Saturday, February 15, 2014

Amazon Kindle (regular) E-reader Review: Part 3

Device in action: Size, Reading Books
The reading experience has been smooth so far with regular books with relatively light details.
I have been comfortable with the default text size so far. Text appears clear on the e-ink, I have not felt eyestrain yet after numerous 30 minute reading sessions in a dimly lit room, and page turning is smooth. I find the screen to be a pretty reasonable size and the reader fits in my hand quite comfortably. Highlights by other readers show up throughout the book, which is a feature I find interesting and like. Even with the device in airplane mode with Wi-Fi off, I feel "connected".

There are two page flip buttons on both sides of the e-reader. The buttons are mirrored on both sides with the "next page" button prioritized with a larger size and more convenient lower position. Most of my reading has been done with only one hand, either left or right, so this works. I find the buttons to be responsive. However, it feels like it would have been more intuitive to have the "next" button on the right and the "previous" button on the left. This would hinder single-handed operability, but it just feels "right". Being 5'4", my hands aren't that big, so it's a bit more difficult to reach the "previous" button when only using one hand.

One minor issue is that not all books appear to have page numbers. This can be an issue when trying to find passages or reference items. I've read of people having to get exemptions from teachers for citations without page references because they bought the Kindle version of texts.
Amazon Kindle Main Screen w/ Keyboard Showing
Web Browsing
Did I mention that I can't stand typing with the keyboard? Typing things is difficult with the five-point button, so I avoid using the browser. Selecting links on webpages is also less than perfect as the button jumps from link to link instead of acting like a cursor. It's an "experimental" browser by Amazon though, so that should be taken into consideration. For the few sites that I visited, the mobile versions generally showed up. However, even with e-ink, images showed up quite nicely in black and white. I'm guessing that it'd work better with the Paperwhite or any sort of touchscreen. Like I said, didn't get this thing to be a tablet or web browser, so I don't really mind. The only places I would buy anything or log into my Amazon account would be at home where I have a computer anyways.

Battery Life
It's advertised as having a battery life of about a month with wi-fi off. The asterisk, though, is that this time frame is based on a usage rate of 0.5 hours a day. At 28 days, that would be about 14 hours. The first charge lasted about two and a half novels or a good month-ish of reading. I plugged it in to recharge before it completely ran out of juice. This was with the wifi off for 95% of the time (airplane mode) and the Kindle turned off when it wasn't in use. Although, I did leave it in standby with the screen on for a good couple hours.

For the Paperwhite, 56 days would translate into 23 hours? However, this would be with a lighting system that the base version does not have, so the Paperwhite has quite an impressive battery. The Kindle Fire tablets appear to have 10-20 hours of battery depending on usage, which seems pretty standard for tablets, off the top of my head.

Other Notes and Updates
My Kindle did not appear to remember my wi-fi connection details once, but it did the other times. No idea what happened. Regardless, with the keyboard thing in mind, I started thinking that I should have gotten the Paperwhite. That or use the USB to transfer files, or buy books in bulk.

The screen is a bit on the reflective side, I've noticed. It's not like a glossy screen that produces clear reflections. There appears to be an anti-reflective coating, but because it's a hand held device, I orient the screen at a fairly horizontal angle. That means ceiling lights show up. This may be on the nitpicking side.

Great little device. The price is fairly reasonable at CAD$ 79 or US$ 69 with ads and it functions quite well as a book reader. I'm impressed by the plain black and white e-ink screen, the overall design of the device, and ease of use. It's a good way to enter the e-book world that allows for instantaneous delivery and somewhat lower book prices. No such thing as "out of print" or "out of stock" again?

However, the keyboard and battery life have me questioning if it may just be a better idea to get a more expensive version. The Paperwhite should allow for easier typing, and a Fire would provide full color and more "traditional" tablet functions.

<<< Part 2: Unboxing, Keyboard, Buying Books

Amazon Kindle E-Reader

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