Why on Earth…
I have to admit, I didn’t read much until recently. The only stuff I ever read were school books so that I could, you know, get along and pass my courses. So a while back, I heard the Steve Jobs autobiography was coming out. I was fascinated by the man so I decided I wanted to read the book. Problem was, the thought of adding another book to my fairly large collection given the limited space I have seemed like a drag. So I started to look for alternatives. The obvious option was to buy the ebook on Amazon and read it in the Kindle apps on either my phone, iPod, iPad or computer. Simple. Not so much.
You see, I had tried to do the same before. I have several lengthy research papers in PDF format that I’ve had to read before – this proved to be a nightmare and I ended up printing them out for reading. My biggest issue: glare. I just can’t stand it! It’s OK to be in front of a computer screen (or any backlit screen) for 1 or 2 hours at a time, but when you have to spend say 5 hours straight? Nightmare. Programming or doing other tasks is different. You have the opportunity to look all over the screen and occasionally look away to think. When reading you’re staring at about the same spot, scrolling and all – not cool. So I decided to get a Kindle.
I decided to get the classic Kindle. I will admit, at first I thought I would buy it then sell it to get the Kindle Touch but it turns out, this is the better one for me.
The Kindle classic is better than the other touch variants for several reasons. First off, because it lacks touch sensors and speakers, it’s the lightest and thinnest of the the ebook readers out there. The screen is also not as ‘deep’ as the others because it lacks touch, which means that there isn’t much of a shadow cast on the screen when you’re reading under a light. Such things are important since the Kindle lacks a backlight.
Reviews have shown that the Kindle Classic is also faster than the other touch screen readers or at least as fast. The other readers just don’t seem to be as responsive. This could be attributed to the touch screen technology or just poor software though. The Kindle Touch lacks physical page turn buttons, in fact it has only a home button and power button. This means you have to touch the screen (at specific oddly chosen areas mind you) to turn the pages. Although I haven’t used the touch screen, many others who have find the physical buttons on the Kindle Classic better than the touch controls. I personally think they are awesome; not that the screen would smudge or anything (it doesn’t because of the matte finish) but the tactile feedback and the quick response are satisfying.
The beauty of it
I was against ebook readers a short while back. I thought they were pointless, sluggish, backward and gimmicky. The idea of this monochrome, slow-responding, single purpose device seemed ridiculous to me. I thought it was one of those things that was just going to pass. Those ideas started to change when I tried to do some serious reading on my iPad. I just couldn’t stay focused. I found myself getting easily distracted. Besides the eye strain, I would get all sorts of notifications or I would just start thinking about playing Infinity Blade or Sparkle or something. There’s just so much that can be done on the iPad. That, coupled with the eye strain just left me with heaps of stuff half read.
That’s when I realised the potential of these ebook readers…and I was right. There’s not much you can do on the Kindle, especially the Kindle Classic. With no touch screen, even the things you can do are a pain. For instance, the Kindle has a built in ‘experimental’ browser, but without a touch screen and with the e-ink screen, I have to say, it’s one of the worst browsers I’ve ever used in my life. I won’t even get into the ridiculously slow process of text input. The only thing this device is good for is reading books. That’s it. And that’s awesome!
When I’m using the Kindle, my mind is clear, it’s just me and the book. The thoughts of checking my mail or browsing the web or playing a game are all thwarted by the pain of the thought of trying to do anything other than reading the book. There’s this purity to it that I just love.
The Kindle has rekindled my interest in reading. I’ve always been fascinated by all sorts of facts, people, events, techniques etc. but it had been a while since I had gone out to look for books the cover these interests. The Kindle has helped me rediscover the wonder.
That’s the good stuff. There’s really not much I don’t like about the Kindle but I will list a few things that could be better…or wishes rather.
- The screen resolution is pretty low. It would be nice if it were sharper than 600×800 (@167 ppi). Ideally it should be close to the iPhone/iPod Touch Retina ppi of 326. That would be awesome! The text is quite alright though, I rarely ever notice the pixelation of text anyway.
- Expandable memory would also be nice but so far the built in 2GB is more than enough for me. Each book is usually a few hundred KBs anyway and you don’t really want to be stuffing anything other than books in it so yeah.
- ePub support would be nice too. That way I could buy books from other stores or something and just load them without converting. On the other hand the Amazon store has the largest collection I believe and they have the best prices anyway.
I love this Kindle, it’s the best piece of kit I’ve bought in a while. It’s not for everyone though. If you want to take notes and listen to audio books or music, then the Kindle Touch is the better option. The other touch readers by Kobo and Sony are also alright according to the reviews floating around. You may also want consider the older Kindle Keyboard if you’re big on buttons and the form factor. Otherwise, if you just want the raw basics in a slim, light package with a few buttons – you can’t go wrong with the Kindle Classic.