Kindle 3G Wireless Review

I’ve been using the Kindle 3G Wireless since early January, 2011. Like the 21 thousand+ reviewers on Amazon who rated this product, I’d have to agree… it’s about a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I think it could easily be a five star product and here is why.

The good:

  • The screen is very easy on the eyes. I have read books on the Kindle for hours without any eye strain.
  • The battery life so far has been excellent. Nothing to complain about. In fact I love the fact that when I’m reading the kindle, it’s not burning alot of energy (if wireless is turned off).
  • Of course, it is incredibly easy to purchase new books. Sometimes dangerously so.
  • Very light-weight and thin. It fits in my cargo pants pocket which is a nice plus.

The bad (note: I often read in bed prior to going to sleep and some of the negative design aspects are related to my position while reading the Kindle).

  • If, on the outside chance I need to charge my Kindle while using it, the micro USB port is on the bottom of the unit. So, if I’m resting the Kindle on my chest, the plug sticks out from the bottom which isn’t so comfortable.  Of all the positions for the USB port, why put it on the bottom? Seems like the top would be better.
  • I like to hold the Kindle with one hand and switch hands periodically. However, when holding it with one hand, the forward/back buttons are too high to comfortably press while holding with one hand. I’d suggest creating an additional set of smaller forward/back buttons below the screen in the middle of the unit or positioning the the existing buttons a bit lower.
  • The case that Amazon offers for the Kindle is very heavy and doesn’t really serve any purpose other than providing a reading light. I have only used the case a few times and only to utilize the reading light. The light seems too bright too and not easy to slide in and out.
  • My biggest complaint of all is that charts/graphs are very difficult to read and basically useless. In fact, I think this is the Achilles heal of the Kindle and could be the reason why it loses out to iPads/Apple and other reading devices/services. I’d certainly subscribe to some magazines if the Kindle could render the graphs/charts/tables/images in a reasonable way.
  • I’m surprised there are so many books I want to read on the Kindle that are not available yet (at least 10 books that I’d buy today if they were available). How difficult can it be to convert a conventional book into a Kindle format? It’s like free money for the publishers and It is beyond me why so many books are not yet converted.
  • The little navigation square isn’t perfect. I often click the ‘ok’ button when trying to move left or right with it.

Other thoughts…

  • Button click noise. It would be nice if I could click the forward/back buttons without making any noise.
  • The Kindle keyboard (if you can call it that) sucks… but I’m sure Amazon knows this. Maybe bury it somewhere else within the device if possible or put a lid on top of it to hide it from view and downplay it’s prominence.
  • The Kindle Store is well designed… It does require alot of scrolling/clicking to get around the interface which can be noisy if you’re reading among light sleepers.
Kindle 3G Wireless Reader - photo by: {link:href=}{/link}

To survive as a long term product, Amazon will have to improve the Kindle’s capability to render non text in a useful, readable way. With out this, the market will be lost to Apple.

In spite of these issues, I recommend the Kindle 3G Wireless reader, particularly if your primary purpose is to read text-based content.

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