Product Type: Amazon Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
Newest Review: ... has an integrated store where you can buy your books, after linking it with your Amazon account, you can navigate through and pick a book a... more
Revolution On The Bookshelves
Amazon Kindle 3
Member Name: Puggers
Amazon Kindle 3
Advantages: Wonderfully crisp, sharp display; holds thousands of books and a hefty charge.
Disadvantages: A very expensive book substitute.
For all this, though, I've submitted to digital temptation - and it's good.
True enough, Amazon's hyper-successful Kindle isn't a book; but it's not quite a computer either, and I think this is why it works quite so well. Its much-trumpeted E-ink is a revelation that sidesteps the limitations of conventional screens - chiefly a tendency to go near-useless in direct sunlight - and actually roughly the approximates the experience of reading real ink on real paper. It's so clear, so sharp - and this major hurdle of hour-on-hour readability cleared, the other advantages of the Kindle shine through.
The precise measurements and stats don't mean a lot to me - suffice to say, the Kindle's bigger than I expected it to be, but fits nicely into one hand and is light enough not to send your wrists drooping after a prolonged session. Navigation's easy and intuitive thanks to the button-pads on the flanks - flip back and forth between pages happily, and the keyboard's fine for the limited purposes it performs - look up the titles you want from Amazon's Kindle store (and if it was written, it's probably there) and have them in minutes ready and primed for digestion.
A word on the range of titles available - aside from the big-hitters and best-sellers, the newspapers and periodicals, there's a great variety of unknown and unpublished novels (at least on paper) out there - most commonly for pennies. The Kindle itself has been responsible for creating a wonderful forum for new writers, so it's well worth taking advantage of this surge of fresh talent.
The benefits of the device are clear from a practical point of view - you can fit around 3,500 books on there and carry them around with you in this easy, portable package. Of course, you pay for the convenience - there aren't many books that'll set you back £149, but as a pay-off, Kindle books are substantially cheaper than their print counterparts. Avid readers will earn their money back eventually.
What's more, as with the screen triumphs, battery life is stuck somewhere between computer and book. Two months of power doesn't really compare to that of a laptop or tablet. Of course, there are limitations. Not all books - the tangible, almost tactile beauty of something like Judith Schalansky's Atlas of Remote Islands - make the leap across to Kindle. However, for those that do, and the readers that hungrily consume them, the Kindle is something quite special. Even if it still doesn't smell right.
Summary: A revolutionary tool? Kind of.
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