New Kindle Review: Is it good enough?

A few weeks ago, I opened my mailbox to reveal a slender brown box. Elated, I rushed into my apartment and tore into the packaging. I oohed and ahhed as I pulled out a sleek charcoal device, complete with a 6″ eInk display; it was the new $109 keyboard-less Kindle ($79 if you get the version with Ads). Since then, I have been tirelessly reading, downloading, researching, and just plain playing with it.

The reading process has, thus far, been my absolute favourite aspect of this Kindle. The beautiful six-inch display appears more paper-like than any eInk screen that I have seen to date. Page turning is very smooth and the buttons are well-located, if a bit difficult to push sometimes. The other buttons are central and perfectly responsive, making highlighting easy.

Along with reading, my eBook buying experience has been quite delightful. The Kindle’s store is easy to search or browse. The category filtering, thumbnail displays, and reviews appear as eInk versions of what would appear when searching the Kindle Store on a computer. The one drawback of the shopping experience is that the lack of a keyboard or touchscreen makes typing somewhat difficult; however, the quick-loading search suggestions often negate the necessity of the keyboard altogether.

Unlike in the past, buying eBooks is not the only way to get them onto the Kindle. ePub library books are now available from 11,000 American public libraries. The major issue with this is that the eBooks cannot be downloading directly onto the Kindle, but they can be easily transferred from a computer. There are thousands of titles available for free for a temporary period, making reading even more accessible.

Amazon also offers an alternative library for Amazon Prime members. It is a fantastic paid service, allowing members to borrow books without due dates and get other exceptional deals from Amazon.

Another way to view files on the Kindle is by viewing .PDF files. While screen rotation, brightness, and zoom are all adjustable, most .PDFs simply do not look right on the Kindle. Pictures are grayscaled and made to look grainy on the eInk screen and words within comic books and brochures are nearly always too distorted or small to read.

Finally, the Kindle has games, applications, and an experimental browser. These features all give the Kindle a well-roundedness. The Kindle has always been viewed as purely an eReader, but since the release of the Kindle Fire and these features, the image of the Kindle is changing, but this Kindle is lacking the ability to listen to music. That could be a step in the wrong direction for Amazon.

The applications and games available for the Kindle are similar to what applications and games are available for other tablets and smartphones, but with less animation. Amazon has focused these apps around reading, writing, and expanding your mind. Moving back and forth between the apps and eBooks is seamless; however, the browser does have some issues and without a keyboard, it is practically unusable.

The new Kindle has been altogether a surprisingly useful device, with far more features and functionality than I had expected. While the device definitely has its flaws, I cannot say that I regret buying it. Anyone who is seeking a fantastic eReader with great usability and a clear, beautiful display will be delighted with the new Kindle.

$79 Kindle – Kindle 4 available now

The $79 Kindle (Kindle 4) is now available to order at Amazon. It’s the only one available now – the Kindle Touch and Kindle Tablet are preorders and only ship in mid to end November.

The international version is $109 and is also available now.

Key selling points –

  1. 5.98 ounces. Making it 30% lighter than Kindle 3.
  2. 18% smaller body. Fits in your pocket. Just don’t use your back pocket.
  3. No keyboard.
  4. 6″ screen size.
  5. Most advanced eInk display – Guess that means eInk Pearl.
  6. WiFi.
  7. Library Book Support.

The $79 Kindle is super compelling. It blows away expectations. People expected it to be $99. If you don’t need touch then $79 Kindle is the ideal choice.

$99 Kindle Touch – available for preorder

The $99 Kindle Touch is now available for preorder. It ships November 21st, 2011.

Kindle Touch is here and it’s just $99

Mr. Bezos introduces the Kindle Touch.

  1. It has an IR Touch System.
  2. There’s something called Easy Reach. So the Tap Areas for various functions like Previous Page and Next Page and Menu are different and supposedly easier.
  3. The lack of physical buttons is disconcerting.
  4. A new contextual reading feature called X-Ray. It takes information from Shelfari.
  5. Built-in Wikipedia – Now it’s stored on your Kindle Touch.
  6. Mr. Bezos talking about what would happen if Kindle were $99. Will Kindle Touch be less than $100?
  7. Yes, Kindle Touch is $99. That’s a very impressive price.

Various Interesting Snippets from Kindle Tablet Event

Pre-conference thoughts.

  1. The $199 price for the Kindle Fire got leaked around 15 minutes before the event actually started.
  2. The $99 Kindle price got leaked too – though the claims were $79.
  3. Reports that B&N’s Nook Color has been cut to $224 to compete. However, I don’t find it on their site.
  4. Two point multi-touch screen. For comparison the iPad has 10-point multi-touch. On the other hand, Kindle Fire is just $199.
  5. It’s WiFi based with no 3G.
  6. There is no camera

Note: There’s some funny business going on at Amazon with Kindle related links. So new Kindles are likely to be here. There are rumors of a $79 Kindle.

Thanks to TechCrunch for some of the details of the Kindle Fire.

Jeff Bezos on why he thinks Kindle is working:

because Kindle is an end-to-end service, and I believe it is because we have been inventing and improving that service at a rapid pace for the last four years.”

Apparently that rapid pace doesn’t apply to the screen technology.

There was a graph shown of Kindle Books catching up with physical book sales in just 3 years.

First 12 or so minutes is all rehashing what we all already know. Even the Graph isn’t really new news.

Then, long section on Kindle Touch – listed above.

Well, there are two more Kindles.

Kindle Touch 3G for $149

Kindle Touch with 3G. $50 more.

$79 Kindle

This is the big deal. The really big deal.

  1. It’s for people who don’t need Touch. It doesn’t have a keyboard.
  2. It ships today. You can get the $79 Kindle at Amazon.
  3. It is less than six ounces in weight. 5.98 to be precise.
  4. Extra Long Battery Life – No specifics yet.
  5. Free Storage in the Amazon Cloud.
  6. Most Advanced eInk Display – presumably that means eInk Pearl.
  7. 18% smaller than Kindle 3.
  8. Faster page turns. Page turn buttons and no keyboard.

The price just destroys the competition. $79 is unreal. $99 for the Kindle Touch is pretty unreal too.