When I was in college, one of the students had the original version of the Kindle. It was big, clunky, and slow, but I instantly saw its potential. I’ve since owned three copies of the gray Kindle with keyboard (don’t ask), and that was a huge advance in terms of form factor, speed, and resolution.
I recently bought a Paperwhite to replace my most recently broken Kindle. Here are my initial thoughts after having used it for about 2 weeks.
- Refresh rate is noticeably faster
- Resolution is better – text is very crisp
- Getting definitions of a word is much easier – takes one long press on the word rather than navigating through the whole page with the directional pad
- Extremely small; fits easily into a jacket pocket
- Light works very well and does not strain my eyes
- UI has improved – navigating through books stored on the cloud vs on the device is very straightforward
- Highlighting is very intuitive and easy to do
- High quality virtual keyboard – very responsive
- All the games I tried have been updated to support virtual keyboard – including the New York Times crossword puzzles
- Much easier to find the books to borrow in this version – use the same unified Kindle store to search, then if it’s available, will show up as a download/borrow option
- Nice option to see how much time is left in the chapter vs book – tap in lower left corner or access from the menu
- Really great walkthrough of the different tap zones and what they do when you first turn on the device
- For both the highlight and define gesture, you need to hold your finger on the start word for a fraction of a second longer than I’d like. If you move your finger or remove it before that time, you’ll turn the page. I’ve accidentally turned the page a few times.
- Since the only way to turn the page is by tapping the screen, it’s easy to accidentally click on a link. When the link is external, it’s easy to undo – hit back on the browser. If it’s internal, to a later chapter, you get dumped later in the book with no way to get back. This is extremely confusing and disorienting. If you only read novels, this is a non-issue, but for tech books it can be a problem.
- Light is uneven at the bottom; more evident in a dark room
This device is amazing, and any negatives I’ve highlighted are far outweighed by the positives. Everyone I’ve shown it to has loved it, and even those who were concerned about a touch screen on an e-reader have appreciated its responsiveness and UI.
This is by far the best e-reader I’ve ever used. Here’s hoping I have better luck with this version than the last three.
I’ve slowly been transitioning all of my tech book purchases to e-book formats, particularly due to O’Reilly’s daily e-book deal tweets (follow @oreilly if interested; they seemed to be posted less frequently recently, but there are some good deals once in awhile).
Anyways, today’s deal of the day is Code Complete 2nd Edition, which is $20 with discount code DDC2E. I got this as a paperback for Christmas a few years ago and literally read it cover to cover in a week or so. It’s great stuff, and a must read for any programmer. I’m half tempted to buy it again, as it’s a lot more convenient to have a digital version than a 1.5 inch thick tome.
Stanza is a great free e-book reader for the iPhone or iPad. One thing I noticed while using it was that the screen would be very dim from time to time. Thinking there was a problem with the light sensor, I’d try all sorts of things to try to get the screen brightness to fix itself. Other apps on the phone didn’t have this problem, so I figured I must have changed some setting. I looked in the settings of the app but there was nothing indicating how to change the brightness.
Finally I discovered by accident that dragging your finger up and down the screen increases and decreases the brightness. So if your Stanza app reading experience is hampered by a dim screen, try dragging your finger from the bottom to the top.
Hopefully this helps someone similarly confused.