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Kickin’ It With The Kindle

After last week’s announcement of the Kindle coming to Canada I re-kindled (get it) a purchase decision I had started several years ago when I first saw a Sony e-Reader at CES.

Here are my thoughts after spending 24 hours with the Kindle.

Ordering

I bought the Kindle with accompanying leather cover. Total cost: $352.99

Order placed November 23. Order Arrived November 24.

Packaging

The Kindle arrives in a pretty simple brown package.

Kindle Packaging

Kindle Packaging

At first I was underwhelmed but I really like the “Once Upon a Time” on the side.

side of kindle box

side of kindle box

Here is an unboxing video….

The Amazon Kindle Arrives at Teehan+Lax from Greg Washington on Vimeo.

After opening the box this is what you see.

Startup screen Kindle

Amazon Startup

That text on the screen is not a sticker. That is the screen! It is incredibly sharp and crisp.

USB Kindle

USB Kindle

You need to charge it fully by connecting the micro USB to the supplied power connector.

I’m not going to cover a full tour of the UI since these shots exist elsewhere online. But here are my initial thoughts.

* Purchasing content is easy. I bought a book on Amazon.com and it appears on the Kindle within 60 seconds. Buying content from the Kindle is as easy. Great experience!

* Reading is effortless and little to no eye strain. I read for about 2 hours last night and had no problems.

* When you hold the Kindle your fingers naturally rest on two buttons.

Kindle with Fingers on Nxt Page

Kindle with Fingers on Nxt Page

My natural inclination is that pressing on the left button will go back and the right will go forward but that is not the case.

kindle1

Kindle with Fingers off

It’s not a big deal but I miss hit it a few times.

* My biggest issue is something that I would never have thought of until I used the Kindle. When you read a book you make note of where you are spatially in the book. You are always aware of if you are 1/3 of the way through or 1/2 or near the end. The tactile feedback of weight in your left or right hand is an important cognitive clue, it also helps your brain position passages and narrative in a physical space. I can go to a book I read a year ago and know roughly where certain passages or parts are. “I know it was in the first half of the book”.

* With the Kindle I was aware that I would need to mark passages I may want to remember. There is a very robust notes and bookmarking feature in the Kindle. You can highlight passages, makes notes or simple bookmarks. The problem is to do this, you need to enter a menu, navigate a 5 way controller and then select the passage. It takes not only 10 or 15 seconds of time but more importantly you consciously need to stop reading and do this action. It is disruptive to the experience.

* The keyboard is ass. The buttons are really tough to type on. Maybe in the future I will type more notes and use it more, for now it’s just in the way.

* The Kindle arrives with your name and Amazon account programmed. This means there is zero setup when you turn it on.

* You get a Kindle.com email address. Sending PDFs to that address will add them to your Kindle.

I will try to cover more about the Kindle Store, newspaper and magazine reading in another post.

Jon Lax More posts by Jon Lax