by Dean Harris

Thoughts On The New (Non-touch) Kindle

I had hemmed and hawed about whether or not to buy the new Kindle since they were announced. I had a busted Kindle, and had been waiting for about 2 months to see what the new models would bring. Initially I was disappointed that the new Kindle Touch wasn’t available to purchase outside the US, but after reading Luke Mathis’ piece on A Machine for Reading Books I was sold.

So on Friday afternoon, I put through my order for the base model. At 9.45 this morning, I got the email that I had been waiting since Friday afternoon to receive. My new Kindle was waiting for me at reception.

To say I was impressed with the speed of delivery would be an understatement. Ordering something from the US on a Friday afternoon and having it in my hands in Brisbane, QLD on a Tuesday morning was all but unimaginable to me. My delight at the super fast shipping caused was only the beginning.

Once I opened the box and actually saw the device in person for the first time, I couldn’t help but smile. Amazon might not have quite the packaging panache of Apple, but it’s not too far short. The presentation was iPhone-esque. The first thing you see when you open the box is the Kindle’s screen, with on-screen instructions to plug it into a computer to charge.

Kindle packaging

Once I had let the Kindle charge for a while, I unplugged it and switched it on. I was immediately presented with a wizard to get it set up. Because I only had a WiFi model, I thought I wouldn’t be able use it until I got home. Thankfully I was wrong, as I discovered when I was able to dismiss the wizard, and load up a couple of books that I had on my work computer.

At this point, I went for a smoke, and took my Kindle with me. I spent a couple of moments setting up my font size and margin preferences (3rd smallest font size, and “fewer” words per line, if you are interested) then started reading Aaron Mahnke’s fantastic prelude to the Tapestry Saga, The Coming Darkness.

While I was reading, a complete stranger started asking me questions about the Kindle. She asked me if it was “one of those ‘book readers’”, and was generally curious about anything and everything Kindle. Having a stranger ask me about something I was using was a first for me and her level of knowledge about the device, for someone who professed to know nothing about them, impressed me. The reason it surprised me was that I thought ebook readers were still the domain of the nerd. Clearly though, that is changing.

Reading is, quite simply, a pleasure. The screen is much more responsive, and only fully refreshes every sixth page. The device is so light, and sits so comfortably in your hand that it disappears as soon as you start to read. The page turn buttons have been redesigned and feel much better than on the previous model.

I’m looking forward to putting it more extensively through it’s paces, but I’m comfortable declaring right now that the Kindle is an exquisite reading device.