July 14, 2008

What is it?

The Amazon Kindle is an e-book reader that allows its users to download new content without the need of a computer. E-book readers have been around for years, but they never quite took off with consumers. However, what sets the Kindle apart from Sony’s e-book readers is the built in Sprint EVDO.  This allows the device to not only surf the web, but download all kinds of books, newspapers and magazines off of Amazon’s online store.

The Story

Several months back, online retail giant Amazon.com released the Amazon Kindle as their first e-book reader. It sold quickly as people thought it was great to be able to not only store hundreds of books, but also to be able to download those books wirelessly. The Kindle has been on the market since November, and has been in many ways, a huge hit for Amazon.

The Good

To start off, the screen is absolutely amazing. My eyes never strain, and it almost feels as if you are really reading from a paperback book. When you need to purchase a book, you simply enable the EVDO and browse the usual online Amazon store until you find something to your liking. There are thousands upon thousands of books, newspapers and magazines to choose from, and they download directly to the Kindle without the need of your Mac or PC. However, if you are ever outside of the US, you will have to connect the Kindle to your computer.  The reason being that you can’t tap onto any CDMA networks.

The Bad

The design is pathetic. Amazon really needs to rethink where they placed some of the buttons. I constantly find myself pressing the “next page” button on accident, which is rather annoying. Once you do push the next button, it takes just over a second to refresh the screen. However, I do praise Amazon for putting in a home button. The black and white screen is amazing for books, but it looks awful when browsing web pages and reading blogs. The power and the wireless switch are located behind the unit, and are very incontinent to access when the Kindle is in its included case.

The Verdict

What sets the Kindle apart from other e-book readers is the fact that you can download new content on the go; whether you are near a wifi hotspot or not. Its screen is a definite plus when it comes to reading novels on the device, and subscribing to newspapers is just $14 a month. I would love to see the Kindle drop below $250, and I would adore some sort of subscription book service. But if you can afford the hefty price tag, learn the odd UI, and use hundreds of books in your bag, then the Amazon Kindle is just what you ordered.

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