Erik’s Brain

The reward of a thing well done...

My 24 Hours With the Kindle

I was a Kindle 2 owner. For a day.

I love technology. That was almost enough for me to want to try it. Then I was reading about the really nice highlighting and annotation features of the Kindle and that got me really excited. The fact that a lot more tech books are available on the Kindle was another plus. The ability to get free previews put me over the edge. I ordered it Monday afternoon and it showed up Tuesday. I was so excited I paid the $3.99 for overnight shipping.

It arrived and I was immediately unimpressed. Amazon did their best Apple packaging impression, but it came off as feeling kind of cheap. The Kindle itself also came off as feeling kind cheap. The nav buttons on the sides of the Kindle were actually quite bad. They required too much pressure to press and the NEXT PAGE button clicked horribly. It got to the point that I cringed when I had to press it. Amazon wants it to disappear when you read on it. That clicking sound is a great way to bring you back to reality.

Another big knock is that the screen is so slow that it makes the entire product feel very unresponsive. Simply moving the cursor around the screen can be a trying experience. Navigating from a book to its TOC and through the TOC is painful. You certainly can’t skim through a book. I realize that’s a limitation of the screen technology. And, for text, the screen is GREAT to look at. But the simple fact is that the redraw lag was a hug deal breaker for me.

I love the idea of e-books, but I really don’t like reading them on a computer or laptop and my iPhone screen is just too small for make e-book reading much fun. The iPhone Kindle app also lacks the ability to highlight and annotate, which is a drag. The bottom line is that I’m simply not the target audience for the Kindle. If I read a ton more fiction and linear non-fiction it would be a different story. And if I traveled, I’d probably be all over it. They really do need to work on the feel of it, though. That clicky NEXT button was a nightmare.

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