Saturday, February 15, 2014

Amazon Kindle (regular) E-reader Review: Part 2

So, I got a Kindle. It's the "welcome back" to the world of tablets that I never quite got into and departed from rather abruptly. To really demonstrate how much of a dinosaur I am, the only tablet I'm interested in is the "full" Windows 8 Surface because I want the closest thing to a regular computer.
Amazon Kindle E-Reader Front
Overview Amazon Kindle E-Reader
Getting off that tangent... The Kindle model that I bought was the base model with ads. There was no option in Canada to get the one "without special offers". Anyways, it was purchased in early 2014 to give you an idea of which generation it is. According to the product description, it has an estimated 4 week battery life (30 minutes a day usage), no backlight, no touchscreen, uses e-ink, Wi-Fi only, and has a 6" screen. I paid CAD$ 79.

One compact, thin, cardboard box slightly bigger than the Kindle itself was all the device came in. Opening the front flap of the box revealed the Kindle in a transparent plastic bag. Behind that was a USB A to micro-B cable. That was about it, aside from a few pamphlets.

Most surprising was that the Kindle was turned on when I first opened the box. It was playing a screensaver -- no motion. Only about an hour of charging was required while plugged into a computer USB port before I got the full-power green LED signal. I was a bit short on time, so I didn't have a chance to really test it out until a few days after it arrived. When the opportunity to finally connect it to my wi-fi network arose, the device updated, and started running without a hitch.

Setup at the warehouse?
The biggest surprise was that the device was already registered to my Amazon account when I connected it to my Wi-Fi. Unless I was completely out of it and put in my information days ago without remembering, it appears that they set the thing up at the warehouse. This seems even more likely since the battery came pretty well charged, and the device was in standby mode playing a screensaver right out of the box. Also, the box wasn't something I would have expected coming straight from the assembly line.

Not sure how I feel about this -- kind of conflicted. They appear to have customized it for me so that I could just run once it arrived. However, the "setting the new toy up" experienced was taken away from me?

Amazon Kindle E-Reader Rear

The Kindle E-Reader

Typing without a keyboard is difficult. Typing with a single button, sorry, I mean five-buttons with four used for movement, is even more difficult. In comparison, even my ancient cell phones had nine digits with the alphabet divided between them. I was first acquainted with the onscreen keyboard during the setup process and typing in my network info. For some reason, the keyboard on screen is laid out alphabetically and not in the standard "qwerty" style. I think that this may make the single-button typing harder. It wasn't as hard using on the Playstation 3 controller, which technically had a single key selection button to type -- plus control sticks and four arrow keys to move around an onscreen keyboard. This kind of makes it hard to do anything that required typing such as web browsing.

On the other hand, I kind of knew this would happen and accepted it to save CAD$ 60. The next model step up at the time was the Paperwhite version with a capacitive touchscreen. Not regretting it yet... This device was mainly bought for book reading. I had very little intention of using it as either a browser or for anything other than books. We'll see what happens over time.

Kindle Five-Button On-Screen Keyboard

File Types
Moving on... The Kindle can read files other than purchased e-books like PDF, DOC, and TXT files according to the Amazon product page description (at time of purchase). Haven't had the chance to try that out yet, but given that it's just e-ink without color or a keyboard, the feature doesn't interest me. I'll throw up an update once I bother to try it out.

Buying my first book
My Kindle was christened with The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel by Matthew Quick because I've been obsessed with the movie for a while. I used the more traditional route of using my computer to buy the Kindle version of the book instead of buying it directly using the device -- partly for security, partly because of the typing issue. This process went extremely smoothly. Since the Kindle was registered to my Amazon account, I just had to elect to purchase it for my Kindle. The standard Amazon checkout experience happened, and I got the book "synced" onto the device the next time I turned it on a few minutes later. It transferred surprisingly quick for a couple hundred page book over wi-fi at less than 30 seconds.

<<< Part 1: Why get a Kindle?

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