Monday, October 4, 2010


Two days ago a Kindle arrived at my house from It's the $139 one -- wi-fi is fine for me. Don't need 3G ($189) to get new e-books.

So far so good, with a few niggles.

This new third-generation Kindle is billed as having a contrastier screen than earlier models, and I suppose it does, but it could be a little better. Its "e-ink" text doesn't stand out quite as well from the light gray background as print does from white paper. This means you (or, rather, I; I'm a geezer who don't see so good no more) must use the Kindle in a well-lighted place. It's not good for dim rooms.

But the Kindle's 6-inch screen is much better for reading in sunlight (such as on the beach) than an iPad or iPod Touch's 3-inch screen, on which I've read 34 books since buying it 18 months ago. The backlit screens of the Apples wash out in bright light.

A very nice item is Amazon's "Whispersync" feature, which allows the Kindle and the Kindle app on the iPod Touch to synchronize, putting you on the same page of an e-book in both machines. I'll be able to use the Touch to read in the dark or keep it on my belt for reading where carrying the Kindle might be inconvenient.

Learning the Kindle's ins and outs has not been difficult, but I did have to to unlearn the Apple touch-screen style and pick up the trick of "mousing" the Kindle's cursor around with its tiny four-way rocker switch, and page through the books with pressure switches on the side of the reader. The Apple touch-screen interface is much more elegant and intuitive than the Kindle's.

But that doesn't make me wish I had bought a $499 iPod instead. The Kindle is a superb value.


  1. Henry,

    May I suggest splurging on Amazon's $60 thin leather case w an ingenious light (it uses the Kindle's battery & hides in the cover when not in use)?

    Enables me to read the Kindle in the dark (in bed or waiting for a bus...or in any place w. dim lighting)!


  2. I splurged on Amazon's $30 thin leather case without the light. That's awfully expensive for something that shouldn't have cost more than $20. Sixty bucks? No way.

    But I do have a bunch of battery-driven LED book lights that fold flat and will try them out.

  3. I'd like to have a Kindle, too, but what do I do with all the unread books piled up around me? I'm afraid the Kindle will add to my reader's guilt, pushing those piles farther away.

  4. Marshall, I hear you. But the Kindle will make a much smaller pile that weighs only a few ounces.

  5. One thing about the Kindle's lack of touch-screen technology: Its display does not quickly get grungy with fingerprints and food smears the way the iPad's does. Think about that.