Last night I got home to a welcome sight – an Amazon box waiting for me with a brand new Kindle 3 3G inside.
Several weeks ago I received the case for it; I opted for the black leather case with built-in light. After unboxing, I put the two together and took it for a test spin; my first experience with a dedicated physical eReader device. (The book on the device in the photo is Power Friending by Amber Mac, for the curious among you.)
Very quickly I noticed a huge improvement over the Kindle apps (iPod and Android) and PC software I’d been using to read Kindle books for the past several weeks. The eInk screen is far easier on the eyes, with wonderful sharpness.
The contrast is noticeably lower than typical paperbacks or hardcovers, but the difference is pretty small. Never having used a Kindle or similar device before, I can’t compare it to previous iterations of the device, but I found it comfortably readable. I took the picture above and it is a pretty decent representation of the contrast.
The Kindle itself is very lightweight and easy to hold for extended periods of time. I prefer to use it with the case, which adds quite a bit to the weight; it feels like a good hefty leather-bound hardcover, which I love. Your mileage may vary of course.
The light built into the cover I chose is powered by the Kindle itself, which is handy. No batteries to change, no cables needed.
I haven’t had the Kindle very long, but I did try to play with some of the features I’ve been hearing about. One thing I was especially curious about was the free 3G wireless and how living in Canada would impact that.
I actually got a bit of a surprise with that; it was my understanding that Canadian Kindle customers would not have full access to the internet over Amazon’s 3G, but when I tried it out, I was able to get to any site I tried with no trouble. I’m not sure how often I’ll have crazy urges to browse the web on the Kindle, but it was a nice surprise to find that I’ll be able to if I want to. Of course it goes without saying that over Wi-Fi you can browse to your heart’s content.
Finally, the battery – I’ve had the unit for a day now, far too early to give any idea of whether it lives up to the 4 weeks Amazon claims. I can say though that the Kindle app drains my iPod’s battery ridiculously fast, whereas I have not yet seen the Kindle’s battery meter budge at all, even after hours of use.
So far I’m loving the Kindle 3. If I had one complaint, it’s the lack of support for ePub and Office documents, but aside from that it’s a fantastic experience. I’m looking forward to the future of this product.
I bought the new Kindle DX. The smaller one was no good for my purposes (reading tech books – ciscopress and oreilly juniper books). The price difference is absurd, but worth every penny. I’m so happy I chose a Kindle over the competition (well, there really IS no competition… I dont know of any other vendor with a screen this large, besides the iPad, which doesn’t have e-ink and is therefore worthless to me).
Gord McLeod says
I’d definitely be interested in checking out a DX-sized version of the Kindle 3. I don’t know that I could go backwards to the previous generation, though.
What I’d really love is a Kindle that does 8.5″x11″. I hardly ever print as it is, and with that, I could cut down the printing even more.
I had thought about that, and was looking forward to the Plastic Logic Que for its screen size. Once it was cancelled, I pulled the trigger on the DX. I haven’t found its size to be an issue, since the size of actual content in a textbook is pretty narrow anyway (they always have large margins).
My only gripe about the Kindle is that unless you buy your books in .mobi format, the table of contents isn’t clickable. Not a big deal for Juniper books (Oreilly.com has $5 upgrades to ebooks if you register your print copy), but for my Cisco books which are all PDF, it’s a pain.
Paul Williams says
I haven’t bought a Kindle yet but will as soon as they’re in stock at amazon.co.uk. In order to read Microsoft office documents on the kindle you can easily convert them to PDF by using the freeware program CutePDF which allows you to print to PDF format. The Kindle should then be able to display the PDF file.
Gord McLeod says
Yup, conversion is always a possibility, but it’s a slower process than I’d like.
Well, at least if you convert it yourself then you don’t have to pay for Whispernet… And there is also the option to email the converted documents if you want to be more mobile about it…
Gord McLeod says
In Canada we don’t (yet) have the option of Whispernet document conversion, it just syncs last-read locations. Good tips though, thanks!
sounds like a good e-reader I’ve been using the sony prc700 for over a year now and really like it.
particularly that i can load any type of ebook without issue. however having wifi and 3g sound awesome, the sony has neither. the only time battery power is a problem for me is reading with the backlight on for a few hours.
the sony software is crap as well. so i use open source calibre to store my ebooks and load my e-reader, it also loads rss feeds and web content to the e-reader for consumption on the go.
Gord McLeod says
It’s still ridiculously early for me to comment on battery life, except maybe to say that even with intermittent 3G and wifi use, I have yet to see the meter budge in the slightest. If I were still using the app for my ipod, I’d have had to recharge it several times over by now.
Being able to open ePub would be kind of nice, but I think Word and Excel docs bother me more. I’d love to be able to open those on an 8.5×11″ eInk reader; the day that becomes a reality (if it’s not already) is the day I stop printing crap at work forever.
Well you can print Word and Excel docs as PDF’s and load those. K3 seems also compatible with Mobi books as I’ve tried a few and they all work without any conversion.
Only thing to watch out for is incomplete file download. When I first got the K3 I had an incomplete download and it caused the K3 to reboot every time I tried to access any book. Had to delete all, reset the Kindle by holding the power switch for over 20 seconds, and then reloading the books from archive to get it working right again.
paul c says
Great review. Is this version available in Canada, or are we stuck as a dumping ground for obsolete US models (yes TIVO, I’m talking to you. We have HD tvup here too.)
Gord McLeod says
I’m in Canada, ordered it through the American Amazon site. It’s supported here just fine. Best Buy just recently announced they are going to be stocking Kindles, maybe Canadian locations will get them too.