2010 was sure the year of mass marketing of the “tablets”. There was the iPad, the iPhone 4 and the Kindle 3. And I sure was influenced enough to buy two of these products last year. The iPhone 4 I reviewed earlier. I was going to review the Kindle 3 but have only gotten round to it now (this blog draft has been sitting on my folder for over a year now!).
My first impressions of the Kindle 3 was that it really is very very light and the text on it feels natural and pretty much like print. Unlike computer and phone LCD screens the Kindle 3 screen does not throw light at you and so it is way way better to read from. I read it just like I would read a book or newspaper.
I didn’t actually read any e-books when I first got the Kindle 3! I went straight to playing with the “Experimental” features, notably the web browser. It’s a basic browser and can only open one window at a time so clicking on links can get annoying. However you can read things on “article mode”; which renders the text for a website beautifully and almost print like. This makes web blogs a lot easier to read. For what it is the web browser isn’t bad, you can even check email on it. If I knew how useful the web browser could be I would’ve paid the extra money to get a 3G rather than a Wi-Fi Kindle, as you get free internet access anywhere in the world with that! And I sure travel a lot so this would’ve been very useful.
As for e-books, after having owned a Kindle 3 for around 15 months I still haven’t bought a single Amazon e-book. The reason is that they are way too expensive, almost always the print version is slightly cheaper than the Kindle version. I believe this is for VAT reasons or something. In any case I have continued to buy print books from Amazon rather than switch to e-books. In their defence however there are a load of classic books available on e-book format for free, you just need to find them.
Although I don’t read Amazon books on the Kindle I do have loads and loads of pdfs as books. This is the great thing about the Kindle 3 that you can read pdfs as well. Although I have to add that the pdfs can’t be viewed in larger text form and you are limited to the text size offered by the original document. Kindle files on the other hand let you change the size of the text to suit your eyesight and personal taste.
I use my Kindle 3 regularly to read e-books in pdf format and read websites in article mode. This to me have been the most useful features of the Kindle and I am pretty sure I use the Kindle daily. The other experimental feature of the Kindle is to use it as an mp3 player. Forget about that because there is no listing of the mp3 while it is playing and no way to change files and songlists etc., easily.
One last note; I am pretty sure I broke my screen within two weeks of buying the Kindle 3, it is so light that I thought you could just throw it into the rucksack with other stuff like guitar gear and things. The Kindle 3 screen is probably as sensitive as your normal LCD touchscreen so you will definitely need a case for the Kindle. My Kindle was replaced for free thankfully and I bought a case immediately and it’s been cool since then.
Would I buy the Kindle 3 now? No, I would probably buy a smaller touchscreen e-book reader now as there are loads of new ones on the market that could read pdfs and websites a lot better.