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Reviews Tech

The new Kindle! (Kindle 3)

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  It’s old news by now, but the Kindle 3 recently came out and… well, I bought it.  Yes, I already have the Kindle 2, but… but… Ok, I have no good excuse, I just wanted it. 😛

It arrived about a week ago – since then I’ve been putting it to good use and I have to say that it is definitely a step up compared to its predecessor.  I won’t wax rhapsodic on its virtues since it essentially takes everything good from the Kindle 2 – and does it better.  You can see what I had to say about my first Kindle here, here, and here.

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  It’s SMALL – while I thought that the Kindle 2 was sleek, the Kindle 3 definitely one-ups it.  They’ve trimmed the buttons and the edges down into a tidy and compact frame, while still maintaining the original screen size.  Actually it got here just in time for me to take it on my trip to Yakushima, where it fit very tidily into my camera bag (whereas the Kindle 2 was just a tad too big).

Yes, the screen is still black/white/grayscale, but it’s /sharp/ and I have no problems reading it in pretty much any kind of lighting.

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  They’ve also reorganized the keyboard and buttons into what I feel is more intuitive layout – both edges now feature the next & back button, instead of the right edge holding the “home” button.  The joystick is also replaced by a 4-way keypad that’s much easier to use.  Oh, and by the way – it can now hold up to 3,500 books!! 😀

Another thing they’ve tweaked that I really like is the software and text input.  I set a password on my Kindle and on the previous model, I would have to type a few letters, wait for the cursor to catch up, and type some more.   If I typed too fast, it wouldn’t register the key input and miss/skip a couple of letters, leading of course to an incorrect password.  On the Kindle 3, that is no longer an issue and I can type at normal speed.  It’s a small thing, but it adds to the overall user-friendliness of the device.

Finally, and though I don’t use it that much (I bought the Kindle for reading after all!), the browser functionality on the Kindle 3 is head and shoulders above the Kindle 2.  Where the Kindle 2 would display a stripped down version text version of a site, the Kindle 3 shows a web page pretty much exactly as it was meant to be shown.  It also displays Japanese fonts (!) and of course 3G browsing remains free.

Below are some pictures comparing the two devices.   Sufficed to say that I give it a big thumbs up!

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A Kindle in hand…

Will hopefully be equal to 1,000+ books on a shelf!

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I just received my Amazon Kindle (U.S. and International version) last night and while I’ll attempt to try taking some pictures later on, here are a few of my initial impressions.

First off, this thing is thin!  I’ve seen the pictures, but actually having it in hand allows you to realize how slender it is.  That being said though, the Kindle 2 is also heavier than I had anticipated.  With no scale handy I can’t quite compare weight, but I can tell you that it is at least twice as heavy my typical mass market paperbacks, perhaps as heavy as your average hardcover.

The weight is something I don’t have too much problem with since I’m used to lugging around hardcovers with me all the time.  (Though bringing the recent “The Lost Symbol” to/from work on the train wasn’t much fun!)  Also, though it might be as heavy as a hardcover, it is also 1/3 as thick, leaving me alot more room in my bag.

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Visually, the screen is a pleasure to read.  I was pleasantly surprised at how crisp the text is, and how easy it is to read in various lighting conditions.  The “flash” one sees when “turning” a page is a little disconcerting at first, but one gets used to it pretty quickly.  Unfortunately the screen does not support color and is not touchscreen-capable (unlike B&N’s soon to be released “Nook“).

One good yet potentially “dangerous” point for avid book readers is the extreme ease of book purchasing.  You literally look for a book, click “buy” and boom – it’s available to read in less than a minute.  I bought this thing to a) save my bookshelves from overflowing b) reduce the weight of things I carry to/from work, and c) save money (since Kindle books are typically cheaper than an actual book).  Option (c) is going to be hard since it’s going to take a lot of willpower to resist spur-of-the-moment purchases of books that catch my fancy…

I have yet to use this for extended periods of time reading though I have just bought the book “The Name of the Wind” and intend to start on it once I’ve finished the current paperback that I’m reading.  I’ll probably post more about the Kindle experience in the coming days.