I just got a Kindle 3 (free 3G modle) and I really love it. Listed below are some pros and cons I collected myself after using it for a while.
Kindle 3 Pros
- Screen reads like real paper. Of course the E Ink screen doesn’t have backlight. Many people consider it a pity since they’re not able to read without a lamp during night. But that’s what Kindle does. I also have an iPad but my eyes hurt after staring at the screen for a while. Reading on Kindle is just like reading a real book, except it’s generally lighter than a real book. Also it has way more helpful functions than a paper book.
- Search, notes, highlights, and bookmarks. Search is natural for a computer based ebook device. You can take notes and create highlights in Amazon’s book, mobi, pdf, and txt format books and you can view them in a central place – no need to skim through the book. Each time you open a book, it opens at the position where you stopped last time. You can also make bookmarks at important places.
- Free 3G. Amazon make this function built-in, for users’ convenience of buying books and transferring books of course. But Kindle also has built-in functionality of tweeting and sharing some text in a book via facebook which is really cool – just get your twitter and facebook accounts linked to the device! Besides that, you can also use the “experimental” browser to read news on the news portals, check your gmail, etc. Though the browser is not very good (and I don’t expect it being improved much after the “experimental” period), you can use the 3G network freely so it’s worth the one-time $50 extra cost.
- Built-in dictionaries. Sometimes before I wished for a device which uses a camera to scan a word in a paper book and gives me the explanation. Now the Kindle has the paper book readability and the instant lookup – just move the cursor before the word. So it’s a great tool for language learning. The dictionaries are just in mobi format and you can buy extra on Amazon or upload free dictionaries to Kindle by yourself.
Kindle 3 Cons
- Missing footnote functionality. Many books have footnotes but it seems Kindle doesn’t have this function. So when you find a Kindle ebook with footnotes, they just put the foot notes at the end of a chapter, which can be very hard to read because you have to navigate there and back again, or put the footnotes at the position where they appear in paper version – most times they are not in the footer anymore. I really hope Kindle will have an elegant solution for the footnotes – just like the way it displays a user-take note.
- Ebook quality. For the same book, the paper version might be of very good quality according to the user reviews, but the Kindle version can be bad (typos, type setting, table of contents, etc.). One problem is that Amazon includes the reviews for paper version even if you are viewing the page for Kindle version so it needs some effort to find out reviews written for the Kindle version. As for the free ebooks from the several projects listed by Amazon, most of the books I tried are just results of poor OCR. The good news is that you can read the sample pages for free if you want to buy books on Amazon. And if you are lucky you may meet some industrious publisher who updates the ebook frequently according to reader feedback – that’s the cool part of ebook.
- Not so carefully made (compared to Apple products). I think they used some cheap glue to stick the screen and the frame together. On my Kindle, the right side of the frame is departing from the screen, leaving a small gap there. If I press the frame, they stick together but when my fingers leave it, the frame jumps up again after a while, making a little sound.
- Lack of international contents. I think one day Kindle will go international but now most ebooks sold in Kindle store are in English.
In all, Kindle 3 is a great product and it helped me to read more during these days. It’s much, much useful than Apple’s iPad, which I consider just a toy for killing time.
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