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Old September 23, 2010, 12:38 PM
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Default Kindle 3 Wifi - my thoughts

The Kindle 3 Wifi, or as Amazon calls it "Kindle Wireless Reading Device, Wi-Fi, 6" Display, Graphite - Latest Generation" is one of two new compact, lightweight devices. The other device is a Wireless 3G and Wifi model, which I didn't opt to purchase. It is easy to hold in one hand, much easier than a paperback that you have to keep open, and lighter than some of your typical epic fantasy novels. It is easy on the eyes and a joy, to me, to read.

Canadian customers can buy the Kindle from Amazon.com (unlike other items it does not redirect you to Amazon.ca)

Kindle 3 WiFi is $139 plus shipping and "Import Fees Deposit"
Kindle 3 3G/Wifi is $189 plus shipping and " Import Fees Deposit"

The Import fees deposit collected by Amazon, I am guessing, are the taxes and any other fee the government can put in place, like the Canada Post fee for delivering an item from the USA (is that still in place? it was a few years ago). It worked out to be the HST here in BC (12%), so better they collect it than I pay it at the door or at the post office, I guess. Also, if you order courier shipping the courier should not charge a brokerage fee (UPS is the worst offender in Canada), so this is a plus for those who want a unit fast.

You can find many reviews online of the newest release from Amazon. There are un-boxing videos, video reviews and long comparisons. My review will be a synopsis of my own experiences with the device and not an in-depth look at the technology or a comparison to other readers. Here are a few links to some in-depth reviews, video and print:

YouTube - EEVblog #108 - Amazon Kindle 3 3G GSM/WiFi Review
Kindle WiFi Review - Compare Kindle 3
Kindle 3 Review Detailed Kindle 3 Review Kindle Review Kindle 3 Review, iPad Review

I have had the reader a couple of days now, but my experience with the machine is very positive. The Kindle arrived in a simple package for shipping, no box inside a box. Upon opening the box you see the Kindle itself, under that a Quick start guide and a USB cable with a standard power outlet converter to allow you to charge the Kindle in a standard 120v outlet in your home. One of the features that Amazon touts is that even if you don't own a computer, you can use a Kindle 3G as you will be able to connect to the Amazon store and buy books over the 3G wireless network and plug the Kindle into your wall outlet to charge.




Navigating the Kindle Store is very easy. As you can see from the images you can get to the purchase screen in a few clicks. I have not purchased a book this way yet but it does seem very easy. I was navigating the store using my WiFi connection and it seems pretty snappy, very little lag at all.





After I ordered the Kindle on Sept. 1 I went out on the net to prepare myself for the new arrival by reading forums and blogs on the Kindle. I found a wide array of support out there, the two communities that I frequent are Mobile Read MobileRead Forums and Kindle Boards Kindle Boards - Index. There are a ton of people out there willing to help with any issue, as well as an active group of programmers working on allowing the owners to personalize their Kindles with custom screensavers and fonts.

Also, there are other tools used for organizing your library and loading books onto your device. I found calibre to be a great tool for managing downloaded ebooks, and it also can manage downloaded Digital Rights Management (DRM) books after a fashion as well. You can find the software here calibre - E-book management and there is a support forum at Mobile Read that is very active with the author's input. You don't need software like this to load books onto the device, but it does make things easier.

The Kindle can read a limited number of formats out of the box. From the Amazon website we find "Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively". Amazon has a service for converting other documents for free, you can find a list of the files on their website as well as a description of how the service works.

Amazon claims to have 1.8 Million free titles available (pre-1923 out of copyright books), in addition to the approximately 495,000 available titles to Canadian Kindle owners. Not every book available in Kindle format is available to Canadian purchasers due to publishing rights and the like. I don't understand the ins and outs of the publishing industry, but as a Canadian consumer it can be frustrating to see some books from an author available to me and other books not available, sometime books in the same series! Prices range from free up to an astounding $6,431.20 for a reference title. I would say one of the hottest debates on the forums and blogs is the price of ebooks compared to physical books, and the things you can do with a pbook that you can't do with an ebook, like loan it to a friend, resell it or buy it used.

For example Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" is available in Kindle edition for $9.99. That is the same price as the paperback edition. With a pbook I can loan it out when I am done, or I can trade it in at a used book store for a small amount of cash or store credit. With that ebook I can read it (remember it has DRM so I theoretically can only use it on the device it is downloaded to). Why then would I have to pay the same price? That is the nature of the debate. But, there are lots of books for much less than that out there, and there are new models popping up where authors are self publishing using other stores and avoiding the big publishers. Smashwords - Ebooks from independent authors and publishers is a popular site, as is Fictionwise eBooks: Free eBooks, eBooks for your iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device, Symbian Mobile Phone, Windows Mobile Smartphone, Palm handheld, PC, Mac and more!. Other blogs watch for free and reduced prices and let people know what is out there, like this one The Frugal Kindle for the Kindle.

The electronic reader world is a fascinating place with new hardware coming out, great price points and a myriad of content to select. There are lots of formats, digital rights management issues, pricing and geographical restrictions that limit what books can, and can't be bought online or through the Kindle store. It isn't only the hardware that has to be considered but the content you want, the formats you wish to read that have to be considered.
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Old September 23, 2010, 01:52 PM
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Nice review.

Does it have a broswer to surf the web and what's the internal storage capacity (and is there room for expansion)?

Also, what's the battery life like?
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Old September 23, 2010, 02:24 PM
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Am I the only one who thinks keyboards are a massive waste of space on these devices?
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Old September 23, 2010, 02:47 PM
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How do you find reading in bed with it? That's where I do most of my reading.
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Old September 23, 2010, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowboy View Post
Nice review.

Does it have a broswer to surf the web and what's the internal storage capacity (and is there room for expansion)?

Also, what's the battery life like?
Yes, there is a browser under the experimental menu. I have not done a lot of browsing with it, but from what little I have seen, and what I have read online, it is utilitarian. I'll try and load up the HWC page and take a photo. Well, the pics are blurry, believe me when I say that it is readable.




The internal storage is 4 GB with around 3 GB for user files.

From the short time that the unit has been out there hasn't been a lot of feedback. Amazon claims 30 days with the WiFi and 3G off. With the WiFi on around 3 weeks. One user only reported back at 28 days with the WiFi off and reading around 2 - 3 hours a day.
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Old September 23, 2010, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SKYMTL View Post
Am I the only one who thinks keyboards are a massive waste of space on these devices?
I would tend to agree as I don't see myself browsing or annotating much. But that said, I went to the Amazon Kindle store on the device to by Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" and typing it in made it easier to find. If you have to use it, it is there.
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Old September 23, 2010, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SugarJ View Post
How do you find reading in bed with it? That's where I do most of my reading.
I found it very comfortable last night. Like a book, it has no lighting of its own. But the ability to hold it one handed is great. You could also lay it down as you lay on your side, or just prop it up against your lap if you are sitting up, no pages to hold open!
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Old September 23, 2010, 03:40 PM
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I also bought a cover to protect the Kindle. It is a bit pricey, some may say extravagant, but I really liked it!



The company is Oberon Design Leather covers and cases for the iPad, Kindle, Nook and our famous journals and they make all sorts of decadent leather covers and cases.
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Old September 23, 2010, 03:46 PM
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Hrmmmmm.... if this thing can browse the web reasonably well, I might actually be interested in it for that purpose alone..... (especially at that price).
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Old September 23, 2010, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sswilson View Post
Hrmmmmm.... if this thing can browse the web reasonably well, I might actually be interested in it for that purpose alone..... (especially at that price).
I think that the complexity of the website will be the limiting factor. From what I have read the mobile sites are fast and render very well, but even in the blurry picture, you can see that the frames and text come across well from the HWC site. I could login on the forum, I bet I could even post if I tried... but the little keys would take me a while to type on :)
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