Customer Review

11,913 of 12,187 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, August 31, 2010
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This review is from: Kindle Keyboard, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display (Electronics)
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.

The 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 with a book. Hardcovers are sometimes a bit heavy, and paperbacks don't always lie open easily. The Kindle is incredibly light and thin. I can hold it in one hand easily. The page turn buttons are conveniently located. Page-turns aren't instant, but they're probably quicker than turning a physical page in a printed book (there are just a lot more page-turns unless you choose a small font). The contrast is better than other ereaders I've seen. There is zero eye strain in good light. My eyesight isn't the greatest and I like being able to increase the font size and read without glasses. I love being able to browse the Kindle store and read samples before deciding to purchase. The "experimental" browser is surprisingly usable, but isn't great. It is useful for browsing wikipedia and blogs. The biggest drawback to the browser is the awkward pointer navigation, using the 5-way pad. It syncs your furthest read page over the internet so you can pick up where you left off using your iPhone or iPad.

The so-so:
The kindle store could use more categories and sorting options. You can't sort by "top rated," and there is no category for "alternate histories," for example. Finding a very-specific type of fiction relies on keyword searches, which don't do a great job. The wifi sometimes doesn't connect before it times-out. You rarely need the wifi, but it is annoying if you change a setting, answer "OK" to the prompt to connect, and the thing tells you it failed to connect two seconds later (the exact moment it indicates that it did finally connect, then you need to go back to update the setting again). Most settings don't require a connection, but it is a minor annoyance. Most of your time will be spent reading, and of course your books are stored on the device and a connection is not required. Part of me wishes I'd bought the 3G model, because the browser is good enough that having lifetime free 3G wireless would be worth the extra money. Magazines don't look very good and are not very easy to navigate. There is minor glare in some lighting conditions, mostly when a lamp is positioned behind the reader's head.

The bad:
The contrast is fair to poor in dim light. It is much easier to read a printed page in dim light. In good light, contrast is on par with a pulp paperback. In dim light it feels almost like reading from an old Palm Pilot (resolution is better than an old Palm, but contrast is bad in dim light). The screen is small enough that the frequency of page turns is pretty high. Even in good light, the light gray background is less pleasant than the eggshell background of a printed page. You must tell it to sync before you switch it off, if you expect the feature allowing you to pick up where you left off using other devices to work correctly. The copy protection prevents you from using the files on anything other than Kindle software or devices.

Vs iPad:
IPad is a lot better for magazines, reference materials, and illustrated materials. Kindle is worlds better for reading novels. IPad is pretty heavy, making it more difficult to hold in your hand or carry with you everywhere. Kindle is much more portable and easier to hold. IPad has some amazing children's books and magazines, which take advantage of its multimedia features. IPad is unreadable in sunlight and glare is bad in bright light. Kindle is as good as a printed page in bright light. Ipad serves as a creative tool, a computing tool, a gaming tool, and a communication tool. Kindle is only a novel machine. I don't regret buying either one of them. An iPad won't replace books, but a Kindle can, if the book is text-only.

I highly recommend this device at its new low price if you are a frequent reader of novels. I love my kindle. Just don't expect it to be more than it is. Leave the magazines and such to the tablet computers.
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Comments

Tracked by 32 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 203 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 4, 2010 6:03:02 PM PDT
WarEagle_AU says:
Thank you for this review. My husband uses an ipad and has tried to talk me into one for reading. He subscribes to WSJ, NYT, etc... plus various other newspapers and magazines. I'm almost exclusively novels. He's tried to get me to go with any e-reader instead of hauling paperbacks around and I finally caved (mostly because he went ahead an ordered the Kindle for me). I feel good now about the $139.00 investment for the Kindle vs a $499 ipad investment...... Thanks again!

Posted on Sep 9, 2010 12:55:37 PM PDT
walloon says:
great review! Thank you! You answered all my questions regarding Ipad vs. Kindle

Posted on Sep 9, 2010 8:27:05 PM PDT
God is good! says:
Thank you for an excellent, unbiased, and relevant review. The new Kindle is exactly what my husband needs and you have helped me decide on buying this device versus the ipad which contains more functionality and cost than required.

Posted on Sep 9, 2010 11:11:12 PM PDT
K. McDonald says:
What a well balanced, thoughtful and helpful review...thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2010 6:24:22 AM PDT
M. Miller says:
Great review, great comments. Finally people who aren't ranting, and give an honest opinion without getting nasty.

Posted on Sep 11, 2010 7:32:41 AM PDT
I agree; a thoughtful and helpful review.

Posted on Sep 12, 2010 6:19:28 PM PDT
At night I was very disappointed with the performance at home. Its almost impossible to read. You analogy with an "old palm pilot" is correct - without proper lighting it looks like an old monochrome LCD screen with a green/gray haze and dim lettering. I went out and bought an LCD wall light from IKEA for behind my bed. I also changed my bulbs in the lights next to my sofa from low energy ones to "ordinary" and the results were much better.

In the daytime the thing is much much better and really excels outdoors or in the sun. However, the screen is still light gray and not "Pearl" colour as you would expect from the description.

The rest of the Kindle system is fantastic - the way the Kindle store works and downloads books is great.

I wish the sync feature would work automatically and then switch off the wireless when it finished.

Posted on Sep 12, 2010 6:19:55 PM PDT
At night I was very disappointed with the performance at home. Its almost impossible to read. You analogy with an "old palm pilot" is correct - without proper lighting it looks like an old monochrome LCD screen with a green/gray haze and dim lettering. I went out and bought an LCD wall light from IKEA for behind my bed. I also changed my bulbs in the lights next to my sofa from low energy ones to "ordinary" and the results were much better.

In the daytime the thing is much much better and really excels outdoors or in the sun. However, the screen is still light gray and not "Pearl" colour as you would expect from the description.

The rest of the Kindle system is fantastic - the way the Kindle store works and downloads books is great.

I wish the sync feature would work automatically and then switch off the wireless when it finished.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2010 8:03:47 PM PDT
I've found that if you leave wireless on, it will sync automatically eventually. The first time I used it, I left my kindle at home and pulled out my iPhone to continue my reading while waiting in line at a restaurant. Only ten minutes had passed, and it was not synced at that point. I went to read a bit at lunch last week and found that it had indeed synced my phone to my kindle. You must choose "sync" from the menu if you intend to immediately begin reading on another device, but it will eventually get around to it if you leave wifi switched on.

I haven't had as much trouble as you have with lighting. I have 60w equivalent CFL low-watt bulbs in my main reading lamp near my trusty recliner, and it is plenty to keep it illuminated for me.

I almost wish I could go back and give it four stars. It definitely falls somewhere between three and four. I have been reading more in the past two weeks than I have in a long time. Reading on the kindle is definitely better than iPad or a telephone. I do love the thin form factor. The bad contrast in dim light is the only drawback, and it's better than the iPad where the screen is far too bright for extended reading in low light. I bought the overpriced amazon lighted kindle cover, and it does a good job of illuminating the screen and protecting the device in my bag.

Posted on Sep 15, 2010 6:43:01 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Sep 16, 2010 6:46:01 PM PDT]
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Jeffrey Stanley
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Location: Wichita, KS United States

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