Friday, 14 October 2011

My kindle thoughts and experiences

Lots of people at work asked me about this, so while I'm writing it down, I might as well blog it..
I bought a Kindle Keyboard, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display for myself last year over Christmas - got it delivered for free to a contact in the US that came back to South Africa that time, saved +-R800. Last month I helped my grandma buy a Kindle DX, Free 3G, 3G Works Globally, Graphite, 9.7" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology - ordered it on the Monday got it on the Thursday +-R400 delivery (double that with import duty:( ).
Here are some of my opinions about what to buy.

9"big DX vs 6"small

  • 6" - nice and portable - fits in your cargo-pants-pocket/purse/small bag
  • 9" - better for reading pdfs - the letters are quite small on the 6" but if you rotate it 90 degrees it is still readable
  • 9" - double the price for 2.5 times the screen area (IIRC)
  • Because my grandma is a bit visually impaired (mainly got it to listen to audio books from audible.com) I made some adjustments to hopefully help her. We decided to get the bigger Kindle for her because it has ever so slightly bigger buttons, but they are better positioned and I could hack it a bit.

E-ink

I would not buy something that does not say e-ink i.e. black&white, no backlight, can read in the sun, looks exactly like paper and is an absolute joy to read.

Leather cover with built-in light

  • Its almost as expensive as the kindle itself.
  • Worth it in my opinion.
  • Uses the kindles own battery - never stuck with flat battery at the wrong time.
  • great for reading under the covers
  • With any cover you must be careful how you open it because if you open it on the wrong side you can crack your Kindle. I added some paper clamps and took off the levers for my grandma to avoid any nasty accidents (saw this tip on the interwebz):

Only buy from Amazon

Local importers pay the same price as you do and then add commission

Check the R/$ price before you buy

The 2 times I checked the Dx prices it varied from +-R3800 to R4200, just after I bought it the R/$ rocketed up another 40cent which whould have been another R400!

Buy international version if you are not in the US

When I bought mine, I had to go to the special international kindle page, maybe that changed..

3G or not?

  • 3G version is 40% more expensive :(
  • Its handy to be able to buy books over 3G when away from any ADSL with wirless.
  • I think 3G coverage is done by MTN in RSA, so if you have bad 3G reception where you live then maybe it is not worth it..
  • I'm not that sorry that I didn't go for the 3G one, because I do most of my syncing and buying from home in any case.

FINALLY:

If you have not noticed it so far, I absolutely LOVE my kindle, I can almost not read anything else. Other cool features:
  • Has awesome text-to-speach for books bought from Amazon (DRM:( .awz) and free (.mobi) books
  • Can play audio books bought from audible.com, you can buy them directly from a wifi device but not from a 3G device!!?!
  • Can play mp3s for you in the background
  • Can play podcasts or mp3 audio books - just copy them into the audible folder on the device
  • Includes a free dictionary and you can look up any word while reading.
  • Make notes, bookmarks, underlinings (can even see commonly underlined stuff if you are too lazy to do it yourself:)
  • Calibre is the awesomest crossplatform e-book management tool ever! and works great with my Kindle.

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