Kindle … 1st impression

As Christmas gift, I received an Amazon Kindle from my loving family. Thank you all!

Amazon Kindle
Amazon Kindle

The amazon Kindle is an electronic book reading device, that spurts wireless connectivity to, amongst others, shop and download e-books. The e-book reader comes in two versions: the standard version with a 6″ display, and the Kindle DX with a larger 9,7″ display. However, only the standard version supports global connectivity … 3G! So, I got the 6″ version.

In a couple of blog posts, I’d like to share my impressions and experiences using this device.

Unwrapping

The Kindle and matching leather cover was ordered through Amazon.com (of course) and got delivered after a few days at home. No complaints about that. Both came as separate parcels, in a nice dark blue gift wrapping with yellow ribbon and to-be-filled-in greeting card.

Kindle tear off strip

Unwrapping, reveals sturdy cardboard boxes marked as “guaranteed 100% frustration free packaging“. Indeed, a tear off strip on the side allows the top side to fold open. It’s shown at Warwick Poole‘s and Obsessable’s.

The box contains the Kindle obviously, a getting started guide and power cable. The power cable actually is an microUSB to USB to power plug cable. Thus you can take off the power plug to get a standard USB cable. The power plug is an American plug, which is incompatible in Europe. I don’t find this is a problem, because I’ll most likely hook the device up to my laptop … to charge also.

Uhhh? Is that the screen?

Kindle screen cover image
Kindle screen cover image

Taking out the actual device, shows a drawing on the screen surface on how to start the device and hook it up to the power cord. OK, let’s peal off that protective paper cover and have a look at this nice, comfortable feeling device.

And than it hits you in the face … that is no sticker! That’s the device’s screen actually showing the drawing!!! As seen on Obsessable, it is razor sharp, just like a printed drawing. And how is it even possible to maintain that drawing without draining the battery?

Electronic Paper Display

The Kindle uses an electronic paper display (EPD) enabled by electronic ink (e-ink) that results in those razor sharp drawings and texts that are actually qualitatively equal to printed paper. Reading on the Kindle is thus a real pleasure and I couldn’t imagine any self respecting reading device adopting LCD, which is so tiring for your eyes. On the Kindle you can actually read an e-book for hours. And that’s what it is meant for.

On the other hand, however, the EPD limits the Kindle at being a reading device. It only can do grey scale, no colors, and it reacts rather slowly. Going to the next page of a book, actually kind of fades out and in to the next page. This seems to be inherent to the technology and takes about a second. It is however not a problem during  normal reading, but you can not quickly page through a book.I do not experience this as a big problem, but sometimes it’s  a bother if you’d like to quickly browse back a number of pages for something you just read.

A few other advantages of EPD: bright, high contrast, full viewing angle, sunlight readable, thin, light weight, shatterproof, flexible. Ideally suited for e-book reading devices.

Low power consumption

But 2 specific characteristics makes EPD ultra low on power consumption. First, there is no need for a backlight; second, the screen does not need energy to maintain the ‘image’ on the screen, only to change it! Charged, the Kindle should be able to last for weeks, when being somewhat ‘economic’ (e.g. turning off wireless). I’ll keep you posted on that aspect of the device.

Kindle's splash screen
Kindle's splash screen

But, not needing energy to maintain the screen image, is the feature Amazon uses to install the startup screen that you see when unpacking the Kindle. It’s also used to give the device a nice schwung: on stand-by a random image from some famous writer or book is put out on the screen … and stays there! Always a nice surprise when you finish reading. Note here the wording … stand-by… I left it at that and my kindle was out of battery after a few days.

Conclusion

So, my first impression is that the Kindle is perfect at what it is: a great reading device for electronic books. But it can do much more … I’ll be posting more articles on my Kindle experiences in the next few weeks. So check back once and a while.

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