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

4.2 out of 5 stars 8,014 customer reviews
| 47 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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Well, since many of these reviews are from people who don't even appear to own a Kindle, I'll preface this by saying I have one in my hands, and have been using for a day or so now. I also have a Bookeen Cybook Gen3, so it should be fairly easy to make a nice comparison between the two.

Setup was almost non-existent. The device was set up at the factory with all my details, and was even pre-charged. When you open the package, the Kindle is wrapped in a plastic wrapper which explains that you just plug it in and turn it on. I did plug it in, to charge, but in a very short while, the charging light went out, indicating full charge. When I powered it up, after an initial boot sequence, the Kindle owners manual opened. I read thru it, casually skimming the more obvious entries, and paid attention to some of the Kindle unique features.

The most striking feature is the scroll bar and cursor wheel. The scroll bar lets you quickly scroll up and down, selecting menus or choosing a position within the book. When you have the menu item selected, you press the cursor wheel, just like a mouse. Navigation was a breeze and took only about 10 minutes to really become proficient.

The screen is as expected. E-ink devices are superior displays for these kind of applications. For the nay-sayers who mock lack of backlight or color, I suspect they haven't even tried any e-ink device. Very readable. I haven't tried fonts or anything, because I'm happy with the default fonts for now. There's no eye-strain to speak of. After reading for about an hour, my eyes were no less or more tired than if I were reading a print book. For me, that's not possible on any computer (or PDA) device. The refresh is just too stressful for long periods of reading.
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