on September 29, 2010
As a person who requires top performance and exacting standards in my work, I don't have too much patience for products and services that are shoddy or poorly executed. This is definitely not an issue with the Kindle and the Kindle-purchasing experience. Rather, in the case of the Kindle 3G WiFi (graphite), I am absolutely amazed and positively impressed. Let me explain.
1. Shipping; my Kindle and Kindle cover with light both arrived well in advance of the estimated delivery time. The shipping was so fast as to be almost unbelievable.
2. The products arrive in rugged, small boxes which are accessed with a simple pull-string. This is not one of the dreaded plastic impossi-shells that require knives, scissors and the use of non-renewable materials to ship your Kindle. Rather, recycled materials are used, the packaging is very easy to open, very easy to break down for recycling, and is completely adequate. This is among the best packaging I have seen, both in size (not over sized) and in execution.
3. The Kindle is a very well thought out device. It arrives with sufficient charge to begin use upon being removed from the box, although it is recommended that it be charged up first (you can see videos of the unpackaging and set up of the Kindle on YouTube, which are helpful). Since the Kindle can be used while being charged, you spend the first afternoon with it plugged in and charging as you read through the very thorough overview and getting-to-know-your-Kindle information. As you read along, you can test out the features as you read about them, i.e. use the 5-way navigation toggle to get an immediate dictionary definition of a word in the text you're reading. The instructions and introduction are very complete and this aspect of educating the new user succeeds in my opinion.
4. While I was waiting for delivery of my Kindle, I was able to buy books from Amazon and have them delivered by "Whispernet" (c'mon, its a cool moniker a proprietary e-book delivery system). When my Kindle arrived, I unpackaged it and plugged it in, and found that all of my purchases were already downloaded into the device! I know its easy to get jaded in this age of technical marvels, but really, this thing was sitting in a DHL warehouse while it was filling up with books I ordered off my personal computer, many miles away. The so-called Whispernet delivery worked flawlessly, since your Kindle is automatically linked to your Amazon account when you buy your Kindle. If this doesn't impress the pants off you, then you may have lost your sense of being able to be amazed. Talk about well thought-out, well-executed technology. Additional purchases are made from the Kindle itself, or if I prefer to use my personal computer--which I do--then purchases are made from the Amazon Kindle store and are delivered electronically to your device. Wow, wow, wow. If I could speak to several authors of the classics, I suspect they would shake their heads in amazement at the development of a small tablet that can receive thousands of entire books with the click of a button.
5. The so-called electronic ink is really easy to read, the real-time dictionary at your fingertips avoids disrupting the flow of the reading, and you can even search out a topic on Wikipedia if you have a WiFi connection. Again, if you're not amazed by the convenience of having 3,500 books in a tiny device that receives books through the unseen ether and loads them into your device without wires, then its time to re-assess just how amazing this technology really is.
Pros: User friendly, from the packaging it arrives in to the common-sense feel of the keyboard navigation. Small in stature, it is therefore portable.
Cons: Heavier than I thought it would be; navigation keys for forward/backward page movement are often in my way when trying to get a comfortable grip on the device while reading. It really does require some sort of cover or case. I went with the Amazon cover with the electronic light built in, which is much better than the reviews tend to imply. Once Kindle can organize the buttons and navigation keys in such a way that you can grip the device without inadvertently navigating, it'll get 5/5 stars. As it is, it should be a 4.7/5 for me.
In conclusion, this is an amazing gadget for the money. Granted, there will be many credit card statements for e-books, which is where Amazon will make its money; the device itself is pretty low-priced. And, I know that my spiritual friends would be quick to tell me things don't make us happy--which I believe to be true--but this is one of those things that is a real pleasure to have in your hand, its true. Book titles beyond imagining in one tiny electronic device, no paper, no trees cut down, all in a small device that you can take just about anywhere. It seems to me to be the biggest innovation in the written word since Gutenberg devised the printing press in the mid-1400's. About time, too.