November 6, 2009

When Amazon first released the Kindle, I promised myself that once it was released in the UK I would just go out and buy it. Despite some backsliding that’s what I did and I thought I would write up my first impressions of this device.

First things first. The service from Amazon and speed of delivery was fantastic. It’s amazing that something can be ordered from the US on a Wednesday evening and delivered by Friday lunchtime.


The Kindle arrives in an easy to open package and once you open the lid, the Kindle itself sits ready for use; other than a plastic screen protector printed with a few setup instructions there’s nothing between you and your new toy. Apple have been praised for the quality of their packaging and the experience they provide a new user and this is a very similar story.

Once you connect the power cable and begin charging, the Kindle is available for use and this is where the fun really starts. Peel off that plastic screen protector and you find that those initial setup instructions are actually on the Kindle’s screen. Turn on the Kindle and the books you ordered after it was despatched are already waiting for you. The Kindle uses the 3G network to deliver contents wirelessly so you don’t need to connect to a computer to use it. As Amazon put it: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle, anytime, anywhere; no monthly fees, service plans, or hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots”.

The reason that I chose the Kindle over similar readers such as Sony’s range came down to two elements - the wireless delivery and the ergonomics. The wireless delivery means you can purchase and download books wherever you are, there’s no need to go back to your computer first. As for the ergonomics, compared to the Sony readers, I really like the great big paddle buttons for turning pages. Unlike the earlier Sony PRS-505, the current Sony readers have buttons mounted on the front face, supplemented with a (very laggy) touchscreen swipe gesture in the case of the Touch Edition.

The other aspect of the Kindle that appeals is that I can have content sent to me by third parties for a small cost. In my case this means I can have my unread Instapaper articles (BTW If you don’t already use this, you should) sent to me once a week or at whatever schedule I choose.

At the end of the day it’s a personal choice and there is no perfect device but the Kindle works for me.

Of course, the fact it has the same form factor as a Star Trek Padd doesn’t do any harm.


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