March 23, 2012 - kenshinjeff

kindle 4 review e-ink technology

It all started when Steve asked me if I was interested in sharing shipping from Amazon. I know, I am such an addict for buying stuff online. Not to mention the both of us would do anything to earn a cent off existing infrastructure. But I didn’t go ahead as I had this disdain for portable ebooks readers because it will never, ever, replace the page turning of a book. And the fact that Bookdepository is SO CHEAP, I’ll probably never have to step into a bookstore to buy books.

Anyway, so one day I asked Steve if already got his Kindle, and he popped it out of his bag like it weighed like nothing. Sure enough, as I played the kindle, it weighed close to nothing. And e-ink technology is nothing short of fantastic. Of course, it could definitely be improved upon, especially the really irritating page turn flashes.

As I was saying, I happened to be in London, so I managed to chance upon Kobo’s e-ink readers at Selfridges, a kindle keyboard and a kindle 4. Now, I have no prior experience with a Kindle even though I have played with Steve’s.

*tries to tinker with kindle at counter*
MEME> Not sure if the kindle is damaged or out of battery.
So I had to ask for help.

Yang: “Hi, do you have a working model of this?”
Yang: *points to kindle 4*
Hunky Angmoh: “Yes, that’s the one you’re holding.”
Yang: *blur look*
Hunky Angmoh: *swaggers over, switches Kindle on*
Yang: *amazement*

And there I was thinking it was not switched on. The best thing? It’s not like those LCD screens where the screen starts screaming in rainbows when you depress on it. It doesn’t happen with the Kindle. I didn’t get to try pressing really hard on Kobo as the saleslady didn’t quite want to leave me alone with the Kobos. Great foresight I might say.

I was loaded with enough pounds (89 pounds only actually, LOL) to make the purchase AND get a rough 8% tax rebate. But being the savvy eshopper I was (aka kiamsiap), I held on to my money. No way in hell I was going to make an impulse buy without the power of the Internet and more groundwork. Thankfully, a quick check back in the hotel’s wifi revealed that $79 USD. Good thing I wasn’t desperate enough to buy it there and then *phew*

For some pathetic reason, I couldn’t get a kindle in France at that time, so I came back to Singapore empty handed. In my desperation to find some new gadget to play with (I think my last gadget that I actually bought was an amazon 3DS last year or my china android tablet, but I may be wrong) I went on hwz to find a kindle 4 for sale.

Surprise surprise, there were so many people selling the kindle on hwz. I immediately grabbed one from a lady who didn’t like reading with the kindle.

Technology and physical unit:

  • eInk technology is amazing, but still can be improved. Page flips are distracting in the beginning but you’ll get used to it.
  • Battery life is pretty amazing, I have bought to in camp training for two weeks. I have never let it drop to zero though.
  • 2GB of flash space sounds pretty saddening, but if you’re reading real books, it’s quite hard to fill it up.

Registration of your kindle

  • Upon registration of the device online, you will be provided with an email address. You can send books to this email address and all your kindle devices will have the same book, in sync at your next wireless access point. All your books will be converted to .awz but you don’t really need to know about this.

Loading of books, manga and management on your kindle

  • There’s 3 ways to get books on your kindle:Method 1: Connect your kindle to your computer via the usb cable and it will appear like a thumbdrive, and you can load compatible books on it.Method 2: Send your book to your kindle email address.Method 3: Buy a book from amazon. Not too sure how this works, from my understanding you need a us address to be able to purchase ebooks due to licensing(?). But that’s not too much of an issue since there’s vpost, commgateway, etc. Though I’m quite sure you are able to buy a gift card with any credit card, and send it to yourself.
  • There are only a few formats the kindle reads, namely, azw, txt, pdf, mobi, prc. The most common formats online are pdfs, mobi and ePub. I personally only use mobi because it’s widely available and no coversion is required.- If you need conversion and library management, Calibre is a really great tool.
    – If you need collection management, you need Colegate’s Kindle Collection Manager

    – If you want to use a kindle to read MANGA, you need mangle. I would say that you _can_ read manga on the kindle 4, but it would be better if the screen were larger, and it does take up quite some space on your non expandable 2GB memory, and the technology for reading the images are not say very impressive.

Actually reading using the kindle

  • It came as a surpise to me, but I can be such a dolt at times. You can’t read eInk if you have no light source. ie. the reading conditions are really pretty much like a book, and even under strong sunlight (which I do not recommend for reading). Let me iterate, you will not be able to read the eInk devices in the dark without an alternate light source.
  • The buttons are located on side of the unit, for both right and left handed users. I would say the buttons are counter-intutive, and there should be a soft setting for right/left hand instead. Here let me show you an image that I got off another kindle 4 review website to explain myself.

For a right hander, to flip a page, you would press the big button on the right. Intutively, it would make sense that if I were to press the big button on the left, it should go backwards. But it doesn’t, instead, big buttons flip the page forward, and small buttons flip the page backwards. Very confusing for first time users, especially me.

Conclusion

All in all, this is a really good device. It’s small enough to put it in your pocket, your pouch, your handbag, in the slot between the both front seats in your car. I wouldn’t say it can take a beating, but it has been knocked around. And it should survive a fall of 2 feet from your bedside table.

This device is extremely good and value for money, if you:

  • travel or communte often.
  • buy at least 10 books a year. (10 would be just about the price of one kindle)
  • actually do read.

I would not recommend it for reading manga though. And I believe that one of the best things is that you can “loan” a book out to your friend and you can also loan a book from an actual library. Of course, this is probably just a USA feature, and I don’t really need to loan a book. The libraries here may never see the light of ebook borrowing, but it would be really nifty for your kid to search through the computer, click, click, send to kindle right?

really cool geeky stuff / what i read

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