Saturday, September 04, 2010

Hurry, grab one of these Kindle Wireless Reading Devices

The Kindle 3 is a well designed, well crafted product -- a rarity. I don't typically give 5 star ratings because there are no perfect products and there are almost always significant and unnecessary negatives. But, that's not the case here.

I agree with the many other positive reviews which have gone into detail, so I'll skip and skimp somewhat.

The screen is clear and easy to read. When I first opened the box, the displayed screen saver appeared as a printed film to be removed. The paper-like quality is a pleasure to read. And, of course, the screen is exceptional in bright light such as sunlight.

What could be improved? Better resolution and color.

The new iPhone's retina display shows amazing detail for such a small screen, 3.5". This is due to the large number of pixels, 640 x 960. The Kindle 3 screen has 600 x 800 pixels, but less densely packed in a larger 6" screen. The screen size affects how close you need to be to the screen. But, the pixels affect what can be shown without panning or without loss of detail. So, while the Kindle 3 can display similar detail to an iPhone 4, if it had even higher resolution, with a similar pixel density, it could display even more.

Though the black and white display is most suitable for fonts and even most images are crisp, clear and pleasing, color would be welcome. Color would provide an improvement for graphs, illustrations and images of course.

Are these negatives for the K3? No. The current pearl display is no doubt eInk state of the art technology or nearly so. The technology can and will be improved -- that's all. Do I feel disappointed by the display? Absolutely not! I'm wow'ed by the display.

What else... the web browser. I had hoped that web browsing would be decently usable. It is much better than that.

Most web pages display properly. Page load time is about that of dial-up. It could be better, but it's more than usable. One trick is to turn off Javascript -- it's not needed for most sites and this speeds up load times, esp. near the end when the page can seem stuck. Mobile versions of web sites work well. But even regular sites are readily viewable with either zooming, switching to landscape mode or a combination, or using Article mode (which is an excellent feature though it doesn't, and can't, work for all sites). Am I writing this review on my K3? No, I have a laptop. Do I use my K3 for surfing the web when I go out or when I'm lazy sitting on the sofa? Yes.

An easter egg: create a folder named "pictures" on your K3. You can create sub-folders under it and copy over jpg, bmp, gif, or png files. Viewing the pictures is a little glitchy, but it works.

Another area for improvement: allow mp3 files to be individually chosen to be played, and provide some rudimentary playlist means.

So, there is room for improvement, but the negatives are either minor or understandable. And, the many positives are very high.

I'm still just getting used to my K3 as it's one of those "game changer" devices. I was going to hard-copy print some emails the other day that I needed to refer to, but instead printed them to a pdf and copied it to my K3. I carry my K3 with me much of the time. I don't know how useful it may become as the novelty wears off, but it has a lot of unexplored potential.

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