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Kindle: Amazon's Original Wireless Reading Device (1st generation)

4.2 out of 5 stars 8,015 customer reviews
| 48 answered questions
About the product
  • Revolutionary electronic-paper display provides a sharp, high-resolution screen that looks and reads like real paper.
  • Simple to use: no computer, no cables, no syncing.
  • Wireless connectivity enables you to find, buy, and read instantly—whether you’re in the back of a taxi, at the airport, or in bed.
  • Shop the Kindle Store directly from your Kindle.
  • Buy a book and it is auto-delivered wirelessly in less than one minute.

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By Steve Gibson on November 25, 2007
Verified Purchase
This is less a "pros and cons" review than a hopefully useful commentary about the Kindle compared with other eReaders and what it means for the eBook industry. (I believe that everything has changed with the Kindle's creation.)

For many years I have been an avid reader of eBooks using almost every eReading device on the market. So as an early-adopter of techie gadgets I had been anxiously awaiting Amazon's Kindle since its first rumors. So I immediately purchased it both out of curiosity and hoping for a better "next generation" eBook solution. In case you're wondering whether I'm "that" Steve Gibson, I probably am -- I'm the guy who gets Google's first three or four links when Googling my name.

I was driven to write this review because it is somewhat distressing and, it seems to me, a bit unfair for the Kindle's average review rating to be dragged so far down by Kindle NON-OWNERS who, judging from their comments, seem to be quite annoyed by all of the positive comments about a device that's expensive, monochrome, not a general purpose media player, unable to leap tall buildings, or in some way less than they were expecting, wanting, or hoping. In contrast to non-owners, the people who actually HAVE Kindle's appear to universally love it, though with very valid caveats. I think of this as "The TiVo Effect" since, for the right sort of user, the Kindle will be life-changing ... but it certainly won't be that for everyone. Although it took me a few days to get completely comfortable with it, I am now hooked.

So, for what it's worth, if this posting is discovered by any truly interested pre-purchasers, I hope that the following commentary might place the Kindle in "perspective" and be of some value to you.
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I read my first novel on the Kindle over the weekend, and having owned it now for a week, thought I would write my review.

The Good:
- The format is immersive. I really did forget I was reading from an electronic device, and even pawed at imaginary pages to turn every now and then. Super easy on the eyes, and I really like the fact that it mirrors a paper reading experience - if the light is bad, the device does not compensate by way of a backlit screen.
- The Kindle store's shopping experience is very smooth, very transparent. I have bought a few books, a magazine, and currently on a couple of free trial magazine and blog subscriptions. The latest editions of the New York Times and The Onion are waiting for me first thing in the morning, once you get the hang of how the "Back" button works (versus "Previous Page"), navigating is a snap.
- The size of the device is just right - it is very easy to hold and read in bed, at a table, on the couch etc. More on this in the "Needs Work" section. But to be clear, my Kindle goes everywhere with me - the doctor's office, the park, the bus etc.
- Pricing on Books is good - I would easily pay $9.99 on a title, especially as we run out of library space at home. I read my first novel in a long time thanks to the Kindle (the book - "A Thousand Splendid Suns", Khaled Hosseini is a trifle predictable and irritating after The Kite Runner ')
- Text is very crisp and easy to read - as I said above, very immersive.
- Love the quick charging and overall battery life.
- Love the integrated web and Wikipedia search.
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I picked it up at The UPS Store. Took it out of the box, turned it on, saw that it was charged. The wireless indicator was all bars. I scanned the instructions, pressed home, selected Time magazine and a book, and had them in the machine in less than 20 seconds each.

Then I started reading them. (While in the parking lot where I had picked it up moments before.)

First impressions:

1) My Kindle was preregistered and said "Welcome Randy" on an early screen, and was ready for me to buy stuff.

2) I own the Sony PRS-500 and 505, and the screen is the same quality, as well as page-turn speed. The buttons are very different and better...the turn page button is 5 inches long, the "turn page back" button is a half inch long. This makes much more sense than Sony's minimal equal-sized buttons.

3) The fonts are MUCH MORE PLEASING. Sony basically has one font and three sizes, this has much more and look better designed for this kind of screen (rounded serifs, etc)

4) It has a dictionary you can go to when you don't know a word (Sony doesn't).

5) Bestsellers are $9.95, compared to $16.95 Sony.

It's too new for me to go further, but I'm very surprised and impressed so far.

There is more white plastic (not puke-yellow like in the photos you've seen for a few months) around the screen than Sony has, and the Kindle is much thicker, but still lightweight. Yet holding it is easy, and the "next page" button being practically the whole right side of the book is ideal.

The wireless connectivity, the interaction with the internet on the screen, takes this out of Sony's reach.

I honestly didn't expect to be be buying books within minutes of opening the package, before I even got home from picking it up.
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