle deserves!!! But I want to leave this legacy in case anyone after me runs into the same problem. Perhaps it will help you...
So (if you read the detailed story below)...what did I end up doing with (buggy/sleepy) Kindle Gen 3, replacement #3? I kept it! I gave the Gen 2 I bought off eBay to my daughter, who - even a year later - could not be happier. And I kept the (seemingly faulty) Gen 3 for myself as a potential replacement for my original Gen 1. And the problem HAS been resolved! :) How? I am not 100% sure, but it is one of two things:
1. I read a report some months ago that the inexplicable "Rip Van Winkle - I will not wake up" issue in Gen 3's was being caused by a short created when you use one of the Amazon-made cases with the metal, locking tabs that insert into the Kindle along its left side. Honestly, I found this a bit hard to believe, but I figured it worth a shot (as I wanted a better case anyway). So I got one that does not use those pins, and instead uses the elastic bands to hold the Kindle inside. BINGO! Coincidence? Pure luck? Who knows. But I *can* say that this Kindle - which was failing at least once a day - has not failed since I put it inside the new case!
2. It is certainly possible in the intervening time that Amazon uncovered a software flaw (my original assumption for the cause of this issue) and released an update. I honestly did not notice if an update arrived, and the sleepy problem disappeared at that time.
So, if you are faced with a sleepy Gen3, I suggest you try: (1) installing the very latest software update, and (2) if that fails to resolve it, get a case without those metal pins that attach to the Kindle itself.
Good luck and happy reading!!!
------------ ORIGINAL REVIEW --------------
Let me start off my saying two things to be very clear:
1. I LOVE Kindle in general! We now have 3 of them in our family (nice for sharing books, which IS allowed if you are all on the same account, as we are). I bought Gen 1 for myself a long time ago, and it still works beautifully! I bought Gen 2 for my wife (who resisted for a long time), and she LOVES it. Finally, I bought Gen 3 (the newest) about 2 months ago for my daughter on her birthday....and this is where problems began.
So to be crystal clear: my review and the 1-star rating is ONLY for the newest (Gen 3) Kindle! Kindle as a concept and in general is 5-star in my book. But not this Gen 3!
2. Amazon customer service has been OUTSTANDING throughout the two month (and counting) ordeal. I definitely cannot fault them for what is happening, nor have I become upset with Amazon or the Kindle concept. They have been prompt, courteous, and helpful. They get a 5-star rating for service!
But...as you will soon see...the problem is STILL not resolved. Read on...
It is my belief that the Kindle Gen 3 (newest) has a significant design flaw, probably in the underlying software. Here again, let me be precise: The Kindle 3 ships with ver. 3.0.1 of the software. Very shortly after you first turn it on, you will get updated to ver. 3.0.2 which as of today is the highest "release" software out there. As a result of telephone troubleshooting, I have installed the very latest software (in beta) which is ver. 3.0.3. So this review applies to a Kindle Gen 3, with software 3.0.3 or older (the issue described below happened with all 3 software packages installed). I cannot speak for what happens if/when they resolve the fundamental issue I am seeing; which I suspect is in the software. I sure hope it happens soon, to remove the blemish from this otherwise outstanding product!
So what is wrong...?
Very simple: The unit will NOT come out of sleep state on a very regular basis. When you slide the power switch over to wake it up, it just sits there like Rip Van Winkle. No amount of sliding and waiting makes a bit of difference. The ONLY way to get control of the unit back is to do a full "reset" by holding the switch over for 15 seconds and forcing a reboot. Even then it takes 1-2 minutes to respond to this, and when it finally does awake, it goes through a full update/reset procedure that takes another 1-2 min. Oh, and when it is done, you have LOST all of your current locations in the books you are reading. Now, you can re-sync your placemarks from the server, but in my case I tend to leave the radio off (to preserve battery), and we share books at home, so syncing to the server produces very erratic results, and more time than not is useless. So then you have to crawl your way through your current book(s) again to find your place.
This happens at LEAST once per day; usually after an extended (a few hours; not days) sleep state.
So in a nutshell: the Kindle 3 (at least mine) does not wake consistently, and when it gets stuck (at least daily), it is a 5-minute process to get it back, plus hunt for your page again. This is, to say the least, VERY frustrating!
When this first happened, I phoned Amazon and got a very helpful tech support specialist. Together we walked through how to update the software to the beta version, in hopes that would eliminate the issue. It did not; the next day it was very sleepy once again.
I phoned Amazon again, and they immediately shipped me out a replacement for free, via overnight. And they sent me a free label to return the "defective" one. I was very pleased and hopeful.
Sadly, literally 1 day after registering the next Kindle 3, the EXACT same symptoms appeared. Exactly. I phoned, and we did the same software update. Nope, it failed again the next day. I phoned again, and they sent me a THIRD Kindle Gen 3 (free of course, and again overnight); plus the return shipping label. I think my UPS guy is wondering about now whether I am cornering the market on these things or something!
Well, you have guessed it by now...within 1 day the THIRD Kindle Gen 3 had also failed to wake-up, showing the identical symptoms. Yes, I phoned again, and we did the exact same software update...failed once again the next day. Sigh.
And that is where I am today: a Kindle Gen 3 that refuses to wake up properly, and the prospect of calling Amazon and having them offer to send me a FOURTH Kindle Gen 3. Oh my.
I believe electronics can have random issues and bugs, so I was not surprised with one failure. But THREE of them in a row??? No, the engineer in me (my profession) says this is more than just random bad luck; this is a serious design flaw. I have to assume some (even many) of them are working properly, or Amazon would have stopped shipping them by now; but I sure have not gotten a good one in three tries! So my guess is the design flaw is much more than a tiny fraction. The chances are just too remote, IMHO.
My one "ding" for customer service is I asked specifically all 3 times if there is a fundamental problem with Kindle 3, and I keep getting told: "No, this is very unusual". Well, for me 3 times in a row is more than unusual; it is a big problem. And I have since Googled the 'net on this issue, and now discover it is in fact quite widely reported in various user reviews.
What am I doing now?
I just bought a "refurbished/repackaged" Kindle *Gen 2* off eBay so at least my daughter would have a birthday present that works (and so far it does work beautifully!). And I am about to get on the phone again with Amazon to work out what we are going to do about this Gen 3 that is soundly sleeping right now in front of me.
To wrap up: I love Kindle, and I recommend it to anyone. BUT if you buy a Gen 3, I sure hope your luck is FAR better than mine, and you get one of the units that actually comes out of sleep state. And if it does not, know that you are not alone out there!
163 of 172 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The K3 is close to perfect! Could almost stop with this one except... no WPA Enterprise support on Wi-Fi model.,
I'll begin this review with the important caveat that I've only had my K3 for a day, so it's possible in a week, it will explode, leaving scorch marks on my hands and tears in my eyes. That being said, apocalyptic scenarios aside, this thing is amazing!
The "feature" that will strike you first is how small it is, especially if you're a K2 user. The width is perfect for a "man's hands," being easily held between the thumb and middle finger. This isn't necessarily the most comfortable way, but it's a good sign of the size. Even my wife with "woman's hands" thinks it's far easier to hold than the K2 (not that the K2 was difficult, mind you). It HAS taken some time figuring out how best to hold it, since some of the K2 real estate is missing, but it's definitely nice to have something this small.
The weight is what'll hit you next. Or rather, it WON'T hit you. In fact, if you looked away, you might wonder if you were actually holding it. The K3 gives new definition to the word "featherweight," and is a delight to hold for longer reading sessions. The K2 is like a brick compared to this.
The screen and/or speed are the "last" of the first impressions. From a faster boot up to richer blacks to snappier page turning to faster highlighting, the K3 does not disappoint. Text is sharp and crisp, and the screen refresh when turning a page is EASILY "20% faster" (I'd say twice that). The new fonts are an added benefit.
After these three "first impressions," other things strike you at various intervals. The new 5-way navigation device is amazing! It's not as tactilely "present" as the K2, but defintely responsive and far less likely to break off. The "rubberized" back feels nicer than the K2 metal back and isn't slick or sticky, just the perfect amount of grip. The power button is larger and easier to slide (though it's on the bottom, which has resulted in a few "tummy sleeps") . The Keyboard is easier to "thumb-type" on. The graphite color only serves to further enhance the text. And there's a "Back" button at the left AND right!!!! PDF reading is much faster now, thought the 6" screen is still the limiting factor.
The absence of numbers is a bit of a drawback, and I'm disappointed that Amazon didn't at least stencil in the numbers above the letters.
Overall, I've VERY impressed by the K3. The loss of the row of number buttons is a bit of a miss, but they're far less important than the letters and the smaller size. (Sure, you can hold down ALT and press the buttons along the top for numbers, but it can get annoying when you're counting in to make sure you hit 6, not 7) Amazon really got it right this time, and at a price of $139, I can't see much reason NOT to spring for this one.
EDIT: One VERY important caveat on the Wi-Fi only version: it does NOT handle WPA Enterprise (as noted in Amazon's product description). For college students, this could be a deal-breaker. I'm lucky that my campus has an unsecured network, but if it didn't, I'd have no wi-fi options aside from home and the random Starbucks. I'm a bit frustrated by this (hopefully Amazon will address it with a future software update). WEP, WPA/WPA2 personal networks work fine.
115 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE ONLY REVIEW YOU'LL NEED for Kindle with Special Offers!! (from an international user),
This review is from: Kindle Keyboard, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display - includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers (Electronics)
** If you've found this review useful, please leave feedback - thanks!! :-) **
I bought my $114 Kindle with Special Offers at Best Buy while on a trip to the US recently. This is my first Kindle; I didn't know anybody with one previously so my first proper exposure to it was when I opened the box.
I won't write much about the actual Kindle itself as I'm sure it's all been said before. What I will say is that, like so many others, I have found it to be a wonderful printed media e-device which has rekindled (excuse the pun) my passion for reading. My wife also, who is somewhat technophobic, is finding it's incredibly intuitive interface a joy to use.
This "Special Offers" edition of Kindle presents it's owners with specially selected sponsor advertisements for brands such as Buick, Olay, VISA, Audible.com and Amazon.com itself. This sample represents the current offers and will undoubtedly expand and diversify over time as more advertisers come on board. These offers (exclusive to Kindle with Special Offers owners) so far range from simple information communiques to considerable discounts/vouchers for use at Amazon, Audible and presumably others in future.
So, are user exclusive offers enough for pop-up-phobic customers to even consider purchasing this overtly commercialised offering from Kindle with a potentially annoying/distracting ad display feature? Amazon obviously thought not and so, as a further sweetener, have used some of the advertiser generated revenue to subsidise the cost to the not insignificant tune of $25.
Now, a $25 saving definitely makes this option at least worth a second look and so now you're thinking "OK - but seriously, $25 is just not worth it if my reading is going to be continually interrupted by annoying pop-ups.... Is that the trade-off for saving $25 bucks?? Coz if so, I ain't buying...."
Well, somewhat to my surprise, no actually, it's not...
The ad displays are only visible in two places: the traditional sleep-mode book cover screensaver of previous Kindle models has been replaced with a full page, magazine style advertisement which periodically cycles through the available offers. The Home screen also displays the ad, this time though only in a rather small and unobtrusive banner format at the foot of the Home page. This banner acts as a link which can be clicked to receive further info via email.
There are NO POP-UPS WHATSOEVER when you're reading...
I definitely don't find the ads annoying or intrusive to my reading because simply put, they're neither. I personally find it kind of interesting to see what ads come up and think it makes the sleep-mode more engaging than it would be otherwise.
Specs wise, this version of Kindle is EXACTLY the same as the other 3rd Generation Kindles without the offers so you're not losing or gaining anything in that department.
Just a point of interest for prospective buyers outside of the US - you won't be able to purchase the $114 Special Offers version online. Amazon forces the buyer to choose the non-offers option for international shipping addresses as they say the offers are only available for US customers (however this hasn't been my experience as I have availed of offers from Audible and Amazon without any obvious issues). There are also some copyright restrictions that (very annoyingly) apply to international customers regarding which titles they can and can't buy but this is the case regardless of which Kindle version you own.
Basically though, if you're visiting the US and wondering if this version is for you, don't worry! Pop into Best Buy or Target and grab yourself a bargain - it'll work just fine when you get it home :)
So, in a nutshell; If you are in the market to buy a Kindle and are agonising over which option to choose, let me ease your pain: save your hard-earned $25 bucks (spend it on some books or put it towards a cover) and go for the "Special Offers" model - I promise you won't be sorry!
274 of 294 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars K3 vs PRS-505,
Anyone that has ever surfed an eReader forum knows that the PRS-505 has been the long standing benchmark for eReaders. Why? Because it had the best eReader screen (which is why they have held their original MSRP of $300 on eBay and upwards of $199 for a used one). Sony didn't seem to realize what they had accomplished and even newer models can't compare to the screen that was used on the PRS-505. I've also frequently read that many people also preferred the PRS-505 screen to some of the earlier Kindle's. So... I purchased a PRS-505 (after returning my mistaken Sony PRS-600 purchase). I can say, it was true, the PRS-505 screen was beautiful and was even better than paper.
That brings us to today, I'm now an owner of a Kindle 3. I won't even bother comparing anything to the PRS-600 because it is just that bad (other than the convenience of the touch screen).
History lesson aside... In this review I will be comparing the Kindle 3 with the Sony PRS-505 because I know there are a lot of PRS-505 owners out there who might be wondering if it would be a good switch. Of course, as with all reviews, YMMV (Your mileage may vary), no warranties are expressed or implied, legal yadda, yadda...
Kindle 3 vs PRS-505
(I will abbreviate: Kindle 3 = K3, PRS-505 = 505)
The K3 DOES have better contrast and I would agree with Amazon, it is about 50% better, so no complaints there at all. Grayscale is great and displays book covers, pictures, etc. better than the 505. However, the K3 does have a tiny bit more glare than the 505. When I say a tiny bit, I do mean a tiny bit. Even if I had a video camera, it probably wouldn't show up on camera. It is no where near as bad as the PRS-700 or PRS-600, but it should be known that there is that ever so little, miniscule amount of glare when compared directly with the 505. Personally, not enough to make me dislike the K3 and the increased contrast makes up for it... therefore it's a tie.
Page flips are just faster on the K3 than the 505. Also, the K3 does a better job of updating smaller sections of the screen than the 505 did (i.e. Menus). It's simply more responsive, faster and during the white-to-black-to-white transition is almost unnoticeable if not natural.
I did like the controls on the 505, however, I found myself getting a little uncomfortable with them when I read for extended periods (i.e. 6-8 hours). On the K3, I have not experienced that 'uncomfortableness' (not sure if that's a word but lets go with it). The K3 is still new to me so it's possible that I just haven't had enough time with it yet, but I think I've put in enough use to make that determination.
Naturally, the K3 has wireless and USB. The 505 only has USB. Pretty simple, enough said.
-Battery Life & Charging-
K3 definitely has better battery life (although, I could be slightly biased since the battery in the 505 is older, but I think the K3 has better battery life than even when my 505 was new). In terms of charging, it was nice of Amazon to include a wall charger. I have a laptop and don't want to leave my laptop on just to charge my eReader. With the 505, the wall charger had to be purchased separately. Plus, if you discharged the 505 too much then it took forever for it to start charging via USB and almost needed a wall charger.
Sorry Amazon, the 505 clearly has the better memory platform (Internal Memory + Sony MemoryStick Slot + SD Card Slot). I don't think it would have been too difficult to implement a MicroSD card slot into the K3. Heck, the slots on the side for connecting the optional K3 cover are about the same size needed for a MicroSD card slot. The K3 does have 4GB on board but the MicroSD option to expand storage would've been nice (not to mention inserting the card into a computer card slot to transfer books between the computer and the device instead of the USB cable).
It doesn't get any easier than the Kindle Store in terms of finding books and downloading them. Plus, the Kindle store has many titles that can be hard to find to purchase for the 505 (I know, I've already run into 3 titles that were ONLY available in the Kindle Store). Pricewise, the Kindle store is often cheaper than the Sony store making it an easy win for the K3 as well. (I understand that there are other stores available to purchase from, but the general audience isn't likely to hunt and peck every eBook store. They are more likely to shop at the eBook store that interfaces directly with their device and don't want to worry about formats, converting formats, etc.).
-Miscellaneous Pros- (that the competing device doesn't have or doesn't do well)
Kindle 3: Dictionary & Notes (a welcome addition over the 505 which the PRS-600 tried to implement but the screen was horrible), Web browser, automatic download of content (periodicals, newspapers, magazines)
PRS-505: Format flexibility (library ePubs, DRM ePubs), feels really solid
In the end, the Kindle 3 is a better device for me. There are some definite upsides to the PRS-505 which make it a good device as well, but the Kindle 3 has brought more of what is expected of an eReader today (newer technology) and put it in a package similar to that of the PRS-505 which makes it a good compromise.
837 of 914 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If it worked, it would be my favorite,
I'm on my third K3. I had a K1, never got around to getting a K2, and was delighted to order a K3.
The form factor is excellent - small, light, the contrast is gorgeous, they finally have reasonable storage.
However, the first one crashed and froze and crashed and froze until it turned itslf off, although fully charged, and won't turn on again. Replacement #1 has strobe effect - it sort of stalls out and blinks rapidly. Replacement #2 freezes and restarts every time I try to turn the page. On each restart it has a different number of items listed. Sometimes it restarts just sitting there. So 3 out of 3 have been bad. This is the first day I've had #3, and the battery has gone from fully charged to 30% in 5 hours, wireless off.
Amazon now says it's a software issue, which absolutely makes sense, but it's hard for me to understand how issues of this kind got missed on testing. This isn't (or shouldn't be) new to Amazon. I expected issues like this with the K1, because that really was early adoption, but that thing just soldiers on, short battery life, dinky memory and all - at least it *works*.
So now, per support, all I can do wait and see if the update they're pushing in the next week will resolve all this stuff, and dread whatever new problems the update will bring.
At this point, the bloom is very definitely off the rose, and I'm not throwing away the box the latest K3 arrived in, because right now, I don't believe Amazon can make this right. I very much regret how much of my content is tied to Amazon's proprietary format, and the only reason I'm waiting this out is because I've got 2 years of purchases in the Amazon format that I don't want to walk away from, but I'm getting there. The longer this goes on, the closer I am to throwing in the towel with Amazon.
It's a lovely little device to hold and look at, but none of the ones Amazon has sent me work, so be very sure that you're willing to invest hours in calls and emails to support with no substantive result before you buy.
The folks at Kindle Support are being sweet, but honestly? I got the first K3 less than a week ago.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Used & New from: $58.98