Did I mention I got a Kindle a week or so ago?
I was pretty pleased with the Kindle when it first arrived. But there are just too many little irks…
- Given the resolution of images the Kindle is capable of displaying, the text fonts are pretty lousy.
- Paging is a bit of a pain – it seems like they have a low-level driver issue which they have worked around by wiping/drawing the page a couple of times: they black the page out, wipe it, draw the new page, black it out, wipe it and draw it again. And the E-Ink they use isn’t fast, so it winds up taking a chunk of time doing this. Some pages, even just text pages in a kindle ebook, can take what feels like an eternity – a second or longer – switching to the next page.
- Paging is even more of a pain if you want to skip ahead a few pages, because it’s gonna draw/undraw/draw/undraw each page on the way.
- The discrete buttons make the display really beg to be touch screen. Every time I go a day or two without using the Kindle, it takes me a few moments to remember how the buttons work. And I keep wanting to use the buttons on the right hand side of the kindle, which means I’m forever leaving the ebook I’m reading.
- Some kind of physical slider would probably have been better for moving between pages, something more akin to moving pages in a book.
- Ok – so books don’t have back lighting. But this is an electronic device. It’s annoying that if I want to read with my kindle, I have to turn on a light =/
- Keypad. I just kind find anything I like about it. Prime device-holding space is taken up with an unpleasant series of nasty little “nipple” buttons.
The keypad… There are so many better ways it could have been done. It could have been a fold-under bottom cover for the device; it could have been an addon. It could have been a small touch-screen display panel capable of showing color/high-quality versions of images when required.
When your Kindle arrives, it has the typical little protective sheet of clear-plastic over the display. This appears to have the “quick instruction” guide on it. But when you remove the plastic, the instructions are still there. Then you realize: This is E-Ink (in which I think the “E” stands for “etch-a-sketch” :). When you power the Kindle off, the display clears and is replaced with some pretty graphical image or a portrait of some famous author.
By comparison, the quality of the text displays is really awful. I wind up putting the Kindle into Mr Magoo font. This is perhaps partly because the text is soft-black on dark-gray. Maybe I’m spoiled by years of truetype fonts on LCD displays, but text rendering on the Kindle really sucks. I’m reminded of old dot matrix printers, or “draft” quality from early laser printers.
Importing documents from your computer – text files or whatever – is reasonably easy, but somewhat unpredictable in terms of how it will display. And it’s a bit of a bummer when you go from a crisp clear LCD monitor displaying the text in a gorgeous sans-serif, anti-aliased font, to whatever crime it is that Kindle’s display commits against calligraphy.
It can display PDF files, but you will be punished; be prepared to rotate the display to landscape mode. So far – every PDF I’ve loaded has looked like some kind of Victorian etching.
The Kindle seems to choose default settings for PDFs that would probably make the text small on a 19in monitor. Alas, my Kindle has a display just under 1/3 of that size.
If I hadn’t just bought the Kindle, honestly: I’d get an iPad.